I’ve been following the Dog Food Advisor for a fair number of years now. Based on what I learned here, I’ve been feeding my German Shepherd/Samoyed mix girl, Sammy, Fromms dry food for the last 11 years (her whole life). We just had a check-up because she has started “leaking”. The vet put her on Proin ER to help with that, but then suggested we do more extensive blood work, which showed that Sammy has a high Createnin level (2.5). Vet said to start feeding Purina Pro Plan NF, that it has been shown to dramatically extend life. OK, fine, that’s what we want, so yeah, I bought some and have been mixing it in with the Fromms to transition.
Here’s what I don’t understand—the first ingredient in the NF is CORN! That’s followed by rice, egg, fish oil, a bunch of vitamins and chemicals. I get that it probably doesn’t have things I’m used to that contribute to her problem (like meat), but how is what it does have in any other way nutritional?? The corn especially got me, as I thought I’d learned that it basically was empty filler. How will this be good for Sammy’s overall health?
Any information/insight will be appreciated. Thanks. PjIrena LParticipant
I have the exact same concern with my toy poodle now 12yrs old. The vet put her on Royal Canin renal diet after she started having urine leaking two months ago. The first ingredient is “brewer’s rice”, then the chicken fat, and corn is on the list. I don’t understand how this will help my dog in the long run 🙁 not to mention that she’s been having a hard time enjoying this diet.
Irena, Thanks for your reply:) Glad to know someone else is having the same questions! Hopefully, someone who knows more on the topic than we do will also respond! My only solace with the food is that Sammy absolutely loves it, which very pleasantly surprised me! If your dog continues to dislike the RC, maybe you could ask your vet about the Purina Pro Plan NF that we’re using. (Although, I have talked to people whose pets didn’t like it either, so I guess it’s all very individual.)
Oh, on our original concern: when I called the pet shop owner where we’d been buying the Fromms all these years to explain why we’d be stopping, she said that for the RX foods the manufacturers “do something different” to the corn to make it more nutritional than that in standard foods. Don’t have any idea what that would be, or if she’s right . . .
If you learned that corn was an empty filler then I’m afraid you have been misled, which is understandable, given the marketing tactics commonly deployed in regards to selling pet foods.
Perhaps the shortest answer to the question is to say that veterinary nutritionists, when formulating foods, determine which nutrients they want to deliver and which need to be controlled and then choose ingredients and how they work together to accomplish that goal. The ingredients are simply a mechanism to achieve a certain nutrient profile.
Thanks for chiming in:) First off, rather than just listening to dog food marketing, I come here, to the Dog Food Advisor site for less- or un-biased info. To quote him directly on the subject of corn in dog food: “Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only marginal nutritional value for dogs.” Now, gauging from what you said above, I will guess that you will say that the large corn quantity in our food is chosen to work with the other ingredients to help with Sammy’s createnin problem? If so, I guess what that amounts to for the non-nutritionists among us (me) is we should just trust the company (in this case Purina, for whom I have no great amount of respect) to mix the ingredients correctly to help keep our dogs alive!
I’m sorry if I’m sounding snarky, and I’m really not trying to be antagonistic towards you personally, but I really don’t care for explanations that boil down to it’s complicated; trust us. I don’t trust big companies to do what’s best rather than what’s most profitable, so I want to understand why an “inexpensive, marginally nutritionally valuable” food ingredient is really the best for my dog, even in her specific circumstance.
Fair enough, you’d like a more detailed answer. What led me to say that you have been misled by marketing information is because you said you’d learned it was an empty filler. From a nutritional standpoint a filler is something without nutritional benefit. Air, water and fiber would meet that definition, yet even fiber can have benefits for the colon. Corn supplies essential amino acids , essential fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and energy and therefore it does not meet the definition of “filler”
I would respectively disagree with DFA that corn is only of marginal nutritional value. Certainly it is not a complete food and its primary value is being a source of energy but it has attributes that I believe elevate it from marginal status.
A place to dive deeper is to utilize Pub Med to read the original research on the use of corn as an ingredient in pet foods. This is a decent review article https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34078195/ but the true value is in mining the references and reading those supporting papers.
It has been years since I went through and read all the research on corn. As I recall, one of the unique features of corn is the amino acid profile that is relatively high in the essential sulfur containing amino acids. This may be important when formulating a controlled protein food yet need to meet essential amino acids.
In regards to modifying a diet for kidney patients, controlling phosphorus is key Protein is a source of phosphorus and my understanding is that when using plant based protein the phosphorus is less absorbable. This could be desired for a kidney patient.
For me corn is neither “good” or “bad” it just is… and like anything has pros and cons.
I’d also think that other factors weigh in as to what ingredients are chosen as a means to supply nutrients.
