Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind (Dry)


Rating: ★★★☆☆

Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind product line includes five dry dog foods,

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Small Breed [M]
  • Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Large Breed [M]
  • Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken and Rice [M]
  • Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult Small Breed (2.5 stars) [M]
  • Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult Chicken and Rice (2.5 stars) [M]

Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken and Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Chicken, poultry by-product meal (source of glucosamine), brewers rice, whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, corn germ meal, medium-chain triglyceride vegetable oil, barley, fish meal (source of glucosamine), dried egg product, fish oil, natural flavor, potassium chloride, mono and dicalcium phosphate, l-arginine, salt, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, garlic oil, folic acid, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, and sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis29%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%16%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%34%38%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 34% | Carbs = 38%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is poultry by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of slaughtered poultry after all the prime cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).

We consider poultry by-products slightly lower in quality than a single-species ingredient (like chicken by-products).

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh poultry.

The third ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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

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

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

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% 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 is corn germ meal, a meal made from ground corn germ after much of the oil has been removed. Corn germ meal is a protein-rich by-product left over after milling corn meal, hominy grits and other corn products.

However, the protein found in corn germ meal (about 25% dry matter basis) must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is medium-chain triglyceride vegetable oil (MCT), a fatty-acid supplement derived from palm kernel or coconut oil.

Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1

Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), MCT can be considered a positive addition to any senior recipe.

The ninth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The tenth ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.3

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

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 five notable exceptions

First, we find fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.4

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

Next, 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.

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

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Purina Pro Plan
Bright Mind Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind 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 33%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

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

Bottom line?

Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.


Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Purina Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

03/15/2017 Last Update

  1. Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754
  2. Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9.
  3. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  4. 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)
  • Kristle Costello

    When will you be reviewing the new formula?

  • Corey Rigoni

    I agree with you insofar as the MCT levels in coconut oil vs. research. That said, I think there are sufficient nutrient liabilities in this food that offset whatever “benefit” the MCT in this particular food might offer. A “Bright Mind” won’t matter much if the dog is otherwise compromised physically due to the junk in this food.

  • aimee

    Hi Corey,
    I agree with you that coconut oil contains MCT and doesn’t contain the other ingredients found in BrightMind,

    Where we differ is that you believe “You can accomplish the same or better benefit of the MCT in “Bright
    Mind” by giving your dog a Tablespoon (for a 50 lb+ dog) per day of
    organic coconut oil”and I do not agree with that statement.

    There is ~ 1 gram of capric acid and ~ 1 gram of caprylic acid in every Tbls of coconut oil .

    If you fed a 50 lb dog a food containing the levels in the research that support the product you’d be feeding ~14 grams caprylic acid and 1 gram capric.

    So while you’d be feeding an equivalent amount of capric acid you’d only be supplying ~7% of the amount of caprylic acid.

    There is no supporting data that feeding such a low level of MCT to a dog would have any effect on cognition.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Corey-

    That is absolutely untrue.

  • Amateria

    Loving Earths oil is all of that its like $16 per jar and it’s lovely stuff, I ended up being unable to give it in its out of the jar form to the dogs no matter how much I tried, even a tiny dot on my finger was too much, I ended up buying and am actively using kibble with coconut oil instead and it’s working brilliantly.

  • Corey Rigoni

    Cheaper just to buy a 54 oz container of organic coconut oil at Sam’s Club or Costco.

  • Corey Rigoni

    You’re totally right, Aimee. Organic, cold-pressed coconut oil contains MCTs without the corn and other junk in this food.

  • Corey Rigoni

    A lot depends on the quality and quantity of the coconut oil. Dogs don’t need much, but it MUST be organic, cold-pressed. If it doesn’t say that on the label, then hexane, a chemical solvent, was used to extract the oil, and you’ll never convince me that they are able to rid the oil of any hexane post-extraction.

    Dogs don’t need a lot of coconut oil. 1 T. per day for a 50+ lb dog is enough.

  • Corey Rigoni

    You can accomplish the same or better benefit of the MCT in “Bright Mind” by giving your dog a Tablespoon (for a 50 lb+ dog) per day of organic coconut oil. MCT is a fatty acid and coconut oil contains a better quality MCT. You can pick up a huge jar of organic coconut oil at any Sam’s Club or Costco. “Bright Mind” is a giant con.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Patricia-

    I’m sorry to hear about your dogs diagnosis. I had an opportunity to learn a little bit about Insulinoma from an exotic and small animal vet when I interned at a vet clinic for school. We had a ferret diagnoised with it and apparently it is common in ferrets.

    I am not positive if the same treatment applies to canines as it does to ferrets, but the vet explained that Insulinoma can be successfully managed with steroids. There is a surgery to remove the tumors, however the chances of them coming back are high (I believe over 80%) and most often there are more tumors than what can actually be removed without comprimising the organ itself.

    As far as I know in ferrets there is no dietary link. Again I don’t know about dogs, there could be, but more likely than not this condition existed before Bright Mind and simply manifested itself at a bad time.

    I wish you and your pup the best of luck. Sounds like your vet has a good treatment plan in place.

  • Patricia Banzhof

    Turns out Sasha has what’s called “Insulinoma”. I’m very devastated over this. I’m floored. Trying to grasp at the grim news. It’s much more than just low blood sugar. Who knows, it might have happened anyway had I not had her on Bright Mind, and on her regular food. I’m working with Sedgwick, Purina’s consumer claims company. They want vet’s notes, labs and results and all invoices. I’m not giving up on finding out the real reason why this Insulinoma has taken over. So far, so good, no seizures since July 26. My vet recommended small, frequent high carb and high protein food and Prednisone twice/day. I’ve added Hills science diet puppy to her regular meals of Diamond Senior. I’m noticing the puppy food has improved her coat dramatically. No more dry skin and bare spots. When that runs out, I’m starting her on Diamond Extreme Athlete (high calorie). If she seems hungry between meals, I’ll give her 1/2 cup food. I’m still feeling overwhelmed by this diagnosis. It totally blew my mind and was unexpected. Trying to figure out how to feed her at 2pm when I work all day some days. I’ll look into an automatic feeder. That may settle my nerves. I wish my vet tested her sooner for this, because it comes as a total shock. They should add testing blood sugar as part of yearly checkups; it could have been picked up early. She will see vet tomorrow for followup.

  • theBCnut

    I’ve known a number of dogs with hypoglycemia, but none of the cases was ever even suspected of being brought on by the food. However, food can affect how the dog handles it. My vet only recommended Karo for hypoglycemic puppies. For adults, he recommended small meals throughout the day. For my self and my dad, we were put on a diet even stricter than a diabetic, completely avoiding simple sugars. My doctor says that adding sugar to the diet causes an over production of insulin, which causes a crash, actually making the problem worse than before. He always recommended eating something like granola that had slow released sugars and a decent amount of protein. Good luck on figuring out what will work for your dog.

  • aimee

    Hi Patricia,

    I’m so sorry that you and your dog are going through this. I agree with theBCnut that this is likely a medical problem and not a food related problem. Here is an article that goes through some causes of low blood sugar. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=3181

    The article reports “mental dullness” as one of the signs associated with low blood sugars. I wonder if your pet was displaying this which then led you to change to Brightmind.

    Has your dog had an ultrasound test done yet?

  • Patricia Banzhof

    She was seen by vet 7/22/16. Her blood work revealed low blood sugar, which may be contributing to the seizures. She had additional blood work sent to look at pancreatic function. Still waiting for those results. I’m told to add a tsp Karo syrup to her meals, plus give a bedtime snack to help keep BS up, thus may reduce seizure in the a.m. Since 6/26, a he has had a total of 7 seizures, the most recent being yesterday. I think this food really messed her up, and after doing some research, there are 2 additional online complaints of owners dogs having seizures after being fed this particular food ( Amazon.com review and Facebook). I’m printing these additional complaints and going to present to the vet, because she needs to warn clients about this food. I’ve also filed reports with Purina and FDA.

  • theBCnut

    So sorry to hear about your dog. Seizures that start at this advanced age can mean serious brain issues. It’s unlikely that the food caused the underlying issue, but not as unlikely that the food triggered an episode. If I were you, I would have her checked out, including bloodwork even if she doesn’t have another seizure soon. Also, you should know that cleaning products, fertilizers, and many other chemicals are known for triggering seizures, so you may need to watch what you are using around the house from now on. I hope your poor girl gets better quick.

  • Patricia Banzhof

    Help! My Treeing Walker Coonhound was on BrightMind adult large breed for a total of 1 month and began having seizures the 4th week. We put her back on previous food the eve of second seizure. I believe this food messed her up. From 6/26 to 7/18, she’s had 4 seizures. She perfectly healthy prior to this food. So now I look forward to vet bills and the possibility of another seizure, either tonight or tomorrow morning. I’ve filed a report with Purina.

  • Omayo856

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  • Shawna

    I don’t disagree with what you are saying, that the susceptibility has to be there, but I think you are knit picking (especially considering the frequency of CD).

    “Eating is risky but what alternative do we have.”

    Eating IS risky, I agree!!! That’s why suggesting one diet for life (or even long term) is inadvisable, wouldn’t you agree?

    We disagree, go figure :), as to what the relevant message of the article is. It also states (which you left out – notice the BUT after “we should be safe”) “We should be safe. But the sialic acid molecules can be stripped off by the enzyme neuraminidase, present in several micro-organisms such as influenzaviruses and streptococci. This may explain why diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis tend to occur as sequelae of infections.”

    Is gluten consumption going to damage the brain of every dog that eats it – of course not. But I believe it can. Beyond that, there is no mandatory, and in my opinion good, reason to include wheat in any diet formulated for dogs let alone one proclaiming to be good for cognition.

    As you full well know, wheat is not the only ingredient in canine diets that I feel isn’t appropriate and problematic.

  • aimee

    Yes!! You got it! It isn’t gluten that causes the problem it is an inherited abnormal reaction to gluten. This is why saying gluten damages brain cells is incorrect.

    This very very rare genetic problem that possibly exists in people has not been identified in the dog.
    Therefore to denigrate the inclusion of wheat in Purina Bright makes no sense.

    If we avoid everything that has ever triggered an autoimmmune or otherwise serious response in anyone we’d all die of starvation.

    Eating is risky but what alternative do we have.

    Yes you’ve cited the paper many times and you always leave out the most relevant message from the
    author. He asks a question.”Do dietary lectins cause disease?” and answers it with

    We should be safe

    The recent research supports that.

