Best Dog food for Heart Murmurs

Heart disease is the most common type of cardiovascular disease in dogs and it is important to take care of your dog’s heart health by feeding them the best possible diet. Recent studies have shown a significant rise in DCM-related cases linked to grain-free diets.

Factors to consider when choosing the best dog food for heart murmurs

  1. Restricted sodium diet: A diet lower in sodium can help to reduce the workload of the heart and decrease fluid retention.
  2. High-quality protein: A diet that is rich in high-quality protein can help to maintain lean muscle mass, which is important for cardiac health.
  3. Essential fatty acids: Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can help to reduce inflammation and support heart health.
  4. Vitamins and minerals: A diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals can help to support overall health and well-being.
  5. Avoid grain-free diets: Grain-free diets have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease in dogs.

The best dog foods for heart murmurs are those that are low in sodium, high in quality protein, and rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Grain-free diets should be avoided

Best Dog food for Heart Murmurs

The best way to prevent heart disease is to feed your dog a healthy diet and get them regular exercise.

Here are 10 of the best dog foods for heart health:

  1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet® Canine Cardiac™ dry dog food
  2. Hill’s® Prescription Diet® d/d® Canine Salmon & Potato Formula
  3. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets® HF Hydrolyzed for Dogs
  4. Iams ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food
  5. Eukanuba™ Adult Maintenance Small Bites Dry Dog Food
  6. Spot & Tango Dog Kibble – Best Value
  7. Hill’s Prescription Heart Care Chicken Flavor
  8. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Chicken & Rice Dry Dog Food
  9. ACANA Wholesome Grains Small Breed Recipe
  10. 1SquarePet VFS Active Joints Dry Food

Buying Guide for the Best Dog food for Heart Murmurs

What is a heart murmur?

A heart murmur is an abnormal sound that is heard when a stethoscope is placed over the heart. It is caused by turbulent blood flow through the heart and can be benign or indicative of an underlying cardiac condition.

What are the signs of a heart murmur?

Some dogs with heart murmurs may show no signs at all, while others may have exercise intolerance, cough, fainting episodes, or even congestive heart failure.

What causes heart murmurs?

There are many different causes of heart murmurs in dogs, including congenital defects, valve disease, endocarditis, and pulmonary hypertension.

How are heart murmurs diagnosed?

Heart murmurs are diagnosed by listening to the heart with a stethoscope. Your veterinarian may also recommend other tests, such as chest x-rays, an electrocardiogram (ECG), or echocardiography, to diagnose the underlying cause of the murmur.

What is the treatment for heart murmurs?

Treatment for heart murmurs depends on the underlying cause. If the murmur is benign, no treatment is necessary. If the murmur is indicative of an underlying cardiac condition, treatment may be necessary to manage the condition.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Dogs(Early and Later Signs)

About 1.5% of all dogs population get some form of an exocrine pancreatic disorder during their lifetime. Most of these are pancreatitis cases, with only a small percentage being caused by other disorders such as pancreatic tumors or cysts.

While any dog can develop pancreatitis, there are certain breeds that seem to be more prone to the condition. Breeds at a higher risk include:

  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Poodles (all sizes)
  • Dachshunds
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Boxers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • German Shepherds

Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs can be divided into two categories: early physical signs and other clinical symptoms. Early physical signs are those that are directly related to the pancreas itself, while clinical symptoms are those that result from the pancreas malfunctioning.

What is pancreatitis exactly? How do vets describe it?

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a small, pear-shaped gland that is located in the upper abdomen, behind the stomach. It has two main functions: producing digestive enzymes and secreting insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels).

When the pancreas becomes inflamed, these functions are disrupted and can lead to a variety of different symptoms. In severe cases, pancreatitis can be life-threatening.

There are two main types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis is a sudden onset of inflammation that is often short-lived ( resolved within a few days). Chronic pancreatitis is a more long-term form of inflammation that can cause irreversible damage to the pancreas.

What causes pancreatitis in dogs?

There are many potential causes of pancreatitis in dogs, but the exact cause is often unknown. Potential causes include:

  1. Viral infections (such as parvovirus or adenovirus)
  2. Bacterial infections (such as salmonella, E. coli, or Streptococcus)
  3. Fungal infections
  4. Protozoal infections
  5. Exposure to certain toxins or medications (such as corticosteroids, estrogen, or tetracycline antibiotics)
  6. Abdominal trauma
  7. Cancer
  8. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  9. Pancreatic pseudocysts
  10. Autoimmune diseases
  11. Genetic disposition
  12. Obesity is also a risk factor for pancreatitis, as fat deposits in the pancreas can lead to inflammation. Dogs who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop pancreatitis, and the condition is often more severe in these dogs.

What are the early physical signs of pancreatitis in dogs?

The most common early physical sign of pancreatitis is abdominal pain. This can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that causes your dog to cry or whine when touched. You may also notice that your dog is reluctant to move or walk, and may adopt a hunched-over position.

Other early physical signs of pancreatitis include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Fever

If your dog is showing any of these signs, it’s important to contact your veterinarian right away. Early diagnosis and treatment of pancreatitis is crucial for a good outcome.

What are the other clinical symptoms?

As pancreatitis progresses, other clinical symptoms may develop. These include:

  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen)
  • Respiratory distress
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Coma

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it is considered a medical emergency and you should bring them to the vet immediately.

