What are the best diets for 2018?


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Variety is always better than feeding any single food, as it helps to guarantee that all of your dogs' nutritional needs are met and is more interesting for your dogs. Most B vitamins for human and pet consumption come from China. They were significantly heavier more likely to be neutered, older, and of certain breeds the cavalier King Charles spaniel, Beagle, bull terrier, bulldog, Chihuahua, golden retriever, Labrador retriever, and pug. One day, meals might align with PMR. Reported maximum CF concentrations were obtained from product labels. A diet formulated for large-breed puppies is our way of avoiding these issues.

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Widespread Contamination and Rampant Recalls of Pet Food

The rankings come from an expert panel of the country's top nutritionists, dietary consultants and physicians, which evaluated 40 different diets across nine categories. The categories included ease of compliance, likelihood of short- and long-term weight loss , and effectiveness against chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

The diets share a number of similar themes, Hogan said -- lots of colorful fruits and vegetables , whole grains, healthy fats, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and avoidance of foods that are processed, packaged or high in saturated fats. The diets also are both backed by a lot of scientific data that show they can help people lose weight and avoid heart disease and diabetes, Haupt said.

Fads like the Keto Diet can cause quick weight loss, but a person can't maintain such eating restrictions, Haupt and Hogan noted. That's nothing that any person can sustain for the long term," Hogan said. Weight Watchers scored high in the U. News rankings, coming in first as the best commercial diet and the best weight-loss diet.

You can eat what you want. There are no foods that are off-limits. The plan also benefited from the amount of encouragement and accountability Weight Watchers provides its members, Haupt added. Hogan said Weight Watchers is great for people who've never really taken stock of their regular eating patterns. But she believes that people need to move on and find their own path eventually, after learning what they can from a commercial plan. If we become more in tune with those things, we naturally consume how much the body needs.

Paying too much attention to numbers takes away from that. Dieters who want to succeed long-term need to take a hard look at themselves and what's important to them, Haupt and Hogan said. In general, dieters ought to focus more on the positives of food rather than the negatives, Hogan concluded.

We should focus on what we need more of and nourish our bodies that way. Obesity rates in America have been rising, but some states are worse than others. Pet health care bills can climb into the tens of thousands of dollars as new technologies and treatments drive up costs. If you're having a hard time shedding pounds, try adjusting these common eating habits.

Share Tweet Reddit Flipboard Email. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. In other words, dogs are not inherently more likely to be allergic to corn, wheat, soy, rice, beef or chicken, etc. Food allergies are also more likely to develop if the dog is fed the same food all the time. There can be other problems with certain foods, especially grains. Gluten intolerance can cause digestive problem for some dogs.

Certain grains can contain molds or storage mites that can cause an allergic reaction. I don't believe that grains should ever be a large part of a dog's diet, but I don't consider corn or wheat to be worse than other grains, unless your dog has a specific problem with these foods. Corn is especially likely to be contaminated with aflatoxin, however, a toxic fungus that is found occasionally in dog food and which can cause severe problems in dogs.

Keep in mind that corn gluten meal and wheat gluten meal are waste products from the human food industry used as a cheap source of low-quality protein and are a hallmark of a poor quality food. I also don't consider it necessary to avoid using products that contain soy , as long as it is a small part of the diet, and used in place of grains or other plant products, rather than as a primary protein source in place of meat.

Again, if your individual dog has a problem with soy, then you should avoid foods that use it. Grain-free foods have become popular in recent years.

They are worth trying if your dog suffers from allergies or other inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, but we don't really know if the substitute carbohydrates, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, tapioca, and peas, are really better for your dog than grains.

If you don't see improvements when feeding a grain-free food to your dog, there may be no reason to avoid grains in the diet. Contrary to many myths and popular beliefs, there is no harm in feeding a high-protein diet to dogs of any age, including puppies see Large and giant breed puppies below and seniors see Senior and overweight dogs below and my article on Diet and the Older Dog for more information.

Studies have proved that protein does not cause orthopedic problems in puppies, nor lead to kidney disease in older dogs. In fact, protein is extremely beneficial: Even most dogs with kidney disease benefit from a moderate-protein rather than low-protein diet see Is a Low-Protein Diet Desirable or Necessary for Dogs with Kidney Disease? There are very, very few health conditions where a lower-protein diet is needed, and even then, it's extremely important to feed adequate protein, as protein malnutrition will cause the body to break down its own muscle tissue to get what it needs, leading to muscle wasting and other serious problems.

Even mild protein deficiency can significantly impair immune function. Dogs who get too little protein are also more susceptible to stress, including stress from injury or infection.

Dogs thrive on protein, the more the better. There is absolutely no reason to limit the amount of protein you feed your dog. Look for foods that are high in protein, rather than the typical high-carbohydrate diets that are more commonly available.