    “Up-to-date research findings on mechanisms that wheat lectins have
    effects on health factors, such as obesity, autoimmune disease, and
    celiac disease, are critically reviewed. ,b>We conclude that there are many
    unsubstantiated assumptions made. Current data about health effects of
    dietary lectins, as consumed in cooked, baked, or extruded foods do not
    support negative health effects in humans. In contrast, consumption of
    WGA containing foods, such as cereals and whole grain products, has been
    shown to be associated with significantly reduced risks of type 2
    diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, as well as a
    more favourable long-term weight management..” (van Buul and Browns 2014)

  • Shawna

    Yes, “antigliadin” antibodies (IgA & IgG) to GLUTEN…or more specifically gliadin, in wheat.

    Antigliadin antibodies are seen in some with IgA nephropathy, rhuematoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, gluten ataxia, dermatitis herpetiformis and so on.

    Edit to include — I’ve cited this paper many times before.
    “Of particular interest is the implication for autoimmune diseases. Lectins stimulate class II HLA antigens on cells that do not normally display them, such as pancreatic islet and thyroid cells.9 The islet cell determinant to which cytotoxic autoantibodies bind in insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is the disaccharide N-acetyl lactosamine,10 which must bind tomato lectin if present and probably also the lectins of wheat, potato, and peanuts. This would result in islet cells expressing both class II HLA antigens and foreign antigen together—a sitting duck for autoimmune attack. Certain foods (wheat, soya) are indeed diabetogenic in genetically susceptible mice.11 Insulin dependent diabetes therefore is another potential lectin disease and could possibly be prevented by prophylactic oligosaccharides.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115436/

  • aimee

    You wrote “I don’t know, the research conclusions were pretty cut and dry
    “triggered and perpetuated by gluten and thus responsive to a
    gluten-free diet.” ”

    So actually you do know. … gluten isn’t damaging brain cells if it did the quote wouldn’t have the words “triggered and perpetuated by”

    The damage is done by autoantibodies not by gluten. Gluten doesn’t damage brain cells… antibodies do! It is an autoimmune disease,

    The vast majority of the population does not have this genetic susceptibility which is why nearly everyone can eat gluten without falling all over themselves!!!

  • Shawna

    I don’t know, the research conclusions were pretty cut and dry “triggered and perpetuated by gluten and thus responsive to a gluten-free diet.”

    Maybe you should read this again. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3641836/

    “CD should be suggested as a differential diagnosis in children with unclear white-matter lesions even without intestinal symptoms.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26500168

    “MR imaging is used primarily in the diagnostic work-up of CD-associated conditions. Nonspecific periventricular white matter lesions of various sizes with increased T2/FLAIR signal intensity and without enhancement have been described.” http://www.ajnr.org/content/31/5/880.full

    “Quite intriguing and possibly of relevance to MS, is the observation that chronic inflammatory bowel disease causes lesions in the white-matter of the brain (20, 21). Lesions of the gut would increase the permeability of the gut, and also the uptake of gluten and gliadin and thus increase the IgA antibodies to these proteins. Increased intestinal permeability has been reported in MS(22) as well as possible inflammatory bowel disease (23).” http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/LeakyGutMS/Gluten%20antibodies%20and%20MS.pdf

  • aimee

    When using the methods of science it can not be concluded something doesn’t occur..just as one can not prove something occurs That isn’t science methodology.. In science one makes reasonable conclusions based on available data.. As new data becomes available new conclusions may be made,.

    It is known that Irish Setters have an inherited form of gluten enteropathy.
    And though too early to say …gluten may play a role in the inherited cramping syndrome you posted about.

    But considering as of yet gluten hasn’t been found to damage brain cell in people I wouldn’t expect to find this in canines either.

  • Shawna

    Has the research been done showing gluten/carbs don’t damage canines in the same ways it does humans?

  • aimee

    Dr Perlmutter has done canine research? Where can I find it?

  • Shawna

    And that is your opinion however others might not see it that way – Neurologist Dr. Perlmutter, as an example. Well, actually, his beef is with ALL grains (carbs) not just gluten grains.

  • aimee

    Looking at things differently is okay .. and even more than okay.. but I become concerned when information is misapplied and inaccurate conclusions are drawn..which is what I saw in your posts.

  • Shawna

    I’m okay with you not understanding, aimee. I, many of us, look at things differently than you and that is okay. :0)

  • aimee

    I’m failing to understand your posts. it seems like you are posting unrelated material and leading the reader to think they are related.

    Yes carbohydrate is an efficient source of glucose.. what does that have to do with older dog’s brains being less efficient at using glucose? Why add “(from carbs)” after that statement?

    And this from your prior post; “What isn’t said here is that it appears to be carbs / glucose that is involved in the damages done to the brain”

    I suppose if blood glucose levels fall to low levels brain damage can result but I don’t see the relevance.

    Also in your original post you wrote. “Additionally gluten, in the wheat, is known to cause brain cell damage — “gluten ataxia” ”

    As written you seem to be saying that Purina formulated a diet which contains an ingredient that is damaging to the brain… nonsense.

    The reality is that “gluten ataxia” is a somewhat controversial diagnosis. Gluten does not cause brain cell damage, Gluten is common in the American diet and yet we ( Americans) are not all stumbling down the street from cerebellar damage.

    But very rarely, an immune disorder causes brain damage and that disorder may be triggered by gluten. This is very different from saying gluten causes brain cell damage,

    More puzzling though is that when I asked if “Gluten ataxia”, has been documented in dogs you answered “Not to the same degree as in humans”. Which I guess you could say is true as zero documentation in dogs would be less than the proposed frequency in people. But it is very misleading.

    Even more baffling is that you cited as your support for the existence of “gluten ataxia” in dogs ( a neurological condition characterized by cerebellar atrophy), a poorly understood but believed genetic muscle cramping condition in Border terriers..

    From the source you linked to “It appears to be a genetic disease but rather little is known about it.”

    What is interesting is that owners of affected dogs have anecdotally reported fewer symptoms on lower protein diets, “hypoallergenic” diets and gluten free diets.

    The study you cited was purportedly solely investigating the role of gluten. But as in any study there were flaws. For me the major flaw is that the test diet was a hydrolyzed soy diet. The diet was not only gluten free, it was also a diet with a lower average protein content and “hypoallergenic”. The test diet covered all the anecdotal conditions reported to lower incidence of cramping. Also there were no controls as all affected dogs were put on the diet.

    A better design would have been to put all dogs on the test diet and then add gluten in to half of the test subjects so that the only dietary difference would be the presence of gluten.

    It is intriguing that gluten may play a role in this probable genetic disorder. But it has nothing to do with gluten ataxia or brain damage from gluten. Neither gluten ataxia or cramping syndrome in anyway support your statement that “gluten, in the wheat, is known to cause brain cell damage”

  • Toni-Ann Mistretta

    Our dog seems much more alert since we started her on Bright Minds but now her fasting blood sugar is very low. After $1000 in tests they cannot find any reason for this. Otherwise she is great -eating, drinking, chasimg squirrels. She’s a 13 year old lab mix so I’m not expecting miracles.

  • Shawna

    “Do you consider glucose from protein or fats to somehow be different and used differently?”

    Not different but I don’t think you would disagree that it is more readily available from carbohydrates. Waltham, as well as other sources, specifically state carbs are added for this reason. “Carbohydrates can be divided into four types: 1. Absorbable carbohydrate – a form that is immediately useable by the body. Glucose is the most common dietary unit of carbohydrate but is usually present as a component of more complex carbohydrates” I believe you have even stated on here that carbs are added because they are a more efficient source of energy (versus added as a filler).

    “How prevalent is gluten ataxia in the human population?

    Has it ever been documented in the canine population?

    Any research that dogs that eat gluten perform worse on cognitive tests than those that do not?”

    Not to the same degree as in humans however they have recently discovered that Border Terriers are affected by gluten causing “Canine epileptoid cramping syndrome” or “Spikes disease”. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26500168

    Some info on “CECS” – “Signs shown by affected individuals vary widely. All appear normal between episodes. Some experience only a few mild episodes, during which they show loss of muscle co-ordination (ataxia), stagger and tremble (Leitchty and Blake 2005). Others may show exaggerated stretching and lip licking. More severely affected dogs experience cramping of the muscles of the body and limbs. Ripples of muscle contractions may be seen. Such dogs may fall over and remain recumbent. Some dogs appear to suffer cramping of the intestinal muscles, causing signs of abdominal pain and excessive abdominal noises (Leitchty and Blake 2005, O’Brien no date).” http://www.ufaw.org.uk/dogs/border-terrier-canine-epileptoid-cramping-syndrome ALL of those symptoms, in Border Terriers at least, have been attributed to gluten.

    Symptoms associated with ataxia are all over the board including balance issues, vision and hearing issues, personality and mood disorders, diabetes and more.

    Back to studies in the canine population — “It has taken nearly 2000 years to appreciate that a common dietary protein introduced to the human diet relatively late in evolutionary terms (some 10 000 years ago), can produce human disease not only of the gut but also the skin and the nervous system.” http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/72/5/560.full They are just beginning to test in dogs.

    Same paper “Some studies looking at normal populations have shown that the prevalence of CD is much higher than previously thought13,14 (approximating to 1 in 100). Most of such patients have no gastrointestinal symptoms.

  • aimee

    Hi Shawna,

    I’m not understanding this statement: “It’s believed that seniors are not as efficient at utilizing glucose (from carbs)”

    I understand that the ageing brain isn’t as efficient at using glucose.. I don’t understand why you added “(from carbs)” Do you consider glucose from protein or fats to somehow be different and used differently?

    How does glucose cause insulin resistance?

    How prevalent is gluten ataxia in the human population?

    Has it ever been documented in the canine population?

    Any research that dogs that eat gluten perform worse on cognitive tests than those that do not?

  • riley hootman

    Oh lol. I guess I’m so used to purinas bullcrap I don’t take time to research their claimes.

  • Shawna

    It’s believed that seniors are not as efficient at utilizing carbs to make glucose. MCT’s provide ketones that the brain (and body) can use as fuel in the absence of glucose.

    “The reduction of brain glucose metabolism is a common feature associated with aging, a process that starts around middle age and may be partially responsible for age-dependent cognitive decline,” says Purina Research Scientist Yuanlong Pan, Ph.D., who specializes in studying healthy aging.” http://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/Senior-geriatric-dog-health/nutrition-can-help-improve.html

    What isn’t said here is that it appears to be carbs / glucose that is involved in the damages done to the brain.. SEVERAL studies show that “brain insulin resistance” causes the inability to utilize glucose which then puts the body in need of alternate energy sources like ketones.