How to keep an eye on the symptoms: The best way to observe at home

The best way to observe your dog for signs of pancreatitis is to pay attention to their daily routine and look for any changes. This includes things like their energy level, appetite, and bathroom habits.

If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior, or they start showing any of the signs listed above, contact your veterinarian right away.

How is pancreatitis diagnosed in dogs?

If your dog is showing any signs of pancreatitis, the first step is to contact your veterinarian. They will likely recommend bringing your dog in for a physical examination and may also recommend some or all of the following tests:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Abdominal radiographs (X-rays)
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • CT scan or MRI
  • Pancreatic biopsy

These tests can help to confirm a diagnosis of pancreatitis and rule out other potential causes of your dog’s symptoms.

How is pancreatitis treated in dogs?

Treatment for pancreatitis depends on the severity of the condition. For mild cases, treatment may be as simple as rest and supportive care at home. This may include a bland diet, fluids to prevent dehydration, and pain medication.

For more severe cases, hospitalization and intensive care may be necessary. Treatment may include IV fluids, pain medication, antibiotics, antacids, and nutrition support. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue or to drain pseudocysts.

What is the prognosis for dogs with pancreatitis?

The prognosis for dogs with pancreatitis depends on the severity of the condition. For dogs with mild pancreatitis, the prognosis is generally good and most dogs make a full recovery.

For dogs with more severe pancreatitis, the prognosis is less favorable. Some dogs may require long-term treatment or may not recover fully from the condition. In some cases, pancreatitis can be fatal.

Preventing Pancreatitis in Dogs

There are some things that you can do to help prevent pancreatitis in your dog. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding excessive fat in the diet
  • Avoiding certain medications or toxins that may trigger the condition
  • Regular check-ups with your veterinarian

If your dog is at risk for pancreatitis, working with your veterinarian to develop a plan to prevent the condition can help to keep your dog healthy and avoid potentially serious complications.

How Much to Feed Dachshund Puppies? Helpful Chart for Week & Months

Feeding a Dachshund Puppy - How Much and the Best Dachshund Puppy Food

Dachshund puppies are some of the most adorable creatures on the planet, but they can be a lot of work, too with undesired behaviors such as excessive barking. Not only do you have to housetrain them and make sure they get enough exercise, but you also have to make sure they’re eating right.

So what’s the best way to feed a Dachshund puppy?

In this article, I have provided detailed guidelines on Dachshund puppy’s feeding milestones week by week and highlighted what you need to watch out for. I have also listed and reviewed the best dog food designed to meet Dachshund puppy’s needs.

Let’s start with some basics to get you an idea of how these breeds are;.

Here is Some Overview of the Dachshunds Breed

Dachshunds are miniature or standard-sized dogs and were recently accepted to AKC in 2017. The miniature Dachshunds weigh 11 lbs or below and grow between 5-6 inches tall. The standard Dachshund, on the other hand, weighs between 16 lbs to 32 lbs and stands between 8-9 inches at maturity. Dachshunds have a life expectancy of between 12-16 years.

Dachshunds’ appearance, activity level, size, growth, and health risk determine what and how much to feed them.

DachShunds also have three coat varieties; smooth, wirehaired, and long-haired. The coat demands a diet with fats to maintain its proper growth and healthy appearance.

Originally bred for hunting, Dachshunds require the regular exercise of two walks of average length every day to keep them fit, develop strong muscles, and protect their long back from rupturing when overweight. Moderate exercising requires proper feeding to provide the puppy with sufficient energy.

Besides, Dachshunds need to eat foods that promote their health as the breed is susceptible to some illnesses. Dachshunds are prone to suffering dental disease, obesity, bleeding disorders, kidney stones, neurological problems, and diabetes, which nutrition can prevent or promote treatment.

Read on to understand the nutritional requirements of a Dachshund puppy, how much to feed them, and when to feed them.

What are the Nutritional Needs of a Dachshund Puppy?

 Dachshund puppies, both miniature and standard, are regular-sized because they weigh below 50 lbs when they mature. Dachshund puppies’ nutritional needs are foods with 22-35% proteins, 0.7-1.7% calcium, 0.6-1.3% phosphorus, and 10-25% fats.

A Dachshund Miniature Puppy


Feeding your Dachshund puppy with high-quality protein foods of between 22% and 30% is critical to their healthy growth. Proteins are a source of energy that fuels your Dachshund puppy sufficiently for their necessary exercises.

Proteins also maintain and repair cells and skin, muscle, bone, and hair tissues, which are paramount in keeping the Dachshund puppy’s coats healthy and protecting their back from breaking.

Above all, proteins enhance the Dachshund’s immune system, a critical role because the breed’s prone to illnesses such as infections, kidney stones, diabetes, and bleeding diseases. 


Adequate fats are essential in puppy food because they are a source of energy and facilitate the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, body tissues, and muscles. Dachshund puppies benefit from foods especially because they are active and are susceptible to several diseases such as neurological disorders and back pains

Fats also keep a dog’s coat shiny and healthy, making them essential for Dachshund puppies in keeping their coats beautiful and healthy. Fats would minimize a Dachshund puppy’s risk of hair loss that usually occurs on the throat, belly, chest, and inside of the legs areas. Insufficient fats, on the other hand, will cause your puppy to suffer a dry, itchy skin and a dull coat.

