All too often a reply from a pet food manufacturer will skirt around a customer query. I once asked Purina what “Animal Digest” was, and their response was along the lines of “Animal digest is an nutritional ingredient”, which didn’t answer the question in any way, shape, or form.
I was therefore very impressed when I came across this email from nutritionist Bill at Meals for Mutts, sent in response to a customer query. The detail in this response is well above the norm and really sets the bar. Good work Bill:
Your poor Staffy certainly has been through the mill to have all these issues!
Unfortunately though, these types of problems are all too common in rescue dogs and
one can only wonder at the treatment they endured prior to being “saved”. Perhaps
the simplest way to answer your questions is to address each of the issues as
1) Pancreatitis – The exact cause of this condition is not really understood, but
certain factors appear to be a precursor to the problem with the main one being
elevated blood lipid levels. Consequently, the standard procedure is to reduce the
amount of fat in the diet, which (theoretically) will reduce the load on the
pancreas. Our experience suggests the actual fat level itself is not the cause,
rather it’s the ratio of fat to the other nutrients that is the problem. Whilst none
of our foods are presented as medicinal treatments, we have had significant success
in dogs with pancreatitis with both our Kangaroo and Lamb version and the Salmon and
Sardine version. Both of these foods contain moderate fat levels that are balanced
to the total available nutrient profile of the food, and that balance being the key
to reducing nutritional stress in the animal. As such there are no maximum or
minimum fat levels in any of the products; we formulate to ratio, then express the
required amount as a percentage for inclusion on the label, allowing a very small
tolerance to ensure the stated minimum is the minimum!
2) IBD and skin allergies – As with the pancreatitis, these issues would appear
to be related to long-term intestinal damage as a result of starvation, disease or
mismanagement in earlier life. Once again, the key to success lies in reducing the
burden on the body by feeding a diet where the nutrients are arranged in strict
ratio to one another and in proportion to the available energy level of the food.
The benefit of this truly holistic approach lies in reducing the digestive burden
for the dog; nutrients are consumed in the body proportionally to one another and in
strict ratio to energy. Similarly, we don’t formulate by including specific
ingredients; rather we add ingredients relative to their available nutrient content
so as to satisfy the ratio requirements of the diet profile. Unfortunately, this
nutritional science is not commonly understood or applied in dog nutrition, which
makes life difficult for dogs like your Staffy, and to make more sense of the
process the standard industry formulation technique is to add ingredients to satisfy
perceived daily minimum requirements (the same as on the side of your Weeties
packet), but there is no consideration as to the inter-relationship of these
nutrients within the food.
3) Dealing with the problems – A balanced diet, where available nutrients are
balanced in ratio to one another and in proportion to available energy, is the
essential starting point. Add to this a quality probiotic supplement such as
“Probotic” (Vetafarm) or “Protexin” (International Animal Health), and intestinal
health will improve. In all cases, getting the correct nutrients into the body in
the correct amounts and in a form that can be absorbed into the blood stream will
allow the animal to heal itself and hopefully lead a somewhat “normal” life!
Good luck and kind regards,
Nutritionist – Meals For Mutts.
Read our reviews for Meals for Mutts and Meals for Meows.