Dogs have no nutritional need for carbohydrates; they are used in dog food mostly as an inexpensive source of calories grains are also used to supply low-quality protein in some foods , and to help bind dry food together into kibble.

Studies indicate that high-protein, low-carb foods with moderate amounts of fat also help dogs lose weight better than the traditional high-carb, low-fat and often low-protein weight loss diets.

There are a number of newer, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets now being offered, for both adult and senior dogs. Look for foods where the protein percentage is double the fat percentage.

You can also increase the protein levels in whatever diet you feed by adding some fresh, high-protein foods, such as meat, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, and canned fish with bones jack mackerel, pink salmon, sardines.

If you have a dog that is hyper-reactive to outside stimuli, you may be interested in How High Carbohydrate Diets Can Affect Some Dogs by noted behaviorist William Campbell suggesting a possible cause being a high carbohydrate diet. Large and giant breed or any breed prone to hip dysplasia puppies should be fed a restricted diet to slow growth. Overfeeding encourages them to grow too fast, resulting in most of the bone and joint problems common in large breeds, including dysplasia, osteochondrosis, etc.

Limit the amount you feed to keep your pup lean and slow-growing, which will not affect his eventual adult size. Never give supplemental calcium of any kind when feeding a commercial diet. Excess calcium is another factor that has been linked to hip dysplasia and other developmental problems in large-breed puppies, particularly before puberty, when they have less ability to control their uptake of calcium.

Large Breed Puppy Formulas are usually designed to be lower in calcium and fat calories than other puppy foods, with a Calcium: Phosphorus ratio below 1. They are sometimes lower in protein as well, however, which is not desirable. Protein and carbohydrates provide similar calories per gram, so reducing protein in favor of carbohydrates provides less needed nutrition without reducing calories.

Look for formulas that are high in protein without being high in fat. If you feed a food that is approved for adult dogs only, there could be inadequate amounts of protein and fat, and improper levels of calcium and other nutrients. High protein diets are preferred, as puppies need protein to thrive and studies have shown that high protein does not lead to developmental problems , but high fat diets may contribute too many calories, leading to rapid growth. See the following articles for more information:.

A diet formulated for large-breed puppies is our way of avoiding these issues. Furthermore, by maintaining the dogs on the same feeding regimen until they were 2 years old, this beneficial effect was still present at that age, as demonstrated by the significantly lower frequency of hip dysplasia in the limit-fed dogs. Are high calcium diets related to bone disease? Overfeeding During Growth "Overfeeding during the phase of rapid growth after weaning is linked to a variety of multi-factorial skeletal diseases including osteochondrosis, hip dysplasia, hypertrophic dystrophy and wobbler syndrome.

So the excess weight during the period of rapid growth, rather than the protein content of the diet, is probably the factor which alters skeletal development. Relationship of Nutrition to Developmental Skeletal Disease in Young Dogs "Excessive dietary energy may support a growth rate that is too fast for proper skeletal development and results in a higher frequency of skeletal abnormalities in large and giant-breed dogs Because fat has twice the caloric density of protein or carbohydrate, dietary fat is the primary contributor to excess energy intake.

Unlike other species, protein excess has not been demonstrated to negatively affect calcium metabolism or skeletal development in dogs. Protein deficiency, however, has more impact on the developing skeleton. Dietary Mineral Levels Affect Bone Development in Great Dane Pups "Controlling skeletal growth is considered critical in decreasing the expression of developmental bone disease in large and giant breed puppies.

For these puppies, intake of calories and calcium should be restricted to a level that supports an adequate, but not excessive growth rate.

If large and giant breed puppies are given unrestricted access from weaning to a puppy food with usual mineral and energy content, high mineral intakes may quickly result in bone mineral changes that could contribute to persistent skeletal problems. The optimal growth of large breed puppies "Excessive food intake calories during growth results in a higher risk of developing HD.

Research into the growth of Great Danes Nap RC, The Netherlands, has shown that the protein level of a diet has no significant influence on skeletal development. High protein intake does not result in increased risk for OCD or HD, and there is no effect on the development in the longitudinal growth of the bone.

Senior and overweight dogs are often fed foods that are lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates, which is a bad idea. Recent research indicates that older dogs need MORE protein than younger dogs, not less. Carbohydrates provide less nutrition than protein and can lead to weight gain.

Feed senior and overweight dogs a diet that is high in protein, with low carbs and moderate amounts of fat too little fat leaves your dog feeling hungry all the time, which can make it harder for them to lose weight. I have notations in the lists of recommended foods about which companies offer higher-protein senior and weight loss foods.

Did you know that "prescription diet" is an unregulated marketing term? Certain health conditions do require dietary changes, though prescription diets are not always the best option they are often formulated based on outdated and disproved hypotheses. Newer recommendations for dogs prone to forming CaOx stones say that diets should not be restricted in protein, calcium, or phosphorus.