Fats also reduce inflammation by producing prostaglandins which are hormone-like substances. Fats also improve the taste and smell of your puppy food, motivating them to eat. Finally, fats increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), promoting your puppy’s healthy development.

Ensure that you do not feed your Dachshund excess fats (above 25%) to prevent obesity, acute pancreases, and vitamin E and A, and linoleic acid deficiency because it destroys them.


Sufficient calcium is significant to your Dachshund puppy because it aids in its healthy growth, healthy bone and teeth development and maintenance, muscle building and functioning, a strong heart, and a healthy nervous system. The Dachshund are susceptible to back problems because of their long backs and short legs; adequate calcium is essential to minimizing the back problems. Calcium also manages the Dachshund’s risk of heart disease because they strengthen the heart.


Phosphorus is essential in the diet of Dachshund puppies because they enable healthy kidney functioning to flush out toxins, aids in muscle contractions, maintains a normal heart rate, helps in calcium breakdown, and facilitates calcium breakdown. Healthy kidney functioning will boost the puppy’s health because they are prone to infections, supports their motor functions, and strengthens their hearts.

How much should I feed a Dachshund puppy?

The amount of food that your Dachshund puppy eats depends on their age, size, activity level, and health. A Dachshund puppy’s feeding frequency reduces as they grow, starting from four times in their second and third months, switches to three times in the fourth, fifth, and sixth months, and feeds 2 times only thereafter.

An overweight Dachshund puppy will eat less food than a healthy one, and an underweight puppy will eat more food than a healthy or overweight puppy.

A more active Dachshund puppy will also eat more food than an inactive one to replenish their energy levels.

To understand the exact amount you need to feed your Dachshund puppy in a day, multiply its resting energy requirements (RER) by two. You calculate the RER by multiplying the puppy’s body weight in kilograms to the power of ¾ by 70.

For instance, a Dachshund puppy weighing 1 kg lbs, their RER is 70 (1 kg) ¾ =52.5

To get the amount of calories the puppy needs, multiply RER 52.5 by 2= 105 calories per day.

Dachshund Puppy Feeding Chart

Birth-8th week:

Ideally, Dachshund puppies should breastfeed or take formula until 8 weeks when they start their weaning journey. However, some Dachshund puppy owners start weaning them earlier, at 4 or 6 weeks. If you do start weaning your puppy at  4 or 6 weeks, feed the puppy with mush (a mixture of kibble and water/formula) to make it easier for them to swallow and digest.

8th week:

At 8 weeks, your Dachshund puppy should now rely on puppy food fully for its nutrients. If you got the puppy from a breeder, continue feeding them what they were consuming. If not, give them high-quality puppy food that meets all its nutritional requirements. The ideal amount of food to give your puppy is 6-12 ounces in four days each day. If you have just begun weaning your puppy, mix the kibble with water to make it easy for your puppy to swallow and digest the food.

9th week:

continue feeding your Dachshund puppy 6 to 12 ounces of puppy food spread over feeding times in a day.  You can also continue giving your puppy the mush, but reduce the amount of water to get the puppy ready for dry food.

10th week:

continue feeding your puppy 6-12 ounces of food in four regular feeding times a day. Reduce the water amount further as the puppy becomes accustomed to kibble in swallowing and digesting.

11th week:

the Dachshund puppy is still taking 6-12 ounces of puppy food in four regular feeding sessions. By the end of the week, the puppy should eat dry kibble.

12th week:

your Dachshund puppy should still eat four  meals a day regularly, but the food amount increases to 7-15 ounces. The puppy will continue eating 7-15 ounces a day in four regular meals until it reaches 4 months.

16 weeks:

the puppy still eats 7-15 ounces per day, but its meals reduce to three times.

18-22 weeks:

the Dachshund puppy eats between 7-16 ounces of food every day, spread over 3 regular meals.

7-8 months:

the amount of food decreases to 6-12 ounces, and so does the meal frequency. The  puppy eats less food in two sittings because a lot of growth has already occurred, preventing overeating and obesity risks.

9-10 months:

the Dachshund puppy eats even less, requiring only 5-11 ounces shared evenly between 2 regular meals.

10-12 months:

Your Dachshund puppy will need 4 to 11 ounces of food each day, eating in 2 regular meals. The puppy then switches to adult food in the 13th month.

Best Dachshund Puppy Food: Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Puppy

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Small Breed is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of your highly active small breed puppy. With real chicken as the first ingredient, it’s great-tasting food that provides high-quality protein for growth and development. Plus, Purina Pro Plan Puppy Small Breed features guaranteed live probiotics to help support your puppy’s digestive and immune health.

This improved formula used to be known as FOCUS Chicken and Rice Formula

Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Puppy food is fortified with probiotics to support digestive and immune health. It is made with high-quality protein sources like chicken meal and rice, plus essential vitamins and minerals to help your pup grow up big and strong.

Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Puppy food is specially crafted for the nutritional needs of growing small breed puppies. This premium dog food contains DHA from omega-rich fish oil to nourish your pup's developing brain and vision development, antioxidants to support his developing immune system, and calcium, phosphorus and other minerals to build strong bones and teeth. Plus, this kibble is enriched with vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids to nourish your puppy's skin and coat.


