How to Feed a Dog

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The following items represent some of The Dog Food Advisor’s most frequently asked questions about how to feed a dog.

How much do I feed my dog?

Since each dog food contains a different number of calories per serving, follow the feeding instructions on each package. If your dog is fully grown (and no longer a puppy), you can try using our dog food calculator.

When does a puppy become an adult?

In general, small to medium breeds may be considered adults after about six months of age.

But large and giant breeds shouldn’t be fed as adults until they reach about one to two years (depending upon the breed).1

When is a dog considered a senior?

As a rule, small to medium dogs are considered seniors at about seven years of age. But larger breeds reach senior status much sooner… some as early as five.2

Can you recommend a good food for senior dogs?

Most senior dog foods are terrible. These recipes are designed to reduce calories by reducing meat content.

Unfortunately, this same design makes these products notably high in carbohydrates, too.

Today, most experts recommend dog foods for seniors that are higher in protein content (but also lower in fat, carbs and calories).

Aren’t high protein diets dangerous for senior dogs?

Recent studies confirm high protein dog foods make just as much sense for healthy senior dogs as they do for younger pets.3 To learn more, be sure to visit FAQ page about dog food protein.

What’s the best way to transition to a new dog food?

Most experts recommend transitioning to a new food gradually… starting with about 20-25% “new” and slowly increasing that amount to a full 100% over a 7 to 10 day period.

Be patient and don’t rush the transitioning process. Take your time to minimize the chance of GI upset.

While switching to a new dog food, my pet developed gas, soft stools or diarrhea. What should I do?

If you’ve transitioned slowly (and with patience) and your dog still develops problems, he may be allergic or intolerant to one of the ingredients in the new recipe.

In that case, you may need to cut back on the percentage of new food or stop feeding it altogether. If symptoms continue, it may be necessary to contact your vet.

Is it OK to change a dog’s food on a routine basis?

Since there’s no such thing as a perfect dog food, it’s reasonable to assume every product is deficient or excessive in some way.

Too much of one nutrient… or too little of another. And many can contain traces of dangerous toxins. So, built-in flaws are magnified when the same food is fed continuously… day-in and day-out… for a lifetime.

By periodically switching dog foods (diet rotation), the unhealthy consequences of these defects can be minimized.

Is it OK to feed my dog table food?

That depends on what you mean by table food. After all, there’s a notable difference between table scraps and leftovers. Leftovers usually include good quality (but surplus) food remaining after a human meal.

Table scraps tend to include the fatty trimmings from whole meat. In most cases, fat is a very normal part of most any meaty meal. But table scraps tend to include only the fatty trimmings from whole meat.

When you serve fatty waste, you’re feeding an above-average concentration of animal fat… which can lead to a painful condition known as acute pancreatitis.

What’s better… canned or dry dog food?

Both canned and dry dog foods each has its own unique benefits and disadvantages. For more information, be sure to read our article, What’s Better… Canned or Dry Dog Food.

How long does dry dog food stay fresh?

With proper storage, dry food can be safely used until it reaches its “Best By” date. That date can be found printed on the package and is commonly about one year from the date of manufacturer.

But the freshness of any dry dog food is unstable and gradually deteriorates over time. So, avoid purchasing or using products as they get closer to their “Best By” dates.

What’s the best way to store a dry dog food?

Air and moisture are the enemies of dry dog food. Be sure to store all kibbles in a cool, dry location. Squeeze out any excess air as you seal the open bag.

If you prefer to use a resealable container, try to leave the food in its original package inside that container. Or save the bag in a safe location.

That’s because the packaging contains critical information needed to identify the product in case of a recall.

How long does a canned dog food remain usable?

Depending on the brand, canned dog foods are usually good for about three years from the date of manufacturer (and sometimes longer). However, once opened, canned products must be tightly sealed and immediately refrigerated.

Opened wet foods can last up to about 3 days in the refrigerator. Any uneaten canned food should be taken away from your pet and discarded no more than 30 minutes after serving.

Footnotes

  1. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 4
  2. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 16
  3. Finco DR, Brown SA, Crowell WA, et al, Effects of aging and dietary protein intake on uninephrectomized geriatric dogs, Am J Vet Res 1994; 55:1282
  • Miranda

    Perfect, thank you :)

  • theBCnut

    I use water and vinegar for lots of cleaning tasks and have never noticed the smell lingering after it is dry. Since dogs have a much more sensitive nose though, I would imagine that they could still smell it, but many dogs like vinegar just fine, so I wouldn’t assume that it would be an unpleasant smell when that dilute.

  • Shawna

    If he has a liver shunt it would be obvious if it was bad. If not, they do test liver values in the yearly blood exams.

    It is actually a myth that dogs get dental benefit from kibble unless the food is specifically designed for that purpose. Dr. Mike has a good article on the topic. He’s a dentist if you didn’t know. :) I can’t pull it up right now but you can find it by searching. MANY vets agree that kibble cleaning teeth is a myth.