    Additionally, MCT’s are just one way of creating ketones. A diet higher in fat with moderate protein and low carbs can also be used therapeutically for those with age related cognitive disorders. It is hard for humans to eat a ketogenic diet because it is so restricted in carbs though so they found that they could increase carbs a bit if adding MCT’s to the diet.

    The EXACT fatty acids used in this food may not be found on the store shelves but MCTs are and a ketogenic, albeit difficult to adhere to, definitely can be done without supplementation. I know MANY doctors who eat and recommend a ketogenic diet for diabetics, those with insulin resistance and healthy people alike.

    What I don’t like about Bright Minds is that it certainly isn’t lowering carbs any. Additionally gluten, in the wheat, is known to cause brain cell damage — “gluten ataxia”. Ataxia can be the only symptom in some with a gluten sensitivity and even celiac (based on the below research article).

    “Gluten sensitivity as a neurological illness
    Alhough the ataxia tends to be slowly progressive, in some cases it can take a very rapid course with the development of cerebellar atrophy within a year of the onset of the illness (fig 1).” http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/72/5/560.full

    Neurological – “The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the nervous system.”

    cerebellar “The cerebellum (Latin for “little brain”) is a region of the brain that plays an important role in motor control. It may also be involved in some cognitive functions such as attention and language”

    atrophy “(of body tissue or an organ) waste away, typically due to the degeneration of cells”

  • Pitlove

    It is actually quite interesting. If you read further down this review Aimee, Shawna and a few others had a really interesting discussion on it. They were able to determine that you could not achieve the levels of MCT’s in this food through supplementation like once thought.

  • Cannoli

    Hey Pitlove,

    ah I see it’s listed as the 8th ingredient

    I stand corrected. I need to read up on how MCTS help older dogs with their brain function

  • Pitlove

    Hi Riley-

    This product does not advertise the claim of “making your dog smarter”. It makes and accomplishes the claim of improving cognative function in older dogs through medium-chain triglyceride’s. MCT’s are documented to help older dogs with brain function. There is plenty of research on this that Bright Mind was based off of. I know several people who have their senior dogs on this food and have noticed dramatic differences in the personality, alertness, etc

  • Cannoli

    yes it is a bit misleading as there is no food out there that can make your dog smarter. Kind of reminds me when “smart water” came out and I saw all these people drinking it

  • riley hootman

    I like the ads for this food. They trick consumers into thinking there dogs will somehow get smarter on this product.

  • LabsRawesome

    He cant that’s why. Some people always have to be the one with the biggest ego, if you know what I mean. 🙂

  • losul

    C’mon el. How bout we knock this stuff off now, before it turns into something not so funny again. We have this huge rift between us and always will. So why don’t we just do our best to ignore/avoid each other and keep the peace? I’m not on here much anymore anyway.

  • losul

    It’s good C4D, hehe, but I think version 1.0 may have been funnier.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hmmmm, sorry all, but not funny.

  • Hi Losul

    I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.

    Edward Gibbon

  • losul

    “I would be happy to answer any questions you have on diabetes.
    Please ask them in the Diabetic Dog Food review”

    Nah, the subject matter would have been much better suited here, and
    I was only asking for your opinion, nothing more!

    “I’m glad you’re being honest”

    Absolutely! I value my integrity, but you should know when I said your answers seemed a bit dodgy, I was “putting it very lightly.”

    “I’m sorry to disappoint you”

    Aw, don’t worry about it at all, I’m already COMPLETELY over it, no
    biggie at all! I know someone else with diabetes I’ll ask! I also intend too look into it some more myself anyway when I get time, because you know what they say about opinions!! 🙂

  • Hi Dr Mike

    You’re very welcome, and next time I will use the form.

  • Hi Losul

    “I was really hoping for more help with my questions to you, I’m pretty disappointed so far, seemed a bit dodgy to tell the truth.”

    I’m sorry to disappoint you, and I’m glad you’re being honest 😉

    I would be happy to answer any questions you have on diabetes.

    Please ask them in the Diabetic Dog Food review, so that people with diabetic dogs can also benefit from our discussion.


    Thanks Losul 😉

  • losul

    My source: Merriam Webster Thesaurus
    Synonyms and Antonyms of replicate

    to make an exact likeness of

    Synonyms clone, copycat, duplicate, imitate, reduplicate, render, copy, reproduce

    Related Words counterfeit, fake, forge, knock off, rip off; mimic, simulate; reconstruct, re-create

    Is a replica an exact duplicate? The art students in the example above must have been extremely talented, so good that they could take the painting and sell it as the original. But I don’t think it necessary to argue over semantics. 🙂

    I think your impression is that somehow they by design took exactly
    97grams of an ultrapure 100.00% C8 oil and added exactly 3 grams of
    ultrapure 3.00% C10 oil to it. I don’t think it works that way, but I’ve been wrong before and am quite open to being shown different.

    “The biggest danger with this food, to a diabetic dog, uncontrolled or otherwise is going to be the high carbohydrate content.”

    I already know how you feel about carbs and diabetes, many of us feel the same way.

    “I think that ALL kibbles should probably have a warning label listing the possible medical issues that might occur from feeding them for prolonged periods of time.”

    I already know how you feel about kibbles in general. I was really hoping for more help with my questions to you, I’m pretty disappointed so far, seemed a bit dodgy to tell the truth. If you could you just briefly take a little time to try again, I’d appreciate it, after all I put a good deal of time in trying to answer all your questions. Oh dabbnabbit! some of your questions have disappeared, darned disqus. I still have your questions, in duplicate, or would that be replicate :-), so I’ll edit my post above so you can see. thanks El.

  • Thanks for the tip.

    This review was last updated on September 15, 2015. However, it appears that Purina has added 2 new recipes to this product line.

    So, I’ve added Bright Mind to our To Do list to be updated in the next week or two.

    I’ve also corrected the way the 9th ingredient is described in our review.

    By the way, the next time you find an error or a recipe change like this, it would be better to write me via the Contact Us page.

    I have a special form there that will allow you to reach Sandy and me more directly. And it will help us enter the information and track the update process more effectively.

    Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

  • Hi Losul

    “To me, replicate means, a similar copy, in the context I used it, i think, or i thought. you can call it mimic or simulate if you rather”

    No worries!

    The word Replicate when used the way you used it, as a verb, means;

    “make an exact copy of; reproduce”

    “to repeat, duplicate, or reproduce, especially for experimental purposes”

    So I asked you how you would replicate the MCT formula used in the study, and in fact, you can’t.

    And it turns out that the “study MCT’s” are pretty unique after all.

    Thanks Losul 😉

  • losul

    Shawna pretty much said it all already and i agree, thnx Shawna!

    I thought i chose the term “replicate” carefully. For “some” reason these days I feel I have to be even more careful with everything i say. I think you can get my meaning. To me, replicate means, a similar copy, in the context I used it, i think, or i thought. you can call it mimic or simulate if you rather.

    For me, i won’t even try too duplicate, replicate, or mimic it at all. I’ll continue giving my dog small amounts of coco oil and other good oils, and probably begin incorporating or substituting a weebit of high vitamin gf butter/ghee, and/or goat milk sometimes. In then present, I don’t see any need to even consider anything more for my dog. He’s very healthily fed and burns fat (and some carbs) very efficiently.
    I think he actually glows and sparkles with good health.

    IMO, Purina just likely used a C8 oil in the study that wasn’t quite as purified as some of those on the market claim to be – 97% vs 98 to 99+%, seems very inconsequential. I don’t think the 3% capric acid C10 is there on purpose for the study at all. What purpose could it possibly have? C10 is still highly ketogenic, if only a little less efficient/fast acting. I doubt a 1 to 2 % difference in purity is going to have any significance at all, if it could even be detectible at all, in terms of study results.

    If you were in demand of something closer, you could try too get a
    certificate of analysis for what was used in the study, because I completely doubt it was exactly 97%/3%. Chances are, but just hypothetically, it could actually be something like 97.368% C8 and 2.502% C10, with a miniscule amount of C6, And then you could try to to match it up best you can. I don’t see any reason and wouldn’t waste the time and expense.

    I already mentioned my previous post, my concern about whether these
    supplements, in particular high purity C8, whether they should have any possible medical contraindictions warnings on them. I did see did see one about kidney stones, not sure why yet. I think I also saw more contraindictions listed on the AXXONA? medical site that C4D linked. I’m not a vet or a medical pro, I don’t have a great understanding of it yet, so I’m not going to advise anyone to give high purity C8, in any large amount, so no, I WON’T advise anyone how to formulate or to use it. Then there’s still the question about
    the MCT dogs eating the significant 40% more than the control dogs in the study and Purina’s neglect to leave out further data. I’m not familiar with people using MCT oils in conjunction with pigging out on a high carb diet. Generally they use them in conjunction with a low carb diet for energy, brain energy, a feeling of satiety and weight loss/fat burn?

    I’ve a coupla question for you, if you don’t mind. You’re highly knowledgeable about diabetes, I know very little.. Is there a danger to poorly regulated diabetic dogs in taking the amounts that the dogs did in the study and in conjunction with a high carb diet?

    If the production diet- (Purina Bright minds senior 7+ production diet) actually does have roughly the same formulation as what was used in thee study, do you feel that this then diet should be prescription only, or at the very least have possible medical
    contraindictions shown onto the label, and to consult with a vet?

  • Crazy4dogs

    LOL! No problem, it’s all good! 😉

  • losul

    OH crap, I knew you were C4D! sorry

  • Crazy4dogs

    Thanks losul, but I’m actually C4D, easily confused. 😉

  • losul

    Thnx C4C, you’re a great researcher, keep up the good work.

  • losul

    LOL Shawna, thnx!

    I remember now you mentioning bullettproof coffee somewhere, probably more then once. Sorry bout that. I always enjoy the fat (and carb) discussions you/Aimee, I’m silent in the background alot ( but often reaDING/researching)!!

  • Hi Shawna

    Thanks for all that info 😉

    I believe that coconut oil is safe to use in dogs as long as the total fat ratios/balances are not messed up.

    On that note, what would you recommend as a safe dose of coconut all for ALL dogs?

    I also think that MCT formulas of about 99% capryllic acid would be worth a try in cases of dementia, based on current data.

    What would you recommend as a dose of this type of MCT oil for dogs with dementia?

    And lastly, would would your personal protocol be for using coconut oil and/or any specific MCT oils be for 1, all dogs, and 2, dogs with dementia.