  1. - Made with high-quality protein sources like chicken meal and rice
  2. - Fortified with probiotics to support digestive and immune health
  3. - Contains DHA from omega-rich fish oil to nourish your pup's developing brain and vision
  4. - Enriched with vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids to nourish your puppy's skin and coat


  1. - Some puppies may not take to the taste
  2. Contains gluten and some Dachshunds puppies may be allergic to them

Dachshund puppy weight to maintain and recommended feeding chart

Age in monthsWeight to MaintainDaily Food Amount

2 months
6-12 ounces4
3 months7-15 ounces4
4 months7-15 ounces3
5-6 months7-16 ounces3
7-8 months6-12 ounces2
9-10 months5-11 ounces2
10-12 months4-11 ounces

Dachshund Puppies Feeding Frequently Asked Questions 

How much does a Dachshund puppy grow each week?

A Dachshund puppy grows steadily from birth to 12 weeks, and then rapidly from 12 weeks to 24 weeks. The puppy’s growth then slows down from the seventh month to 11 months, after which the growth curve flatten the Dachshund reaches adult stage.

 The tables below show the miniature Dachshund puppy and standard Dachshund puppy monthly growth in weight and height.

Age3 months6 months9 months12 months
Weight5-6 lbs8-9 lbs10-11 lbs11 lbs
Height3 inches4-5 inches5-6 inches5-6 inches

Miniature Dachshund puppy growth

Age3 months6 months9 months12 months
Weight7-14 lbs11-25 lbs14-30 lbs16-32 lbs
Height4-5 inches5-6 inches7-8 inches8-9 inches

Standard Dachshund puppy growth

Wet or dry dog food for a Dachshund puppy?

While you can feed your Dachshund both wet and dry puppy food, kibble is the better choice among the two. Kibble helps clean the puppy’s teeth by preventing tartar buildup, a critical grooming tactic for a Dachshund dog because it is prone to tartar buildup that causes dental disease. Also, unlike canned food, kibble does not cause loose stool, an increased risk in Dachshunds because of their sensitive metabolisms.

Grain-free vs grain-inclusive dog food for a dachshund puppy

Grain-free and grain-inclusive puppy food is good for a Dachshund puppy. However, the best grain-inclusive puppy food is one that contains whole grains such as oatmeal, brown and wild rice, and barley because they are high in protein and fiber. Avoid food with grains such as wheat, corn, and soy because they are just fillers that spike sugar levels, a risk to Dachshund's susceptibility to obesity.

Switching dog food for a Dachshund puppy

You will need to switch food for your Dachshund puppy shortly after getting them from a breeder, when the puppy is allergic to the current food, or when you want your puppy to transition from puppy food to adult dog food. Whatever the reason, the transition is gradual to avoid digestive diseases.

The switch happens over 7 to 10 days, adding a small amount of the new diet to the current one until the puppy can eat the new food entirely without stomach upsets.

During day 1 and day 2, you will mix 25% of the new diet with 75% of the old diet. On day 3 and 4, you will mix 50% of the new diet with 50% of the old diet, and on days 5 and 6, you will feed your puppy a mixture of 75% new food and 25% of the old diet.  From day 7 onwards, you will give your puppy 100% of the new kibble.

Should you feed a Dachshund puppy supplements?

Supplements are unnecessary for a Dachshund puppy as long as its food meets its nutritional needs of 22-35% proteins, 0.7-1.7% calcium, 0.6-1.3% phosphorus, and 10-25% fats. You may only need to give your Dachshund glucosamine and chondroitin supplements when they become adults or at 12 months to prevent joint pains, a common condition with the breed.

What if my Dachshund puppy won’t eat?

You will need to identify why your Dachshund will not eat to manage the situation to avoid unhealthy growth and development. Illness, dental disease, recent vaccination leading to loss of appetite, unfamiliar environments, and picky eating and behavior are some reasons why your Dachshund puppy won’t eat. Each cause calls for a unique solution.

For instance,you should feed your puppy a fitting wet food or mush if a pain-causing dental disease is a reason why the young will not eat. The mush or canned food is easier to eat and swallow because it requires minimal chewing. If your Dachshund puppy’s sickness causes them not to eat, seek vet services immediately to help them regain their appetite. If the puppy will not eat as an effect of vaccination, give them time as they will eat as soon as the effect is over.

Can you free feed a Dachshund puppy?

You should not free-feed your Dachshund puppy because it is harmful to the puppy’s physical and behavioral health. Dachshund puppies have a high food appetite and will always behave hungry, risking developing an overeating problem. Overeating could lead to overweight and obesity, high risks with the Dachshund breed. Being overweight and obese increases the risks of joint and back pains and heart diseases in dachshund puppies.

How much water does my Dachshund puppy need?

The amount of water your Dachshund puppy needs depends on their body weight. The American Kennel Club recommends that weaning puppies should take between ½ an ounce and 1 ounce of water per pound of their body weight every day. A Dachshund puppy that is still relying on breastfeeding only, however, will need a ½ cup of water every two hours.

Dachshund Puppy feeding habits

Dachshund puppies are highly motivated by food, requiring a regular feeding schedule to prevent them from overeating and possessive behaviors over their things. A Dachshund puppy should eat regularly between 2 to 4 times a day, depending on their age; 2 and 3 months puppy have 4 meals, a 5, 6, and 7 months old puppy eats thrice, and an 8 month and older puppy feeds twice only.

Regular feeding times are necessary to stabilize the puppy’s sugar levels as the breed is prone to diabetes. Also, a Dachshund puppy should have dinner at least 5 hours before their bedtime to allow digestion because the breed has a high risk for stomach upsets.

