Purina Active Senior 7 Plus (Dry)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This Review Has Been Merged with
Purina Dog Chow

Purina Active Senior 7 Plus Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest rating of 1 star.

The Purina Active Senior 7 Plus product line includes one dry dog food, a product claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

Purina Active Senior Seven Plus

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 9% | Carbs = 53%

Ingredients: Whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, whole grain wheat, meat and bone meal (natural source of glucosamine), soybean hulls, soybean meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of vitamin E), animal digest, propylene glycol, water, sugar, phosphoric acid, salt, sorbic acid (a preservative), potassium chloride, l-lysine monohydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, red 40, manganese sulfate, niacin, yellow 5, blue 2, vitamin A supplement, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%8%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%9%53%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%22%50%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 50%

The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The second ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in many of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.

This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The third ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

The fourth ingredient is meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1

Meat and bone meal can have a lower digestibility than most other meat meals.

Scientists believe this decreased absorption may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2

What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. It doesn’t even specify the source animal.

Even though meat and bone meals are still considered protein-rich meat concentrates, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.

The fifth ingredient is soybean hulls. The hulls are the skins of soybeans and a waste product remaining after processing soybeans into oil and meal.

Soybean hulls are often used as inexpensive fillers to dilute the energy content of various animal feed.

We consider soybean hulls a notably lower quality pet food ingredient and of little nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth ingredient is soybean meal. Soybean meal is relatively useful by-product — what remains of soybeans after all the oil has been removed.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient includes animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: restaurant grease, slaughterhouse waste, diseased cattle — even (although not likely) euthanized pets.

We do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

The eighth ingredient is animal digest. Animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of animal by-products that is usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.

The ninth ingredient lists the controversial food moisturizer, propylene glycol. Propylene glycol has been banned by the FDA for use in making cat food.

But it can still be found in some lower quality dog foods.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With six notable exceptions

First, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any dog food. Coloring is used to make the product more appealing to you, not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?

Next, this product also contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

In addition, sugar is always an unwelcome addition to any dog food. Because of its high glycemic index, it can unfavorably impact the blood glucose level of any animal soon after it is eaten.

Next, garlic oil may be a controversial item. We say “may be” here because we are not certain of the oil’s chemical relationship to raw garlic itself.

Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

We find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.

And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Purina Active Senior 7 Plus Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Active Senior 7 Plus Dog Food looks like a below-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 9% and estimated carbohydrates of about 53%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 31%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten and soybean meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Purina Active Senior 7 Plus is a plant-based dry dog food using a limited amount of unspecified meat and bone meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.

Not recommended.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Please feel free to share your comments below.

Notes and Updates

05/23/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  2. Shirley RB and Parsons CM, Effect of Ash Content on Protein Quality of Meat and Bone Meal, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Poultry Science, 2001 80: 626-632
  3. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • Dog Lover Plus

    Class action lawsuit brought against Purina.


    “Mycotoxins are a group of toxins produced by mold found in grains, a major ingredient in Beneful. Mycotoxins pose a health risk to dogs and consumer complaints on Beneful report symptoms consistent with mycotoxin poisoning, according to the lawsuit. Cereghino said he and his team plan to collect further data and perform testing of the products for toxins.”

  • Shawna

    Yeah, probably one of the worst on the market!! 🙁

  • InkedMarie

    I just re- read the ingredients & realize, again, how poor the ingredients are.

  • Shawna

    Hi Tammy,

    Unfortunately, in my opinion your dogs are healthy in spite of the food not because of it. Please do let me explain if you will..

    The FDA found several years back that four ingredients in dog foods are known to potentially be contaminated with the euthanasia drug pentobarbital. This food has three of those ingredients in it. Here’s a quote from the FDA’s site.

    “There appear to be associations between rendered or hydrolyzed ingredients and the presence of pentobarbital in dog food. The ingredients Meat and Bone Meal (MBM), Beef and Bone Meal (BBM), Animal Fat (AF), and Animal Digest (AD) are
    rendered or hydrolyzed from animal sources that could include euthanized animals.” http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CVM/CVMFOIAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm129134.htm

    The FDA states that there is not enough pento in these dog foods to cause a problem BUT the US Fish and Wildlife Service disagrees. They state

    “Rendering is not an acceptable way to dispose of a pentobarbital-tainted carcass. The drug residues are not destroyed in the rendering process, so the tissues and by-products may contain poison and must not be used for animal feed….

    All pentobarbital-euthanized carcasses should be prominently tagged with one or more highly-visible “POISON” warning labels. Bagged animals should have a label affixed to the carcass itself and also attached to the outside of the bag.” http://cpharm.vetmed.vt.edu/USFWS/USFWSFPentobarbFactSheet.pdf

    Additionally, it is known that un-named meat sources (“meat” and bone meal, “animal” fat and digest etc) can be sourced from 4D animals (dead, dying, diabled and diseased).

    “CVM is aware of the sale of dead, dying, disabled, or diseased (4-D) animals to salvagers for use as animal food. Meat from these carcasses is boned and the meat is packaged or frozen without heat processing. The raw, frozen meat is shipped for use by several industries, including pet food manufacturers, zoos, greyhound kennels, and mink ranches. This meat may present a potential health
    hazard to the animals that consume it and to the people who handle it.” http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074712.htm

    Could these ingredients have been sourced from animals with cancer tumors or something even more sinister — yep…

    This food also contains ingredients, soy and wheat, that are known to be a common cause of disease — diseases like autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, diabetes etc. Wheat as an example is known to contribute to and even cause arthritis..

    I’m really glad that your pups have none of those food related illnesses and are healthy… Many eating a food such as this would not be so lucky though… 🙁

  • Tammy Lord

    I’m really shocked about the rating this dog food got.I have senior dogs and they all eat it.They are all very healthy.All my animals have always eaten Purina products..so I’m really surprised by this article.I personally don’t see any reason for me to switch brands of dog food,as long as my dogs are healthy I’m going to stick with it..

  • Pattyvaughn

    Why would you say Hill’s ID is obviously safe for him? Read it’s ingredient list and you will find it’s not so great either.

  • Elaine

    I am glad to see this review. My 25lb, 5-year old cockapoo, who has a sensitive stomach, has -this week- developed inflammation in his stomach & gut. The vet says it is possibly from a food allergy.
    I have given him Hill’s ID and Purina Sernior for about 2 years. Since the Hill’s ID is obviously safe for him, I’m assuming it’s the Purina, with it’s less than good ingredients, that has caused the inflammation. Ironically, the Purina Senior is one that my vet recommended along with the ID! I wish she (or I) had read your review long ago!

  • Addie

    I always read the comments on this forum, but rarely comment. While I do like hearing both sides of the story, I don’t understand why aimee always tries pushing a pro grains argument into every discussion. I work in a local pet store, so I read all these comments in case I come across someone’s pet who shows signs of what Richard, Shawna, or any others discuss. aimee and melissa keep stressing how only some dogs have bad reactions as if those dogs don’t matter. The owners with dogs who do have bad reactions feel hopeless and confused, and it’s hard to find information on what’s happening, so why does aimee find it necessary to constantly dismiss any information given citing issues caused by grains? I’ve seen hundreds of miserable dogs with missing hair, dull coats, and loose stools be cured with a grain free diet. Some dogs do fine on grains, yes, but some do horribly on them, and those people come here to find out what’s happening. I really enjoy this website, and I tell a lot of customers to check it out, but it really annoys me having someone who constantly pushes one sided research into every discussion. I ask customers to come to this website with an open mind, which is the whole point of this forum I think, but some people clearly have their minds made up, and their agendas set. I don’t want to tell customers to come here if each thread turns into a dramatic argument, which is what happened here by melissa using passive aggressive remarks regarding Shawna. Shawna has always been one of my favorite commentators because she’s always incredibly polite, and so informative. I’m not blaming you Mike for allowing this behavior, but instead think maybe the commentators should remember we’re all adults, and should be treated with respect. People come to this website for information, and I think people who politely present it like Richard, DogFoodNinja, and Shawna should always feel welcome here.

  • Hi Shawna… I don’t see anyone wanting you to go. Looks to me like you have no choice but to stay.

    Since you joined our DFA discussions, our blog has grown and so have your fans. You’ve developed quite a following. So, please stay around. We love you.

    If you still have any doubts, please be sure to re-read Richard’s response to your question. Chief White Hair speaks for me, too. 🙂

  • To All Involved in the Recent Dispute… I’ve intentionally tried to stay away from the recent dispute that’s been going on here for the past few days. But unfortunately, I can no longer stand by and watch some of our most regular (and nicest) members of our community cause each other so much unnecessary stress and emotional pain.

    Even though our active discussion area receives about 100 to 150 comments each day, that’s actually way less than 1% of the total number of daily visitors to this website.

    This week, for example, The Dog Food Advisor has hosted more than 18,000 visitors (and 90,000 page views) each and every day! And that’s amazing. According to Google Analytics and Alexa.com, we’ve now officially become the busiest website about dog food on the Internet.

    And that’s what concerns me.

    You see, these many thousands of impressionable folks are watching us — and our discussions — every minute of every day. They’re judging our knowledge, the value of this website, our reviews and (most importantly) the friendliness and warmth of our community.

    So, personal attacks like some of the ones I’ve seen here lately have nothing to do with dog food. They offend and frighten new visitors — and make them too fearful to ask questions.

    Not to mention, these mean-spirited remarks are a source of embarrassment to all of us — and cannot be tolerated.

    Let there be no mistake. All comments that have anything whatsoever to do with canine nutrition or dog food will always be welcome — no matter how long, no matter how detailed and no matter what the level of scholarship or education.

    I know some visitors (and some commentators, too) have complained that these more in-depth discussions can make it difficult to locate information and comments about the individual dog foods themselves.

    But until I come up with a more definitive solution for this community wide problem, we’ll all have to learn to live with each others’ remarks and presentation styles as they are. Tolerance must be the guiding principle for all of us.

    If after reading this comment, you still find it necessary to criticize, demean or insult a fellow commentator, you can expect your comment to be immediately removed.

    Please take just a moment and think of how truly important it is to respect the opinions and posting styles of others — and to allow each participant the right to express herself without any fear of unreasonable criticism, verbal retribution or personal attacks.

    Thanks for listening.

  • aimee


    Thanks for your kind comment. I do try to remain objective and post factual information. I appreciate the comment that you have seen many dogs consume grain based commercial diets without all the effects as posted here. (Heck not even all holistic veterinarians think grains in a diet are problematic for all dogs and DogtorJ recommends potato based diets for those using commercial foods, yet others vilify that ingredient.)

    There may be at issue a population bias, meaning that the owners of dogs that consume diets containing ingredients that are vilified, and do well with them, are not posting in these types of forums.

    The field of nutrogenomics is in its infancy and I have no doubt that there are genetic subsets that are intolerant of particular food types. But I think it is incorrect to make broad based statements based on a subset of the population. I think it more correct to say gluten causes villous atrophy in a susceptible population which then takes into account all the people/dogs who can eat gluten without problems.

    I also don’t like to see cause attributed when none is established. Villous atrophy for example, is a tissue level diagnosis and in my opinion should not be made without the tissue in hand. (By my understanding, if widespread it should lead to some pretty profound GI signs!) So if an animal/person improves after removing a particular ingredient from the diet than I think the best we can say to describe that observation is to call it an “adverse food reaction to ingredient “X”. Just my 2 cents

  • melissa


    A wee bit sensitive? Lmao. I made a statement to Aimee, in re to how I feel reading this blog as of late-and several other posters have mentioned the same thing in the past, so get over it. Calling you out on your beliefs? Since when does a poster have to feel that by questioning statements and presenting opposing thought processes, it must certaintly be a personal vendetta or attack on another?

    Mike S has always entertained opposing thoughts and expressions of belief, so unless he states that we must all agree and hold hands singing “Kumbaya”, I shall continue to present my theories, beliefs and opinions. And, I for one will continue to do it without throwing a temper tantrum and threatening to leave the playground.

    And, I stand by my statement that in the thousands of dogs that we have dealt with, gluten/grain issues have seemed to be the exception to the rule, rather than the rule. For those that have sensitivities, it makes sense to remove them from their diet-but just because I am allergic to strawberries does not mean they should be removed from everyone’s diet-

  • aimee

    Hi Sandy,

    There are several types of study protocols. Many are similar to the type of research done on people. Retrospective studies may be done by looking at data already collected by veterinary schools from animals brought to the hospital for care. If interested in GI, than the records of all the dogs that had GI biopsies would be gleaned.

    In prospective studies dogs with a particular problem are offered reduced costs for participating in the study. The dogs are then assigned to a treatment group. Other studies are done using purpose bred dogs in a research setting. I believe using dogs from shelters is falling out of favor.

    In digestion studies input and output is measured. Sometimes intestinal content is collected as well. I’m not aware of any studies comparing high vs low protein over a lifetime or grain vs grain free. The only lifetime study I know of was the one done by Purina.

  • Shawna – aka SWOOPING EAGLE

    Do not talk such nonsense.

    You are SWOOPING EAGLE not “Rodent Running” or “Hare Hiding”

    You are not going anywhere – I FORBID IT !!!

    You were named SWOOPPING EAGLE because it is your destiny to fly above ordinary experience to gain a perspective of the world that is different and one that many cannot, or will not ever have – but some will look up and see you…and perhaps their ideas will be influenced by SWOOPING EAGLES perspective.

    It is not for the Eagle to come to earth and battle the Fox or the Badger – let the Fox and Badger be their unique selfs. They have their own lessons to teach. Others can decide which perspective “speaks to them”. We learn something from every perspective – even ones that are sometimes wrong. Your destiny is to soar…and leave results up to the Great Spirit.

    Chief White Hair has spoken.

  • Well said, Shawna!! & Richard!!

    Sandy those are excellent questions. Most studies are performed with shelter dogs. The trial is short term, a few days to weeks, and the dogs are killed and necropsied. The Research uses euphemisms to obscure the fact that they kill the dogs. It’s one of the reasons that I find it appalling that certain people will only accept research done on dogs… In order to get tose answers it means the senseless killing of more dogs!

    I like Richard’s experimental scenario better! Iknow from first and second hand experience that Shawna is correct. I’ve counseled thousands of people (only a couple hundred pet owners, directly) to clean up their, or their pet’s, diet (and I’m not counting those whose lives were improved by environmental clean up, which is mostly what I do.) and its dramatically improved their lives. Richard, Shawna and I focus on the whole picture, and the results invivo. That’s quality of life for the living, not dead science.

    I will say this, Shawna goes, I go, too.

  • sandy

    Well I wouldn’t know as much today if all of yall weren’t around. Everything has 2 (or more) sides and we wouldn’t get all this info and cross-examination info to brings things to light. So keep it up!! In the end, it’s my decision on what I feed my fur babies after all, and nor did I feel “beat into feeding” a certain way.

    Actually maybe owners who feed Beneful or Boots and Barkley deserve a beating!!

  • Alexandra


    Please dont go! You are one of my favorite commentators to read here. Dealing with a Shepherd that has an issue with Candida, you and Richard have been instrumental to me turning him around.

  • Shawna

    Melissa ~~ what a SHOCKER!!!

    We each and every one of us has a right to our opinions. I, Toxed, and others don’t try to “beat” anything into anyone til you and Aimee call us out and force us to defend our opinions…

    I’ll go away if enough people on this site feel the same way that you do.. Here’s your chance people — let me know what ya think!!

  • Shawna

    Aimee ~~ you wrote “The true prevelence isn’t known. If it was at all common though I’d expect that there would be publications addressing it.”

    That is exactly the point, it is unknown at this time — even in humans. Food intolerances/allergies is grossly under diagnosed in humans. I know MANY people who have a condition in which food is causing villous atrophy that was not diagnosed by a doctor. My own case would have never been diagnosed if I hadn’t been so obstinant about finding a root cause for my symptoms. I would be on several different medications now controlling the symptoms (like hypothyroid) of my intolerance/allergy as well.. I tried for 10ish years and MULTIPLE doctors before finding the doctor that finally (after on 5 minutes with me) made the diagnosis.

    Dogtor J also fought the medical establishment for his diagnosis.

    I became friends with a person in California that was on disability her symptoms were soooo severe. She told me she was suicidal even. She saw multiple doctors and not one of them suggested a food intolerance. However, her symptoms were too similar to mine for me to be quite and I suggested. She tried an elimination diet. She is a different person today and I have a life long friend. She has told me that I “saved her life”.