See my Shopping page for where to order prescription diets. Confirmation that your vet has recommended a particular food may be required. These diets use high-quality, human-grade foods along with customized supplements for each recipe.

The company does not currently offer the option of making the food at home for their JustVetSupportDiets, but may do so in the future. See my article about this company in Whole Dog Journal's December issue.

Rayne Clinical Nutrition offers therapeutic diets, including custom diets. Most are cooked and frozen "peel and serve" varieties, but several limited-ingredient diets are also available in dry form. In comparison to JustFoodForDogs above, most foods have no organ meats, fruits, or vegetables other than starchy carbs , supplements are not customized for each recipe, and they don't offer the option of making custom diets at home. Dry foods are approximately two-thirds carbs and relatively low in protein.

Kidney diets are overly restricted in protein. I've also had two people report problems to me with these foods -- more info in my Refrigerated or Frozen Cooked Foods section.

Blue offers HF, a hydrolyzed salmon diet for dogs with food allergies that contains better ingredients than the prescription veterinary diets. While the rest of the ingredients are not hydrolyzed, this food may still be helpful for some dogs. Wysong has introduced a line of freeze-dried prescription dog food for a variety of conditions. These foods can only be ordered through veterinarians.

Note I don't recommend their Nephreon diet for dogs with kidney disease as it is high in phosphorus. Email me if you have questions about the diet your vet has recommended for your dog. As everyone must be aware by now, there was a massive recall of pet foods beginning in March, , due to contaminants that caused kidney failure in death in thousands of pets see my Recall page for more information. Eventually, the cause was determined to be contamination with melamine and cyanuric acid, ingredients that are often added illegally to foods in China to artificially increase their protein level.

Contamination was found first in wheat gluten, then in rice protein concentrate, then in corn gluten in South Africa , all coming from China chicken jerky from China has also been implicated in kidney problems and death, but the cause has not been identified. Since that time, most of the better dog food companies have instituted testing for these two substances, and have taken steps to eliminate ingredients sourced from China. Unfortunately, there are a few ingredients that simply cannot be found elsewhere in quantity, including taurine, glucosamine and most B vitamins.

Note that companies who say that all of their ingredients come from US companies are being disingenuous, as the original source of some parts could still be China. Eagle Pack , whose foods are EU European Union certified, which requires disclosure of the country of origin of all ingredients, had this to say in Most pet food and human food companies and makers of supplements most likely source some supplements from China.

Most B vitamins for human and pet consumption come from China. In our supplements, U. This will be true of the vitamin content for most pet foods you buy and for many pet or human vitamins you use. The same is true for human grade Taurine. Chewing on bones, chew toys and whole pieces of meat, etc.

The best thing you can do to prevent periodontal disease is brushing your dog's teeth at least three times a week. This is especially important for small dogs, who are most seriously affected by periodontal disease due to the small size of their mouths which leads to crowding of the teeth and reduced bone for anchoring teeth. Existing calculus can only be removed by cleaning under anesthesia not the type of scaling done by groomers, which does not get under the gums where the real problems lie.

See the following articles for more info:. It is a fatty acid that comes in a gelcap that you squeeze out on your dog's gums, then feed the remainder as a treat. Studies suggest it can help with gum disease, and may also help with joint disease as well. Coenzyme Q10 CoQ10, or ubiquinol is a supplement that has been shown to help with gum health, and is also good for the heart and kidneys. Give 1 mg per pound of body weight once or twice a day.

Supplements made for people are fine to use. There are many products that claim to help control plaque, but very few have been studied and most do not work.

Even those that have shown to reduce tartar may have only minimal effects. Note that this does not mean the products are safe Greenies, for example, have been implicated in dog deaths due to esophageal and intestinal damage , and the dental foods are all low-quality. Again, best to feed a better quality food and brush your dog's teeth if at all possible.

Also, many water additives contain xylitol , which is dangerous for dogs, though the one water additive listed on the VOHC site, Healthymouth anti-plaque water additive , does not and should be safe to use. There are also some usually expensive oral care products that may be helpful.

Some people report good results at first, but I rarely hear anything from anyone who has used these products long term, which makes me think the products don't work all that well or are too much trouble to use.

OraVet makes a sealant that vets can put on the teeth after cleaning, then you apply weekly topcoats available at Amazon at home, but you can't use the topcoat if the sealant wasn't applied when his teeth were cleaned. I don't recommend "anesthesia-free teeth cleaning," which is usually done by dog groomers, not trained veterinary technicians.

There are two problems with this approach: See the following for more information:.

Is Your Pet Food Contaminated with Euthanasia Drugs and Other Toxins?