Other times,  a Dachshund puppy will not because they are anxious about their feeding environment. When this happens, relax your puppy, feed it in a familiar bowl, and stick to the same feeding area.

Understanding food portions/measurements to feed a Dachshund puppy

The age, size, activity level, and wellness will determine the food portions of a Dachshund puppy, either a miniature or a standard.  At 2 months, the puppy takes 6-12 ounces of food per day. The amount of food increases on the 3rd, 4th, and 6th months to 7-16 ounces, 7-15 ounces, and 7-16 ounces respectively to facilitate the rapid growth the puppy experiences during this period.

The daily food intake then decreases from the 7th to the 12th month, 6-12 ounces, 5-11 ounces, and 4-11 ounces respectively, as only minimal development occurs then. The bigger, older, and more active,the more the Dachshund puppy feeds. Underweight puppies should also eat more and overweight/obese puppies should eat less to get to a healthy weight.  Age, on the other hand, determines a Dachshund puppy’s meal frequency.

The younger the puppy, the more times it feeds in a day to replenish energy and nutrient levels for its rapid growth and active lifestyle. At 2 and 3 months, the puppy eats 4 regular meals every day, during the 5th, 6th,  and 7th months, the Dachshund puppy has 3 regular meals per day, which decrease to 2 meals each day from the 8th to the 12th month.

6 Criticisms of AAFCO Feeding Trials

AAFCO Feeding Trials - Criticism and Guide.jpg

In 2013, AAFCO, through its Feeding Protocols Expert Subcommittee (FPES) released a revised feeding protocol. In this blog, I have explained the meaning of AAFCO’s feeding trials, how they are conducted, benefits, drawbacks, and what you need to know.

Even though feeding trials are regarded the “gold standard” for pet food testing for nutrients adequacy, they have their shortcomings. I’ve listed six major concerns raised by veterinary experts that stood out in my research, such as animal cruelty, among other serious complaints. Read on to learn more.

This article is part of our general pet nutrition guides aimed at providing pet parents with the tools and resources needed to make informed decisions about their pet’s diet.

You may also want to check out these other guides;

Now, let’s get started.

What are AAFCO feeding trials?

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a non-profit organization that sets standards for the pet food industry but is not a regulator.

The American Feed Industry Association (AFAFCO) studies and discusses policies that affect the feed industry, as well as drafting model rules based on informed studies that feed control officials can take back to their states for customization and/or adoption.

Does AAFCO regulate?

AAFCO does not have the regulatory authority to enforce its policies. However, most states have adopted at least some of AAFCO’s model regulations and many pet food manufacturers choose to follow AAFCO’s guidelines even if they are not required to do so by law.

Who runs AAFCO?

Different AAFCO committees are tasked with specific sub-topics such as ingredient definitions, labeling, manufacture, inspection, and enforcement. These committees then bring their findings to the whole body for review and action. Most or all of AAFCO’s suggested rules for animal feed production and sale are enacted and/or codified by all of the individual American states.

But who are the committee members?

The committees are comprised of state feed control officials (the voting members) as well as representatives from the pet food industry, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other interested groups.

Some organizations that have been credited in some AAFCO reports in the past include;

  1. Kansas State University
  2. American Feed Industry Association (
  3. American Pet Products Association (

Below are the 5 different AAFCO Committees appearing in some of the latest AAFCO Meeting minutes;

  1. Current Issues and Outreach Committee Report
  2. Education and Training Committee Report
  3. Feed and Feed Ingredient Manufacturing Committee Report
  4. Feed Labeling Committee Report
  5. Ingredient Definitions Committee Report

Below is a typical start of the Committee Report with the names of committee members for AAFCO’s 2019 Midyear Meeting in Savannah, Georgia;

A snapshot showing an Example of an AAFCO Feed labelling Committee report from AAFCO's website
A snapshot showing an Example of an AAFCO Feed Labeling Committee report from AAFCO’s website

You can see the entire AAFCO Committee Reports here.

AAFCO’s Power in the Pet Food Industry:

In order for pet food to be sold in the United States, it must meet the standards set by AAFCO and endorsed as meeting the ‘complete and balanced’ nutrition requirements by either:

  • Undergoing feeding trials and being approved by AAFCO or
  • Formulating the product to meet specific nutritional guidelines laid out by AAFCO.

Feeding trials are a type of research in which animals are fed a specific diet and monitored for health effects. Feeding trials are the most reliable way to assess the safety and efficacy of pet food.

AAFCO feeding trials have two components:

1. A nutrient adequacy trial

2. A palatability trial

The basis for the 2013 revisions was a comprehensive review of the current literature on pet nutrition as well as input from many stakeholders including pet food manufacturers, academia, feed control officials, and pet owners.

How are AAFCO feeding trials conducted?

The first step is to develop a diet that meets the animal’s nutritional needs. The diet must contain all of the essential nutrients required for the animal, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Next, the diet is fed to a group of

animals over a period of time. The health of the animals is monitored throughout the trial to ensure that they are growing and developing normally.

At the end of the trial, the data is analyzed to determine if the diet meets AAFCO’s standards for complete and balanced nutrition.