    On a local forum I belong to I suggested a mother take her 2 year old daughter off grains to see if it would clear up the psoriasis her daughter was experiencing — her doctors had given up on her. Within days of stopping the grains (oatmeal and buckwheat) she started clearing up and mom reported her mood was even better. So, mom went off grains too and also reported feeling better. The very long conversation can be found here (if anyone wants to confirm my story)– this is kinda the middle of the convo. http://www.completelynourished.org/profiles/blog/show?id=2667312%3ABlogPost%3A11596&commentId=2667312%3AComment%3A13221&xg_source=activity (The founder of this website, by the way, was seriously ill due to MSG.)

    And there are SO many more that are affected and learning of their intolerance thru laypersons NOT their MDs. You would see this if you quit worrying about the studies and started talking with people more.

    SO my thinking is, if it is this under diagnosed in humans (who supposedly should be getting a good deal of their daily diets from grains) how could it not be more prevalant, yet under diagnosed, in dogs that have NO biological requirement for grains? Do you really think that the positive results Richard, DFN and others have seen are all a bunch of hype?

    Some of my symptoms that improved when I eliminated dairy (or mostly eliminated dairy that is) — arthritis like joint pain, tendonitis, hypothyroid, chronic sinusitis and more. How many people actually have these or similar symptoms but are on medications to suppress them? These symtoms all started developing in my early to mid 30’s. Oh — I had NO gastrointestinal issues.

  • melissa


    I find your comments relevant and informative. I hate when I come to a blog of any kind and its domineered by one or two people attempting to beat the rest in to seeing things their way. Some days I come here and it seems that the “meat” of most responses is simply a multitude of links for people attempting to prove their theory is better than the next person’s.

    I think for SOME, glutens, grains, potatoes are a problem, but not for all, and one can not automatically link a reaction in one dog to the general population. An itchy dog can be just about anything, however, its human nature to automatically think “Well, my dog itched due to x, so therefore, the owner of the other dog should do y” In 20 plus years of rescue, we have dealt with thousands of dogs-and most ate “run of the mill” or commercial dog foods such as Iams, Purina etc, and I have yet to have experienced such food issues being commonplace. It just has not been our experience here.

  • Sandy

    EXCELLENT point IMO – common sense, practical and astute !!

    That grains and potatoes (at least what goes into dog food at this point) create health problems in the vast majority of dogs is no longer in doubt for me. Through the years with thousands of dogs coming through our store and hearing the litany of dog problems, and the mostly inane reasons given to our customers by Vets for the cause of them, I’m not remotely surprised that most veterinarians are selling Hills Science diet and “prescription” diets in their stores and are basically clueless about the problems grain and potato cause in dogs. I’m not saying they are corrupt – just clueless.

    If I could design a way to find out which nutrients worked and which didn’t I’d watch thousands of living dogs with problems and then alter their diet until the problems went away. When over 90% of the problems go away if grain and potato are removed – which is the case – then I’d look for the reasons why…not state that it can’t be so because someone hasn’t done specific research to prove it yet. Then after dogs died I’d do autopsies to learn what I could from their physical condition.

    The real and best proof in my opinion is to be found in real life – not theory or studies that often times are WAY too specific and short and don’t take into account the ENTIRE biological system over time – not just a few weeks.

    You can do a study to prove the a biological system needs calcium but it will not tell you that you need calcium to be in balance with magnesium or phosphorus unless you look at a bigger picture.

  • aimee


    I’ve never questioned the importance of meat based sources.

    I was reporting information that I had recently learned and thought was interesting.

  • sandy

    I’m just wondering how many dogs are used for scientific study. Are people donating them to science after death? Are their guts being analyzed at a microscopic level? How do “scientists/researchers” know what they know? Just by live feeding trials? Blood/stool specimens? How would researchers know what a life long diet of grains or vegan or high protein does to the intestines and how they affect nutrition absorption and how it affects body organs? Since I don’t think we were really interested in dog diet/health until fairly recently. If there hasn’t been alot of research and testing done on live or dead specimens, how would we really know the prevalence of anything?

  • aimee


    I’ve always ackowledged that gluten enteropathy exists in dogs other than the Irish Setter… so yes I do understand that : ) The true prevelence isn’t known. If it was at all common though I’d expect that there would be publications addressing it.

    P.S. How do you link to the SACN book? I can’t seem to find the way to be able to read it.

  • Well, Aimee,

    This morning I was going to try posting the rest of the lengthy list of citations that validated The importance of meat based protein sources, when I read your latest post.

    I’ve got your message loud and clear. You just want to argue. I don’t have the health to spare to play your game. You aren’t open to learning anything.
    I know a citation war with a closed mind goes nowhere, as one can find peer-reviewed citations of minutia to support any view point. Let’s agree to drop it.

  • Shawna

    There are other reasons, Aimee, to eliminate gluten (and other) grains from the diet besides villous atrophy.. But you already know this..

    And, the book clearly states in Irish Setters and believed to affect other breeds. Simply because they haven’t done a study on it yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You understand this right?

  • aimee

    Hmm I’ll try again. In the fresh state an animal based protein will likely have a higher digestibility over plant based protein. But protein sources in kibble are often altered from their natural state. Rendering, drying and extrusion can all decrease digestibility. Additionally, chicken for example, as most commonly used (necks, backs and frames) has a lot of connective tissue associated with it (bone ligament and cartilage) vs chicken breast or thighs. These factors can then explain why a plant based protein source when incorporated in dog food may have a higher digestibility than an animal based source. There is no value judgment here. It is just a neutral statement that I do not interpret as being denigrating to meat.

    The paper I cited evaluated sources as they are used in pet food production.
    I cited the source to support the statement I made that that protein digestibility of a plant based source can be greater that an animal based source once incorporated into kibble. For example from table 4 the ileal CP digestibility for soy bean meal was 85.3% while that for poultry meal was 72.7%.

    I did not cite the source as support for my understanding of why this occurs. That was not directly addressed in the paper though this statement alludes to composition being a factor. “Nutrient composition and bioavailability of animal by-products is inconsistent. This is due partly to the fact that any number of animal tissues are included in the animal by-product sold to the petfood manufacturer.”

    In regards to lamb meal, I judged a source as being not needed so I humbly apologize for that oversite. In this paper the mean AA digestibility of lamb meal was 62%, the lowest of the sources tested. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=lamb%20meal%20digestibility%20dog

    I posted the information about digestibility only as a source of information without any intent to exalt or denigrate any pet food ingredient. My only purpose was to make people aware that animal based protein sources as used in pet food may not always be highly digestible.

    My comment “I’m not sure why you said dogs can only absorb carbs from a plant based source.” Was in response to this:
    Nov 22 time 1:51 “The short digestive track of dogs makes it extremely difficult for the dog’s system to absorb anything more than carbs from those sources, leaving the harder to obtain nutrients and protein to get “crapped out.”

    It seemed to me you were saying protein from a plant source would be defecated out rather than digested and absorbed.

  • Gordon

    Mike P – It’s all water under the bridge as far as I’m concerned. Have a good festive season and New Year as well.

  • Gordon

    aimee – Do you really read all those posts people post or were you already aware of them? Personally, I honestly don’t read them as it can just take up too much of one’s already hectic schedule. Unless of course, reading them benefits or relates to your profession. Ahhh I’m a cheeky bugger 😛

  • Gordon

    Your skin is thick aimee? Ewww, I prefer a woman to have soft, supple and feminine skin, lol.

    Anyway, between you and I only, 😉 ….I know that you really do know that a diet rich in meat and bone and in its raw state just as per Mother Nature’s intentions for dogs, biological wolves, is best for them. I understand your vested interest in your continued attempts to convey and influence otherwise. However, in more subtle ways in recent times. 😉

    Tell those fat cats at Iams or Nestle to send some more of you spin doctors on these doggie blogs 😉 It’s all fun.

  • aimee


    No need to rewrite the book: ) I have always acknowledged that gluten sensitivity exists as a very uncommon autosomal recessive genetic disorder seen primarily in Irish Setters just as it is decscribed in SACN. I’ve read the research on this topic.

    What I haven’t seen is anything that supports the idea that villous atrophy occurs independent of this uncommon genetic disorder.

    Where we disagree is that gluten should be removed from the diet of all dogs because a miniscule number of dogs have a genetic condition known as gluten enteropathy. Similarly, I don’t believe that all people need to avoid wheat, barley, rye, oats and buckwheat simply because a subset of people have Celiac Disease.

    No where in SACN does it say that all dogs should have gluten removed from their diet. Along those same lines, SACN does not say all dogs should have beef or dairy removed from their diet simply because some dogs are allergic/intolerant to it.

  • Shawna

    Oh and yes, I suppose an intolerance to beef (or the hormones and antibiotics in some beef) would cause enough colon inflammation (colitis) to create permeability. Chicken, after all, causes colitis in my dog Gizmo (NSAIDs as well).

  • Shawna

    No Aimee I am not saying it, Small Animal Clinical Nurition is saying it. Should we ask them to remove the data from their book because you are not able to find research material?

    Several potential antigens are found in flour when cereal grains are processed. One polypeptide, gliadin, is found in wheat, barley, rye,
    buckwheat and oat flours. Gliadin is responsible for gluten-sensitive enteropathies in people and dogs. Homologous gliadin polypeptides
    are not present in whole grains and flours produced from rice and corn.
    In people, gluten-induced enteropathy or celiac disease is an important malabsorptive disorder. An analogous condition, termed wheatsensitive
    enteropathy, has been identified in Irish setter dogs and is suspected to affect dogs of other breeds. Affected animals develop
    small bowel diarrhea due to malabsorption secondary to villous atrophy. Gluten- and gliadin-free foods are most commonly recommended
    for managing dogs suspected of having wheat-sensitive enteropathy. In most cases, withdrawal of the offending gliadin antigen from
    the diet results in resolution of the villous atrophy and clinical signs.” https://s3.amazonaws.com/mmi_sacn5/Chapter%2048%20-%20Introduction%20to%20GI-Pancreatic%20Disorders.pdf

    And YES, certain casein proteins in dairy also causes villous atrophy (in humans and presumably in dogs).

  • melissa

    Hi Sandy-

    NO, I have not tried the Amicus because 1) its not available in my area and 2) I avoid senior and weight management products since I have dogs of all ages-I try to stick with ALS, but on occasion rotate in an “adult maintenance” Its a royal PIA to check and double check everything before adding it in, but its even more confusing to attempt to feed separate brands to every one.

  • aimee

    Now you’re stabbing me?? Should I be hurt? My skin is thick… I think your blade crumpled against it! : )

  • aimee

    I read through all the references you posted, yet none of them said that when gluten is fed to a normal dog it causes gut wall damage and increased permeability.

    I have no problem accepting wheat as an allergen or that increased gut permeability exists and may play a role in the development of allergies. But when it is stated that gluten causes villous atrophy and increased permeability this implies that it happens across all dogs, not just those with the genetic CD like affliction as seen in Irish setters (which I already acknowledged does exist)

    If that is so then there should be a straightforward cause and effect study. Yet the only study I came across of that design was the one I posted and when intestinal permeability was tested before during and after feeding gluten there was no such effect.

    It seems we can read the same source and come to different conclusions. The SACN doesn’t contradict the above study. SACN states that increased gut permeability occurs prior to the development of gluten sensitivity.

    SACN also says increased permeability may be a factor in the development of allergic reactions and beef, dairy and wheat contain proteins to which allergies commonly develop.

    If I follow your reasoning that wheat causes the intestinal permeability which allows the allergy to develop then I have to conclude that beef and dairy do as well. Are you saying beef causes intestinal permeability and gut wall damage in an otherwise normal animal?

    I don’t disagree that once a GI allergic response develops a circle of inflammation and increased permeability can occur. Considering that all gut is permeable and most individuals develop tolerance not allergy I have to conclude that there are other immune regulation events necessary for that to occur vs a food itself causing an allergy to develop.

    Are you saying that because of a genetically based gluten intolerance all people and pets shouldn’t eat gluten? If we stopped eating everything because of a small segment of the population having a sensitivity to it there would be nothing left to eat : )

    In regards to NCl3 it was commonly used in flour production over 50 years ago but I don’t see that it is used any longer in that role.

  • sandy


    Have you tried Amicus Senior/Weight Management in your rotation? It’s 30/10.5-12.

    Mike P.

    I add in some Epigen sometimes to decrease the carb content.

  • melissa

    Mike P-

    Since I have dogs with fat intake issues, its impossible to find a grain free that has moderate protein(imo 30-33percent and fat under 15 percent) that the dogs can eat solo. So, I mix the food to get the protein/fat and calorie ratio that works for us. I used to get crazy, mix and rotate out two brands every 3 mths or so to be sure to try to avoid excessive/deficiency-now I upped it to three foods : ) Adding the canned and the cooked meats ups the protein levels but keeps the fat under control(I boil the food and take off the fat for those that can not have the fat added back in) The grain free seems to keep the stools nice and firm.

    I really like the Acana and so do the dogs, so I am considering keeping it as part of the “permanent” rotation mix and just rotating the other two, grain inclusive foods. I understand your point about Boxers and cancer-but genetics has a huge play in whether or not the dog will develop an issue, so you can’t make yourself crazy over it-just do the best that works for you and she, and what you are comfortable with. Since my dog tend to live long healthy lives, I have to assume that I am doing something right, even if it flies in the face of “science” and current recommendations. And remember, those “recommendations” change frequently : )

  • Mike P

    Melissa…What in your opinion is high high protein? Because of cancer and Boxers being so prone I want to keep the carbs under 40.So you think 3 brands are a good rrotation? Thanks for your input…

  • Shawna

    Aimee ~~ the authors of Small Animal Clinical Nutrition disagree with the findings of the paper you linked ““Gluten administration did not increase intestinal permeability” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10803646

    “Dogs with GI diseases, including IBD, have more food allergen-specific serum IgG than normal dogs, a finding that may reflect increased antigen exposure due to increased mucosal permeability (Foster, 2003).”

    “Beef, dairy products and wheat are most commonly reported as ingredients
    causing adverse food reactions in dogs.”

    “The pathogenesis of gluten-sensitive enteropathy has been debated for many years, but researchers now think gluten sensitivity in people is probably mediated by the immune system. Knowledge of the complete sequence of immunologic events is incomplete, but it appears IgE mediates
    acute responses to gluten whereas the delayed hypersensitivity (and mucosal atrophy) is mediated by IgA and IgG (Vojdani et al, 2008). Gliadin-activated macrophages may possibly recruit lamina propria lymphocytes resulting in a delayed hypersensitivity response and various inflammatory changes such as infiltration of inflammatory cells, mast cell degranulation, production of eicosanoids, increased microvascular permeability and
    complement activation (Marsh, 1992; Loft et al, 1989). The lymphocyte density of the mucosal intraepithelium is increased and serum total IgA levels are elevated in gluten-sensitive dogs (Hall et al, 1992).” https://s3.amazonaws.com/mmi_sacn5/Chapter%2031%20-%20Adverese%20Reactions%20to%20Food.pdf

    Sixty-nine percent of reported cases involve beef, dairy and wheat (in dogs). It also does say, however, that dogs are not affected to the degree that humans are — which can be quite severe.

  • I seem to be experiencing technical difficulties. When I get them sorted out I’ll post the rest of my rebuttle…

  • Shawna

    I completely agree with the others!! They’ve all covered the rotation aspect so I want to focus on the protein question. Most, higher end, kibbles are going to range from 30ish to 40ish percent protein. Raw feeders feed significantly more protein then this. The recipe in Dr. Karen Becker’s (a raw feeding vet) book is 60% protein on dry matter basis. If my math is right — Primal raw Venison is approximately 72% protein on dry matter basis. Bravo Balanced Beef is also around 60%. The small amounts of healthful protein you are adding is not going to, in my opinion, create and excess of protein.

  • And to continue,  Aimee,
    So just because an article is peer reviewed, and even if it’s written by a credentialed author(s), that doesn’t guaranteed it will be true or accurate, or even relevant… And at the same time, just because a person doesn’t have academic credentials, he or she isn’t automatically an uneducated, moron incapable of logical thinking or deductive reasoning. 

    But because you seem to need other people to cite THEIR  sources, here you go:

    (Mike, (and all the other readers who are bothered by the inordinate amount of space this takes up) I apologize for the inundation….)

    To start, let it be known…
    “Their digestive tracts are short, and simple as opposed to the complex system of digestion required by herbivores in order to digest and assimilate indigestible plant materials, and dogs and cats need to consume preformed amino acids from their food. Their digestive tract contains specific enzymes such as protease for digesting protein, and lipase for digesting fat in the right proportions for a meat based diet, the diet they evolved to eat.” 