    Sorry for all the questions, but I value your opinion 😉

    Tricaprylic acid is made from calcium, magnesium and zinc caprylates.

  • Shawna

    “What I don’t agree with, is when this study is used as “proof” that a different product, formulation, diet, etc, will provide the same results as this study, because again, it might work better, it might not work at all, or…”

    Okay, I got so caught up in this Pan discussion that I lost site of my original points.. Yes I did site the Pan study to show a benefit of MCT use with DOGS but directly followed that up with a study on coconut oil (which I didn’t note was from the “International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology”)

    I wrote
    “From my understanding ketosis does not need to be induced to utilize the ketones derived from coconut oil. In this research done on humans with alzheimer’s disease the coconut oil was given with a “normal diet”.

    “Efficacy of Adjunctive Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Use in Moderate to Severe Alzheimer?s Disease”

    More from that study (they actually reference Axona – aka AC-1202 in second paragraph)

    Amounts utilized
    “Daily administration of 20gm of virgin coconut oil was used as a supplement mixed with (pudding, oatmeal, yogurt, or drunk as such). The oil was blended in the food product. If the subject was unable to consume the entire product in one time, it could be consumed slowly and the blended food product could be stored in a refrigerator for a maximum period of 24 hrs”

    “We observed improvement in ADAS-cog scores early in the study duration at 2 weeks and they were more pronounced by 4 weeks, the effects being sustained for additional two weeks after cessation of the intervention. The data is comparable to other studies showing rapid response rates after intervention. In the study by Hendersen et al. [23] the subjects with AD on oral ketogenic compound AC-1202 showed significant improvement in ADAS-cog scores at days 45 and days 90 compared to a placebo. Similar rapid results were also seen in another study [22] where 20 subjects with mild to moderate AD given single dose tricaprylic acid [40 gm] vs. placebo on another occasion showed improved Paragraph Recall scores 90 minutes after just one dose and in nine ApoE4- persons ADAS-Cog improved by average of 6 points. The rapid response rates observed might indicate that the intervention might be acting more at the level of cellular metabolism rather than altering the disease process by addressing more typical targets, such as amyloid or tau which would be expected to take much longer to bring about any change if any.”

    I found it very interesting that they suggest the “rapid response rates” observed by some products “tricaprylic acid” (which appears to be another name for caprylic acid) may be acting at a “cellular metabolism” level versus “addressing more typical targets, such as amyloid or tau”. My take on this is that the cognition was improved but the “cause” of the disease was not addressed.

    The study conclution
    “Conclusions: Addition of adjunctive coconut oil is likely to have beneficial effects in cognitive performance for those suffering from moderate to severe AD and the effects were sustained for at least 2 weeks after the oil administration stopped. No deleterious effects on the overall lipid profile could be elicited.”

    I should note – “The Nutivac brand of extra virgin coconut oil was used.” I could find no Nutivac brand (over the counter or prescription. I believe that was a type and should read Nutiva (which is an over the counter brand and the one my M.D. recommends).

  • Crazy4cats

    Yay Denver is right! They had all us SeaHawk fans rooting for them for sure! Anyway, your question “but is this degree of concentration needed for all healthy pets?” is what I was wondering as well. Would it be good for all aging dogs or just ones with issues?

  • Crazy4cats

    Well, I appreciate you taking the time to educate us!

  • Hi Shawna

    Well, there is almost ALWAYS food left over, and I’m too well trained to try and feed it to them the next day!

    As far as I can tell, my overall philosophy of feeding and caring for dogs is pretty close to yours. We have far more in common than we have differences 😉

  • Shawna

    Beyond that though, the research is saying that decreasing carbs lowers brain insulin resistance. On a diet that induces insulin resistance the brain becomes “starved” because it can no longer use glucose and deteriorates faster. The ketones are then required for fuel. Not only is this diet gimmicky but it, based on the need to lower carbs, has a completely inappropriate macronutrient profile.

    The insulin resistance promotes amyloidosis which further damages the brain.

  • Shawna

    “Yes, the study IS the research that proved it.”

    Sorry, I thought it was implied that I meant as compared to other blends of MCTs? Sometimes things sound right in my head but apparently don’t come across in writing. Argh 🙂

    “You may be right, but without any supporting data, I wouldn’t speculate on what the importance of the formula being 97% caprylic acid and 3% capric acid is.”

    That’s kind of my point, there is no supportive data but this whole conversation seems to be based around the possible superiority of this blend. We know, however, that any type of fat can produce the ketones needed for dementia support and that MCTs, including lauric acid, albeit not as quickly, create ketones apart from a ketogenic diet.

    I should have come to your house for dinner!!!

  • Hi Shawna

    “What is the significance of the 3% capric acid in the research? I don’t think there actually is some significant reason”

    You may be right, but without any supporting data, I wouldn’t speculate on the significance of the formula being 97% caprylic acid and 3% capric acid.

    “Is there any research showing improved cognition on the specific blend used in the paper?”

    Yes, the study IS the research that proved it.

    “I don’t know about Losul but I would absolutely NOT try to replicate the fat as used in the paper”

    Neither would I.

    “The goal is to get carbs down (JUST like in diabetes). Grass fed butter, goat milk cream, ghee, pumpkin seed oil and natural fats from grass fed meats would be such a better solution. May not be achievable by all (finances or resources) but we are talking best not what is easy to get and cheap.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more, and BTW, this is EXACTLY how I do it 😉

  • Shawna

    I was possibly incorrect in that the exact levels in the research paper could be achieved with supplementation. However the overall diet could greatly be improved upon which would include supplementation with over the counter products like coconut oil or quality MCT oils.

  • Shawna

    What is the significance of the 3% capric acid in the research? I don’t think there actually is some significant reason. They have shown that a ketogenic diet (using all fats, not just MCTs) can improve dementia. So “ketones” are the winning factor not where they came from. Specific ketones don’t seem to play a role (that I can find at least).

    The goal is to get amyloid b down, by lowering carbs (which this diet doesn’t do) and ketones up.

    I read a research paper discussing the keto diet being difficult for some to maintain but by using MCTs (no specific mention of which) they can increase the carb content modestly and still achieve the desired results. Another article showed a decreased risk with higher protein diets. I really don’t see why this couldn’t be achieved with any home made (or some commercial) diets with added coconut oil or over the counter MCTs? Is there any research showing improved cognition on the specific blend used in the paper?

    Edit to include — I don’t know about Losul but I would absolutely NOT try to replicate the fat as used in the paper. The goal is to get carbs down (JUST like in diabetes). Grass fed butter, goat milk cream, ghee, pumpkin seed oil and natural fats from grass fed meats would be such a better solution. May not be achievable by all (finances or resources) but we are talking best not what is easy to get and cheap.

  • Hi Losul, Welcome back!

    That was a well researched and thought out post, with a lot of interesting questions and observations, great job 😉

    I have a few questions for you, if you don’t mind. You wrote;

    “on the other hand, if one wanted to replicate the MCT’s (those that were
    used in the study), I think that can be done. I don’t see anything unique about the study MCT’s”

    Can you please link to the product you would use to “replicate” the 3% capric acid in the formulation, while keeping the formula’s ratio of 97% caprylic acid to 3% capric acid?

    And if you could “replicate” the MCT formula used in the study, how would you incorporate it into a dog’s diet?

    Would you also try to “replicate” the total fat of 12.5% and the “tallow” to MCT ratio of 7% to 5.5%, or would you do something else?

    Thanks Losul.

  • Hi Dr Mike

    In this review you wrote;

    “The ninth ingredient is medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), a fatty-acid supplement derived from palm kernel oil or coconut oil”

    “The tenth ingredient is vegetable oil, a generic oil
    of unknown origin”

    I think that the ninth and tenth ingredients are actually one ingredient, “medium-chain triglyceride vegetable oil”

    This is how the ingredients are listed on the website for the all the “Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Dry Dog Food” formulas.

    “, medium-chain triglyceride vegetable oil,”


    Thank you Dr Mike, for all your reviews and articles 😉

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi Shawna,

    I’m not saying that I don’t think you could achieve a better diet for the long term life of the pet by feeding the natural foods that would help the whole pet, mind and body, throughout it’s lifetime. I think in the particular instance of these posts regarding the cited study, it would not be easy to replicate the diet without using some form of manufactured MCT as opposed to a natural source.

    I did real A LOT of the Alzheimer’s research, since I had a family member (unrelated, but through marriage) that suffered through dementia, so it’s been something that I’ve researched off and on for many years.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi losul! Glad to see you back! 🙂

    I did notice some of the points you made in the study. I also became familiar, in my various research reading, with Bulletproof coffee and some of the other MCT’s. I do think Purina Bright Mind is a bit gimmicky and it’s more than likely using a manufactured MCT. Probably in the long run, if you fed your animals better, more natural foods and choose ones that do help prevent the effects of aging rather than highly processed chemically balanced foods, the aging process would be delayed.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi el d,

    No, I don’t cook the chicken to the rendering point, just so it’s easy to pull off the bone. It’s still flavorful, very juicy and tender. I’ve tried it often. 😉
    You would have to pressure cook the bones to get them soft enough to be eaten cooked. We should start a discussion on recipes, etc. on the forum side, since this is about Bright Mind. I wish there was still an “Off Topic” area so posters could see the comments easier.

  • Shawna

    Sorry, afterthought….

    I read several places about the link between excess glutamate in the brain and inflammation, damage. This has been known for years. My guess would be that the corn gluten meal, animal by-product meal and animal digest are all sources of this freed amino acid that can build up in the system over time. Not only can it initiate damage but it certainly won’t help much with an already injured brain.

    I started researching Saturday at midnight and found so many interesting things I was still going at it until 4:00 am. I knew what I wanted to look at because I’ve known about amyloid B and carbs for a long time (had a discussion about them with a Char Pei breeder a few years back here on DFA). I also knew about the benefits of a ketogenic diet (which gets ketones from ALL forms of fat not just caprylic acid). Anywho, I found much more but I had so many links that I started getting overwhelmed by it and decided to mostly focus on the carb aspect. 🙂 — which by the way MANY of the folks I follow (like Dr. David Perlmutter Neurologist) and others advocate for the consumption of low carb. Dr. Perlmutter’s book is titled “Grain Brain”.

  • Shawna

    Hi my friend!!!