    Yes, raw means not cooked at all. LOTS of vets and people recommend raw. Dr. Smart (the veterinary nutritionist I mentioned in other post) has recipes for raw on her blog and recommends raw if it is balanced. Dr. Becker, that I mentioned, has a book called “Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dog and Cats” that shows you how to balance a raw or home cooked diet. MANY other vets recommend raw — I can name at least 25 off the top of my head that could easily be verified online.

    You don’t have to balance the food yourself though. There are several commercially made raw diets available. You can also purchase raw diets (that DON’T include bone) and lightly cook them. I have at least five pet food stores in my area that carry raw diets. Darwins, Primal, Nature’s Variety, Nature’s Logic and Stella & Chewy are just a few of the brands available.

    However, not everyone feels comfortable with raw. That’s okay. There are “premixes” that you can add to meat you cook that will make the food complete and balanced. The Honest Kitchen Preference is just one example.

    If you want to stay with kibble you certainly can. Just know that there are lots of options available and you don’t have to feed just one type of food. You can mix, as you already know, kibble with other foods.

    ***as you research you will come across some that say you shouldn’t mix kibble with other foods. I completely disagree with them. If you look at how digestion works, adding a moisture rich, raw (aka natural enzymes included) diet enhances kibble digestion.

    Edit — raw diets really aren’t all that foreign. Just not something mainstream Americans think about or run into. I know lots of folks that eat raw meat sushi and sashimi though. Steak tartar (raw steak) is considered a delicacy. My hubby eats his eggs near raw (yuck). And I know several in the medical profession and body builders that eat raw eggs daily.

  • Shawna

    The vinegar smell should dissipate before the next feeding I would think??

    I like Dr. Bronners Castile soap. It is an all around good cleaner, smells great and is gentle enough that you can even use it as a dog shampoo :).. It used to be only at health food stores but now lots of places carry it.

    A respected and well liked former poster here that went by Toxed2Loss mentioned that the mint (I think it was) version when used as a shampoo, is also good at keeping fleas away. I know humans that wash their hair with it and even some that use it as a toothpaste as well.

    If you are really concerned about bacteria you can use any safe dish soup or a little baking soda with a drop of an essential oil like clove oil or lemon oil etc. Many essential oils are quite antimicrobial and smell great as a side benefit. Clove oil is often recommended by dentists (and others) to use on infected teeth til the sufferer can get to the dentist.

    There’s actually lots and lots of safe options that may not offend Cayman’s sense of taste and smell!!! :)

    Not sure where all the regulars are today but hopefully some will see your posts and will add to what I have already posted..??

  • Miranda

    And does anyone know of a safe detergent/dish soap for cleaning my dog’s bowls? I read that you can home make hot water and vinegar solution, but won’t that leave a less-than-yummy smell for my dog?

  • Miranda

    Sorry if it gets confusing being on too many posts – I replied to your other one too! I would love to feed Cayman anything that works! So long as it is feasible for us. I am not the best cook, even for myself, so I don’t know if I’d be able to manually make sure he’s getting everything he needs with a home-made diet? He does have some dehydrated chicken treats but it seems he prefers the fresh cooked chicken. Also, I was told kibble was preferred for his dental health/hygiene? And does raw literally mean raw? You can feed dogs raw chicken, etc?

    Thanks for the tip about liver shunts. Very good to know. I hope that’s something vets regularly test/keep an eye out for, otherwise I’ll have to ask to have him tested to see if it’ll be an issue.

  • Shawna

    PS — have you considered foods other than kibble for Cayman? Beings he’s a little guy it should still be cost effective. There are some really good quality canned, dehydrated/freeze dried and raw diets on the market.

  • Shawna

    I just left a comment on your other post so some of this is repetitive..

    Trying using the chicken as a topper for the Orijen or the yogurt if he likes it. I think dogs can be quite instinctual and it may be that there is something in it that isn’t good for him? Maybe he’s just holding out for the chicken? :) I’m glad you are switching from RC..

    I have eight toy breed dogs and I have fostered over 30 Boston Terriers and Papillons over the years. I’ve NEVER not even once had a food be too rich in protein and I feed WAY more protein than what’s in Orijen because I add high protein toppers.

    That said, being he is a Yorkie, and Maltese, he is at increased risk for a liver shunt. Dogs that have liver shunts often need to go on diets quite low in protein. Not all but some do. Depends on how severe the shunt. Feed him the higher protein foods but keep an eye out for potential shunt issues. If he had a severe shunt it probably would have already been causing sympotms. Can’t hurt to be alert to potential issues though. Dr. Karen Becker DVM has some info http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/02/01/liver-shunts-disease-in-pet-dogs.aspx