    “The biological value of a protein is a measure of that protein’s ability to supply amino acids, particularly the 10 essential amino acids, and to supply these amino acids in the proper proportions.>>>> In general, animal proteins (meat, by-product meal) have higher biological value than vegetable proteins (soybean meal, corn gluten meal).” Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/vth/sa/clin/cp_handouts/Nutrition_Adult_Dog.pdf

    “Remember, though, that grains provide mostly carbohydrates and only limited amino acid (protein) profiles. Extra carbohydrate intake, above the immediate needs of the dog (which occurs often with grain-based diets) prompts internal enzyme factors to store that extra carbohydrate (sugar) as fat.”  T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM, http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_focusing_on_ protein_in_the_diet

    “Grains tend to be better sources of carbohydrate, a quick source of energy. Animal-derived tissues are more easily digestible and have a more complete array of amino acids than do grains. http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_focusing_on_protein_in_ the_diet?page=2

  • Aimee,
    I’m not sure exactly what you’re trying to say… First you said,

    ” But when looking at how proteins are presented in commercial kibbled pet foods this may not always hold true. As an ingredient in commercial dog foods the meat based protein digestibility can be lower than expected because of the source (lots of connective tissue associated with the meat) and the processing used.” 

    Then you say, “The statement was not meant to denigrate meat protein; I apologize for not making that clear. It was just a simple objective fact based on research data. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11424690)”

    The report you cited is titled:” Ileal tract nutrient digestibilities and fecal characteristics of dogs as affected by soybean protein inclusion in dry extruded diets.”

    The paper itself is about highly refined, highly processed soy products, and SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, a known neurotoxin! Then, the protein source that they compared the ‘no-longer-a-vegatable’ protein source to is poultry meal.
    Just exactly where in this paper ‘discussing various soy protein concentrates’ did they discuss, “As an ingredient in commercial dog foods the meat based protein digestibility can be lower than expected because of the source (lots of connective tissue associated with the meat) and the processing used.” 

    Your statement was not a “simple objective fact based on research,” not this research anyway… The report you cited does not state what you implied…

    You also throw out an unsubstantiated statement about lamb meal, another belittling comment on meat. Then you deny that your intent was to denigrate (belittle) meat in your previous post. Since you began by implying that I’m wrongly accusing you,  I thought I better point out that while you say you aren’t denigrating meat, your subsequent comments do just that.

    And since your making uncited comments about lamb meal digestibility why are you chastising me for not citing a source that you think is acceptable…?! At least I cited one! Which I’ll get back to later.. But before that I’d really like to encourage you to read what I wrote more carefully. 

    You said, “I’m not sure why you said dogs can only absorb carbs from a plant based source.”  

    … when in fact I didn’t say that at all. 

    I said, “Given their composition and the dogs physiology, all nutrients (excepting carbs -which dogs don’t need,) are more bio-available in meat based sources. ” 

    Not at all the same thing. 

    But let’s look at why I made my statements and chose the citation I did.  I read about 4 dozen research papers specifically on dogs & protein that day, and then stumbled across Timothy Brills very concise summary of the data. I figured it was far more readable and a heck of a lot shorter than posting all of my sources here. 

    I don’t discredit people’s hard work and information simply because they don’t have academic credentials. In fact, I often find peer reviewed work to be suspect under certain circumstances. First there’s the problem with industry bought science and then there’s the “relevancy thing”… I think Lonsdale says it best,

    ‘We have followed the reductionist paradigm to absurdity; such that we are all specialists in a specialist world knowing more and more about less and less until we know everything about nothing. Narcissists every one, we are dazzled by our own ‘brilliance’ and ultimately blinded by the so-called ‘science’ which appears to open up the innermost secrets of the natural world. We worship at the holy shrines of ‘scientific’ excellence. We honour and serve the high priests, each one having an awe-inspiring grasp of some demanding inaccessible truths concerning the orthodox wisdom. But en masse we suffered one immense fatal flaw: bereft of humility we forgot the subject, we lost the plot.

    Never is this more so than in the area of small animal dietetics. Boffins in innumerable labs separated by great distance and time work on hypotheses, generate theories and derive ‘unquestioned fact’. The measurers and recorders produce miles of tables confirming their point of view on esoteric topics and readily justify the vast array of assumptions they care to make on all other parameters known and unknown.’ 
    (Lonsdale, 1993)”

  • melissa

    Mike P-

    That would depend on your dog. For mine, I do not want a high high protein level, and therefore always rotate and mix foods to control the amounts of protein and fat. I boost the content with the canned and fresh toppers, which they love. I rotate as a way of ensuring optimal nutrition as its my belief that not every kibble can be “everything’ to every dog-My vet does not have to agree with my theory because, well, they are not the vet’s dogs. I do rotate brands/types less now that I mix three together-previous I would switch foods out every 3 mths or so, now I rotate ONE out every 4-6mths depending on how the dogs do and whether or not there is a newly reviewed food I wish to try. The Acana grain free is one that I may stick with as a “permanent” base and rotate the other two as the dogs seem to really love it,and its ones of the few GF’s that is low enough fat that I can control the amounts through “mixing”.

    I don’t find a 72lb boxer with muscle to be overweight-especially if the ribs can be felt when you rub your hands over her, and she has a clearly defined waist. However since boxers tend to have hip and heart issues, he may be leaning towards keeping her trim(not thin) and may be correct on her not gaining any more.

  • sandy


    Since rotating in the Brothers (4 months) and raw (1 year), Boss (pug) has finally quit chewing his feet. I had attributed the feet chewing to outdoor allergies and possibly detox since he is adopted and don’t know what he’s been eating for 5 years of his life.

    When potential adopters come to my house, they all want to take my Missy with them! And she’s 10 and quite the spunky old gal still. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her. She still tries to play with the 4 year olds!

    Mr Ducky is all muscle and black and shiny and soft as can be. His black coat doesn’t reflect any reddish or reddish-brown (Red Coat Syndrome?)He looks small but when you pick him up, he’s quite solid and heavier than some of the pugs that look bigger than him.

    The improvements I’ve seen have happened over the last year with the introduction of raw and no potato. They were still feet chewing and coats weren’t as soft and still had nasal fold yeasties and ear stinkies on potato food (although they were improving some in the weight loss department). And I have used several brands and flavors, but have narrowed my selections down.

    Still waiting to get an electrician over to install some plugs and electrical for some freezers for lots of raw!!

  • Mike P and Sandy

    Regarding rotation of kibble (or raw for that matter).

    In the initial stages of formulating Brothers our Ph.D animal nutritionist told me something that stunned me. He said in 30 years of experience in dog food formulation and research, working for almost every dog food company in the US, he did not know of a single dog food that made any effort to actually BALANCE the nutrients in the food. They just usually made sure they met AAFCO standards, which is basically minimums and maximums on certain vitamins and minerals but has nothing to do with BALANCING the nutrients TO EACH OTHER. As you pointed out Sandy, they don’t even have a recognized need for Omega 3 in AAFCO “standards” much less how to balance it to Omega 6 or other nutrients.

    Along those lines, as we ran our dog food store over the years we were visited by many dog food and industry reps and often heard the admonition to tell our customers to constantly rotate the foods because they admitted that none of them were nutritionally balanced. So it really was widely known and accepted that these commercially produced foods were not designed to be a “complete” or well balanced source of nutrition.

    So we made the decision to “balance” the nutrients in each Brothers formula taking into account every component, and it does seem to be making quite a difference – but I do admit that, to some degree, I myself am taking this on faith because I am not the Ph.D. nutritionist doing the “balancing”.

    However, I do trust our nutritionist and with our “nutritionally balanced formulas” have seen enough “miracles”, as someone on DFA once proclaimed (with skepticism at the time), that I am becoming a believer – to the point where I spend much of my time researching nutrition and how we might improve Brothers even more as we go forward. There is no substitute for seeing hundreds of dogs get healthier to validate an idea and inspire further improvement.

    I think that even Shawna, Gordon, and other raw food proponents (which I include myself) would agree that “balanced nutrition” is most likely best achieved by rotating a wide variety of raw foods. Even in feeding raw, which is natures preferred food for a dog, there can be problems if the diet is not properly balanced. We have witnessed this first hand, on numerous occasions, in our store over the years.

    For our customers who feed raw, or want to, and are not as adept as Shawna or Gordon at balancing the diet, we usually suggest one meal raw and one meal Brothers because I am confident that they are then getting a good balance of nutrients. This has proved very successful and is how we feed our brood of dogs.

    So, unless you are following our example, I do highly recommend a constant rotation of kibbles, as you are both following. I don’t know if dogs do actually prefer variety, I suppose some do, but they definitely need variety if they are eating most commercial kibbles.

  • Mike P

    Hi Gordon…Are you still mad at me?? I’m so over our spat as I hope you are too. Man to man bro hug..Peace and have a great new year

  • Mike P

    I dropped a plate of raw gizzards,hearts,and livers on the floor (clutz) and my dog ate it all in a heart beat.I always put them in a frying pan with an egg for 30 seconds until the egg just begins to scramble.I dropped them on my way to the stove.Even our little toy poodle house guest gobbled some up.She comes over for friday doggy breakfast.Is adding the extra’s a few times a week a good thing while feeding a higher protein kibble?I found on dog food websites alot don’t list the ca/phos ratio.Blue wilderness 1.3ca/.8 phos does. I could not find that info on Merricks BG OR fROMMS GRAIN FREE.

  • Gordon

    Any dogs that run away from raw meat including Labradors have had their system so used to fake and dead food, that this has altered their otherwise natural raw dietary desire, and made them sick with chronic ailments.

    Back in the day many years ago before artificial and processed foods became available so that we could contribute to the wealth of executives, most dog owners fed their pooches natural raw diets and healthy dinner scraps. As a result they were so much healthier and lived longer lives.

    A million bucks on the table for any one who wants to try and dispel this fact!!!!

    Mentally ill and brainwashed vets or just co-conspirators like Dr. Brennan Mckenzie, would spout BS such as feed just one of the mainstream conglomerate high carb processed pet foods, that your dog may pick out of the bunch as their favourite. Perish the thought!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes aimee, this was another stab at you on a couple of your above posts somewhere. Let’s just alter and snub our noses at Mother Nature and deposit truck loads of Iams, Purina, Hills, Mars, P&G etc in the middle of all the world’s wolf and other wild dog habitats and let’s see what happens?

  • sandy

    I favor rotation myself. Why settle for one food with one flavor forever? How would you know if ALL the vits/minerals were balanced and balanced to each other? Maybe some brands will be at the upper limits on Ca and Phos and some brands will be on the lower end. And maybe some brands just meet the minumum requirements and don’t aspire to be more since we only have AAFCO to go by anyways. Would keeping a dog on a food with unbalanced omega fatty acids or an unfavorable ratio of EFA’s forever be a good thing? AAFCO doesn’t even require omega 3’s. I think if your dog is thriving on a good rotation diet of high quality foods and meats with all the complete amino acids from different meat sources, keep doing it. I feel sorry for the dogs who have no choice but to eat the same “cereal bar” every single time forever…(speaking of the lower quality foods)

  • Mike P

    Also when we got her a year ago she was 65lbs and now is 72lbs.She has a clearly defined waist line and you can feel her ribs by touch and even see them when she runs.He doesn’t want her to gain anymore weight.I believe he went by the scale and did not enter in the muscle mass she has developed with all the exercise and better nutrition.She is a female boxer 4 years old we think.

  • Mike P

    I took my dog to the vet for a dew claw problem.Nothing major and all is well.During the visit I brought up dog food.I told him I feed grain free food and top with canned,sardines,gizzards,hearts,livers,yougurt,eggs.I believe in food rotation and he told me “what you read on the internet is mostly lies”.He said try Iams,science diet,or purina.He said find the one my dog likes and to stick with it.He doesn’t believe in food rotation.I have rotated 5 or 6 different brands all 5 star grain free and she does great on all of them.10 day transition and never a problem.She did puke yesterday after i mixed in sardines and scrambled egg.I don’t think I let it cool enough before I gave it to her.AAn hour later I gave her a cup of Brothers with warm water and she ate it with no problems.Question to the experts…Are to many brands rotated a bad idea?Mike S says there is no perfect food …Any thoughts about rotation??

  • Shawna

    Yes, I did see that — something that is apperently common with wheat production..

    Any food that can cause gut inflammation can cause permeability. Barley is the only common sense reason for Audrey’s gut inflammation resulting in allergies. I think I did find/post one on barley and allergies (think maybe it was the Merck Manual?).. Permeability, the way I understand it, has to happen for an allergy to occur.

  • aimee

    Oh Ok… I’m pretty grain/carb neutral and you want me to go grain free….
    I think my dogs snubbed the raw because of the odor.. even I admit it was strange not a normal meat smell. This was years ago long before raw foods were popular. It was a ground raw diet that a vender at a show was promoting.

    I think the terms I searched on were “lectin dog intestine” and “gluten dog intestine” because Toxed2loss said in her post that they caused gut wall damage, leaky gut and allergies. Other than Irish Setters I found the study done on SCWT which concluded that “Gluten administration did not increase intestinal permeability” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10803646

    I read the first two references.. poor dogs is right but the reaction of “hysteria” was not due to the gluten… It was due to the nitrogen trichloride.
    You gave me a lot of homework! It will take a while to get through it all!

  • Shawna

    Hi Melissa ~~ yep, stayed home today :).. The last ones I posted relate more to gut issues and gluten and are not as much reading as the first few posts..

    Have a restful evening and nice weekend!!!

  • Shawna
  • melissa

    Somebody was not out black friday shopping, lol…..I will have to check these out tomorrow. Thanks Shawna!

  • Shawna
  • Shawna

    Sorry all —- as I dig deeper and deeper and refine my search I find more and more but I will stop!! I just wanted to provide Aimee and Melissa multiple sources.

  • Shawna
  • Shawna

    “Extracts from 117 species of plant seeds were examined for lectin activity against a panel of blood-typed canine red calls. Seed extracts were tested with unmodified and enzyme-treated red cells. Some (53) reacted with either unmodified or enzyme-treated red cells, some (7) were haemolytic, and some (57) did not react. No lectins were found to exhibit canine blood group specificity. Lectin reactivity for canine red cells is compared to reactivity for human red cells.”

  • Shawna

    Lectins are a bit harder to find as I don’t know which lectins actually cause the problems (like gliadin in gluten grains). I did find info on this one specific lectin though.

    “The acute phase reaction detected in dogs by concanavalin A binding”

    I haven’t even checked Dogtor J’s site yet. Likely to have more info I would assume…

  • Shawna
  • Shawna
  • Shawna

    OMG these poor animals — http://jn.nutrition.org/content/14/4/401.full.pdf

    Aimee ~~ either you didn’t look hard enough or you don’t know what to search for. I found the above within just a few minutes of searching.. I’ll see what else I can find.

  • Shawna

    Aimee ~~ no, not convert you to raw. Rather convert you away from grain. 🙂

    Its not surprisig to see or hear of a dog snubbing raw.. Most all of us would pick junk food over health foods if not used to eating the healthier foods. I’ll bet you a class full of sixth graders, most, would pick french fries over a lettuce salad (with healthy dressing (like lime or lemon juice)) every time.

    Audrey — I see what you are saying. However, I will know she is going down long before she gets so uremic that she quits eating. I, and you and probably most on this blog, know when our pets aren’t 100%. I know how long it takes for her gums to turn pink after pressing them. I know the color and temperature of her tummy and tongue. I can tell when she has a mild fever (and start preventive measures (garlic) before she really develps symptoms). If she wakes me up more then once a night to go outside I know she needs to drink more and therefore has more toxins to clear (and start probiotics/prebiotics to help her clear them). The fur along her shoulder blades is the first to change, gets coarse, if she’s not feeling well. The brown pigment of the spots in her fur also fades. Etc etc etc

    Additionally, I will not (when these subtle events take place and I can’t reverse them) completely change her diet. I will add more fat (in the form of ghee and coconut oil) so she requires less protein to meet her caloric needs. As well as transition to higher fat meats. I have canned tripe (which she adores) stocked up and ready.

    There has been three or four times over the years that she refused to eat. I force, via syringe feeding, a little diluted apple cider vinegar down her. She belches within 10 to 30 minutes and then is ready to eat her meal.. And she is a hearty eater — usually one of the first done.

  • Shawna

    Melissa ~~ I agree..

    Sometime (certainly not every case) symptoms are not necessarily a bad thing. My pom gets the weapy, tear stained eyes from eating chicken. She has a chicken intolerance and therefore detoxes if she eats the chicken. But, tears stains can indicate that a food is providing the nutrients necessary for the body to clear toxins that have built up too (toxins having nothing to do with the food itself). Example — higher protein diets provide the amino acids necessary for the body to produce glutathione (an antioxidant). This is why many see symptoms (myself included) when switching dogs to raw. The nutrition provided to the body allows the body to heal itself — which causes temporary symptoms. Almost every single dog that comes in to my home and is switched to raw or kibble/raw devlops tear stains and sometimes diarrhea — always short term though.