    I LOVE how your brain works!!! 🙂

    Yes, I am familiar with Bulletproof coffee and I did read an article from the originator — it was a bounce off point for a LOT of deeper stuff I found. 🙂 I’ve been drinking my own version of BPC for about six/seven months now (I think I’ve even mentioned it here in a discussion about fats with aimee?). I’m not particularly fond of the taste of coconut oil so my BPC version used about a tablespoon of Kerrygold grass fed butter, a few drops of vanilla flavored stevia and about a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon powder.

    Regarding lauric acid as a MCT or not — Dave’s article got me searching. The reason it was classified as a MCT (from what I found) is because it does not need pancreatic lipase to be digested, it does not require L-carnitine for digestion (however, unlike C8 and C10, it can benefit from L-carnitine). L-carnitine is made from lysine and methionine which, as you noted, should be amply available in a meat based (especially minimal processed) diet.

    Yes, they do make grass fed ghee. That is what my M.D./CCN wanted me using but can’t stand the taste of that either. Purity Farms is the brand she recommended to me. She also has a specific brand of coconut oil she recommends – Nutiva.

    I also looked at an article by Dr. Josh Axe (been reading his stuff for years). He cautions to be careful with some MCT oils as they can be highly processed and more on the speed.
    “The fatty acids termed MCTs and lauric acid act somewhat differently in the body, although in the US, coconut oil and MCT oil manufacturers are legally allowed to claim that lauric acid is a type of MCT. Some people claim that lauric acid doesn’t biologically act like other forms of shorter MCTs (or at least as quickly), which is one reason why MCT advocates believe that MCT oil is somewhat superior.

    Another factor to consider is that most MCT oils on the market are manufactured via chemical/solvent refining, which can mean they require using chemicals like hexane and different enzymes and combustion chemicals.” http://draxe.com/mct-oil/

    You are AWESOME Losul!!!!!!!!

    PS — I am now using the Now brand MCT, along with the butter, in my bulletproof coffee as it lends no flavor (that I can taste at least).
    Oh, one more thought, for a dog with prior history of pancreatitis, I would try the MCT oil over the coconut oil but otherwise I don’t see the LCF in coconut oil as an issue..

  • losul

    Hey Shawna, really interesting stuff!!

    per the lauric acid C12, I’ve read both sides of this argument, it seems to depend on who’s doing the talking, I guess. Here’s Dave Asprey (biased) selling his purified C8 (brain octane), and C8/c10 blends XCT saying that lauric acid C12 has beneficial properties, but shouldn’t even be classified as an MCT, as it acts much more like an LCT.


    I agree it seems like the ketone energy would be better slower and steadier rather than faster peaks (and falls?), when the intended effect is for dementia rather than if intended for a quick energy boost for sports.

    One thing about coconut oil though is that even though it has a large amount of MCT’s when you count in the abundant lauric acid, about 40% of coco oil is still long chain triglycerides, C14 and up that can be readily obtained from other sources.

    Some MCT oils I have seen have a roughly even blend of C8, C10, and C12

  • losul

    Hi Shawna. Yay Denver!!!
    Doritos had some winner commercials again, especially the dogs trying to sneak into the store to get some, LOL.

    First, just wanted to point out a few things I noticed. We can see what they used in the study diets and can see there are some differences between those and the production diet. Similar, but the majority of the the proteins in the study diet were composed of plant materials, rapeseed, maize (corn) and soy, and secondary animal proteins of chicken and casein (milk protein). The large amount of cereal grains in the study diets vs the production diet appear similar (maize, rice, wheat). The fat source is simply described as “tallow” with the only apparent difference between the control diet and the test diet is that some of the tallow was replaced with MCT.

    Another thing I noted about the study; “We have previously found that performance in the landmark protocol is sensitive to age as well as to a variety of interventions, including maintenance on an antioxidant diet(12) and treatment with a combinationof lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine(13).” I’ve used both alpha lipoic acid and L-carnitine supplements in the past. Abundant natural sources of L-carnitine are said to be in meat, in particular red meat, yet I don’t see any abundance of meat or the supplements in the diets, study or production diets.

    A third point, a SIGNIficant and maybe easily missed is that the dogs on the MCT test diet consumed significantly more food than the dogs on the control diet. (40% more, 200grams vs 144 grams for the control), yet dogs in either group did not have significant weight gain. Seem’s to strongly suggest potent
    thermogenic effects, or is it something else? Did any dogs lose weight? Did they need to feed the MCT dogs more to keep them from losing weight? It’s easy to miss because the study seems to downplay this info. I would have certainly liked to have seen it, I NEED more data, but “(data not shown)”

    “Dogs in the MCT group consumed significantly (P,0·05) more food during the study, the average daily food intakes for control and MCT dogs were 144·45 (SEM 12·94) g and 200·32 (SEM 12·94) g, respectively. Neither sex nor age significantly affected daily food intake within each group. Dogs in
    both the groups did not gain significant body weight (data not shown).”
    Shawna, have you heard of bulletproof coffee? The recipe(s) calls for either “pure”? T8 tryglyceride or a T8/T10 blend MCT oil, plus high vitamin, grass fed butter or ghee mixed into a cup(s) of coffee. I think “true” ghee is supposed to be clarified grass fed buffalo butter, but I have have seen clarified butter from grass fed beef sold as ghee also.. Grass fed butter is also supposed to have high levels of MCT’s. Another with high levels MCT’s is supposed to be goats milk. In fact I read that the first three MCT’s – C6 caproic, C8 caprylic, and C10 capric were all named after the latin (caper) for goat. Anyway, The original version bulletproof coffee was Dave Asprey’s and called for using his “brain octane oil T8” or his XCT blend T8/T10. There have since been variations passed around since. KetoSports Keto8 says 99% C8 in theirs. relative newcomer is MiCkeyT8. MiCkeyT8 triglyceride claims to shows a chemical analysis certification to be 99% T8, and <1% T10. But some of the best places to look may be reputable bodybuilding supplement manufacturerers, and/or reputable extreme sports nutrition manu/suppliers. Alot of extreme body builders (overly obsessive, IMO) already use keto acids and branched chain keto acids in various forms. Anything to get a boost of energy and get those last pumps in while preventing catabolism and promoting anabolism and fat burn.

    These purified T8 supplement oils seem like they actuslly should have medical cautions labeled on them. I think I only saw one that did so. It said something like, Use caution if you have kidney stones. Seems like it could be a big problem also for poorly controlled diabetics, liver problems. etc? On the other hand, Purina's MCT diets aren't sold as prescription veterinary diets either? Can we assume the same formula and quantity of MCT's used in the test diet are the same as in some of the production diets? I see a breakdown of some of the other fats in the anaylsis for the production diets, but not for MCT's. C8 oil is really pretty expensive, at the retail level anyway, just saying….

    I know I certainly wouldn't want to use purified C8 in any kind of large quantity on a dog that's not having obvious cognizant difficulties and otherwise healthy/healthy metabolism, not with the immediately available info I have. I wouldn't want him bouncing off the walls all day long, and maybe having a ravenous apetite to boot, lol!! But I just might try it on myself, hehe. Shawna, you asked “but is this degree of concentration needed for all aging, healthy pets? I would say no, but that’s JMO. on the other hand, if one wanted to replicate the MCT’s (those that were used in the study), I think that can be done. I don’t see anything unique about the study MCT’s. The only thing I see that Purina outwardly calling proprietary, is their “blend” in the bright minds adult formula which is composed of arginine-amino acid, DHA and EPA-fish oil, vitamins E and C-antioxidants, folic acid and pyroxidine B6 -B vitamins. Bright Minds adult formula doesn’t even contain ANY MCT oil. Seems pretty gimmicky doesn’t it? Bright Minds senior 7+ are the formulas listing the MCT’s in the ingredients. But perhaps the blend and amounts used are actually proprietary in the production diet, because they won’t tell?


  • Hi C4d

    Are the bones edible when you slow cook it in the crock pot?

    I’ve tried chicken wings which I thought would be pretty easy, but I never got the bones soft enough and I wondered how much I was denaturing all the protein in the chicken after so many hours of cooking.

    Can you please post your recipe for cooking the whole chicken in a crock pot? After you get some sleep of course 😉

    How much water, time, veggies, anything you think could be helpful!

    Thank you.

  • Shawna

    I don’t have a lot of time so hopefully I can get this all in and have it make sense.. 🙂 This is going to be long as I think some background is in order.

    This food has 29% of calories from protein, 30% from fat and 42% from carbs.

    Granted this is not a controlled study
    “In a large Mayo Clinic study, self-reported diet was found to be significantly associated with the risk of seniors developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia over a four-year period.

    The study involved 1,230 older adults (70-89) who completed a 128-item food-frequency questionnaire about their diet during the previous year.

    The likelihood of cognitive deterioration was significantly affected by the type of diet. Those with the highest carbohydrate intake were nearly twice as likely to develop cognitive impairment compared to those with the lowest carbohydrate consumption, and when total fat and protein intake were taken into account, they were 3.6 times likelier to develop impairment.

    Those with the highest sugar intake were 1.5 times more likely to develop cognitive impairment.

    But — a finding that will no doubt surprise many — those with the highest fat consumption were 42% less likely to develop cognitive impairment, compared to those with the lowest level of fats.

    Less surprisingly, those with highest intake of protein had a reduced risk of 21%.

    In other words, the worst diet you can have, if you want to keep your brain healthy, is one that receives most of its calories from carbohydrates and sugar, and relatively little from fats and protein.

    It seems likely that the danger of carbs and too much sugar lies in the effects on glucose and insulin metabolism. Saturated fats also interfere with glucose metabolism. Alzheimer’s has sometimes been called Type 3 diabetes, because of its association with insulin problems.” http://www.memory-key.com/research/topic/high-fat

    Please note that the diets highest in fat, not specific types of fat, were the least at risk.

    “As the population of the developed world ages the incidence of AD is predicted to increase dramatically and will place a tremendous burden on health services [2]. Dietary intervention represents a relatively safe and readily available method to combat AD. Yet, the key dietary links remain unclear. Much of the earlier work has focused on the role of high fat or high cholesterol diets and their contribution to AD. However, evidence suggests that the primary genetic risk factor for late onset AD, the epsilon4 allele of apolipoprotein E, may have been selected against in populations with long historical exposure to agriculture [33]. In addition, foods rich in carbohydrates are relatively recent additions to the human diet and are likely to be more evolutionarily discordant than high fat diets [34]. Therefore, the recent evolutionary switch to high carbohydrate (HC) diets may play an important role in development of AD. HC diets are well known to stimulate insulin signaling and result in a suppression of lipid metabolism [22]. Thus, such diets may lead to inappropriate lipid environments in neurons, mis-cleavage of APP and the resulting inhibition of cellular trafficking, and ultimately increasing the risk of developing AD (for overview see [35]).” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1282589/

    “• Researchers have identified mitochondrial dysfunction and brain insulin resistance as early indicators of Alzheimer’s disease.