  • Miranda

    Thanks so much! Cayman is such a picky eater, I’m trying to find him a food he gets excited to eat but it’s mostly the cooked chicken I put on top that he runs to. Once he eats it out he seems to be uninterested in his meal. He was on Royal Canin until I started looking into healthier options. I just bought a bag of Orijin Puppy to very slowly introduce but even when I just gave him one kibble he turned his nose up. I’m worried a) he doesn’t like the taste and b) some people say it’s too rich for their dog? I don’t know what to do other than to keep trying/try some other brands with him. He gets verry excited about Wellness Just For Puppy treats with lamb, but other than that I don’t know. Any suggestions? I feel bad if I buy too many bags at the store and return them if he’s uninterested. And the vet thinks he needs to gain a little more weight :( he’s 5 pounds now …

  • Shawna

    Most dogs seem to tolerate dairy products quite well. But it is a food that can cause some pretty nasty issues. I react to dairy and it causes issues such as scalp itch, arthritis like joint pain, sinus issues and more. I didn’t have digestive issues so it took 20 years, and the right doctor, to diagnose it.

    If your, very cute, puppy seems to tolerate it well, kefir is even better than yogurt as it has more strains of probiotics. If you can find goat milk kefir that is even better yet as the fats in goat milk are easier to digest than those in cow’s milk. :)

    Edit — goat milk is often well tolerated by people who can’t have cow’s milk. I’m sure that is true for pups too. I can’t have cow or goat :(..

  • Miranda

    Is it alright to feed my dog some plain green yogurt as a topper?

  • theBCnut

    If she does well on it, I don’t see why not.

  • sharron

    just wondering if orijen would be suitable to feed lexee as well as acana (not at the same time)

  • sharron

    have given her in the past a 1/4 cup in the morning – she doesn’t eat it all
    and she seems to do better on smaller meals

  • dchassett

    Why are you feeding her 4 times a day? Just curious?

  • theBCnut

    What matters is that you leave the food in the original bag, roll down the top, squeeze extra air out, and clip it closed. Store it in a cool dry place out of direct light. Light, oxygen, warmth, and humidity cause the fats to start breaking down in kibble pretty rapidly, so it is best to get a size bag that will be used up fairly quickly once it is opened.

  • sharron

    right now the only decent dry dog food i have in the dog food aisle in my house is acana light and fit – started her on that this morning, adding a tad of can to it – i’m spreading it out over 4 meals, 1/8 of cup per meal

  • theBCnut

    Yes, the only thing to be concerned with with a high calorie food is that if the feeding recommendations are WAY off for your size dog, the food may not contain enough vitamins and mineral, but it is unlikely for the guidelines to be off by that amount.

  • http://www.suncast.com/ Jen

    Does it actually matter what type of resealable storage container I use for my dog food? I got one from suncast because I liked the rolling feature, but I’m curious to know if it makes a difference whether or not the container is designed specifically for pet food. You can review the item I purchased here if you’d like: rolling bin

  • sharron

    lexee should be getting 200 cals/day (according to the vet) – does this mean that i can feed her a high calorie dry food as long as i don’t overfeed her – the straight can diet didn’t work – she was just too hungry on it

  • Betsy Greer

    Welcome back.

  • Tony

    I found it very susicious that conveniently only Shawna’s post remained. It was obvious that Tiki as she staded-was unable to verify her facebook account because she did not have one. Then her posts mysteriously were deleted. All the regular contributors who bullied he must be satisfied. I have seen the same thing over and over again.

  • aimee

    Hi Mike… I didn’t know if she deleted them or you, but I thought you might have because they were fraudulent : ) Thanks for confirming!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Tiki’s posts were not deleted due to their content but because they were posted fraudulently.

  • aimee

    Apparently Tiki’s posts have been deleted. No I don’t see the study published in Purina as wrong nor do i see the IRIS guidelines as flawed.

  • aimee

    Too funny, No big conspiracy here I just did a simple search and found a diet he used with white rice in. I do not have his books nor am I familiar with all his diets.

    The site was tripawds and only 1 diet was posted and it contained rice : )

  • aimee

    I put the terms, “Steve Brown” “white rice” canine, into a search engine and up poped a site with a recipe he wrote :)

  • aimee

    I don’t see that Tiki made that inference ( “protein makes kidneys worse” ) You quoted Tiki as saying “high protein… makes the patient worse” which you acknowledged when you said “it can produce undesirable symptoms”

    Can protein make kidneys worse? Possibly! It is less clear in dogs than in people, but when proteinuria is present, it damages the tubules. IRIS recommends protein restriction even in stage one patients if they have significant proteinuria.

    I agree Dr.Brooks likely knows all about high quality protein and nitrogen trapping.

  • Shawna

    Again, I agree with what you are saying. I used those specific references because the person I was responding to 1. was referencing aimee’s link – which the Novartis was in and 2. didn’t accept other research such as Bovee.

  • Jim M

    All I’m suggesting is to be aware that these companies are very clever and their studies are biased. They try to get rid of the competition so they can get rich. As for Novartis they have no interest in the well being of animals. They are the last ones who would recommend a diet that could prevent an animal from getting sick. It is very easy to manipulate studies. Just remember these companies are in it for the money so they do anything.

  • Shawna

    So you are suggesting that dogs with kidney disease should be on a restricted protein diet?