  • melissa


    I have never found studies re damages either-and would love to see them if any one knows one to cite-

    In some forms of “natural medicine”, isn’t the Reishi Mushroom(could be off on the name of it) used to fight stomach cancer? Purely because the lectins are believed to attack and devour cancer cells?

  • aimee

    From your response, I think you are reading more into what I said than I ever intended to say. Many people assume when comparing plant and animal sources of protein that an animal sourced protein in kibble is always more digestible. I was just reporting that that isn’t always true. Lamb meal, for example, seems to consistently be poorly digested in relation to other commonly used protein sources from either plant or animal origin.

    The statement was not meant to denigrate meat protein; I apologize for not making that clear. It was just a simple objective fact based on research data. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11424690)

    Additionally, I said that I don’t see that the body expends any more energy in the digestion process for a protein source that is of lower digestibility than it does for one of higher digestibility regardless of its source. In either case the body functions as it does and the indigestible components of plant or animal origin end up on the lawn. So yes, of course I realized that I said that plant based protein can end up on the lawn just as animal based protein can and does!

    Comparing digestibility data on various ingredients as they are used in kibbled dog food supports similar digestibility between plant and animal sources. I’m not sure why you said dogs can only absorb carbs from a plant based source.

    I’ve searched pub med and Google scholar, my go to sources for peer reviewed publications and came up empty regarding lectins and glutens (except for Irish Setters) damaging the gut mucosa of the dog. This doesn’t appear to be a phenomenon that affects very many dogs or I’d think it would be well documented in the literature. I feel very comfortable feeding grains and potato to my dogs, others may not, and that’s Ok.

    Can you post the actual protein studies you are referring to instead of a freelance writer’s interpretation of them? The studies authors aren’t even named in the article. Certainly we all agree that corn gluten meal isn’t a complete protein so I’d like to read the actual study and see what the reasoning behind the methodology was.

    I don’t disagree that animal based sources of proteins have a more complete AA profile than a single plant based source. I apologize if I somehow left you with that impression.

  • aimee

    I’m not suggesting we feed dogs that low of a protein diet so we may not really be all that far apart. : ) But I do think that a fair amount of the protein that is being fed when feeding a high protein diet is being diverted to energy.
    Convert me? What will I be converted from/ to hee hee : ) I’ve always said that I think the best diet is a well balanced diet based in fresh ingredients. As far as feeding raw.. well… it just isn’t aesthetically pleasing to me but I did actually offer it to my dogs once but none of them would eat it. One even fled from her bowl growling.. and these were all Labs we are talking about LOL

    In regards to Audrey I was thinking along two lines: one being low phos diets as a protective measure and two, that if she isn’t feeling well when you introduce a new diet she may well be less likely to eat it.
    But I also completely understand you not wanting to “rock the boat” She really is a miracle isn’t she!

  • melissa


    I think some dogs just have bad “teeth” genetics such as your pom, and it seems that the smaller the dog, the worse the teeth can get. I think thats due to the food not completely clearing the mouth/oral cavity and giving it chance to cause tartar etc.

    I agree, people should feed the best they can to their animals. The reality is, not all foods are complete and balanced(imo) and the best solution is to rotate. We would be none too healthy if we ate the same thing day in and day out, and therefore how could our animals be? On the other hand, not all foods or ways of feeding will be the “best” for each and every animal, whether due to their unique biological makeup, or former conditioning of their systems to one type of product.

    I judge how my dogs do on any one product by their overall condition-proper weight, muscle tone, shiny clean coats, lack of health issues etc. I always leave one food in the rotation for a minimum of 6 weeks, unless a problem is noted sooner(for example, Innova was rotated out sooner as I noticed tear staining developing) I am a firm believer that many of the “routine” issues in health(skin infection, ear infection, stomach upset etc) can be controlled or prevented through nutrition.

    I do not see problems in our animals due to toxic exposures however. While I think that toxic exposure can be problematic to some people and animals, I have not found that to be the case in our situation. I credit that to strong immune systems and being overall, healthy, with the ability to respond to immune system challenges.

  • Shawna

    Point taken Toxed !!! 🙂 Taken and agreed with!

    Mr. Francis writes in his book that he even had to completely exclude himself from society to heal.. Moved up to the mountains, no phone, no newspapers, nothing that makes our lives convenient as it was preventing his recovery…

  • Shawna, you said, “YES, just at a slower rate.. ” in regards to my comment that if you ate an optimal diet and lived in a toxic world… I really had to think about answering that one. You see I didn’t eat any MSG or aspartate, even hidden ones, had NO health issues, grew my own organic garden and raised nearly organic meat & eggs. I was glowingly healthy. Then I got pesticided. I immediately developed health issues and even though I improved my diet even more, achieved some improvement, then got more pesticide exposures, and better nutrition… I continued to lose ground. The exposures were significant enough to outweigh the benefits of the nutrition. That’s why in the toxic injury community we emphasise both. One without the other isn’t enough. It isn’t sufficient to turn the severe cases around.

    Yes I qualified “severe cases.” problem is, we are the fatest growing segment of the disabled population, according to Region 10 ADA OFFICE. So lifestyles are becoming increasingly more toxic. Severe cases are becoming more common. It’s horrible and terribly sad. So I couldn’t let your comment go, in case a reader thought that they could continue some favored practice (like dryer sheets which are linked to sarcoidosis and cystic fibrosis, etc) as long as they ate an optimal diet…. Anyway dear, I sort of agree with you but have caveats. :-}

  • Thanks Shawna! 🙂 other than the ‘finding ones self in a hospital,’and the degrees, sounds like me! I’m still wading through Steve Brown’s book, as well as, Dr. Becker and Beth Taylor’s book, and a dozen or so research papers, but I’ll put it on my list. To be honest I gave myself a break in heavy reading and devoured 4 or 5 Pat McManus books… GFETE…the Sheriff Bo Tully Mysteries. I’ll check it out when I get through some more of this homework. 😉

  • Shawna

    Here’s a clip from Amazon on the book — it does come in e-format too -$8.99… 🙂

    “One day Raymond Francis, a chemist and a graduate of MIT, found himself in a hospital, battling for his life. The diagnosis: acute chemical hepatitis, chronic fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivities, and several autoimmune syndromes, causing him to suffer fatigue, dizziness, impaired memory, heart palpitations, diarrhea, numbness, seizures and numerous other ailments. Knowing death was imminent unless he took action, Francis decided to research solutions for his disease himself. His findings and eventual recovery led him to conclude that almost all disease can be both prevented and reversed.

    In Never Be Sick Again, Francis presents a seminal work based on these findings – a revolutionary theory of health and disease: there is only one disease (malfunctioning cells), only two causes of disease (deficiency and toxicity), and six pathways to health and disease (nutrition, toxins, psychological, physical, genetic, and medical). This remarkable book answers the questions: What is health? What is disease? Why do people get sick? How can disease be prevented? How can it be reversed? It will teach readers, in one easy lesson, an entirely new way to look at health and disease – an approach that is easy to understand, yet so powerful that they may, indeed, never have to be sick again.” http://www.amazon.com/Never-Be-Sick-Again-Health/dp/1558749543

  • Shawna

    “It’s also true that if you eat an optimal diet and live a toxic lifestyle, your system will, likewise degrade.”

    YES, just at a slower rate.. Either way however the end result is poor health so best to address both.. You really really would, I think, like “Never Be Sick Again”.. 🙂 I know you have enough to read right now but maybe in the future 😉

  • Shawna, True. And I agree, nutrition is critical in preventing illness, maintaining optimal health and addressing chronic illness and injury. It won’t matter how non-toxic an environment you maintain, if you live off of Cheetos and diet coke… Your system will degrade. Optimal nutrition does help our bodies to handle the day to day toxins that we encounter. And with 85,000 of them, even if our home environment is non-toxic, we’re gonna need them. It’s also true that if you eat an optimal diet and live a toxic lifestyle, your system will, likewise degrade.

    Both are equally important to maintain optimal health. I know we’re on the same page here, cause we both live it, more or less. GFETE

  • Shawna

    Melissa ~~ Your point is received and duly noted!! And — you are absolutely right.. Health has many many aspects. Through my training, researching and reading I feel that nutrition is the absolute key factor in it all though.. My thoughts on your little one (NICE JOB by the way) is that — if his/her parents were properly nourished the cleft wouldn’t have happened in the first place (I also think the same thing about my little Audrey – and her momma was raw fed but the diet wasn’t balanced). And, I then wonder to myself — could there be a 100% improvement if fed something better then Purina? Yep, that is how my mind works!! 🙂 Proper nutrition there is health and undernutrition leads to a lack of health — however, it can be the nutrition of the parents (or even grandparents) causing a genetic weakness and nothing to do with the immediate diet (my Pom has a fabulous coat but her teeth are terrible if not properly maintained).

    Diet can even prevent and cure autoimmune diseases.. IMO, diet is the one thing that we shouldn’t skimp on. If we can’t afford anything but Purina then Purina it is but… I can’t afford to feed all dogs in my home exclusively raw so when rescue asked that I keep kibble incorporated into the foster dogs’ diets, it was actually a bit of a relief…

    I just personally think that the nutrients we put into our bodies are the number one factor in health.. I feed commercial raw (complete and balanced) and then give extra nutrients from whole foods in addition to that… And then, I give what I believe to be the best of the best in the extra nutrients. My 2 year old grand daughter is even on 3 different whole food supplements. And my daughter took the best of the best prenatals (that weren’t covered by insurance).. I’ll admit — I’m, shall we say, anal about it.. 😉

    Toxed ~~ I’m not excluding toxins here in any way shape or form.. Just think that those better nourished can deal with toxic exposure better then those undernourished. I know you would agree, you mention you use food when you get hit to pull yourself out of it — egg yolks etc…

  • melissa


    I completely understand what you are saying, and I understand that its easy to credit conditions(such as the fontanelle closing) to the food-But-I have a cleft palate puppy raised on Purina Pro Plan(he is now 6 plus years old) He have had him since he was several hours old, tube fed him around the clock, and then figured out how to get him to eat without aspirating his food-very labor intensive. Despite being told he would die, he has not, and has flourished. At about 10mths old, the cleft starting closing on its own, to the point that it is now 90 percent “resolved”. My point being, I could say Purina cured the cleft, but being realistic, I have to think it was more in his own body/growth then the dog food. : )

    I am not discounting the fact that nutrition plays a huge role in the over all well being of both human and animals, I am saying that for every one “credit” to one type of feeding, there is an equally “miraculous” story to go with another.

    As for matting and/or greasy coats, I have never had such a problem no matter what type of food we feed. I am always amazed when I see a dog that is so grimy that it leaves a coating on your hand-and the owners act like its “normal” or just pretend not to notice-

  • Ooops! Omega 3 fats. Like organic cream cheese! Yumm! The fat in organic prime rib! Yuuuumm! Broccoli with home made organic cheese sauce!!! Yuuuummmmmm! Yum. GFETE

  • I concur! A lot of the pesticides I’vej been exposed to elicit similar neurological changes as these conditions. I’ve found C, B and high omega fats to be very effective in treating them. 🙂

  • Marie and Shawna,
    “a bit on the rare side, or a lot..” yumm! And yes! Though Marie, you’ll get even more healing by cutting all food additives from your diet, especially MSG (incl. hidden sources) and aspartate…. Read Dr. Blaylock’s books! 🙂 The other important factor is remove ALL environmental toxins, like fragrance, commercial cleaning products, solvents (women’s over looked solvents would be things like nail polish remover, nail polish, perming solution, hair spray), petroleum and synthetic personal care products.

    Shawna, Copper, tin and zinc are some more trace minerals that are necessary for healthy skin and hair. Even with my severely damaged immune system, my hair is still naturally dark. I don’t have even one grey hair. (I’m in my fifties.) When I get a major hit, I get one. I never pull them, but by nutrition, it comes back dark as I repair the damage. Just sayin… 🙂

  • Shawna

    “Bipolar patients tend to have excess acetylcholine receptors, which is a major cause of depression and mania [42,43]. Bipolar patients also produce elevated levels of vanadium, which causes mania, depression, and melancholy [44,45]. However, vitamin C has been shown to protect the body from the damage caused by excess vanadium. A double-blind, placebo controlled study that involved controlling elevated vanadium levels showed that a single 3 g dose of vitamin C decreases manic symptoms in comparison to placebo [45].

    Taurine is an amino acid made in the liver from cysteine that is known to play a role in the brain by eliciting a calming effect. A deficiency of this amino acid may increase a bipolar patient’s manic episodes. In addition, eighty percent of bipolar sufferers have some vitamin B deficiencies (often accompanied by anemia) [46]. The combination of essential vitamin supplements with the body’s natural supply of lithium reduces depressive and manic symptoms of patients suffering from bipolar disorder [47].

    Another well-known factor for mental disorders is that cells within the brain require omega-3 oils in order to be able to transmit signals that enable proper thinking, moods, and emotions.”


  • Shawna

    Marie —- TOO FUNNY!!!! However, from what I’m reading the answer is yes!! Okay, maybe not “cure” but could be improved.. If you really do have bipolar — google Dr. Russell Blaylock (he’s a neurosurgeon). He has a TON of information on foods (and food items) connection to mental illness.

    I also found more then just that one research article on nutrition and mental disorders if interested.. PS — you’ll probably have to eat your steak (or turkey) a bit on the rare side (or a lot of it) to get the most benefit… YUCK!!! 🙂

  • Shawna

    Sorry guys but had to post this one too..

    UNDERNUTRITION worsens flu symptoms in humans.

    “In addition, these findings suggest that the neglected area of undernutrition affecting invading microorganisms merits intensive investigation in humans and experimental models.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17638196

    “Undernutriton” is just as common in our pets and also affects the immune system and other bodily functions. There are 8 known types of vitamin e but fortified dog foods only include the tocopherols. Ascorbic acid is not the vitamin in natural food but rather “protects” the actual vitamin. Tryptophan (as well as other amino acids and many vitamins) is damaged by heat. A lack of ionizable calcium impeded the immune system — as does a lack of beneficial bacteria.. Okay, I know I’m rambling now…. I’m done 🙂

  • Marie

    So my bipolar can be cured with steaks? 😀

    Please say yes.

  • Shawna

    I just found this REALLY interesting, imo, research paper on the dietary connection to behavioral and mood disorders — depression, bipolar disease, autism, adhd etc in humans. Granted it does show the role (in humans) that carbohydrates provide for improved mental health – but look at what it says about protein.

    “A high quality protein diet contains all essential amino acids. Foods rich in high quality protein include meats, milk and other dairy products, and eggs. Plant proteins such as beans, peas, and grains may be low in one or two essential amino acids. Protein intake and in turn the individual amino acids can affect the brain functioning and mental health. Many of the neurotransmitters in the brain are made from amino acids. The neurotransmitter dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine and the neurotransmitter serotonin is made from the tryptophan.[5] If there is a lack of any of these two amino acids, there will not be enough synthesis of the respective neurotransmitters, which is associated with low mood and aggression in the patients.”

    The paper also discusses fats, vitamins, minerals etc. VERY interesting imo..

  • Shawna

    Hi melissa,

    I think I mentioned that I have Pomeranians and I don’t brush my girls except when they are blowing their coats.. They don’t matt. And this matting was beyond normal.. And yes, not all dogs on SD or Purina matt so badly but as you said they are probably maintained better but that doesn’t mean they are any healthier.

    Also, my last rescue was a puppy that came in with an open fontenelle and an okay coat eating Science Diet Puppy food. I switched immediately and even in a 12 week old puppy had detoxing symptoms… I started her on raw and then switched her to 50 raw/50 high quality kibble. Her coat improved and her fontenelle closed even though our vet said it was unlikely — could but unlikely.

    And yes, I do think people can determine the quality of the coat. However I have been amazed myself with my own and foster dogs. A coat that I thought was very nice improved even more. Example — my daughter’s short haired 15 year old Chihuahua eating a raw food, commercial, complete and balanced diet — I started her on a whole food (glandular) multi-vitamin and was pleasantly surprised to notice an improvement in her already very supple coat.

    Also, coat quality is just one aspect of what can be witnessed — my sister-in-laws dogs (including the Bulldog) have less lean muscle mass then my daughter’s Chihuahuas.. I mentioned they live in the country. They also have a lake on the property that the Retriever and Lab swim in. They’re getting exercise.