Thanks, Aimee, for diving deeper for me; I appreciate your staying engaged. I will look at the PubMed info you referenced. And I understand that even with “experts” there can and will be differences of opinion, so what you say about DFA’s statement is fair. (BTW, my characterization of corn as “a filler” was certainly all mine, extrapolating from what he’d said.) Before further study, I now see from what you say that the amino acids in corn are probably key to its selection. And I did understand that controlling phosphorus is important, so that helps to explain why plant-based protein is better, which I knew was part of this, but not why.
What my attitude probably boils down to is my lack of faith in the good faith of large companies. Purina charges quite a bit for this food, which I’m perfectly willing to pay if it is truly what’s best, but I just felt that perhaps the overall nutrition was being neglected. I will look further; I’m willing to admit I could be wrong, lol! My previous dog spent years eating prescription food due to a purine problem(he was a Dalmatian), and I had similar misgivings about that, but never saw an alternative.
Anyway, thanks again.
This is perfectly understandable “What my attitude probably boils down to is my lack of faith in the good faith of large companies” There is no perfect pet food company, all fall short in my eyes in some aspect. But I will say that after having talked to numerous pet food manufacturers I tend to find the most egregious problems and lack of basic nutritional understnding in smaller companies. The larger companies don’t have the “pretty ” ingredient labels but I’ve come to appreciate what i see as a vested interest in nutrition, something I think is lacking in many companies.
Dieting emphasizes calorie restriction with the goal of losing weight, especially losing weight fast. While dieting could in theory consist of a balanced approach to food and nutrients that only limits calories, far more often diets disregard the fundamentals of good nutrition and only focus on weight loss. This is particularly true of fad diets that may seek to completely remove one entire type of food (for example no protein, no carbs, or no fat), or diets that get even more restrictive and only allow one or a few different types of food. while
By contrast good nutrition emphasizes a diet that provides a complete source of all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and calories the body needs for healthy functioning. Healthy diets generally include an abundance of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low (but not no) fat and healthy oils, and grains. Good nutrition will not generally ‘blacklist’ any food items, but will focus on portion sizes and keeping the consumption of less nutritious or highly processed foods to a minimum
Not that I disagree with anything you said, but my question dealt specifically with a particular prescription diet, Purina Pro Plan NF. My dog is not on a weight-loss diet, she is restricted to that food due to a kidney issue. Therefore, a balanced “healthy” diet as you describe is not apparently available for Sammy.
Hi Patricia J!
For dogs with renal health issues, feed them a diet of high-quality protein with low phosphorus and sodium, and added omega-3 fatty acids, such as a mix of good quality meat, veggies like bell peppers, and either a supplement of omega-3’s or fish, flax, sardines, or anchovies.
Thanks for joining in:) Without having researched the specifics of what you said, I’ll say that it sounds sensible to me. However, what prompted my original questions was the fact that Sammy’s vet has prescribed a diet of ONLY Purina Pro Plan NF food; no additions, not even treats marketed as kidney-issue friendly. She maintains that dogs with kidney problems who are fed this diet exclusively live 2-3 years longer than those fed otherwise. Since I have been quite satisfied seeing this vet for over 20 years, through 2 dogs, I am following her advice. I simply came here seeking more understanding of the value of this diet to a dog’s overall nutrition. If you haven’t already, see comments by Aimee, above, which go some way towards that goal.
Hi Patricia J!
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Hi, Patricia J,
It was sad to know about the health issue your dog is suffering from. I have a 7-year-old German Shepherd. It faced a similar problem a few months ago. It is good that you are following a pet nutritionist right from the birth of your dog.
Generally, providing dog food with corn as its primary ingredient may impact its overall health. However, if your pet nutritionist knows the history of your dog and if he has ‘prescribed’ a specific diet, I feel you should follow his opinion.
If you want, you can visit another veterinarian specialized in pet nutrition for a second opinion. It is difficult to analyze why some dog food may be better for your dog when undergoing the leaking issue, as you mentioned.
Let a pet nutritionist decide what is good for your dog. To find a pet nutritionist nearby, log on to an online vet discovery platform and get the list of veterinarians in your area.
You can follow some simple steps to get the list of veterinary clinics in a particular city or metro area. For instance, if you are in Phoenix, find the best veterinary clinics in Phoenix along with GreatVet rating conveniently by either entering the metro area’s name in the search box, clicking on the state on the map provided or clicking on the link mentioning the particular metro area.
Hi Great V, and thanks for chiming in on this topic. I appreciate your concern, and all of your suggestions. We are, indeed, continuing to follow our vet’s advice, feeding Sammy only Pro Plan NF, with no additions. She also continues to take Proin ER and Fortiflora. I am happy to report that the “leaking” problem is tremendously lessened, and also that she absolutely loves the food. For the time-being, I have put my nutritional worries pretty much out of mind, as long as Sammy continues to thrive.
I hope your dog is doing better also:)
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