    And as mentioned in my last post, Hills actually has a paper that states that protein does not need restricted in the earlier stages of the disease too. Not what the sales reps tell the vets though…

  • Shawna

    I totally agree with you.. My original post on the subject was by vet and researcher Dr. Bovee but for some reason that wasn’t acceptable so this was my second source giving the same data. Dr. Kronfeld is another source as is Hills Science Diet and others.

  • Jim M

    Renal society is a privately-owned company. Obviously Hills Science Diet another private company makes a different suggestion. The Bovee study had only 10 dogs. The small sample size affects the margin of Error.

  • Jim M

    That’s another private company Novartis also known as the intern. Renal society you make ref. to. False data was used in clinical 28 million-testing in an Alzheimer study. In 2007 it came to light when japanese officials slapped Novartis with a criminal complaint.

  • Jim M

    Come on, people are willing to spend anything on their pets. The 18 – billion – a year pet food industry is a lot of money. You must question any study sponsored by individual profit-driven companies.

  • Shawna

    Aimee,

    Would you like to reply to Tiki’s post/s? Tiki says the Purina study is “flawed”. Would you agree with that statement.

    Also says Dr. Brooks reference, the International Renal Interest Society guidelines” is also wrong.

    Care to weigh in on this Aimee?

  • Crazy4cats

    I think Tiki is trying to say this subject isn’t anything to play around with. At least she/he has that right.

  • TIKI

    One final word. Your Purina study got it wrong and is biased. They wanted to push the current diets off the market that is why the provided the results they did. The study is flawed. So you are saying Novartis and Purina are correct and many vets are wrong…but you are right of corse…hmmmmmm…………

  • Shawna

    I’m trying to figure out what this conversation has to do with a “ballgame”? I don’t get the metaphor?

  • Shawna

    Cool, thanks Losul… More to the picture than aimee led on to..

  • Crazy4cats

    Oh boy, do you ever need spell check!

  • losul

    There’s only one recipe from Steve Brown that I’m aware of containing rice. It’s one of the four recipes he gives for specific dogs in need of low fat diets, including pancreas issues.

    There is only 1 or 2 other recipes of Steve’s that uses any grain at all that I am aware of, and that is oats. He gives that one with caveats and substitutions allowed, the oat bran is asterisked.

  • Crazy4cats

    Interesting… Last week you were trying to convince us that phosphorous causes hyperthyroidism. This week it causes kidney disease. Hmmmm?

  • TIKI

    Got your email. You accisation is hillarious. And I don’t do Facebook. This is not a ballgame like Shawna may think. Have a good day.

  • Shawna

    Again and again and again I am asking YOU for your sources.. If you have read any of my past posts, you will know I agree about phosphorus restriction in later stages or if Hyperphosphatemia is present. So, once again, please show me where I’m wrong.

  • TIKI

    This is not a ball game Shawna. The link Amee provided does make reference to studies. The international interest renal society is Novartis, a swiss pharmacytical company. Of Course they are ging to tell not to go on a diet. They are not interesteded in prevention. AND I never said protein damages the kidneys. Don’t you turn my words around. There are arguments on both sides. You recommend more protein and this just makes no sense. It is well known that phosphorus and Sodium are more important.

  • Betsy Greer

    Or maybe only one other person, since we know who’s always first to upvote TIKI’s posts.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Please respond to the email I sent you 6 hours ago and follow the instructions it contains. Thank you.

  • TIKI

    I don’t see the ears….Amee and I already did.

  • Shawna

    PS — I wasn’t aware Steve Brown uses rice in any of his meals? Where did you find that data?

  • Shawna

    Apparently people are making that inference as Tiki below says that very thing — “In the studi Amee provided it says that a high protein diet does’t cause
    kidney failure but it makes the patient worse after kidney failure is
    present. I think it is bad advice to indicate you know more than her
    vet.”

    As you know, even in the higher stages of the disease “protein” doesn’t cause damage to the kidneys but we both agree that it can produce undesirable symptoms. And for this reason only, even low phosphorus proteins may, and likely will, need to be limited. Edit — HOWEVER, utilizing only the highest quality proteins as well as nitrogen trapping can allow for a higher consumption of protein while limiting symptoms.. None of that is mentioned.. Surely Dr. Brooks knows about protein quality and nitrogen trapping as well.

    Edit — apparently two people up voted Tiki’s post so at least two additional people were duped by this article.

  • aimee

    I didn’t say would put “my stamp of approval” on the use of that phrase only that I understood why it was done.

    I see it different from Dr, Dodd because the terms “intolerence” and “hypersensitivity” are terms with well accepted and well defined specific medical definitions as defined by the profession of which she is a member. She used the terms incorrectly.

    A s far as I know there is not a well accepted and well defined specific medical definition for “work” or :workload” as it relates to kidney, it is a lay term.

    I have the same problem with the wording as you do. Using the term work implies fatigue which can imply damage.