    Oh — when we adopted Cloee (the Chihuahua) from the local humane society she was guessed to be about 9 years old. She had gray hair, poor coat quality and her eyes had the grayish cataract looking film – but not cataracts. Granted we don’t know her background – she was found as a stray. But, on a raw food diet her gray hairs went away as did the gray in her eyes. Interestingly, malnutrition can also cause premature gray hair in humans — humans eating a fortified diet. Iodine deficiency hypothyroid is a cause of graying in clumps as an example.. I’ve also had two dogs with collapsing trachea that healed with no additional support other then diet.

    Nutrition is what keeps us living and thriving. Poor nutrition results in poor health. It just may not be readily apparent — such as the connection to gray hairs. I attended a webinar given by DVM Dr. Cameron last week. I wrote this comment down from his webinar (most of the webinar attendees are vets and he addresses the entire audience as if they are all vets). He stated — “Nutritional deficiencies are common and are associated with symptoms we are seeing. Every case we see has a nutritional component.”

  • melissa


    In reference to some of your comments -“However, they simply haven’t experienced how good it can be on better foods. My pups coats feel like angora.”

    Why is it so hard to believe that some people’s animals do well on foods such as Purina, SD and the owners are knowledgeable enough to know that the coats look great? I used to feed Purina products, and our dogs not only looked great, but we had no issues with skin/ears etc. It worked for them for whatever reason. As I have stated before, I switched because I did not like the ingredient panel, not due to poor performance in the animals.

    Coats in dogs improve dramatically in rescues simply because of wonderful care that may not have been present in the past(we are talking about true rescues, not well cared for “owner rehomes”) Even going from Beneful to a slightly higher quality would show a difference. Its too easy to state that the SD is the reason your sister in laws animals due poorly, however when animals are so dirty that your hands get dirty from touching them, when animals are matted, I have to look first at the day to day care(or lack thereof) that they are receiving no matter what the food, an animal can not mat if the owner is diligent about brushing it.

    With that said, I do agree that dogs should be fed high quality(and slightly higher) protein containing foods of animal sourcing, not plant based.

  • Shawna, aimee, Toxed, and all

    I’ll throw in my two cents here since I can no longer contain myself.

    I do think we must keep in mind that often peoples perception of the grains and potatoes that go into dog food are NOT EVEN CLOSE to what they (the people) eat or can relate to when they think of the grains or potatoes that they see in their grocery store.

    How many of us have actually seen the truck loads of damaged, spoiled potatoes and grain pulling into the dog food manufacturing plants, and then seen them stored in the super hot silo’s that are full of bugs, and are breeding grounds for heaven knows what as they store these rejected “components” of the human food chain for months and months?

    It’s only natural to imagine what WE usually see when we pour out the nice clean, selected, approved for human consumption, high end grain, out of the nice clean boxes it comes in, from the nice clean air conditioned stores it’s kept in, while in our nice clean kitchens.

    Are the potatoes that we imagine going into the dog food nice, firm, fresh potatoes with no roots coming out of them as would be the case if they are a bit too old, which I clearly remember happening to the potatoes in my mothers pantry that were kept in our pantry for a few weeks too long?

    Do we imagine these potatoes are kept in a nice cool place (55 to 65 degrees) so the neurotoxin Solanine will not grow under the skin as it does when the potato is too old or has been warm for too long, or has grown those new little roots? And if the potatoes are too spoiled, or old, or allowed to get too warm, are they then peeled in an attempt to remove as much Solanine as possible before being ground up and added to the dog food, or just thrown out which would be best?

    Then do we imagine that even if we made your own dog food and added the nice clean human grade quality of grain or potato it would be OK for a carnivore [who may have some omnivorous tendencies, even though the Mitochondrial DNA (which is responsible for energy conversion) in our little dog is 99.8% identical to the Gray Wolf and has been for 5 to 10 million years minimum] it would be good for our dog? Probably not unless we lovingly soaked the grains as Gordon does – “they come air-dried raw and I soak the premix in water or be it acidulated water for 24 hours so to have the nutrients released, and anti-nutrients and phytates inhibited. This method makes grains actually nutritious and easier to digest”).

    I’m still wondering about the Lectins in grains even after soaking – what happens to them?

    Anyway, I know many of us were raised on Disney stories with happy endings but in this real, multi billion dollar, profit driven world of huge corporations controlling dog food manufacturing and distribution – we need to think for ourselves for a moment here. I’m sorry to be so blunt about this but in my humble opinion – if you are still imagining the Disney version of what goes into most commercial dog food made by large corporations then it shows the amazing power of marketing to quell the power of reason. It is simply not possible to make a food that costs so little a pound out of quality ingredients and market it through a 3 tier profit structure with everyone making a profit substantial enough to sponsor golf tournaments and race cars.

  • Gordon

    BTW, greatly informative post, Toxed!

  • Gordon

    Purina, Hills, and Mars, manufacturer the worst, and most unhealthy processed pet foods on Earth. Oh, did I forget P&G? Sorry aimee, which one was it that you work for again? Ooops 😛

  • Aimee
    You said, ” But when looking at how proteins are presented in commercial kibbled pet foods this may not always hold true. As an ingredient in commercial dog foods the meat based protein digestibility can be lower than expected because of the source (lots of connective tissue associated with the meat) and the processing used.” 

    So, now you want to compare real life, processed protein sources? Let’s look at that… 

    You tossed out a statement denigrating meat protein due to its inferior source for dog food while completely ignoring the inferior sources of plant based proteins, normally used in most dog foods, and the horrendous by-products of their processing! If we’re going to be fair, we look at both under the same conditions. We all are aware by now (or should be) that the majority of dog foods are manufactured from industry waste materials, both meat based proteins and plant based proteins. 

    Are you really advocating moldy, decaying, (the nutrient values are dramatically diminished)  bug infested, MSG and Aspartate laden, high gluten and/or lectin bearing plant proteins as healthier for the dog?!!!! 

    You also said, “… and if it doesn’t break down… well out on the lawn it goes!” 

    You do realize, don’t you, that you just said the plant proteins get crapped out on the lawn?  Which is true… The short digestive track of dogs makes it extremely difficult for the dog’s system to absorb anything more than carbs from those sources, leaving the harder to obtain nutrients and protein to get “crapped out.” So, if they are just dumping them on the lawn, aren’t they just wasting their money?

     I certainly think that  feeding plant based protein is a waste of money… 

    I think that feeding plant based, highly processed  proteins is ALSO more detrimental for the dog, due to the toxins formulated by processing and their higher gluten, or lectin content, leading to gut wall damage, leaky gut syndrome and the subsequent development of protein allergies, plus the lack of adequate absorbed nutrition, etc. etc…. 

    But, let’s stop pussyfooting around here and look at the research,

    “Research findings 
    Recent studies have examined how the type of protein in a diet affects the body composition of adult and senior dogs.

    In this study, dogs were fed diets with varying amounts of protein from chicken and corn gluten meal. Their body composition (muscle versus fat tissue) was then analyzed. Additionally, levels of key blood and muscle proteins were measured.

    Compared with dogs that were fed a diet with 100% chicken protein, dogs that consumed foods with decreasing levels of chicken and increasing levels of corn gluten meal had:

    Decreased lean tissue
    Increased body fat
    Decreased levels of blood proteins routinely used as markers of superior nutritional status
    This was independent of the overall dietary protein level — 12 or 28% — which was also examined in each of the four test groups.

    As your dog ages, its body composition and muscle-specific proteins decline. Therefore, another study looked at the differences that became evident when elder pooches consumed a 32% protein chicken-based diet, a 32% protein chicken and corn gluten meal diet, or a 16% protein chicken-based diet.

    Senior dogs that were fed the 32% chicken protein, chicken-based diet had better body composition and a muscle-specific protein pattern that was identical to what was measured in healthy young adult dogs. However, those results were not seen in either of the other two diets.

    Protein and Your Dog
    Feeding your dog a diet with primarily animal-based protein sources helps to do the following:

    Maintain your dog’s muscle mass
    Reverse some age-related changes in skeletal muscles in senior dogs
    Enhance the long-term health and well-being of adult and senior dogs
    The bottom line is good-quality, meaty dog foods that will have your dog licking its chops and wagging its tail. At the same time, you can smile with confidence, knowing that you’ve fed your loyal friend what it craves and what its body needs.

    Copyright (c) 2007 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

    About The Author: Timothy Brill is a freelance writer and animal advocate.”

    Bottom line, there’s no point in debating this further, meat based protein is better. Yes, raw, healthy optimal cuts of meat with bone are better sources of protein than the meat based  protein used in the majority of dog foods. BUT, the plant based proteins used in the majority of dog foods are also of substantially lower quality. Given their composition and the dogs physiology, all nutrients (excepting carbs -which dogs don’t need,) are more bio-available in meat based sources. Comparing apples to apples, meat based proteins are still the most complete nutritional source of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) for your dog. 

  • Shawna

    “Shawna….I mean this with the kindest of hearts, If you wait for Audrey to feel bad before adjusting her diet could it be too late to be of the most help?”

    Aimee ~~ I didn’t take it any other way :).. I do get frustrated, at times, during our conversations but I do enjoy them as well. You are open minded and willing to review the data presented to you — I appreciate that very very much. I DO want to convert you, don’t get me wrong :), but I do appreciate, even if I don’t agree with, you viewpoint and our discussions.

    Okay, back to Audrey. Who’s to say that adjusting her diet isn’t what starts her decline? I don’t recall whom it was but I once had someone tell me “if you want to fulfill Audrey’s life expectancy, put her on a prescription diet”. I also am far more concerned with her quality of life then her longevity. And, if you think about it, she has done AMAZINGLY well on her diet.. 1. She had polydipsia and polyuria even before weaning 2. Diagnosed and showing azotemia (stage II of kidney disease) at 1 year of age 3. Jump forward FOUR years and symptoms are still the same as when she was 6 weeks old. Have her kidneys deteriorated in those last four years — it’s possible. I haven’t had blood work done to confirm one way or the other. BUT, its been four years and she still remains happy and healthy AND strong. Her immune system is smoking strong!!! She may be azotemic but as long as she is not uremic I am going to maintain my course with her…

    By the way — she started “failing to thrive” at 4 weeks of age (if I remember the timeframe correctly). She had a collapsing trachea and couldn’t get enough milk from her momma despite the breeder giving her every possible chance to do so — without sibling interferance. She was put on raw egg whites and raw goat milk – syringe fed til she could lap it up on her own. I was holding the spoon (had gone to visit her) when she took her first lick..

    She really is my little miracle baby!!!! 🙂

  • Shawna

    Aimee, we agree then on everything except the amount of protein that actually provides the animal with enough protein to thrive – not just survive.
    YES, I would agree “freakishly small amounts”. Amounts likely just enough to sustain life but not provide what is necessary to thrive..

    My sister-in-law feeds her dogs and cats Science Diet.. They live on a farm and have ample room to exercise – she has a Golden, a Chocolate Lab and a Bulldog as well as 4 cats. ALL of them have just horrible horrible horrible coats. They are all oily, have dandruff, are matted. As much as I love dogs I couldn’t pet them because it made me feel dirty.. And the poor cat had clumps of hair all along her spine all matted up. They were in the process of shaving her because it was so bad but had to do it in stages..

    Through fostering I’ve also seen MAJOR improvements in coat quality when switching from foods like Purina and Science Diet to the foods I feed like Merrick Before Grain and Nature’s Variety Instinct.. A drastic improvement in something as basic as coat quality. And yes, many often say their animals have great coat quality on Purina etc. However, they simply haven’t experienced how good it can be on better foods. My pups coats feel like angora. I also don’t have to give them baths — even if they get minorly dirty. I don’t HAVE to brush my Poms coats either (I have two). I do brush them often when they are blowing their coats but only because I don’t want their little puff balls all over my home — not because I need to to help them lose it.. I don’t have to use flea and tick meds either.. And, I am in a humid and hot area in the summer months.

    I know this is all subjective but you will NEVER be able to convince ME that these lower protein and lower BV protein foods are as healthful, and provide enough protein, for dogs as the higher end, higher meat protein foods.. I’ve seen the difference with my own eyes in multiple dogs. I know that can not be proven to others but it is certainly the only proof I need. And this, I think, Toxed and Richard and Jonathan and Gordon and Mike S and Sandy and many many others will all agree on.

  • aimee

    I’m following you, we are in complete agreement. Roll with me here as you say…greatly simplified : ) The body needs 100 AA for synthesis of enzymes, cell repair, etc. to make 20 proteins each with the sequence blue red green yellow orange. If you provide 100 AA in 20 of each color than all is well. But if you provide 100 AA and only 15 are yellow well then only 15 proteins are made and the other 25 AA are left over, can’t be utilized, and are broken down for energy. The body is protein depleted.

    I think where we may differ though is in the following:
    If we feed 500 AA, 100 of each color, (perfect balance) the body STILL will only make the 20 proteins it needs and the other 400 AA are left over, used for energy and the nitrogen excreted as urea.

    If you provide 500 AA that are not in perfect balance, as long as there are 20 of each color, the 20 proteins the body needs will be made and the remaining 400 will be used for energy and the nitrogen excreted as urea.

    This is why I was perplexed when I’ve read in regard to KD if the protein is of high BV more of it can be fed. Yes you can feed more if you wish but it will just be used for energy.

    Depending on whom you read, for adult maintenance, if protein is high BV it only need make up 5 ( Strombeck) to 8 (NRC) % of the diet! Freakishly small amounts!

    I’ve noted more than once in posters comments that when their dog was changed to a high protein dry diet they noted their dog drank a lot. This makes sense to me as there is a lot of protein being used as energy and hence a lot of urea to be excreted!

    You also make an excellent point though as to what else do the ingredients bring to the table so to speak. My husband did his PhD on the effect pesticides had on the formation of sperm. He of course was blinded as to which samples were from the controls. He was very excited to find some very bizarre findings, and equally crushed to find that they were in the controls! He was using corn oil as the carrier agent for the pesticide for oral administration. The phytoestrogens in the oil caused some funky changes in the sperm!

    Sadly enough my husband’s friend was just diagnosed (three days ago) with kidney failure and is now on dialysis. He thought he had the flu.. malaise that was hanging on. Guess the body kept adapting until it just couldn’t anymore.

    Shawna….I mean this with the kindest of hearts, If you wait for Audrey to feel bad before adjusting her diet could it be too late to be of the most help?

  • aimee

    Hi Toxed!
    I agree that in general plant protein may not be as fully digested as meat protein. But when looking at how proteins are presented in commercial kibbled pet foods this may not always hold true. As an ingredient in commercial dog foods the meat based protein digestibility can be lower than expected because of the source (lots of connective tissue associated with the meat) and the processing used.

    But I guess I don’t see why it would be taxing on the body or “harder” to digest in terms energy expenditure. I just see it as the body throws the same enzymes etc it has at it as it would as if it were from meat and if it doesn’t break down… well out on the lawn it goes!

    Toxed2 loss, a teacher I had whom I greatly admired once told me “Every person I meet knows something I don’t know… and I want to know what that is. ” Glad that you are picking up a few things from the banter between Shawna and I .. I’ve learned some things from you Shawna and other that post here as well.

  • Marie

    LOL!! You guys crack me up…

  • >:-) Bwaahahahahahahahahaah!

  • Shawna

    Oh my gosh Toxed!! Love the pic… Doesn’t do justice to how beautiful you are though!! The original photo is better!! Hollywood starlett versus mad scientist :).. I know, I know — mad scientist on the inside and Hollywood starlett on the outside!! Best of both worlds.. 😉 Too funny!!

  • Good Job Richard!
    It pays to think for ones self and to fight for what we want! Yeah!!!

    Shawna, ;-p Me and my typos! It doesn’t help that I used to type upwards of 80 wpm, and now have to slow down when on the ipad, because of the touch screen. I forget to slow down. I speed read so by the time it gets around to ‘correcting’ me, I’m already far beyond that. sheesh! it was “those”, but you knew that. LOL

    I’m not on the ipad now, girl. This next gravatar is for U. GFETE

  • Marie


    A fascinating story…..but I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me cringe…glad you still have that thumb!

    But for real: D:

  • Toxed

    Small world. When I was in my mid 30’s I severed the pad and 2/3 of my right thumb off in a mower accident from the tip at the nail bed back to the joint and it was hanging by a bit of skin. I pushed it back together, held it over my head, and (after some time with my face in the dirt to keep myself from passing out) I headed for the emergency room in my old stick shift BMW with the sun roof open – my right hand sticking out through the roof while steering and shifting with only my left hand – trying to stay conscious while my blood supply was running down my right arm. I’m getting queazy just remembering it.