Period of trials:

  • Puppies: 10 weeks
  • Kittens: 10 weeks
  • Adult dogs: 26 weeks
  • Adult cats: 26 weeks
  • Lactating dogs: 4 weeks
  • Lactating adult cats: 6 weeks

During the trial, the animals are fed the diet being evaluated as their sole source of nutrition. Their food intake and body weights are monitored throughout the

For puppies, the period of the trial is a minimum of 10 weeks

The adult dog trial is conducted over a period of 26 weeks, during which time the animals are fed the diet being evaluated and monitored for any adverse effects. At the end of the trial, the animals’ body weights, food consumption, and health status are evaluated.

30 adult dogs with 8 being control group are used in the trial. For both types of trials, a minimum of 8 animals per sex per species. The trial is designed to test for the following:

For lactating dogs, the period of the trials is a minimum of 4 weeks.The test should begin at or before estrus and continue until the pups are 4 weeks old, regardless of when they are weaned.

30 Puppies are required for a growth and reproduction trial evaluating food for all life stages. To evaluate a food intended for puppies, a minimum of 8 animals per sex is required.

4 weeks is the minimum duration for a nutritional adequacy trial evaluating food for lactating dogs.

The following diagram outlines the steps involved in

A minimum of 30 bitches is needed to calculate a historical colony average, and data taken from the same individual bitches shall be utilized. A minimum of eight bitches is required for the control group. All groups must have similar breed distributions.

Feeding parameters:

In the 2013 Brief that announced the changes to the feeding trial procedures, AAFCO stated that the test diet shall be the only source of nutrients with the exception of water. Dogs must be fed ad libitum or based on their energy requirements.

If there is an interruption to the feeding protocols must be disclosed and may invalidate the trials.

Data Captured During the Trials:

What are the data captured and the tracked during feeding trial?

The following data must be collected and tracked throughout the duration of the trial:

Blood parameters:


  • Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. It is used as a measure of anemia, which can be caused by iron deficiency or other problems.

Serum protein:

Serum protein is a measure of the proteins in the blood, including albumin and globulin. It is used as a marker of liver and kidney function, and can be decreased in cases of malnutrition.

Platelet count:

Platelets are cells that help with blood clotting. A low platelet count can indicate problems with the bone marrow or liver and can be seen in cases of malnutrition.


Tested to assess kidney and liver functions

Alkaline phosphatase:

– Abnormal levels can indicate Vitamin D deficiency.

Cell pack volume:

This test is to detect any possible disease

Total Plasma Protein: This test is to assess protein metabolism and detect any liver and kidney issues.

Globulin: TO detect any metabolic issues or allegies.

The snapshot below shows all the blood parameters that get tested with their reasons for testing them at the beginning during and at the end of the trials;

The snapshot showing all blood parameters that get tested during AAFCO's feeding trials
The snapshot showing all blood parameters that get tested during AAFCO’s feeding trials

Other blood parameters tested:

Though not required, the following can also be tested;

Urine Parameters tested:

Urine parameters such as pH level, specific gravity, glucose, bilirubin, ketones, among others are tested. The snapshot below has all the urine parameters.

Aside from the above parameters being tracked, the following are also monitored:

  • Clinical signs such as stool quality
  • Body weight
  • Adverse events such as vomiting or diarrhea
  • Food intake
  • Water intake

Additional guidelines to follow during the trials:

  • Body weights are measured at the beginning, weekly and at the end of the test.  
  • Hemoglobin, packed cell volume, and serum albumin shall be measured and recorded at the end of the test.
  • Puppies and kittens must be at least 8 weeks of age at the start of the test.
  • All animals must be in good health at the beginning of the test, with no evidence of disease. The trial must be conducted under conditions that meet AAFCO’s animal welfare guidelines. A veterinarian must be on staff throughout the duration of the trial.
  • The trial must continue for the entire period – for example, adult dogs and cats must complete the 6 months period required(26 weeks).

What Kind of Pet Food Pass the AAFCO trials?

To pass the AAFCO feeding trials, the results at the end of the trial should be as follows;

  1. At least 6 of the 8 dogs in the test group must not lose more than 15% of their body weight.
  2. Stools should remain normal throughout the study in at least 6 of the 8 test dogs in the test group.
  3. All blood work on at least 6 of the 8 dogs in the test group should be normal.
  4. Upon veterinary examination of the dog after the trial, it should be considered generally healthy.
  5. No animal should die during the trials due to diet-related issues.

While feeding trials have their disadvantages, they remain the most reliable method of assessing the nutritional adequacy of a pet food. If you are considering a new diet for your pet, it is important to ask your veterinarian if the diet has been tested using a feeding trial.

What is the alternative to feeding trials if they are expensive?

Formulating that meets AAFCO Food Nutrient Profile:

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) publishes minimum standards for the composition of pet food, as well as guidelines for conducting feeding trials. These standards are used by pet food manufacturers to formulate their products.

One way to assess the nutritional adequacy of a pet food is to compare its nutrient content to the AAFCO Food Nutrient Profile. This profile contains minimum standards for the nutrients that must be present in pet food, as well as recommended levels for certain nutrients.