    That implication is mitigated partially by her statements that “There is no protective value to restricting protein” and “High protein diets do not cause kidney failure”. She follows this by “though they certainly make the patient worse after kidney failure is present” She didn’t say that protein makes kidneys worse … but again people may make that inference. She said it make patients worse and I agree that it can when in the higher stages of failure.

  • Shawna

    Again, prove it.

  • Shawna

    Umm first, Aimee’s link is not a study but an opinion of Dr. Brooks. If you actually read the entire link Dr. Brooks states that “Now the International Renal Interest Society finally has guidelines.
    They recommend changing the diet to a renal food when a dog’s creatinine
    level is in the 2.1-5 mg/dl range (Stage III renal failure).”

    So you are suggesting that the “international Renal Interest Society”, whom Dr. Brooks appears to have confidence in, is incorrect?

    You have obviously seen my posts, as evidenced by the down votes, so again I ask you — PLEASE provide ANY reliable data IN DOGS showing protein damages the kidneys. Balls in your court. What will you do with it?

  • Shawna

    I’m curious why “liberties” are allowed by you in this case but Dr. Dodds use of the word intolerance instead of hypersensitivity was apparently not accepted?

    What Dr. Brooks did is completely mislead by implying that protein further damaged the kidneys due to this “workload”. That is what I have a problem with. Why not mention nitrogen trapping if worried about the workload?

  • Shawna

    I’m all ears Tiki.. Please show these studies (in dogs) as I am definitely open to getting more information.

  • aimee

    I think when writing for the general public some “liberty” is taken when explaining medical conditions.

    The general public can grasp a concept of “less work” when in actuality I’d bet Dr Brooks knows that filtration is passive and understands how protein affects renal patients

  • TIKI

    What makes Purina an expert in the field ?There are so many more studies.

  • TIKI

    Edit: meanr to say 2 and 3.1 end of stage 2 early 3. Problem is if yoy don.t know your dog has kineu disease listening to your advice can cause harm in some cases. Many and Most are still similar words..

  • TIKI

    In Amee’s link the study states that when creatinine is ar 2.1 and 3 which is STAGE 2 [and not stage3 as you said] with the diet uremic crisis was delayed by 5month. Stage2 is mild failure and the study showed diet did help contrary to your belief. So you are incorrect.

  • Shawna

    It also states that protein restriction should not be started before STAGE III of the disease. My dog has had the disease for seven and a half years and still isn’t in stage III of the disease.

    You don’t like Bovee, how bout PurinaVets?
    “When attention is focused on those experiments in which protein has been isolated as the only variable, the data are overwhelmingly indicative of a failure to demonstrate a protein effect on the functional or morphologic deterioration of kidneys of “remnant kidney” dogs. Older dogs have a higher incidence of chronic renal disease than young dogs, and restricting protein intake in these dogs has been advocated as a renoprotective maneuver. In a study designed to test this hypothesis, experimental dogs seven to eight years of age were divided into two groups. Dogs in both groups had uninephrectomy performed to increase vulnerability of the remaining kidney to any protein effects. One group was fed a low protein diet, and the other group received a high protein diet for the subsequent four years.12 Results of this study indicated that there were no adverse effects from the high protein diet (Table 1), and mortality was actually higher in the low protein group.” http://www.purinavets.eu/PDFs/ResearchReport1998_vol3.pdf

  • Shawna

    What contradicting studies are in aimee’s link?

    I didn’t say vets aren’t knowledgeable, I said “many” start protein restriction way too early in the disease.

    For the record — there’s really a significant difference between the word I actually used (“many”) and the word you believe I used (“most”).

  • TIKI

    In the studi Amee provided it says that a high protein diet does’t cause kidney failure but it makes the patient worse after kidney failure is present. I think it is bad advice to indicate you know more than her vet.

  • TIKI

    Problem is you usually don’t know that your dog has kidney disease since blood findings are not always known. There are other studies in the link Amee provided above contradicting your stidy. And how can you say that ‘most vets get it wrong’,you don’t know all the data. Most vets are highly knowlegeable.

  • Shawna

    Hi Tiki,

    The quality of the protein eaten is really quite important in kidney disease. Kibbled diets are considered to have the least quality proteins.

  • Shawna

    I found this to be interesting in your linked article aimee.

    “Now the International Renal Interest Society finally has guidelines. They recommend changing the diet to a renal food when a dog’s creatinine level is in the 2.1-5 mg/dl range (Stage III renal failure).”

  • TIKI

    In Kidney disease phospate , phosphorus is more important than protein. I would look for foods that contain less than 1% phosphorus.I would check with companies such as the honest kitchen, grandma lucy, Fromm and use their low phosphorus foods that are better for the kidneys. For instance Fromm surf n’turf has only 0.9% phosporus. I also would moisture dry food. Great website Amee.

  • aimee

    Tory,
    My recommendation is to call your vet and discuss the issue. You can find information on feeding a dog with kidney problems here http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2615

    But each case is different.