    The emergency room doctor looked at my thumb dangling by a small patch of skin and proceeded to tell me he would need to amputate my thumb and told the nurses to prep me. I called him back over and proceeded to tell him that he would NOT be amputating my right thumb as I was quite fond of it and used it for hundreds of things everyday in my business, my creative outlets, and my wife, and I considered it an absolute necessity.

    He told me It would become infected and he would simply end up amputating more of it later. I told him I was going to try to save it and what I needed him to do was tell me the best way to attempt do that to give it the best chance to succeed. He shook his head and said he’d be right back. When he returned he had a beaker of an orange-red liquid. He told me that if I didn’t disinfect the wound completely I had no chance. He told me to pull my thumb apart and swish it around in the liquid until I passed out and then keep it over my head for months so it wouldn’t keep bleeding out because he was unable to sew it up because the nail bed was in the way. His last words were, “I’ll see you in a few weeks and we’ll amputate that thumb.”

    I kept antibiotic ointment covering every bit of the cut line at all times and kept a plastic baggy over it to protect it further. That sun roof in my car came in handy over the next 6 months and I became pretty adept at shifting left handed and my thumb got just enough blood supply through the bit of skin that connected to two pieces that it eventually did heal and I got to keep my right thumb.

    I won’t go into the major inconveniences involved in having only one hand – a left hand at that – and having to keep my right arm straight up in the air 24 hours a day for 6 months. I was easily recognizable about town and the last two months were December and January in Pa. – which is damn cold to have your hand sticking up out of an open sunroof going 40 mph. After about 3 to 4 years the feeling began to return slowly – I don’t really know how, but eventually the feeling in both thumbs became the same. Sometimes I think the feeling in that right thumb is even more sensitive than my left, which is good – since my right hand is my “go to” hand.

    I’ve used that thumb a million times since then and it has accumulated many fond memories. The essence of this story is, once again, do not rely solely on the “experts” when making decisions about your life…or the dog food you’re going to feed your dog with. It’s your life and your dog and (thanks in no small part to the Internet) you no longer need to blindly follow an “expert” to figure out what is best.

    GFETE – U
    (Grotesquely Feeble Endless Tale Entirely – Unnecessary)

  • Shawna

    Here’s the ingredients for the Canine Renal Support..
    “Ingredients: Bovine kidney, kidney bean extract, buckwheat leaf juice and seed, oat flour, bovine liver, ribonucleic acid, nutritional yeast, veal bone PMG™ extract, bovine orchic Cytosol™ extract, pea vine juice, beet root, bovine and ovine spleen, alfalfa juice, bovine kidney PMG™ extract, mushroom, rice bran, bovine thyroid PMG™ extract, carrot, wheat germ oil, black currant seed oil, black currant juice, kelp, bovine adrenal, allantoin, bovine pituitary PMG™ extract, chlorophyll extract, manganese glycerophosphate, beet leaf juice, and extract of Rhizopus oryzae grown on Tillandsia usneoides and beet root.” http://www.standardprocess.com/display/VeterinaryCatalog.spi?ID=343

    Standard Process is one of the few products my father, my doctor, my dentist and my vet all agree on :)… My chiropractor thinks the sodium content is too high but carries the line. He also sells a proprietary brand to the technique he uses B.E.S.T. So I think there MAY be a little prejudice there :)..

  • Shawna

    Toxed wrote “And are all toes sources of C & Bs whole food sources?”

    Toes? :O) Standard Process products are glandular, food and herbal but in order to state they have “vitamin C”, as an example, in the product the FDA requires they put some ascorbic acid in the product.. The FDA has been hounding Dr. Royal Lee, and Standard Process, since the company started in the 60’s. SP can only, legally, be purchased through health care providers and is sourced from organic products they grow themselves. They are also very careful with their source of glandulars — used to supply only their own but have had to branch out with demands.. This is the product line I take myself and give my grand daughter :).

    Garden of Life is Jordan Rubin’s (author of the “The Makers Diet”) company and is equally known for quality and reliability. My daughter took the Garden of Life Raw Prenatals when pregnant with Phoenix and Damon. All whole food sourced.. The probiotics I use and give the dogs are Garden of Life’s Primal Defense.. 🙂

    Both top notch companies and products!!

    I’ll check the turmeric labels next time I’m at the different stores and get back to you on that…

  • And are all toes sources of C & Bs whole food sources?

  • Excipients would have to be listed on the label. If the labels aren’t on the bulk container, ask to see the container it comes in. 🙂 I’m thinking since it is organic, maybe it was a cleanse situation. Maybe start with just a few grains. Of course, she’s much healthier now…. She might be able to handle it better. 🙂

  • Shawna

    Okay — exipient free… I would think so but how would I know for sure?

  • Shawna

    Because of her polyuria she gets added water soluble vitamins (B and C). She gets Standard Process (SP) Cataplex B but because there is bone meal in their C she gets Garden of Life Raw C (vegetarian sources). She also gets SP Catalyn which is a multi and SP Hepatic Support and SP Renal Support — which would all have small amounts of B and C as well. And, for good measure I give her SP Renafood which is nutrients for kidneys and Sp Renatrophin which is nothing but kidney protomorphogens.

    And, dogs can synthasize vitamin C :). So, I’m hoping she is getting ample amounts :)..

    The turmeric I use/d is organic (I’ve used an organic bulk product from my mom and pop health food store and I’ve used Whole Foods product). However I have NO idea if either are excipient free (or even what that is)… Off to look that up 🙂

    PS — she doesn’t have a bad reaction and it may have been a cleanse I was seeing so I am willing to give another go with it…

  • Shawna, as for turmeric, was it organic and excipient free? I almost hate to ask, as she’s so sensitive, but if there were excipients present or it was grown in a country with lesser organic standards, she may have been reacting to something other than the turmeric. :-} We can hope but the testing could be scary…

    When I first started treating my condition, I couldn’t even stand C. The healing crisis was terrible. I had to start with as much as would stick to a dry finger tip… I worked up, SLOWLY, to 25 grams… The C has diminished my scars, until they’re almost gone. I wondered if because of her injuries, her ability to synthesize C was impaired, and therefore boosting it might give you the scar remission you’re looking for….?

  • Aahahahahahahahhhhhaaaaaaahahaha, love it! 😀

  • Shawna

    Toxed quoted “Thus, manipulation of the wound repair process in order to shift it towards regeneration will probably require the ability to slow the rapid fibrotic response so that renal progenitor cells can allow tissue regeneration rather than scar formation.”

    “Slow the rapid fibrotic response” — Interesting!!! I gave Audrey turmeric as the curcumin in it is anti-fibrotic but she didn’t tolerate it well… Bummer!!!!!!! I’ll have to go looking for other anti-fibrotic natural substances now.. She does get protomorphogens which prevent further damage from inflammation quite efficiently…. So maybe the anti-fibrotic isn’t as necessary while taking protomorphogens?

    They talk about curcumin and kidney disease here

    The other dogs in the house get turmeric off and on still though 🙂

  • Shawna

    Cause I figured I’d figure it out if I gave myself enough time 🙂 Kinda stubborn that way :)..

  • Shawna

    Sandy ~~ I’m cracking up again.. Esp considering I left my post before reading your post about longer and longer!! I had a teenager that was in to all the texting lingo and I picked up quite a bit from her. Toxed has a slightly different variation then mine but means Roll On Floor Laughing My A– Off.. 😉

    Toxed ~~ you wrote “Now, Shawna you remember in Dr. Blaylock’s books that he talks about brain tissue regeneration… Up until a couple of years ago, very few people in the mainstream medical field accepted that. Now it’s becoming more well kown. Research is always like that. :-}” Dang girl, my brain was so fried when I read the VERY techinical book (even though he says he dumbed it down) that I had to re-read most every word to understand half of it.. I’ll have to go back and read it all over again now that I’m in less of a fog :)… Thanks for the additional info!! I have to go back and read ALL of it except the second, shorter paper. Keep getting distracted while at work and it’s cutting into my reading time… Geesh…. I still have to read some other stuff you sent me on your condition too…. Thank you again for that!!

  • Shawna, “I too didn’t know what it meant til, I think it was Sandy, posted it here. And Toxed and I have been friends…” GFETE & SMH (Shaking My Head) why didn’t you ask? I had to when I first saw it, everybody does. 🙂

  • Sandy, Rolling On The Floor Laughing My A– Off 😀

  • Shawna

    Richard ~~ ROFLMAO!!!!! I did indeed need that really really great laugh… I too didn’t know what it meant til, I think it was Sandy, posted it here. And Toxed and I have been friends for a while now and knew each other even before that!!! Too funny!!! I do like you Richard!!! So very glad you came into my life!! You’re a true friend!!!

    You wrote “Shawna – I want to come back to this world as one of your dogs. Audrey is one very lucky little dog – I never thought I could be jealous of a dog….” LOLLLLLL My immediate thoughts were a bit inappropriate so I will keep them to myself but you would surely laugh!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!! 😉

  • Shawna, honey, you want these here or back channel?

    Here’s one more for you here, just because it is sooooo exciting! LOL…


    Possible mechanisms of kidney repair
    Paola Romagnani1,3* and Raghu Kalluri2
    * Corresponding author: Paola Romagnani [email protected]
    Author Affiliations
    1 Excellence Centre for Research, Transfer and High Education DENOthe, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
    2 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    3 Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Division of Matrix Biology, Department of Medicine Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    For all author emails, please log on.
    Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair 2009, 2:3 doi:10.1186/1755-1536-2-3

    The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.fibrogenesis.com/content/2/1/3

    Received: 2 January 2009
    Accepted: 26 June 2009
    Published: 26 June 2009

    © 2009 Romagnani and Kalluri; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
    This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
    In most adult epithelia the process of replacing damaged or dead cells is maintained through the presence of stem/progenitor cells, which allow epithelial tissues to be repaired following injury. Existing evidence strongly supports the presence of stem cells in the adult kidney. Indeed, recent findings provide evidence in favour of a role for intrinsic renal cells and against a physiological role for bone marrow-derived stem cells in the regeneration of renal epithelial cells. In addition, recent studies have identified a subset of CD24+CD133+ renal progenitors within the Bowman’s capsule of adult human kidney, which provides regenerative potential for injured renal epithelial cells. Intriguingly, CD24+CD133+ renal progenitors also represent common progenitors of tubular cells and podocytes during renal development. Chronic injury causes dysfunction of the tubular epithelial cells, which triggers the release of fibrogenic cytokines and recruitment of inflammatory cells to injured kidneys. The rapid interposition of scar tissue probably confers a survival advantage by preventing infectious microorganisms from invading the wound, but prevents subsequent tissue regeneration. However, the existence of renal epithelial progenitors in the kidney suggests a possible explanation for the regression of renal lesions which has been observed in experimental animals and even in humans. Thus, manipulation of the wound repair process in order to shift it towards regeneration will probably require the ability to slow the rapid fibrotic response so that renal progenitor cells can allow tissue regeneration rather than scar formation.”

  • sandy

    I’m gonna have to look that up too, Toxed! They seem to be getting longer and longer…

  • Richard, RFLMAO,!! I like yours better!!!! It is sure to start my day off right!

    Shawna, there was some even cooler stuff on the first site, like a grown man growing a new finger! Lots of kids have, but very few adults. As a matter of fact, years ago my husband chopped off his thumb. It was only attached by a 1/4 ” wide piece of skin. Our neighbor just happens to be one of the best bone docs around. Long story short, he stuck it back on and warned me it would probably turn necrotic, but he’d managed to splice a couple of blood vessels. He also told me he would never regain feeling in it.

    Weeeeell, My mom read those books about C when I was a kid and swore by it so I pushed it like cotton candy at the fair. Dang but the thing took, and he has complete feeling and use of it. It did take 5 years to get the feeling back and he had to protect it, when out in the cold, especially the first winter.

    Now, Shawna you remember in Dr. Blaylock’s books that he talks about brain tissue regeneration… Up until a couple of years ago, very few people in the mainstream medical field accepted that. Now it’s becoming more well kown. Research is always like that. :-}

  • Shawna

    Aimee — this caught my attention earlier but I was so focused on other things that forgot about it til now. You wrote “I don’t understand why plant AA when used as energy would “strain the kidneys” while meat sourced AA wouldn’t?”

    You commented at least twice “used as energy”. Amino acids are used for so much more then energy. As mentioned they are used “in groups” for the production of glutathione (the “master antioxidant” of the body and liver). They are used for cell regeneration. They are used to make enzymes. They are used to make muscle. To make hair and finger and toe nails. They are used to make skin. I doubt there is really ever an issue where too much as very very cells are dependant on amino acids for normal death (apoptosis) and regrowth. If the appropriate amino acids are not eaten then the body doesn’t regenerate as quickly.

    When websites (like Drs Foster and Smith the one I quote regarding protein) say the “extra” protein is urinated out. What I think they are really saying is — the amino acids that can not be efficiently utilized by the body are urinated out. And then there are those like Dr. Becker that feel when excessive amino acids are urinated out — over years and years AND, very important, the kidneys are chronically dehydrated due to a dry diet it adds extra stress. Top that off with toxins that are filtered by the kidneys (chemical floor cleaners), herbs, medications etc and its no wonder kd is a common disease. If the kidneys were not strong to begin with then another whammy. I read an article stating that sodium deficiency during pregnancy could have an adverse affect on baby’s kidneys. I’m guessing the same would be true for dogs. Audrey’s momma was raw fed but sodium was not supplemented in the diet…?? I’ll always wonder if that wasn’t a contributing factor in her kd..??

  • sandy

    Grinning From Ear To Ear. and yes I had to google it myself!!

  • Toxed, Shawna, and aimee

    I hope you all know my little attempt at levity wasn’t meant to detract from your helpful discussion on kidneys and diet – I actually do want to know what the bloody h___ GFETE stands for and couldn’t wait any longer. No one else would admit they didn’t know and I couldn’t wait any longer to find out.

    Shawna – I want to come back to this world as one of your dogs. Audrey is one very lucky little dog – I never thought I could be jealous of a dog….

    aimee – Is that kitchen up and running at full beauty and efficiency?

  • Toxed

    I’ve been meaning to ask what the heck GFETE means. You are always putting on your posts and I must have missed the explanation.

    All this time I’ve been thinking it meant-

    Gigantinormously Freakin Extremely Technical Explanation….

    but now I’m thinking I may be mistaken…

    just kiddin around –

    Marie got my day started with a laugh and I’m feeling the need for another one…

    But really – what on earth does it mean?….everyone else already seems to know and I’m feeling left out.

  • Shawna

    That is AMAZING inforamtion Toxed!!!! I tried very hard to find such data when I was researching KD and could only find little glimmers of hope but nothing so important as this information.. I’m guessing that in Audrey’s case the damage is not repairable as, I believe, the nephrons were damaged at birth and regeneration would have occured by now but that is amazing information…. You never know though 🙂

    They say that animals can recover from acute kd so the above makes a lot of sense. I always wondered how acute damage could be reversed by chronic not so… The second article explains this..

    I need to look into this more… If you have anything more please do share!!! 🙂

    And THANK YOU for the wonderful compliment!! I always learn from you too!! GREAT isn’t it!!!

  • Regarding Kidney regeneration:
    Just so you know, mine are regenerating, and it is becoming recognized that kidneys can repair them selves. Herea a couple of sites/citations for you. 🙂

    From  http://www.ask.com/wiki/Regeneration_(biology)
    Regenerative capacity of the kidney remains largely unexplored. The basic functional and structural unit of the kidney is nephron, which is mainly composed of four components: the glomerulus, tubules, the collecting duct and peritubular capillaries. The regenerative capacity of the mammalian kidney is limited compared to that of lower vertebrates.
    In the mammalian kidney, the regeneration of the tubular component following an acute injury is well known. Recently regeneration of the glomerulus has also been documented. Following an acute injury, the proximal tubule is damaged more, and the injured epithelial cells slough off the basement membrane of the nephron. The surviving epithelial cells, however, undergo migration, dedifferentiation, proliferation, and redifferentiation to replenish the epithelial lining of the proximal tubule after injury. Recently, the presence and participation of kidney stem cells in the tubular regeneration has been shown. However, the concept of kidney stem cells is currently emerging. In addition to the surviving tubular epithelial cells and kidney stem cells, the bone marrow stem cells have also been shown to participate in regeneration of the proximal tubule, however, the mechanisms remain controversial. Recently, studies examining the capacity of bone marrow stem cells to differentiate into renal cells are emerging.[40]
    Like other organs, the kidney is also known to regenerate completely in lower vertebrates such as fish. Some of the known fish that show remarkable capacity of kidney regeneration are goldfish, skates, rays, and sharks. In these fish, the entire nephron regenerates following injury or partial removal of the kidney.”