Below is a table by Hills Pet showing key differences between “AAFCO’s Feeding Trial” and ‘Formulated‘ diets

A table by Hills Pet showing key differences between "AAFCO's Feeding Trial" and 'Formulated' diets
A table showing key differences between “AAFCO’s Feeding Trial” and ‘Formulated‘ diets

AAFCO’s Feed Inspector Manual:

During laboratory analysis of pet food being tested to determine if it meets AAFCO’s nutrient requirements, this 6th Edition of AAFCO’s Feed Inspector Manual lists all the information about the food formulation including

  • Lot/sample size
  • Type of products moving at the particular location – in case they’ll need to provide for contaminants
  • AAFCO sampling schedule used in the formulation
  • Products with a high violation rate
  • Products on enforcement list(s) (e.g. Stop Sale/Holding Order).
  • Follow-up of previous products in violation.
  • Coverage of classes of feed.
  • Info on the ability of the manufacturer’s laboratory to analyze the product or its ingredients.

To improve the accuracy of its tests, AAFCO has set a detailed protocol in which to test the samples. To illustrate this, they have even set the specifications on the tube to be used in obtaining and testing the samples.

Specs of Tube trier used in scooping the samples to test

They also provide guidance on proper technique to use when sampling bagged feed with a single slot tube trier as shown in the snapshot below that I obtained from AAFCO’s Feed Inspector Manual;

Why you shouldn’t rely on formulations without trials:

While the AAFCO Food Nutrient Profile can be used to assess the nutritional adequacy of pet food, it should not be used as the sole criterion when choosing a diet for your pet. Here are some key reasons why formulations are not as reliable as actual feeding trials;

  1. The profile does not take into account the palatability or digestibility of the ingredients used in the food
  2. It does not provide information on the possible adverse effects of feeding the diet.
  3. The nutrient levels in the food may not be adequate for all animals, depending on their individual needs.
  4. In addition, the AAFCO Food Nutrient Profile is only a minimum standard, and pet foods that meet or exceed these standards are not necessarily of higher quality than those that meet the minimum requirements.

When it comes to choosing a diet for your pet, it is important to consider all of the available information. This includes both the results of feeding trials and the AAFCO Food Nutrient Profile. If you have any questions about a particular pet food, please consult with your veterinarian.

AAFCO Statements for Feeding Trials and Laboratory Analysis

Lab Analysis statement:

If a laboratory analysis was used to verify that a pet food satisfies AAFCO’s nutritional profiles, the packaging will say so with this statement:

  • “(Name of food) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO (Dog/Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles for (life stage).”

AAFCO Feeding Trials Statement:

If a feeding trial was conducted and passed, the AAFCO statement on the pet food packaging should read:

  • “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that [DOG FOOD] provides complete and balanced nutrition for [LIFESTAGE].”

While there are some drawbacks to using the AAFCO Food Nutrient Profile as the sole criterion for choosing a pet food, it can be a helpful tool when used in conjunction with other information, such as feeding trials.

In fact, feeding trials have also been criticized by various scholars and experts:

Criticism of AAFCO Feeding Trials:

Animal cruelty:

One of the main criticisms of AAFCO feeding trials is that they involve animal cruelty. The animals used in these trials are typically kept in small cages and fed a diet that is not necessarily nutritious or palatable.

PETA ( launched a campaign claiming that the IAMs pet food brand had contracted an independent, contract laboratory to conduct trials on dogs and cats in cruel and unsanitary conditions. PETA had 26 video clips to prove their allegations and Proctor and Gamble, IAMs’ parent company severed ties with the lab.

Pet food producers put the optimum pet living environment in a lab setting that is not comparable to what pets are used to.

Only a few brands such as Just Food for Dogs and Answers Pet Food have managed to conduct at-home-feeding trials that are considered humane by animal activists. These two are now regarded as ‘cruetly-free pet food’

Below is a short video by Just Food for Dogs nutritionist explaining why their pet food trials were successful;

Time and cost:

Another criticism of AAFCO feeding trials is that they are expensive and time-consuming to conduct. This is due to the need for specialized equipment and trained personnel.

Inadequate sample size:

AAFCO feeding trials often have small sample sizes, which can lead to inaccurate results.

Trials Last for just 6 months:

Nancy of Whole Dog Journal argues that AAFCO trials are just 6 months and pet owners end up feeding their pets diets for several years on end. Her point is that there hasn’t been proven scientific studies to determine if pets can thrive on the diet for several years. She argues that 6 months is not a long enough period for the effects of any “nutritional excess, deficiency, or imbalance to express itself to the point of detectable health problems in the test dogs.” Calcium deficiency, for example, can take years to show up in bone problems and AAFCO is now aware of this concern. To detect calcium deficiencies earlier, serum alkaline phosphatase  (an enzyme found in liver and bone) is now being measured in addition to the standard blood tests done on all test dogs during AAFCO trials.

It fails to capture breed-specific nutrient requirements:

T.J. Dunn, DVM says that “the vast majority of data on which the AAFCO standards are based come from laboratory studies done on mixed-breed dogs”. He argues that these studies fail to take into account the fact that different breeds have different nutrient requirements.

Nancy uses the example of Bedlington Terriers which are an example of dog breed that requires a diet that is low in copper and high in zinc. There have been reports of dog foods passing AAFCO’s feeding trials and were later found to contain levels of taurine that proved too low to prevent the development of cardiomyopathy in consumers’ dogs.

No info on food digestibility:

One expert argued that “one of the most important factors in choosing a pet food – digestibility – is not addressed by the AAFCO feeding trials.” She says that food digestibility is “the number of nutrients absorbed and utilized by the body from a food”.

For example, two foods may have the same nutritional value but with significant variance in their digestibility levels. It is obvious that foods with a high digestibility are more efficient, meaning that less food needs to be fed to maintain the same body weight as a dog or cat eating a less digestible diet.