  • Shawna

    Afterthought, adding water to the dry food helps with the dehydration factor involved in kidney disease but there is an even more important reason not to feed kibble. It is the protein quality factor. Dogs can eat more protein when eating high quality protein. The protein is needed to help maintain their organ, including the kidneys, health and it helps in other ways too.

    If you want your pup to be healthier longer, strive to feed the highest quality protein you can.

  • Shawna

    Thank you doll!! Didn’t get your email till this morning.. Went to bed early last night :)..

    Love you…

  • Shawna

    Hi Tory,

    Many vets get this wrong — dogs in the earlier stages of kidney disease do not need a lower protein diet. In fact, reducing protein too much too early has been shown to cause more harm than good.

    And I wholeheartedly agree with Patty. Dry dog food IS NOT a good option for dogs with problem kidneys.

    My dog has had kidney disease since birth but wasn’t officially diagnosed til her one year blood evaluation. At that time her vets gave her one year to live. That was almost seven years ago. She has eaten high protein raw her whole life and is still doing very well.

    There is a diet for kidney disease, formulated by a vet, that may be a good option for your pup depending on what stage of the disease she is at and what, if any, her symptoms are. The diet is a prescription diet but it is not low protein and looks like it would be very tasty to most dogs. Info about it can be found here http://www.darwinspet.com/kidney-support-for-dogs/

    This is information that may help your vet with his/her opinion on low protein.

    “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function

    Kenneth C. Bovée, DVM, MMedSc
    Department of Clinical Studies
    School of Veterinary Medicine
    University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Results of the 10 experimental studies on dogs have failed to provide evidence of the benefit of reduced dietary protein to influence the course of renal failure. 27–36″ http://www.dogaware.com/files/bovee.pdf

    There’s some really good info regarding diet and appropriate foods on the below linked site. She does include kibbled foods but please keep in mind these truly are the worse diet you can provide to a dog with kidney issues. The author of this site feeds raw and fed her dog with kidney issues raw as well. http://www.dogaware.com/health/kidney.html

    If wanting, there are other things you can give your pup that will help as well. A digestive enzyme is helpful. A HIGH quality probiotic (I use Garden of Life Primal Defense) and a specific type of food/prebiotic for the probiotics (I use Fiber 35 Sprinkle Fiber). The probiotics and specific prebiotic help keep the blood clean which helps the kidneys. The process is referred to as a “nitrogen trap”. Organic Turmeric is useful for it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic (prevents scar tissue) properties. Filtered water helps keep the blood clean. Food grade activated charcoal helps clean toxins from the system. Spirulina helps with toxins and is packed with good nutrients.

    It’s best not to vaccinate your dog again. My dog has never had a rabies vaccine. She is legally exempt from getting the vaccine for life because of her kidney disease. Also don’t use flea/tick or heartworm meds any longer. These will only add to the toxic load and make your puppy feel ill faster.

  • Shaorn

    HI I have had dogs and cats alike with kidney problems and when they changed to the food I sell do good. I am not saying their kidneys went back to perfect but they improved on every visit back to the Vet. I have one right now that they thought they were going to had to put down. It would not eat or drink. Called and asked me if I thought the food would help and I told them I cannot tell you it will but I have had good results in the past. She has been on the food for approx a month now and is due to go back to the Vet. So I am waiting to hear the report from the Vet. But the dog is doing good now.
    Sharon
    [email protected]

  • Pattyvaughn

    I can’t recommend any foods other than to say that dry food is not good for kidney issues. Kidney disease dogs need the water in their diet.

    I emailed Shawna to let her know that you need her kind of help.

  • tory

    I have a 2 year old english setter with kidney problems. vet want a low protein diet but she will not eat the food dry or can. What a can I give her to get her to eat? If I add a little chicken she will eat around the dry food even though I add water to it.

  • Orphanbrg

    I have a new to me 3-4mo old rescue redbone who was being fed a combination of Purina One Puppy, Canned Alpo, and leftovers from the foster mom’s restaurant. When I picked her up they gave me a gallon bag of Purina and I slowly mixed in Blue Buffalo Lg Breed Puppy into it over a week. Everything was going good until she got a day or two into the new food only. Now she won’t eat. She has good bowel movements, a little gas, usually a sign she needs to go out. She will pick at the food if you’re holding the bowl but usually won’t finish it. They were feeding her 1 1/2 cups dry and 1/2 can of wet + whatever else, I’m feeding 3 cups dry based on package recommendations. Any ideas? Should I look for another food?

  • Pattyvaughn

    For an active dog, large meals can actually lead to problems, so feeding calorically dense foods is better. Border Collies were bred by poor people that would have favored a feed efficient dog, so they usually do great on less food and Labs are generally know to have a slow metabolism too. Enjoy having an “easy keeper.”

  • Betsy Greer

    Looking at the great info HDM already provided from the opposite direction, foods that are labelled for puppies are growth or ALS foods and foods that are labelled for adults are maintenance only.

