43: Nourishing Our Doodles: A Vet’s Guide to Nutrition & Optimal Health (Pt 2)

In this week's episode, my guest Dr. Em from Vet Med Corner, shares doggone great advice on how to keep your Doodle healthy and happy. With science-based tips, including assessing prescription dog food and maintaining a healthy weight, Dr. Em provides long-term solutions to keep even the most finicky eaters on track for optimal health.

I ask my remaining Top Ten questions about how to nourish our Doodles are answered, providing invaluable insights for keeping your furry friend fit, strong, and most importantly, happy! So, grab your pup, put on your headphones, and tune in to this paw-some episode!

“The ingredient list really has very little correlation to the quality of pet food … What really matters is the bioavailability and your pet’s ability to absorb into their bodies the nutrients that those ingredients are made up of.”

– Dr. Em

KEY TOPICS:

  • Question #5: Where Should We Go for Reputable, Reliable Advice?
    • Petfoodology, the comprehensive pet nutrition blog published by Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
    • Articles linked through reputable resources (see above).
    • Be Warned: This website, which often pops up first on searches for info about dogfood, was founded by people who have no related expertise or credentials. 
    • Global food, dental, vaccine and other guidelines for best practices are generated by the nonprofit World Small Animal Veterinary Association.
  • Question #6: What are some of the highlights from WSAVA.org’s guidelines?
    • Make sure your preferred dogfood company has on staff a full-time veterinary nutritionist with valid credentials who is involved with formulating the recipes.
    • Manufacturing plants should be company-owned by pet concerns so that they can impose testing and quality control on the process and end product.
    • Read ingredient lists (which are ordered by weight) carefully to ferret out “tricky” ways of manipulating meat and water content.
    • Understand and assess nutrient density as well as the processes that impact bioavailability and absorption by your pets.
  • Question #7: Is “Human-Grade” Dogfood Special?
    • Nope! Sounds great but it’s a marketing ploy designed to tug on heartstrings.
    • Humans and dogs absorb food in very different ways and have different needs.
  • Question #8: How Can I Get My Doodle to Eat the Right Food?
    • There is no one “right” food for an entire breed, so it’s important to consider:
      • Age.
      • Body weight.
      • Size.
      • Medical history.
    • If your dog tends to be a nibbler, look for a formula that has the highest possible caloric density.
    • Most dogs like working for their food, so consider using training techniques and food puzzles as tools.
  • Question #9: Is It Okay to Use Meal “Toppers”?
    • At least 90% of core daily intake must be from canned food and kibble. 
    • If your dog’s daily diet is comprised of more than 10% “treats,” you’re going over the top.
    • Over time, dietary imbalances cause real cumulative harm.
    • Use a reliable dog food caloric intake calculator.
    • Beware dense treats, like peanut butter and high-calorie “greenie” chews. 
    • Weighing portions can be very helpful in pacing higher-value treat strategies.
  • Challenge #10: How Do I Figure Out Exactly How Much I Should Feed My Doodle?
    • Back-of-the-bag recommendations are an average starting point.
    • Track your dog’s numbers to see whether their weight and body condition scores are going up.
    • Adjust until you figure out what works for your dog at any given time or season.
    • Use the nine-point body composition scale to keep your Doodle between a four and a five:
      • When your dog is standing square you should be able to feel their ribs quite easily when running your hands over them.
      • There should not be much padding anywhere.
      • From the top they should have a visible waist.
      • From the side, they should have a visible tuck to their abdomen, making it higher than the rib cage.
      • For heavier dogs, over-the-counter diet formulas are ill-advised because they don’t support metabolism and satiety or preserve muscle mass. 
    • Be mindful about maintaining recommended levels of micronutrients even if your Doodle is on a weight-control regime!

QUOTABLE:

  • “The majority of experts will agree on the majority of things. If you find a lone voice going against the majority of experts, the likelihood of them being correct is incredibly low.” (Dr. Em)
  • “What you see in a (dog food) ingredient list doesn’t necessarily equate to what’s being absorbed …” (Corinne)
  • “The ingredient list really has very little correlation to the quality of pet food … What really matters is the bioavailability and your pet’s ability to absorb into their bodies the nutrients that those ingredients are made up of.” (Dr. Em)
  • “We practice positive reinforcement and force-free training methods. I’m not hearing not to use food in training, but I’m going to be planning … and using that kibble purposefully throughout the day, raising the value of nutritious food and mixing it in.” (Corinne)
  • “The prescription weight loss formulas help to maintain muscle mass while helping (dogs) lose fat.” (Dr. Em)

RELEVANT LINKS/RESOURCES:

Listen to Pt 1 of our interview here.

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have a pawsome day!

Corinne

corinne the doodle pro

oh hey there!

I’m Corinne, The Doodle Pro™

DOODLES ARE DIFFERENT, THEY DESERVE SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY NEED.

That’s why I, The Doodle Pro™, do things differently.

All of my training methods are positive, research-based, and Doodle-specific. 

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