    “The kidney actually ranks very highly in its ability to repair itself,” said Joseph Bonventre, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Renal Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and head of the HSCI Kidney Disease Program.
    Bonventre and his team study the mechanisms by which the kidney repairs tissue after disease, particularly the repair of nephrons, which are the key functional units of the kidney. The nephron consists of a filtering unit for the blood, the glomerulus, and a  complex tubule responsible for filtering the blood. The small tubules collect the filtrate and process it before passing it on to ducts leading to the bladder. “If tubules are damaged they can be repaired but if the damage is severe enough the nephron may be destroyed. Unfortunately the kidney can regenerate and recover, but the kidney cannot make new nephrons, and in that context, its regeneration is limited.”

  • No, I wasn’t disappointed at all! I learn so much from you that I always look forward to them in anticipation. 🙂 You know I like to learn….GFETE

  • 🙂 thanks Shawna!

  • Shawna

    Thanks Aimee for your very kind words and hopes for Audrey’s continued health. Really means a lot!!!!!!!! I am a realist and know my time with her is limited since kidneys can not regenerate — but I am making what time I do have count – for both of us :)..

    Toxed — hope my post doesn’t disappoint you :)….

  • Shawna

    Hi aimee ~~ I do DEFINITELY agree that lowering phosphorus is the gold standard!! I recommend it to any that ask me.. However, I don’t think it is absolute or I’d be doing it with Audrey.

    The protein / amino acid — in my opinion all comes down to bioavalibility. Amino acids are not used individually but in groups. Example — for the body to “make” glutathione it needs cysteine, methionine and glutamine (plus vitamins). Some amino acids are grouped to make other amino acids etc. Take egg — supposedly has 100% bioavailabity. So, 100% of the amino acids are utilizable by the body (to make glutathione, keratin, muscle etc). If 100% is used then there is nothing, theoretically, left to become urea. Now take soy and corn.. I don’t remember the bv numbers for these two but lets say soy is 63% and corn is 59%. This is crude but for this explanation please roll with me here. That means that soy has 37% and corn has 41% that is unutilizable. When combining soy and corn another (say) 12% can be used by the body but there is still a considerable amount that is not used. This would be the case in a low protein, moderate or high protein diet — if they can’t be grouped together by the body for efficient use, they become waste.

    Science Diet canned KD food is a prime example – although not whole, due to the phosphorus in egg yolk, egg is the first source of protein in the food. And, NO plant proteins are used — only animal (egg white/pork liver/whey and synthetic taurine. Why, because the body uses more of it for regeneration and less goes to waste. Yes, the overall protein and phos is low but no plant protein is used (is my point). http://www.hillspet.com/products/pd-canine-kd-canine-renal-health-canned.html They CAN’T make this same food in kibble form so they don’t..

    Another way to look at it — soy has the most, per Dogtor J, glutamic acid of any protein source. The body can only use so much glutamic acid — they rest goes to waste. If cysteine is damaged by heat then even more glutamic acid goes to waste because there is not enough cysteine to group together to make glutathione. It’s obviously way more complicated then this but this is my understanding. I hope I am making sense with all this..??

    You wrote “I don’t understand why plant AA when used as energy would “strain the kidneys” while meat sourced AA wouldn’t?” Meat sources do as well but becuase less is wasted there is less strain. Imagine the complications of feeding 50% protein as only plant based.. Not a pretty picture. Or, look at it this way — the liver’s JOB is to filter as well but when you consume an excess of something it is not designed to filter an abundance of — you have problems. Again this is crude but I hope it makes my point. A little bit of alcohol is no problem for the kidneys or even A LOT in a short time. But some over a long period of time strains the liver to the point of disease.

    What does IRIS say about the “quality” of protein fed?

    I also wanted to mention with grains — you also get the additional negatives such as an extremely high omega 6 content (in many) causing unnecessary and damaging inflammation. With corn and soy, genetic modification is a concern (at least for me). Jeffrey Smith has some very very eye opening data on this. Then there’s phytates and enzyme inhibitors. My doctor (also a certified clinical nutritionist) as well as many many others feel that NO grains should be eaten unless “properly” prepared by sprouting, long soaking or fermenting. This is the thinking of old school nutrition and is starting to make a come back. There’s even a line of products on the market (called Ezekiel) that has been sold in health food stores for as long as I’ve been shopping at health food stores and probably longer. Ezekiel sprouts the grains before making their breads and other products. They are so fragile that they have to be stored in the freezer. Sorry, got side tracked a bit there 🙂

    The first year of Audrey’s life I fed her without worrying about how much phos or calcium (outside of what is correct ratios etc). Over the next year I started fiddling with her diet to see what helped and what didn’t. I made her BUN and creatinine worse by doing so. I also gave her leaky gut and food allergies by adding barley to the diet (a good source of fermentable fiber but inappropriate (I now know) for other reasons). I am actually thankful to her vet for not listening to my concerns early on as I may not have had the guts to stay my course if I had not had a year of that course as a guideline.

    The year of blood work every three months was really really hard on Audrey. She would violently shake each time we pulled into the vets parking lot. In addition to that (some reading this may think I’m a loon but I couldn’t care less) I have several (including one vet) animal communicators ask her what she wanted — no veterinary intervention was consistantly the comment suggested back to me. Ohh, by the way, the bloodwork was initially done as a pre-spay. I was so blind sided by the news and had to make an immediate decision as she was at the vets office that I allowed the spay. She was HORRIBLY ill for darn near a week. I slept on the floor with her for the first three days because she would wet herself while sleeping several times a night and I would have to change and launder our bedding each and every night. Plus would have to carry her outside or to her food bowel etc. She also had an allergic reaction to the sutchers.

    Anyway, all that said — she hasn’t been to the vet in the last three years. Through fostering she has been exposed to kennel cough, giardia, coccidia, whipworm, hookworm, ringworm and who knows what else. She has an amazing immune system (she is the one to either not get ill at all or to get well first). Her quality of life far exceeds her quantity of life.. As symptoms start to appear I will start slowly and carefully modifying her diet. So, I’ve give 70% lean meat instead of grass fed, I’ll incorporate more tripe into the diet, I’ve feed the whites of the egg only and then no raw, reduce the amount of organs, I’ll cut out bone and start another source and if she accepts I’ll start small amounts of sushi rice.

    Sorry this is soooo long…

  • Hi Aimee,
    I know that plant sources of protein are harder for carnivores to digest. Since it is harder on their bodies, it takes energy away from healing damaged systems. I also realize that you like citations so I pulled this part about it being harder from Steve Brown’s book, “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet.” Steve, an animal nutritionist, says, “Protein from animals, unlike protein from most plants, contains balanced amino acids and a complete range of protein-type nutrients, including taurine and carnitine.”

    I too am looking forward to Shawna’s answer. I’m glad you guys are having this discussion, I’m learning a lot. 🙂

  • aimee

    I appreciate you taking the time to explain to me your understanding of the treatment of kidney disease. I’m still struggling with what you said about plant protein “straining the kidney”.

    When treating uremia it seems the purpose of limitation of protein is to prevent AA being used for energy by providing them in perfect balance and in only the quantity needed for cell repair etc.

    When protein isn’t tightly limited though, many of the AAs fed are “leftover” and used for energy with the end product being urea. I don’t understand why plant AA when used as energy would “strain the kidneys” while meat sourced AA wouldn’t?

    I don’t see either as “straining the kidney” but both as contributing to the urea to be filtered by the kidney. Dogs on high protein diets (including raw) as a group have a higher BUN than dogs on lower protein diets because there is more urea to excrete but I don’t see this as straining the kidneys.

    I followed and read the link you provided which proposed various mechanisms by which high phos levels triggers high PTH and noted that dietary restriction restrictions of phos continues to be recommended. So I still maintain that it is valid to follow IRIS guidelines when treating kidney failure and to select for low phos foods.

    One more question.. You said you are prepared for when Audrey needs phos reduction. What parameter are you using to know when it is time? Creat ??or are you using phos or PTH or????

    Lastly.. have you asked your vet to consider submitting a case report regarding Audrey to get this in the literature for others seeking this approach?

    My congenital liver dog who was originally projected to die at 9 months lived to 14..with her “ little liver that could”.. I’m rooting for Audrey to have “the little kidneys that could” and have a full and long life with you! She is lucky to have you!

  • Gordon

    Shawna – You’re very welcome. I’m glad that you have opened your mind to the Dr. Lonsdale Nature’s true diet. Not that you had your mind closed, but you know what I mean.

    Yeah, it’s been over a week in my new job and my dogs have quickly become accustomed. They get their breakfast much earlier now that I get up in the mornings like the majority, for normal day shift work, lol.

    Back to school? Well I’m still considering that opportunity. I have a year to consider it. You never know. 🙂

    It’s 1.57pm Sunday here now and I’m off to enjoy the rest of it, albeit gotta do some fruyit market shopping. Later!

  • Shawna

    Gordon ~~ that is the second REALLY REALLY REALLY nice thing you have said to me (the first was when you accused me of something — hee hee hee).. I can’t tell you how much I TRULY appreciate your comment!!!!

    You wrote “However, when it comes to raw feeding, I’m totally in concurrence with and of the belief that Dr. Lonsdale has it more right than anyone else when it comes to the correct diet of both domesticated cats and dogs.”

    You may enjoy knowing that I’ve had a change of heart on your and Dr. Lonsdales diet (as you relay the diet that is).. I actually commented here before but you must have missed it. The diet that you feed your dogs (including whole carcasses and whole fish etc) I can totally get on board with — and even would agree that it is, if done right, the healthiest way to feed. The meat is fresh, it is truly biologically appropriate (no synthetic nutrients) etc. I do think there is a good deal of room for lazy people to screw up. However, I also stated in the previous post that even with Dr. Becker’s diet there is room for lazy people to screw up.. So the problem is not the diet but rather lazy people cutting corners. Can’t blame Dr. Lonsdale for that. By the way — I do plan on still purchasing an e-copy of his book and reading. Gonna have to wait til after the holidays however.

    I did get your email but had received numerous others in that time frame and it appears missed a few.. I would have seen them when archiving but you beat me to that… Sorry!! 😉

    I’m glad your new job is going well and what an awesome opportunity — going back to school!!! How did the dogs acclimate to the new work schedule?

    Thank you again!!!!!!!!

  • Gordon

    Re my new job, my new company provide university scholarships to their employees who want to further their education and/or seek new education, after such employees work for the company after a certain time such as a year I think. And a chosen degree doesn’t have to do anything with the job worked, what so ever. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned this and thought, how I just may take them up on such a scheme once I’m eligible to apply for such a scholarship.

    Guess what popped in my mind as to what courses I might consider studying should I proceed, lol? Yes, you guessed it. It has relationship with what we mostly talk about here, lol. I was thinking maybe nutrition or even toying with the idea of veterinary science. Wouldn’t that be ironic?

    If that fantasy was realised, I could only study these if a university offered them as a part time evening regiment. I know many do, depending on what course it is, but I’m not sure about whether veterinary science is offered as part time. I’d imagine if it was, I would be eligible to start it at around age 40 or 41, then a PT arrangement would probably take twice or more of the time to complete than that of a full time basis. This would mean that I would finish it around at the age of 50 or 52, if I passed with out any repeating of modules etc.

    Imagine that. Anyway, I’m just fantasizing, lol. Not something a majority of people do at middle age.

  • Gordon

    Shawna stated, “I quoted material from the Iams research symposium stating that restricting PROTEIN in kd dogs does more harm then good… This is old news…. Manufacturers designing kibbled diets for kd dogs seem to ignore this data…”

    And further stated, “…..They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that “protein” in and of itself does not contribute to kidney disease either before it has developed or after it has set in.. In fact, many educated on the subject, feel it is “low quality proteins” like those found in less biologically avialable by-products and grains, as well as a chronically dry diet, that puts extra strain on the kidneys.. ”

    I couldn’t agree more! I know I said it time and time again, but I’ll say it again….In my lay person opinion, Purina and the like, before any other reason, intentionally provide more cheap carbohydrate fillers and ingredients with little or no meat protein, for maximising their bottom line first and foremost. All other reasons, including those re Rx foods to treat certain ailments, are also used in masking their real main reason for providing such truly malnutritional diets. Some reasons of which, really look and have some debatable scientific merit behind them, when it comes to ailments like KD.

  • Gordon

    Hi Shawna – I did receive your email and actually did reply! Did you not get it by now? I replied on Wed, 16 Nov 2011 9:26 PM (My time).

    You belong in top commenter anyway, as I freely admit your overall nutritional knowledge is obviously greater than mine, and whilst we’re both raw advocates with varying opinions and some strong disagreements in a particular aspect of raw feeding, your own back ground with a longer pet related on line community participation, accompanied with the knowledge accumulated from your father, and many of the experts you cite, and your relaying of such information, displays your more extensive knowledge base over mine.

    However, when it comes to raw feeding, I’m totally in concurrence with and of the belief that Dr. Lonsdale has it more right than anyone else when it comes to the correct diet of both domesticated cats and dogs.

    Let me know if you didn’t receive my email reply, and I’ll resend it. 🙂

  • As someone with KD can I jump in again? I’ll assume a “yes” answer from at least one of you. GFETE First off, my son-in-law gets kidney stones and his specialist told him “no soda, because of the phosphorus. That’s it. Obviously if the specialist thought it was a bigger deal he would have made it so. My son-in-law takes magnesium and potassium salts to prevent his stones.

    My KD is treated by my EI physician. It’s treated with IV C, B complex, mag and potassium. I’m also on a high protein, veggie and fat diet. My kidneys are almost healed. I have peed blood, peed brown, passed chunks, and pee’d maroon (porphyria) following exposures. At the time I peed the blood the chemical exposure was so bad that my urologist told me that it lacerated my kidneys. It also caused a systemic ecoli attack that was so bad the lab called her during surgery and she called me -during surgery! So for me to say that my kidneys are almost healed is a HUGE thing.

    I never even heard of the Phos thing until last year when my son-in-law relayed the “no pop” order. Since my doctor knows I don’t drink soda, it’s never been an issue for me. So aimee, it seems to me that eliminating grains from the dogs diet, and feeding them closer to the biologically appropriate diet, benefits their whole health with a lot less fuss than computing cal/phos ratios. It’s worked for Audrey and its worked for me. In fact, I got dumped by my urologist, because I wouldn’t do the standard treatments. Treatments which they say might prolong the KD patients lives by a few months or years, but not heal the kidneys… The method that Shawna uses for Audrey and that I use is doing a whole hek of a lot better than that!!!! Think about it. I don’t remember which source you’re quoting, but their results aren’t that impressive. And really, isn’t that what really counts. Just my 2¢.

  • Shawna

    Aimee ~~ I discussed this with a person referring to himself as “Steven Andrews” on the “Nutritionism” thread. Here is a quote I used in that thread for his same mention of AA from plants/animals. This is for humans (protein would not be as limited in animals and then only in the end stages). As Toxed mentions, its not always indicated for people either. My reasoning for the below quote was directed more at the AA comment not protein restriction.

    “This is quoted from the Medical Dictionary.
    “Because of buildup of nitrogenous wastes from protein metabolism, dietary intake of protein may be severely limited. If any protein foods are allowed they should be of high quality; for example, eggs, milk, and cheese provide all of the essential amino acids in relatively small quantities.” http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/uremia

    “All of the essential amino acids IN RELATIVELY SMALL QUANTITIES”. When combining, unless done very carefully, you are going to have extras. Certain vets, like Dr. Becker, feel that over a lifetime this extra workload caused by the extra nitrogen produced by the extra amino acids, in addition to a chronically dehydrated diet, stresses the kidneys and in suseptible individuals can contribute to the disease. Possibly not cause but certainly not help.

    You wrote “My understanding is that restricting phos is the first step in controlling PTH.”

    Secondary hyperparathyroidism (due to hypocalcemia) is not an absolute, although common, with kidney disease. Nutritionism has a hand in hyperparathyroidism this as well… (notice “inorganic phosphate”)

    “Second, the acute ingestion of inorganic phosphate by normal subjects has been shown to cause a transient rise in the levels of serum phosphorus, a fall in the concentration of ionized calcium, and a significant elevation in the blood levels of PTH even in the presence of normal kidney function.” http://www.kidney.org/professionals/kdoqi/guidelines_bone/background.htm

    “Ionized calcium” also related to nutritionism in my opinion. I’ve written before on how certain calciums can be converted to ionized calcium (calcium bicarbonate) easier then others. However the calcium used in foods most often, calcium carbonate, takes many more steps to become ionized calcium. Supplementing or “fortifying” foods with calcium carbonate can, some like Dr. Royal Lee believe, can create a deficiency in ionizable calcium.