    This is why puppy foods are also suitable for adult dogs.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I would continue with a growth or all life stages food. I personally would avoid most foods labeled for “maintenance” as they tend to be low in protein and fat and high in carbohydrates. The thing is, there really are only two nutrient profiles “maintenance” and “growth.” Foods formulated for “growth” may be labeled either as “growth” or as suitable for “all life stages.” Most of the 5 star foods on this site are “all life stages” (“growth”) formulas. I hope that makes sense.

  • BoosMom

    My one year old, rescue border collie/ lab mix is very, very active. yet she really doesn’t each more than an average of one cup of food a day. She’s healthy, with a shiny coat, and is a happy dog. She has been eating puppy food (Taste of the Wild) since we got her at about 4 weeks old. Should I switch her to adult food, or continue with the richer, puppy food?

  • Pattyvaughn

    If your dog is pooping, he is eating. Maybe he doesn’t require as much of this food as you think he does, since it is higher calorie. He could be smelling something about the food that’s off. If it was my dog, I would probably switch foods if he really isn’t eating.

  • LittleManRoxy

    I have two chihuahuas and I just recently transitioned them over an 8 day period from Hills prescription r/d weight loss-low calorie (dry) to 4 Health Grain free (dry). One has no problem eating the new food but the other ate it at first fine then would eat it only if Im there making sure he eats it to now he just smells it and walks off which is very unlike him. Neither one has vomited and both have regular bowel movements. I was told by a breeder that grain free food was great to avoid all the unnecessary ingredients and since both dogs had lost the weight they needed to since they now have a yard vs the apt we lived in. I thought this would be a great choice esp since i had noticed possible signs of food allergy bc they both were chewing and licking at their paws despite me giving them prescription allergy med from the vet. Any suggestions on what could be the issue and what I should do?

  • InkedMarie

    Sometimes, that happens. There’s not much you can do except change cold turkey. I suggest adding a teaspoonful of canned pumpkin (not the one with spices) and roll with it. I’ve had to switch cold turkey and it was fine

  • daceysmommy

    i am transitioning (or at least attempting to) and my dog refuses to eat her old food. she will literally push the old food out of the way to get to the new food. anything i can do?

  • Storm’s Mom

    Did you transition slowly? If not, start with mixing 75% of his regular food with 25% of the new food, feed that for a few days until his stool firms up, and then add a little more so it’s 50% regular food and 50% new food. Stay at that level for a few more days until is stool is firm. Then move to 75% NEW food and 25% old food, and again wait a few days for is stool to firm up. Finally go to 100% new food, and you’re done! It’s important not to go to the next level, though, until the stool is firm. Mixing in canned pure pumpkin (not the pie filling stuff) should help a lot, too. If possible, also add in probiotics and digestive enzymes. Hope this helps!!

  • applemoon

    I’m transitioning my dog’s food and he not only threw up but he won’t eat the new food what should i do?

  • Poodle Mom

    Yeah, my boy is 3 so I’m not sure if he’ll outgrow this. The vet recommended plain Cheerios in the morning to get him to eat – he won’t touch them. He won’t eat treats either. Honestly, I’ve offered him warm fresh chicken breast in the am and he’s refused it. He’s on some stomach meds in case he doesn’t eat.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’ve got one that used to do that, fortunately mine grew out of it. I used to give him a meat treat about every 2 hours.

  • Poodle Mom

    Thanks. Ryker is 3 years old and since he was a puppy he has been on: Eukanuba (it’s what he came with), Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Halo and now Fromm. We actually mix the Halo and Fromm right now. And we supplement/treat pieces of white breast meat from chicken, fresh veggies, and brown rice. Ryker is a very picky eater and won’t eat a lot of foods. And if he goes too long without eating, he vomits bile.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Check and see if it says it is for All Life Stages in the AAFCO statement. If it is then you can feed it to your puppy. I would urge you to consider also finding a few more foods that your dogs do well on. No food is perfect and feeding the same food long term, especially during developement may have unintended nutritional consequences.

  • Poodle Mom

    I am planning on getting a small breed toy poodle (adult weight will be 4-5 lbs) soon. I feed my current 7 lb poodle Fromm Small Breed. Unfortunately, Fromm does not make a ‘small breed puppy’ formula. Does anyone know of a small breed puppy formula that is *good* and has small kibble for little mouths?
    Thanks!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Some brands make their small breed formulas slightly higher in protein, fat and calories. But honestly, I’d just recommend going with a high quality, high protein, grain-free all life stages formula. The nutritional needs of small breeds aren’t any different than the nutritional needs of larger dogs.

  • Mrs Sweetie

    Is there any difference other than the size of the kibble, between regular dog food and food made for small breeds

  • EvesHumanMom

    When I freeze, them I just wrap in plastic wrap, put that in a ziploc, and squeeze out the air.  I put the bit in use in a little round plastic container in the refrigerator, unless it is tripe, when I put it in some plastic wrap first, then in the plastic container, to avoid the rest of the family complaining, and my having to explain everything:  for the dog, yes it is supposed to smell that way, and on.
    If I were to do ice cubes as Sandy does (like I used to do baby food,) once frozen, I would wrap them individually or not and put them into into a ziploc and squeeze all the air out and return to the freezer.