    • Simple dietary modification, towards fewer highly-processed
    carbohydrates and relatively more fats and cholesterol, is likely a
    protective measure against Alzheimer’s disease.” https://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/EJIM_PUBLISHED.pdf

    I can’t find the original research but this is posted on the “Mayo Clinic in the News” on the Mayo Clinic website
    “High-Carb Diet is Linked to Early Alzheimer’s

    Posted on October 18th, 2012 by Kelley Luckstein

    Older people who load up their plates with carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, a study out Tuesday finds. Sugars also played a role in the development of MCI, often a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease, according to the report in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Eating more proteins and fats offer some protection from MCI…Not everyone with MCI goes on to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but many do, says lead author Rosebud Roberts, a professor in the department of epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.” http://inthenews.mayoclinic.org/2012/10/18/high-carb-diet-is-linked-to-early-alzheimers/

    We all know that when researching it’s important to get the search criteria right. I started searching for coconut oil and amyloid B (the one found in dementia) and found this
    “Coconut oil attenuates the effects of amyloid-β on cortical neurons in vitro.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24150106

    This discusses coconut oil but I wanted to focus on the “insulin resistant” part
    “Coconut Oil: Thismay offer profound benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. One of the primary fuels your brain iuses is glucose, which is converted into energy. When your brain becomes insulin resistant, atrophy due to starvation can occur. However, ketone bodies, or ketoacids can also feed your brain, perhaps better, and prevent brain atrophy. It may even restore
    and renews neuron and nerve function in your brain after damage has set in. In fact, ketones appear to be the preferred source of
    brain food in patients affected by diabetes or Alzheimer’s. ” http://journalijcms.com/sites/default/files/issue-files/0022.pdf

    I was diagnosed with “white matter brain lesions” via MRI when I was in my early 30’s. I believe the cause of my lesions (which my neurologist said are precursors to dementia / alzheimers) are from dairy but when researching this I found that gluten can cause these brain lesions (aka gluten ataxia). It is found in both those with celiac and those with non celiac gluten sensitivity. This food is a source of wheat which COULD, in sensitive pets, be causing more harm then the MCTs are helping.

    I read several sources that discussed caprylic acid (C:8) lauric acid (C;12) and ketones. Each and every source said lauric acis was not as “fast” to produce ketones – no mention of not as effective. This could be important in weight loss etc (which these sites were promoting caprylic acid MCTs for) but is it really important to have fast ketone production for dementia? Lauric acid does have a differing ketone (metyl-n-nonyl ketone) then caprylic acid (methyl-n-amyl ketone) but again, no mention of one being better for the brain then the other. I’m sure someone will post the research if the find some. If this were true, ketogenic diets in general (as they are high in fat not specific types of fat) would not be beneficial for dementia.

    I have lots more but it’s late and I’m running on about four hours of sleep. 🙂

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi el doctor, this is off topic, but in a post from several days ago, I believe, you mentioned you feed boneless chicken breasts. I’m curious, do you ever cook whole chickens? I often do crockpot cook whole chicken and slow cook them down until they literally fall apart. I do include all of the connective joints and ligaments in the meat for the dogs. As a side note, since I’m using organic vegetables with it, we have a delicious broth that I use to make soup or as a base for meals for the human portion of the pack. 😉

  • Crazy4dogs

    Yeah, I read way too much. Naps are never in the equation. 😉

  • I’m proud of you C4d! Now go take a nap 😉

  • Shawna

    Hi Crazy4dogs,

    It’s okay not to agree with me, I may be wrong here. I’m not convinced of that though. I’ve certainly been wrong before and I will most definitely be wrong again. I was wrong about salt on the Fresh Pet thread, I was wrong about Purina potentially using pento contaminated ingredients and more. The way one, at least me, learns is to challenge the data presented and figure it out.

    I did find info on Axona last night (I stayed up after my grandson fell to sleep and was up until 4:00 am). I have a ton of info but I only have a moment right now to post. Based on what I found I’m even less convinced that I am wrong. Less convinced but not entirely certain.

    I’m meeting a friend for drinks and dinner in a few hours so I may not get back to this till tomorrow or Tuesday.. Stay tuned. 🙂

  • aimee

    “I believe the savvy pet parent could achieve those levels by supplementation”

    Curious as to why you’d believe a savvy pet parent can accomplish what the head researcher on this topic said can not be done.

    As I said you could supplement similar levels of MCTs but in doing so you’d unbalance the diet.

    Furthermore as el doctor pointed out they used a particular MCT and tracked a particular ketone generated.when it was metabolized.

    It is too much of a leap for me to accept that different MCT’s fed in different concentration will achieve the same result.

    Not the best analogy but if 325 mg of Tylenol alleviates my pain can I say with confidence that 10 mg of Advil will do the same?

  • Crazy4dogs

    Ugh, thanks a lot el doctor. I wasn’t planning spending Sunday morning reading research papers, but I did.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi Shawna,

    You know I agree with you on a lot of things, but I’m not sure if the Now MCT oil would be equivelent in this case. I did read Pan’s research paper. It appears they formulated a specific diet and replaced 5.5% of the fats in the test group with a specifically modified MCT oil consisting of 97% caprylic acid. This was not supplementation. The closest nutraceutical/medical food I could find online that could be similar to the Pan test is the human medical food called Axona. It gives a guaranteed dose of 20 grams caprylic acid per 40 gram capsule. It makes no mention of any other MCT in it’s ingredient list. The Now MCT oil appears to include both caprylic and capric acids.

    Axona Link:

    There’s some discussion of MCTs and Coconut Oil in general on the alzheimer’s website, including a citation of Pan’s research on the dogs. Interesting reading.

    Alzheimer Link:

    Link to Pan research paper:


  • Hi Shawna

    “I believe the savvy pet parent could achieve those levels by supplementation”

    The levels in the diet you linked to could NOT be duplicated using concentrated MCT’s either.

    Each 15 mL serving of the NOW MCT Oil in your image contains;

    Caprylic Acid (C8:0) 7.8 g
    Capric Acid (C10:0) 6.2 g

    This is pretty typical of concentrated MCT oils.

    If you used this oil you could duplicate the amount of Caprylic acid in “the diet” BUT, you would have exceeded the amount of Capric acid in “the diet” by more than 2,000%

    Remember that “the diet” contained 5.5% of a very specific blend of 97% Caprylic acid and 3% Capric acid, and that mixture CANNOT be duplicated using either Coconut Oil or concentrated MCT oil’s like the NOW MCT Oil you posted an image of.

  • Shawna

    I believe the savvy pet parent could achieve those levels by supplementation. Yes this is concentrated MCTs but is this degree of concentration needed for all aging, healthy pets? My guess is no. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/039cf6c57af73f253379c994027d5fa2b6ed904d1b7b3eb072cf271a4e3bd411.jpg

  • LabsRawesome

    Click on his name and read his posts. He calls people names on the other sites.

  • LabsRawesome

    That’s because he is a troll. Click on his name and read his posts on other sites.
    He obviously has become obsessed with me. He is a weirdo.

  • Shawna

    I’ve attempted several times to diffuse the situation with exactly what Ed / Alex is asking for — vet recommendations and/or science. He seems undeterred by this data and uninterested in logical debate as he continues with inflammatory posts and ignores any attempts at open discussion. “Seems” being the operative word of course.

  • LabsRawesome

    Alex, why are you so obsessed with me?

  • DogFoodie

    Hi “el doctor,”

    You’re the last person I’d take orders from.

  • Hi DogFoodie

    As one of the longtime regulars on DFA with almost 4,000 comments, wouldn’t this community be better off if you tried to diffuse situations like these, instead of fanning the flames?

  • DogFoodie

    Ed W seems to think he’s the forum expert. Right, Alex? 😉

  • Alex Woodman

    But Labsrawesome is the forum expert and everyone should believe him.

  • Amateria

    On the topic of coconut oil I have tried giving it to our 2 dogs and the older one that has long since passed away and they puke every time, I had to be 100% sure so I did a few tests and unfortunately it was indeed the oil, too bad I guess.

    I gave like a tiny dab on my finger of it, so its not like I gave too much.

  • Amateria

    Yet another crazy sized wall of comments :p, I don’t remember which food the other one was on but it stretched on forever, took me a very long time to read each and every one and I have to wonder if I actually did read it all or gave up.

  • theBCnut

    That’s utterly hilarious that you should say that in reply to yourself. And very honest.

  • Crazy4dogs


  • LabsRawesome

    Hahahaha. I agree. It is pretty sad that you feel that you are qualified to comment on everything, Alex.

  • Crazy4dogs

    LOL! I completely agree on what you commented to yourself!

  • aimee

    Hi el doctor,

    When exploring a new topic I try and read as many papers as I can over several days to get a feel for the field than make a conclusion based on what I’ve read.

    I also find it helpful to search on authors to see how they developed their ideas over the years of research they have done on a topic.

    On this topic there is sparse research in dogs and I don’t know if the human stuff is at all applicable. It seems a subset of people have a positive response and others no response to MCT

    Maybe with further research we will find that to be the case in dogs as well IDK this is only one study with 24 dogs.

    But for me the ‘Take home” is that if you want to trial this intervention to use the diet as simply adding a bit of coconut oil to the current diet is not analogous to the diet profile.

  • LabsRawesome

    What qualifies you to make all of your troll comments on every site that you do? Are you a professional troll?

  • LabsRawesome

    Nope. I’m a dude. lol

  • Hi aimee

    This is one of the reasons I don’t like “link wars”.

    First of all, most people start with a bias and only search for “links” that support that bias.

    Oftentimes people are able to use the same study to support opposite opinions, because they each interpret the data differently, kinda like the bible.

    It can be cumbersome for anyone to thoroughly vet the links posted in a link war and people will just see them as proof that their personal favorite in the link war is “winning”

    Most people just link to the abstract, and abstracts never give you all the details, and as we know “the devil is in the details”. So abstracts are usually the source of endless speculations and unprovable assumptions.

    And sometimes, as in the case of Shawna’s link, when you take the time to search out and read the ENTIRE study, you find out that not only does the link not support the poster’s opinion, but it actually disproves it!

  • Shawna

    I cited a couple more sources (as replies to my reply) if interested.