    “This postulate implies that the adaptive changes occurring in patients with incipient loss of kidney function, and leading to secondary hyperparathyroidism, are geared to maintain normal phosphate homeostasis. However, ample evidence exists indicating that phosphate homeostasis in CKD can be maintained without secondary hyperparathyroidism. First, in thyroparathyroidectomized dogs with experimentally induced reduction in kidney function in which the serum calcium was maintained at a normal level by vitamin D supplementation, the fraction of filtered phosphate excreted by the kidney increased and the serum concentration of phosphorus remained normal despite the loss of kidney function.” From same article as linked above.

    Calcitriol — a very usable form of vitamin D is found in liver and kidneys. Do you know what form calcitriol comes in — vitamin d2 or vitamin d3 (or possibly another)? Yes, high in phos but right now she is handling it (maybe because of the very utilizable D in it?).

    My goals with Audrey was to feed her whole, unadulterated foods and hope for the best… It has paid off thus far.

    I do give her a, primarily, whole food supplement designed specifically for kidney disease — it is glandular based and includes an oral antigen which prevents the body from further destruction of the kidneys via inflammation. I’m quite certain this has been very beneficial in maintaining her current health.

    I looked at the Iams KD food —– I don’t care how sick Audrey gets, I will NEVER put her on this food!! It is pure and absolute junk. The below partial ingredient list is from the “early stage” food. I didn’t even bother looking at the later stage foods..

    “Corn Meal, Corn Grits, Chicken, Brewer’s Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Soy Protein Isolate, Fish Meal, Chicken Flavor, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Egg Product, Gum Arabic, Fructooligosaccharides, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Calcium Carbonate,” http://www.iams.com/dog-food/iams-veterinary-formula-early-stage-canine

  • aimee

    My comment had more to do with diet formulation for dogs with confirmed kidney insufficiency than anything to do with this diet.

    I do not think lower protein or phosphorous levels prevents kidney problems. Nor do I see any reason to take older dogs off of meat based protein diets. Old age is not a disease.

    In regards to protein, I didn’t mean to imply it should be decreased in early kidney problems. (Shawna Iams stages their kidney diets in regards to proteins as does Royal Canin but they are both probably lower than what you’d like : )) But since a dog only uses/needs so much protein/day and then the rest is used for energy I’m comfortable with substituting carbohydrates for protein as an energy source. Shawna I’m not sure what you mean in regards to various AA compositions putting strain on the kidneys, can you elaborate?

    My understanding is that restricting phos is the first step in controlling PTH. A dog may have a normal blood phos but behind the scenes the body may be pumping out PTH to maintain it as such while another dog with the same degree of kidney insufficiency may have a normal phos and normal PTH. There isn’t a good way to tell these two apart unless you measure PTH.

    I think the IRIS guidelines regarding phos restriction are based on the phos and creat levels because of the correlation to PTH levels. At higher creat levels adding calcitriol is recommended as well. But they are guidelines so yes, if the dog’s phos remains in range and the PTH remains normal than I don’t see why phos restriction would be of benefit.

  • Yeah, Oops! I dd get it confused, sorry! Thanks Shawna!

  • Shawna

    Oops — re-read Toxed’s comment… She is referring to Bean, Lew Olson’s dog. Lew would lower Bean’s phos when symptoms warranted doing so and then have him on a regular raw, barf diet at other times. Bean lived to age 5.

    As mentioned in my previous post, I don’t restrict Audrey’s diet at all — of anything except carbs and no grains. The only time I tried grains (barley) on her it was a complete disaster!!!!

  • Shawna

    Just to clarify — Audrey was diagnosed with KD at age 1 year via CBC, urine specific gravity and urine culture. Over the next year, three additional CBC’s were done all confirming KD. She had symptoms before weaning — excessive drinking and urinating. I mentioned this to my, at the time, vet and she said I was being paranoid – (Audrey’s eyes are bright her coat is great and she is very intelligent. Puppies drink more and therefore urinate more. Quit worrying..) Audrey was the runt of her litter but out drank all of her siblings – combined. I was never asked how much she actually drank and urinated. She was my first puppy in 15 years so I listened to my vet. I had just started fostering at the time and the puppies I had were 6 months and older. And, probably more then anything, I didn’t want to believe there was something wrong with her……..

    Audrey was weaned onto raw meat and has been on a raw food diet since (5 plus years ago). I DO NOT restrict her diet in any way shape or form — EVER. She eats Primal, Bravo, Trader Joe’s meat with premixes etc. I haven’t ever, to date, restricted phosphorus either (in 5 years).

  • Shawna’s right about that. I treated mine, in part, with high amounts of quality protein. Organic, grass fed lamb, beef, wild venison and elk. I actually don’t do as well on fish (even wild salmon) or poultry. Just My Experience (JME)

  • Mike, I think you were correct before. When you adopt one component as the ‘overriding design objective’ your results will be impaired. Our pets, and those of us with voices, that have KD, know that it is a variable and complex problem. You can’t just say one part is the main answer. All the parts are interdependent. Shawna mentioned this in her illustration concerning Audrey. Sometimes she needs lower phosphorus than others and at the times when her Phos doesn’t need to be restricted, she needs those other things for the variation in nutrients. In the world of the chronically I’ll we refer to it as “net positive gain.” So, yes balance the Phos, but it’s not the main thing that effects KD, or I’d be dead.

    When I first got KD, I didn’t know any of that. I did nothing with Phos. But I still treated it and survived, even though my urologist ‘washed her hands of me.’ I was hemoraghing from my kidneys and passing chunks of them. So I think if you focus on Phos as the key that opens the lock, you’ll be missing the bigger picture. :-} Just my 2¢

  • Shawna

    “Is it really necessary for manufacturers of products like Purina’s Active Senior recipe to cut meat protein for the sake of the prevention of renal disease?”

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that “protein” in and of itself does not contribute to kidney disease either before it has developed or after it has set in.. In fact, many educated on the subject, feel it is “low quality proteins” like those found in less biologically avialable by-products and grains, as well as a chronically dry diet, that puts extra strain on the kidneys.. Every individual educated in the do’s and don’ts of a kd diet will tell you “high quality” protein — grains and plant material are NOT that..

  • Shawna

    Aimee — the fact still remains that grains (most) contribute phosphorus without anything else the body NEEDS (except calories). IF chosing to feed a dry, kibble based diet it may be your only option but that doesn’t by any way shape or form mean it is the best, or even a good, option — for many reasons…

    I quoted material from the Iams research symposium stating that restricting PROTEIN in kd dogs does more harm then good… This is old news…. Manufacturers designing kibbled diets for kd dogs seem to ignore this data…

  • Hi Aimee. OK, that makes sense. So, in other words, if a dog is being actively treated for kidney disease, you’d recommend low phosphorus as the overriding design objective for a therapeutic (renal) diet.

    But what about for older pets? Should old age be considered a disease? Or is it simply a stage of life?

    Is it really necessary for manufacturers of products like Purina’s Active Senior recipe to cut meat protein for the sake of the prevention of renal disease?

  • aimee

    Hmm.. I’m not sure I would agree. Controlling phosphorous is such an integral component of the management of renal compromise that I think selecting ingredients based on that parameter is valid.

    In general the lower phosphorous foods commonly used in commercial dog food are going to be from plant material, including grains, and there will always be associated protein with those ingredients.

    But that isn’t to say that the primary protein in renal foods has to be from a plant source. It is the carbohydrates they contain that can be used to dilute out the phosphorous from an animal based ingredient. Fat is used for this as well.

    But I do think you will see a bit of “nutrientism” in the design of kidney diets whereby individual AA’s or a complementary plant protein may be added to improve the AA profile of the plant protein that is present.

    As a guideline, IRIS recommends restricting dietary phosphorous when creat exceeds 1.4. The goal is to prevent/control pth levels as pth is toxic to the kidney.

  • Hi Aimee — Your argument regarding the phosphorus content of grains versus meat makes sense.

    However, I believe Shawna makes an important and valuable point when she says, “Grains like corn contribute the phosphorus without the high quality protein. So if you feed more grains you get the phosphorus without the much more needed protein.”

    To me, focusing on any one nutrient (like phosphorus) at the exclusion of all others is one of the less recognized flaws in nutrition science. Wouldn’t you agree?

  • Shawna

    commenter 🙂

  • Shawna

    LOL!! Hey Gordon ~~ GOOD to see you around.. I actually sent you and email – guessing you didn’t get it 🙂 It said — I’ve taken over as top commentor and don’t want to be there — where are you? 😉

  • Gordon

    Hello my good friend, Shawna. I see you’ve knocked me off the top perch, lol. If anyone did, I don’t mind that it was you! 😉

  • Shawna

    Didn’t answer you completely..

    I don’t restrict Audrey’s diet at this time. She eats everything. However, when the time comes I know I will start by feeding egg whites but eliminating the yolk, green tripe sourced from lamb, higher fat meats. I will give egg shells for calcium instead of bone meal. Yams are significantly higher in phos then sweet potatos (which are not always in season — but I did find a source for frozen sweet potatos at Whole Foods). I have sushi rice on hand (in the freezer).

    One cup of medium grain white rice has 242 calories, 68.8 mg phos and 5.6 mg calcium. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5718/2

    One cup of sushi rice has on 169 calories but also only 13.9 mg of phos and 3.5 mg calcium. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5722/2

    You could feed a lot of calories in sushi rice and still be significantly below white rice in phosphorus — allowing for a higher meat content — esp if feeding higher fat meat.

    One ounce of 90% ground beef has 51.5 mg of phos while one ounce of 75% ground beef has 40.6 mg. Coconut oil is another good option.

    One of the kidney forums I belong to has a nutrient calculator that allows you to create diets higher in proteins and lower in phosphorus.

  • Shawna

    True aimee but — dogs with kidney disease actually have an increased need for protein per Mary Straus of dogaware.com. Grains like corn contribute the phosphorus without the high quality protein. So if you feed more grains you get the phosphorus without the much more needed protein.

    “As long as the amount of phosphorus is kept within desirable limits, and your dog is not uremic and does not have excessive proteinuria, you really don’t have to worry much about feeding too much protein (you may need to be careful not to feed too little). It is important to feed high quality protein.”

    Grains do not have “high quality” protein.

    “If your dog is not uremic, then the consensus seems to be to feed a moderate amount of very high quality protein. Eggs have the highest quality protein (although egg yolks are high in phosphorus), followed by meat (raw or cooked). The lowest quality protein comes from grains.

    Dogs have no nutritional need for carbohydrates, but in order to reduce phosphorus, you will probably need to feed around 50% carbohydrates. In general, the goal is to add calories without adding much phosphorus. For this reason, grains like Farina, pasta, and vegetables like sweet potatoes and winter squashes are good choices.

    Green tripe may be an excellent food for dogs with kidney disease, as it is fairly low in phosphorus and is highly palatable to dogs.” http://www.dogaware.com/health/kidneydiet.html#phosphorus

    Audrey doesn’t need the higher carbs – others might but they should be low phos carbs. Green tripe is also a supplemental source of enzymes and probiotics. Probiotics are supplemented for nitrogen trapping purposes — allowing an even higher protein diet to be fed. They actually even have prescription probiotics and prebiotics for kd dogs/cats.

    Lew Olsen, PhD Natural Nutrition, breeder and owner of Bean the congenital kd dog that lived to age 5. Lew was one of my sources when I formulated Audrey’s diet.

    “Kidney Failure from the Iams Nutrition Symposium
    For years, physicians and veterinarians have treated renal failure by reducing protein levels in diets,’ said Gregory Reinhart PhD, an Iams researcher. After working with leading universities, we have now found that restricting protein in a dog’s diet may do more harm than good by potentially putting the companion animal at risk of protein malnutrition. It would appear restricting protein may do more harm than good, and when it may be beneficial (end stage renal disease) the dog may well be too ill to eat well.

    When the Bean’s creatinine level goes over 3, and his BUN is greater than 60, I move to feed him lower phosphorus foods (not lower protein) and restrict his sodium.” http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/kidney-diet/

    “Also please remember, changes in the amount of protein given in the diet are unneccessary until the dog’s blood panels reach the levels of BUN and creatinine listed above. Reducing protein before this time has been shown to actually do more harm than good. Removing the building blocks of maintaining good organ integrity can actually starve the body of what it needs for continued good health.” http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/proteins-kidneys-senior-dogs/

    This site does say that barley is okay but barley is a gluten grain and can cause malnutrition and leaky gut (this happened to Audrey). Too risky imo. http://www.windyhollowvet.com/Document/info/ChronicRenalFailureDiet.pdf

  • aimee


    What meats do you feed Audrey? I recall you saying tripe was low in phos. I calculated it out at 54mg/100 kcals which is similar to corn at 57mg/100 kcals but you said corn is high in phosphorous. What am I missing?

    Other meats I calculate out at much higher level: beef sirloin 105 mg/100kcals, turkey raw lean 128 mg/100 kcals, beef liver 286 mg/100 kcals, turkey giblets 170 mg/100 kcals, chicken breast 101 mg/100 kcals.

    Looking at other grains rice is 19 mg/100kcals, barley is 62 mg/100 kcals, oats and wheat are higher at 123 mg/100 kcals and 110 mg/100 kcals respectively and are similar to the meats I looked at.

  • sandy


    And the NOW brand is less than 30% with fresh meat, not rendered, no byproduct meals.


  • sandy


    This food has 30% protein. There are better foods out there at or around 30% as well – Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, TOTW Sierra Mountain, Natures’ Variety Prairie, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed, Natures Select Hi Protein, Whole Earth Farms, Wellness Small Breed, Canidae Single Grain Protein Plus, Honest Kitchen Thrive, Nature’s Variety Instinct LID, Nutrisource Grain Free, Canidae GF Pure Land, Natural Balance Alpha Dog. None of these foods have corn, corn gluten meal, soybean hulls, soybean meal, wheat, sugar, animal digest, propylene glycol, food coloring, or menadione or generic meat and bone meal. All of these would have the “better quality meat” than Purina.

  • Shawna

    Hi Lisa,

    I too have a dog born with kidney disease — she is the one pictured in my gravatar at the top right of my post. We noticed excessive drinking and consequently excessive urinating before she was even weaned. She could FILL (completely fill) a high end potty pad to the point it would leak thru the bottom when she was only 9 weeks old. That was just overnight. Usually at some point thru the night I would have to change out her potty pad and clean up — every night.

    Audrey wasn’t officially diagnosed with kidney disease, however, til she was a year old. She turned 5 years old last June (2011). She is still very healthy and unmedicated (other then vitamins and food based supplements). She has never had to go to the vet for sub-q fluids etc. AND, she has been on a high protein, raw food diet since weaned.

    The better the quality of protein fed, the more protein can be fed. Protein does not actually damage the kidneys — phosphorus however does and phosphorus is high in grains (like corn). I’m quite certain that if you went to an animal nutritionist they would have you take her off of this food and put pup on a better quality protein food — even science diet kd (canned food) is better then this food. The first ingredient is water but the second ingredient is egg whites (a good source of high quality protein but lower in phosphorus).

    I’m really quite shocked your vet would endorse this food???

  • Lisa

    I want to put in a good word for Purina Active Senior 7 Plus. With regards to my little King Charles Spaniel, who has suffered from kidney disease since birth, this is the only food he likes and would eat, and it has been a lifesaver. Not sure why he only likes this particular brand; however, we have tried all the brands of senior food, and this is literally the only one he will eat, and moreover, likes. The protein content, which has to be lower than what can be found in can foods, must be in line with what he can eat. Our veterinarian was even happy when she saw him recently. She was impressed, and wanted to know what he was eating, which has always been a major issue with regards to his health and longevity, and the continuance of normal kidney function. Since switching over to Purina Active Senior 7 Plus, our poochie’s health has greatly improved, and the amount of health related kidney attacks has diminished to a new low. Since we love the baby so much, we are very thankful to have tried this Purina product, and it enhance the quality of his life. Thanks again.

  • Gordon

    To add to my above comment – then after the average 12 years of age or prior life span, then they want you to go buy another dog, and put the new dog through the same silently vicious internal cancer and other diseases causing cycle!

  • Gordon

    This inferior grain-based kibble crap is on crappyness par with kibble like Pedigree.

    What is Purina thinking? Let’s fast track the slow and painful death of dogs 7 years +? Besides, a dog is estimated to be around the mid 40’s in equivalent human years when it reaches 7 years old. So I doubt a human 45 year old, would deem them self a senior citizen. But I guess Purina’s agenda, like all the other main stream pet food companies, is to limit the life span of the dog to around 12 years on average, accompanied with multiple vet bills along the way, right up until its unnaturally Purina induced premature death. 🙁