  • Rabidpuppy101

    Using an ice tray sounds great!

  • Rabidpuppy101

    Thank You :) I was thinking about freezing it. What do you wrap whats left over with?

  • EvesHumanMom

    I think three days is just a safe generalization.  I feed the same as Rabid puppy:  1-2 tablespoons.  I partially freeze the can, then saw the loaf into “hockey pucks,” of a size that will last about three days, and which I wrap and return to the freezer.  And I think Sandy’s correct about no preservatives.  It’s like leaving your own preservative free food in the refrigerator.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    That’s a good question.  I’d like to know the answer too.  Although I don’t think there are preservatives in canned foods so that might have something to do with it.  You can always freeze leftover canned food in an ice cube tray and pull out a cube or 2 for feedings.

  • Rabidpuppy101

    I don’t understand the whole 3 days in the fridge and throw out the rest thing… I mean my dog only eats like 1-2 table spoons of wet can food along with his dry food and a can lasts me a week in the fridge (he’s a 10lb rat terrier mix). The food looks and smells fine and my dog eats it even after 3 days just fine (and he’s somewhat of a picky eater). He is doing just fine with it too, healthy stools, no vomiting, eating very well, and very active. Can someone tell me why there is a 3 day limit to a refrigerated canned dog food? I just don’t understand. 

  • Arlenewood14

    We just adopted a small terrier mix 1 yr. old and 10 lbs.  Do we feed him twice a day or once? He’s an in door dog, but goes for several walks a day

  • Amy J Watkins

    Our Airedales (three so far) over the years have always been on a ‘free food’ system — eating what they want, when they want. We keep the bowl full of dry kibble at all times. They have never been overweight and never overeat. I know most breeds can not handle this kind of system, but it has been very successful in our household. I wonder if there are any downsides to this kind of feeding system since I did not see it mentioned.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy
  • Jeanne

    I found what I needed in FAQs.  Thank you.

  • Jeanne

    Dear Dr. Mike Sagman - 
    Is it OK to feed only wet food?  My Havanese (9 mo and 4 mo) like Weruva canned food.  But I can’t find a dry food that they will eat.  It is best to mix wet and dry food?  I’m new to the dog world and know that these are very basic questions.  Thank you, Jeanne

  • melissa

    Eve’sHumanMom-

    For those that do not use a lot of food, that sounds like a great idea! IMO, vacuum packing should extend the shelf life once opened and provide the owner with a way to not waste a larger bag. Same here though-as the bag gets bigger the price per pound seems to get lower, making many foods quite a bit more affordable in the long run.

  • Eve’sHumanMom

    On storing kibble, you mention squeezing the air out before resealing.  One of the places I order online has a repack system whereby they take your big bag of food and repack it into smaller sealed bags (foil type but not vacuum packed. )Having just realized I we’re going into the rainy season already with a hot and humid summer, and due in part to taking time to try out several new foods, as well as to having gotten a bargain for a big bag, I got the idea to pack them in ziplocs.  I just manually sucked the air out of a bunch of ziplocs which are being stored part in a small freezer and part in an airtight pet food canister. In future, however, I am going to use one of those seal a meal type gadgets and do my own repacks.  (Some varieties are only sold in big 30lb bags here, while others are just priced much more reasonably  in larger bags.)  I hope this works out.

  • Ruth Kaempf

    I feed the trial packs but then my dogs will eat anything and everything and they are already used to a variety of food because I switch their food around a lot. I find these trial packs very handy to keep in the car for occasional “treats”.  In my opinion, people make way too much of a fuss about switching food.  Our family has had all kinds of dogs, purebreds and mixes from rescue and never did we have digestive or other  problems from switching or mixing foods.  We the people like variety why shouldn’t dogs?

  • Eve’sHumanMom

    What do you do when you get a freebie “trial pack?”  In the past, I have just tossed them or given them away, because they were no where near as good as her food, but I just got 100g, of something called Baptol Ultra holistic made in the US.  The ingredient list doesn’t look bad.  I don’t plan to switch to it (pricey and the bags are too large,) but wouldn’t mind letting the dog eat the trial bag, how can I give it to her without upsetting her stomach? (I rotate foods, so we usually  take a week or so to gradually do the transition.)  Can I just give her a half cup for one of her meals?  Or should I just give her a few pellets like a treat from time to time? 

  • Puddlejumper1

     My dogs love green beans, however, only in moderation or they will fart you out of the room. my dogs also love peeled carrots.
    Don’t ever let a dog eat chocolate or
     anything from the onion family.

     

  • sandy

    Yes you can, but a more dog appropriate topper would be meat, organs, eggs, sardines or other fish as dogs already get too much carbs from the kibble and the kibble probably has some veggies already.

  • Pbrennan

    can you feed a dog quality dry food and sprinkle some peas and green beans on top?