  • aimee


    Thanks el doctor! Great find!

    I had used the analogy of a “drop in the bucket” when I looked at Dr Becker’s suggested dose of coconut oil. Boy was it ever! Giving 1/4 tsp coconut oil /10 lbs isn’t going to come close to the level in the diet.

  • aimee

    Hi Shawna,

    You’ve cited Pans research. As I said I I was present when this research was initially presented and sat right next to Dr Pan.

    The MCT’s were incorporated into the diet. They were not supplemented to the diet and as I said Dr Pan communicated to me that the level he used in his research could not be achieved by supplementation alone without compromising the balance of the other nutrients.

    The webinar reported it as a test “diet”

    I agree that a clinical state of ketosis isn’t necessary. My point was that since it is much easier to achieve ketosis in people vs dogs it may be easier to achieve a level of ketones needed to affect a positive effect on cognition as well. I simply don’t know.

    As I talked to the head researcher on this topic in person ( he is boarded both as human and vet neurologist so I’d think he understand this topic from both the human and the canine perspective) and he relayed to me that the levels needed can’t be supplemented but need to be incorporated into the diet I’m inclined to believe him.

  • Hi aimee

    In the study that Shawna linked to that showed a cognitive benefit for aged dogs whose diet was supplemented with 5.5% MCT’s I would like to point out a few things:

    – The MCT’s replaced the “tallow” in the dry food they were fed.

    – The composition of the MCT’s was;
    97% Caprylic acid
    3% Capric acid

    – Coconut oil contains an average of;
    6% Caprylic acid
    6% Capric acid

    In order to duplicate the amount of Caprylic acid that was in the MCT’s fed to the dogs in the study using Coconut oil instead;

    The Coconut oil would have to make up 90% of the diet!!!

    So, according to the data in this study, it would be impossible to achieve the same level of supplementation in dogs by using Coconut oil 😉

    Here’s a link to the full text of the study:


  • Shawna

    Sorry, one more — in this paper it specifically states that the MCT’s in Purina senior food used was from coconut oil.
    “Purina One Vibrant Maturity 7 Senior
    Medium chain triglycerides (from coconut oil)
    Dogs” Page 762 http://webinars.veteducation.com.au/wp-content/images/Cognitive-Dysfunction-Syndrome.pdf

    I must admit that it appears that several of these are using the MCTs from the oil versus the whole oil (or possibly MCTs from palm kernel oil). That said, you can purchase MCT oil over the counter too. NOW Foods has one. I’ve seen it at my local health food store.

  • Shawna

    This one is interesting too
    “Dietary enrichment with medium chain triglycerides (AC-1203) elevates polyunsaturated fatty acids in the parietal cortex of aged dogs: implications for treating age-related cognitive decline.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19301124

    Omega 3 fats were increased in the brain of dogs being supplemented with MCTs.

    Neither of these two studies identifies coconut oil as the source of MCT but this one does.
    “Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) contain intermediate chain length FA, which are water soluble and can be absorbed directly without depending on micelle formation. They also pass through enterocytes without being resynthesized into triglycerides. They do not take part in chylomicron formation and are absorbed directly into the portal blood. The MCT also do not rely on carnitine for transport across the inner mitochondrial membrane. The names of the medium-chain FA (and the corresponding number of carbons) found in MCT are caproic acid [C6∶0], caprylic acid [C8∶0], capric acid [C10∶0] and lauric acid [C12∶0]. Coconut oil is composed of approximately 66% MCT.” http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0049510

  • Shawna

    Dr. Dodd’s specifically mentions coconut oil however the research she cites states MCT supplement (however that would imply to me that it wasn’t in the food but given in addition to the normal diet).

    “In one study, 24 senior Beagles fed a diet supplemented with 5.5% MCTs showed significant improvement in cognitive ability within just one month. The study’s authors concluded that the MCTs (as contained in coconut oil) provided an alternative source of brain energy for the senior dogs.” http://drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com/post/47127324583/coconut-for-pets#.VrFmVPkrLIU

    Here’s the original source “Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20141643

    From my understanding ketosis does not need to be induced to utilize the ketones derived from coconut oil. In this research done on humans with alzheimer’s disease the coconut oil was given with a “normal diet”.
    “Efficacy of Adjunctive Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Use in Moderate to Severe Alzheimer?s Disease”

    “Ketogenic compounds derived from medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oils have been claimed to have beneficial health effects in the Alzheimer’s disease (AD] mainly attributed to its medium chain triglycerides.” http://www.omicsonline.com/open-access/efficacy-of-adjunctive-extra-virgin-coconut-oil-use-in-moderate-to-severe-alzheimers-disease–1234-3425.1000108.php?aid=27142

  • Shawna

    One of those experts, Dr. Meg Smart DVM PhD, you refer to states “Variety is the Key (My conclusions after over 30 years of teaching veterinary clinical nutrition)

    Do not be afraid to add variety to your pet’s diet. Variety in the diet can include healthy table scraps (not leftovers often laden with salt and fat), homemade diets, kibble, canned, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods. Variety keeps a pet from becoming fixated on one diet with a special flavour.

    Choosing a Commercial Diet

    If you wish to feed a commercial diet find a company that is small, family owned and accountable.” http://petnutritionbysmart.blogspot.com/2012/07/practical-advise-on-feeding-your-dog.html#more

    Regarding the raw diets you dislike “I hope raw foods are taken off the market or irradiated.” Here’s what Dr. Smart says about them “Homemade diets are not for every dog owner. I always ask clients” what do you or did you feed your children” if they reply “Kraft dinners and the likes” I do not advise a homemade diet.

    I see a benefit in feeding whole foods whether cooked or raw. Genetically the dog and the anatomy of its digestive tract are closely aligned with that of the wolf. So we can use this as a dietary model when designing diets for the domestic dog.” – See more at: http://www.angryvet.com/angryvet-nutrition-interview-drs-joseph-wakshlag-and-meg-smart/#sthash.UfQRKxHV.dpuf

    Some may not cite their source but it surely doesn’t mean they don’t have legitimate sources to back up their ideas and opinions. I have MANY more “professional” sources if you for some reason don’t like that one.

  • Pitlove

    A co-worker of mine decided to go ahead and try Bright Mind for her older dog who had been acting very strange over the past few months to a year and she said so far she’s seen huge improvements! He’s been affectionate and wanting to cuddle on the couch and more alert. He’s even stopped itching. She said she plans on seeing it out for the recommended month they say it takes for results, but so far she’s pleased. Both her dogs were eating Zignature before.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Alex- Firstly, let me preface this by saying that my intention is not to join in this arguement, debate or whatever you call it, but just to ask you a question.

    In your opinion, when someone is selecting a dog food to buy, who is it that they should be asking for advice if the workers at pet stores are giving out incorrect, unsolicited advice?

  • aimee

    I went through these and am left with questions. I’ve read it is easier to achieve ketones in people than dogs so dogs may require higher levels or different MCTs than people in that regard. I don’t know how the two species differ in this context.

    The research we do have in dogs is sparse and incorporated into the diet a high level of a MCT that can be found in coconut oil but is not the primary MCT in coconut oil.

    At this point there is no evidence that supplementing the MCT at a very low level compared to the tested level will have any effect on cognition.

    Therefore I don’t see how one can say with any certainty that by supplementing a diet with coconut oil the same benefit can be achieved as with the diet.

    There is simply no evidence to support that.

    If someone want to see if MCT’s have a favorable effect on their dog then I’d recommend they use the diet that incorporates them.

  • InkedMarie

    It’s a she and you don’t have to be a professional anything to recognize good ingredients from poor ones.

  • Alex Woodman

    It is pretty sad that you feel qualified to comment on everything. You remind me of people at pet shops that give unsolicited advice to people.

  • Alex Woodman

    I will repeat…You are just some dude with a dog parading as an expert. You have close to 3,000 posts on every food telling people what to do. Give it a rest. I find the criticism of Pro Plan to be quite funny given the best examples of every breed eat the food and the smartest and most experienced dog professionals swear by it. Like I said, give it a rest. You and a few others should look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact you are not professionals.

  • LabsRawesome

    Look at his commenting history, it will show his qualifications.

  • LabsRawesome

    This is a place where people share information, ideas, opinions, and facts. That is what this site was made for. Why don’t you go troll somewhere else. Oh, I just looked at your comment history, and found out that you are a professional….. A professional know it all troll!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/384a51e6bf9059fc7e7217c7fc7bd736f8af4cd74784a0f9fed4fa6812d4659f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3dc4ae253ced45a247a672eae6d3a5e799e48221e0c516aabccfcad6ccc43b92.jpg

  • LabsRawesome

    No aimee, the graphic was for Alex Woodman’s opinion of my posts. lol

  • aimee

    I have to stop walking away from my computer with the window open to reply to you. I posted on your other comment and you had already posted me back on this comment.

    I’ll take a look through these. Thanks

  • aimee

    Hi LabsRawesssome,

    You posted this as I was writing my reply to you.

    Has adding coconut oil at 1/4 tsp/10 lbs twice daily been shown to have any positive effect on canine cognition?

    The suggested dose is just someone’s opinion and seems to be the proverbial drop in the bucket compared to the levels used in research Is that why you posted the graphic right after it?

  • LabsRawesome
  • aimee

    Hi LabRawesome,

    Could you expound upon this :

    “Adding medium chain triglicerides(sic) to any food will cause the same results in your dog……So why not feed a healthier food and just add coconut oil?”

    Maybe I missed some newer research but I haven’t come across any publications that just by adding some coconut oil to the diet the same results can be achieved.

    When I heard Pan present his research it was discussed in the Q and A if the type and level of MCT used in the study could be reached by supplementing a base diet.

    As I recall the amount of supplement you’d have to use would throw off the nutrient balance of the diet as somewhere around 1/2 of the total fat in the test diet was MCT.

    I talked to him during the break as he was sitting next to me. As I remember it coconut oil wasn’t used in the study because it wasn’t concentrated enough for the target MCT’s that led to the desired ketone production(???) It was a verbal personal communication. My memory could be a bit rusty on the details.

    Primarily I just remember that after talking to him the “take away” that stuck in my mind was that it couldn’t be done through supplementation.

    If you have found research that says otherwise I’d love to read it.

  • Alex Woodman

    You are just some dude with a dog parading as an expert. You have close to 3,000 posts on every food telling people what to do. Give it a rest. I find the criticism of Pro Plan to be quite funny given the best examples of every breed eat the food and the smartest and most experienced dog professionals swear by it. Like I said, give it a rest. You and a few others should look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact you are not professionals.

  • LabsRawesome

    The funny thing is, this is not just my opinion, but a proven fact. 🙂
    This person is just a troll.

  • LabsRawesome

    Why do you want me to stop giving people correct advice?

    How to Help Your Aging Pet Stay Mentally Sharp

    Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your aging pet
    maintain good mental function for as long as possible, and delay the
    onset and progression of cognitive decline.

    The foundation for good health and vitality for pets of any age is a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet.
    Your pet’s diet should include omega-3 essential fats, such as krill
    oil, which are critical for cognitive health. Your pet’s body needs an
    ideal energy source to promote the processes of metabolism, growth and
    healing. That perfect fuel — especially for aging pets — is a healthy variety of fresh, living food suitable for your carnivorous cat or dog.

    Keep your pet’s body and mind active with regular exercise
    appropriate for your pet’s age and physical condition, and mental
    stimulation (puzzles and treat-release toys can be beneficial). Make
    sure your dog has opportunities to socialize with other pets and people.
    Think of creative ways to enrich your cat’s indoor environment.

    Provide your pet with a SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) supplement as a
    safe and effective way to stall or improve mental decline. Consult your
    pet’s veterinarian for the right dose size for your dog or cat. There
    are also commercial cognitive support products available.

    Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been shown to improve brain
    energy metabolism and decrease the amyloid protein buildup that results
    in brain lesions in older pets. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs. I
    recommend 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily
    for basic MCT support.

    Other supplements to consider are resveratrol (Japanese knotweed),
    which protects against free radical damage and beta-amyloid deposits,
    ginkgo biloba, gotu kola and phosphatidylserine – a nutritional
    supplement that can inhibit age-related cognitive deficits. Consult a holistic veterinarian for dosing guidance.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Isn’t that the nature of discussion groups? People are asking questions, people are offering their advice/opinions based on their own experiences or knowledge. Some will agree and some will disagree. Nothing is etched in stone, it’s just discussion.

    It seems you have also offered your opinion to other posters on this forum. Aren’t you “advising” someone to quit giving advice and making an assumption that they have no training because you don’t like their opinion?

  • Alex Woodman

    I am not giving advice but there is a regime of people that seem to believe they are qualified to do so. It is very sad how the same people comment about every food and play expert.

  • Crazy4dogs

    And your qualifications are????

  • Alex Woodman

    Please stop giving people advice. You are some average Joe with a dog acting like a know-it-all.

  • LabsRawesome

    I am so glad that your dog is doing better. The medium chain triglicerides are what have improved your dogs cognitive function. There are about ten red flagged or controversial ingredients in this food. Your dog would be better off on a different food with no red flagged ingredients. If you read the above review you can see for yourself that the other ingredients are pretty terrible. Adding medium chain triglicerides to any food will cause the same results in your dog. So why not feed a healthier food and just add coconut oil? Your dog will get his MCT and a healthier meal. It’s a win-win for the dog.

  • el doctor

    Hi I Marisa

    That’s GREAT NEWS!!!

    Welcome to DFA, enjoy your holiday miracle 😉

  • Malisa Caprio

    My 14 yr old cattle dog had been going down hill I had scheduled his euthanasia for January 15th. To my delight I am cancelling that appointment as he is back to the way he ways years ago . he is playing and snuggling , the lights have come on! He knows who I am and is happy to be around me. Little bugger is back to being bossy and demanding his dinner he hasn’t done that in 6 or so years. I know it has to be the food. He’s no longer mopey or depressed. Bright mind gave me back my dog

  • Wayne

    Just my two cents since I have been reading a lot of bashing on this line of food. A few months ago, I noted my 11 year old dog acting strangely. She began developing odd behaviors that were not typical and unexplainable. I work in the veterinary field as a technician and so I am quite keen on my dog’s behavior and health. We had a purina rep come in one day to the clinic I use to work at where they discussed their new line of veterinary prescription dog foods. Originally, I had been feeding my dog Acana for years since I adopted her and it has worked really well, especially for a picky eater. Once in a blue mood, I will offer different protein sources, usually within the Acana line but sometimes I have ventured to other brands just to try them out and to offer something new. I had recently switched her food to Call of the Wild (also for financial reasons as Acana is quite expensive.) This is where I had learned of Purina’s pro plan bright mind dog food. I figured what is the worse than could happen?( a- she doesn’t like it or b- it doesn’t do anything) I have to admit, for reasons that I can’t explain or find information on, after being on the diet for two months now (on top of relocating across the country) she has returned to her normal self and now she has turned 12 a few weeks ago. Despite my dislike originally for purina as a dog food/company, I am looking to purchase a second bag now that we’ve gone through the first 30lb bag. Certainly, if there was another brand that would offer the same type of focus on cognitive health, I would give them a try as well. Yes, I don’t know what the “botanical ingredients and oils” are and yes, in theory I could go out and purchase a whole lot of supplements, but for the sheer fact that its all there in one scoop is a huge convenience and budget factor and its made an improvement on her “doggie dementia”, it seems I will be purchasing another bag since it seems to be doing what it advertises. Also, it is nice to have my old lady back to her normal self.

  • tallen2007

    I’m sorry but personally I don’t think a little coconut oil makes up for corn, corn and more corn (which by the way is all GMO and probably contaminated with glyphosate as well.) You might as well be saying that old shoe leather and motor oil can add up to 3 stars given enough supplements. 🙁

  • Dori

    I’m not sure that even one star would have been appropriate.

  • Robin Rosner

    You would think if Purina cares, they would read comments and info here on this website. They are not going to easily win many of us back. When they wouldn’t stop using wheat gluten and had their excuses, and won’t reveal where ingredients are sourced, I began to wonder about the practices at their mother company and stopped purchasing, regrettably their own products. We have a right to know where our food comes from.

  • I have to agree with Rosemary. Even with the inclusion of the medium chain triglycerides, these ingredients look crappy. Should have received a 2 at best (in my opinion).

  • Ranch GIrl

    No, I don’t. In an above post you agreed it was a 2.5 star ingredient list (at best). It would be better to be realistic and encourage dog owners to feed a better food or add healthier, external triglycerides, than boost this garbage with an extra star.

  • Shawna

    Hi Crazy4dogs,
    I believe good quality marine oils should be okay as domoic acid, per Wikipedia, is a “structural analog” of kainic acid and proline (which are amino acids). Even if there was some contamination, I would assume it would be so little as not to cause any issues. There’s still a lot to be learned about domoic acid though… I was sufficiently concerned enough when I learned about it however, to take my kidney girl, Audrey, off all seafood except the occasional sardine here and there.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Yeah, I agree.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I still wouldn’t use this product. There are many more natural ways of supplementing and feeding a much better product and better supplements.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Shawna, this is very interesting! Is their information regarding fish oil used in supplements such as sardine and anchovy? I used the purified human grade on a daily basis and would be very interested to know.

  • Shawna

    Thank Mike!! I look forward to the article! 🙂

  • Thanks for your comment, Shawna.

    However, there’s too little space and not enough time to address something this important in a casual comment.

    So, I’ve added this subject to my To Do list for a future article.

  • Shawna

    Hi Mike,

    I’m beginning to question the use of fish, but especially fish meal, in dog and cat foods because of a toxin called domoic acid that has been shown to damage kidneys.

    “The world’s oceans contain algae that produce certain chemicals that can accumulate in seafood and are known to cause brain damage.

    This natural neurotoxin, domoic acid, is a very stable and heat resistant and is also toxic to the kidneys, but at much lower concentrations than guidance has suggested, according to an upcoming study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

    Domoic acid, also called “Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning,” can accumulate in mussels, clams, scallops, and fish, and the FDA has set a legal limit of domoic acid in seafood based primarily on its adverse neurological effects. Because domoic acid is cleared from the body by the kidneys, P. Darwin Bell, PhD, Jason Funk, PhD (Medical University of South Carolina), and their colleagues looked to see if the toxin might also have detrimental effects on these organs. By giving mice varying doses of domoic acid and the assessing animals’ kidney health, the team found that the kidney is much more sensitive to this toxin than the brain.

    “We have found that domoic acid damages kidneys at concentrations that are 100 times lower than what causes neurological effects,” said Dr. Bell. “This means that humans who consume seafood may be at an increased risk of kidney damage possibly leading to kidney failure and dialysis.” http://www.science20.com/news_articles/natural_domoic_acid_seafood_causes_kidney_damage_mice-129287

    Dr. Jean Hofve is concerned that fish and fish meal in pet food could be an even greater risk as it is possible that it has been rejected for human use due to higher levels of domoic acid. http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/kidney-disease-in-older-cats/

    Because we can’t identify the species in “fish” meal it could be different from batch to batch as well. This could be disastrous for senior dogs (could being the operative word of course).

    I would be interested in your thoughts.

  • There’s a lot more to this recipe than grain. Be sure to read my review in detail. And keep in mind that this product is intended for a senior pet.

    An ultra low fat-to-protein ratio and the use of medium chain triglycerides must not be overlooked. Certainly worthy of an extra half star — don’t you think?

  • Thanks for your comment. However, it appears you may not have actually read the review itself.

    Yes, in most cases, this recipe would typically have received 2.5 stars.

    However, the inclusion of medium chain triglycerides in this formulation must not be overlooked.

    Please be sure to read my detailed description of this important ingredient. And be sure to check out the 2 footnotes scientific references I took the time to include in my report.

    …medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), a fatty-acid supplement derived from palm kernel oil or coconut oil.

    Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.

    Because of its proven safety as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), MCT can be considered a positive addition to any senior recipe.

    For anyone with a senior dog — especially one with canine CDS, I believe the presence of MCT in any senior dog food recipe is certainly worth an extra half star.

  • Crazy4cats

    I look at it this way… There is a ton of valuable information on this site. You can choose to use it to rate the food in a way which fits your needs.

  • Rosemary B

    Is there a mistake here? I just lost faith in Dog Food Adviser’s reviews. I’ve never seen a food with so many red flagged controversial ingredients get 3 1/2 stars. In fact, foods with far less red flagged ingredients get lower ratings than this. Hill’s Ideal Balance, for example, only gets 3 stars. What’s up?

  • Dog_Obsessed

    I agree, the ingredients are awful, though I’ve seen worse. The Protein-Carb ratio is actually not bad, however, which may explain the seemingly high rating.

  • Ranch GIrl

    Based on the truly awful ingredients, I am shocked you gave it a 3.5 star rating! All I see is grain, grain and more grain…