In other words, a food that is more digestible will result in fewer stools being produced and less nutrient loss. For this reason, some brands are also doing digestibility trials.

Digestibility trials measure how a dog digests and absorbs a particular meal. The AAFCO feeding trials focus on the health of the dog.

If a digestibility study reveals that the diet only has a 50% digestibility score, for example, the pet food manufacturer can change the protein in the diet to increase the digestibility score and increase the nutrients uptake by the pet.

A Study(Tjernsbekk 2016) that looked at proteins’ bioavailability and digestibility found that lamb diets had very poor digestibility. In our pet food reviews and especially when analyzing the ingredients, we now take note to explain why pet owners should avoid pet food with lamb as the only protein source.

Different nutrients can also have adverse effects when interacting and may affect bioavailability and digestibility. Another 2019 study by Kazuo Yamagata found that diets with high soy content(15%), inhibits the uptake of certain amino acid.

If you are unsure about a particular diet, please consult with your veterinarian.

Which pet food companies conduct AAFCO Feeding trials?

Feeding trials are very rare

The following pet food companies are among those that use feeding trials to demonstrate the nutritional adequacy of their products:

  1. Hillspet
  2. Purina
  3. Royal Canin

There is a reason only three brands conduct real Feeding trials as per AAFCO’s feeding protocols. It is super expensive. Only big companies such as Purina is able to dedicate a substantial budget running into the tens of millions to conduct feeding trials when it has other cheaper options.

Purina has invested heavily in R&D setting up a Genomics lab thoughts Purina Institute which costs millions of dollars.

Just this past November, Hills Pets was reported to have opened a $30 million Innovation Center for small dog nutrition. The 25,000-square-foot innovation center is in Topeka, Kansas.

Only these few pet food companies have the financial power needed to make such huge investments, in a full AAFCO Feeding trial.

Nikki, a registered veterinary nurse described the Nutritional Facilities of the big pet companies as “more like luxury dog daycare facilities than laboratories. Dogs have play-yards, socialization time with people walk, facilities are kept clean, and many facilities actually allow tours and walk-throughs.”

Feeding trials are time-consuming and expensive:

To date, feeding trials have been the most reliable method of demonstrating the nutritional adequacy of pet food. However, they are also the most expensive and time-consuming method. For this reason, many pet food manufacturers choose to use nutrient profiles instead.

How about at-home feeding trials?

A few brands have been reported to have successfully completed feeding trials at home instead of a controlled laboratory that requires millions of dollars to set up. Just Food For Dogs did this back in 2012 and its trials passed and they’ve posted their different completion paperwork on its website here.

 Just Food For Dogs

You are not getting an accurate picture of the nutrient profile

When choosing to use nutrient profiles instead, many pet food manufacturers are aware that they are not getting the same level of reliability. However, they feel that it is a more cost-effective option and that the potential risks are low. In some cases, pet food manufacturers will use a combination of both methods to demonstrate the nutritional adequacy of their products.

What does this mean to you as a pet owner?

When it comes to your pet’s food, you want to be sure that they are getting all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. One way to ensure this is to look for pet foods that have been through AAFCO feeding trials. These trials are conducted under strict protocols and overseen by an independent panel of experts.

There are two types of AAFCO feeding trials: nutritional adequacy trials and growth and reproduction trials. Nutritional adequacy trials are conducted to evaluate the nutrient content of the diet, while growth and reproduction trials are conducted to evaluate the effect of the diet on the health and development of puppies or kittens.


Q: Are AAFCO’s Feeding trials mandatory?

A: No, but many pet food manufacturers choose to use them as a way to demonstrate the nutritional adequacy of their products.

Q: Are feeding trials the only way to demonstrate the nutritional adequacy of a pet food?

A: No, nutrient profiles can also be used. However, feeding trials are generally considered to be the most reliable method.

18 Ways to Get Your Dog to Lose Weight

How to Help Your Dog to Lose Weight

According to, their latest surveys reveal that an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or have obesity. Here is a link to the raw survey data on dog obesity.

It may be tempting to doubt the data but considering that 1,156 pet owners participated in it, it’s likely to be pretty accurate. The data on dog obesity is especially concerning because it means that more than half of all American dogs are at risk for serious health problems like diabetes, joint problems, and even cancer.

What is the dog obesity crisis?

In simple terms, dog obesity is when a dog is carrying around more weight than is healthy for its breed and age. Dog obesity can be caused by a variety of factors, including overfeeding, lack of exercise, and certain health conditions.

It is considered a crisis because it is so widespread and because it can have such serious consequences for a dog’s health.

How can I tell if my dog is obese?

One way to tell if your dog is obese is to look at its body from above. If you can’t see your dog’s waist, it is likely overweight. You should also be able to feel your dog’s ribs without having to press too hard. If you can’t, your dog is likely obese.

Another way to tell if your dog is obese is to look at its body from the side. If you can see a noticeable “sag” in its belly, it is likely obese.

What are the health risks of dog obesity?

Dog obesity can lead to a variety of health problems, including:

Diabetes: Obesity makes it harder for a dog’s body to process insulin, which can lead to diabetes.

Joint problems: Extra weight puts extra strain on a dog’s joints, which can lead to joint pain and arthritis.

Cancer: Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of some types of cancer, including bladder cancer and breast cancer.

Heart disease: Obesity puts extra strain on a dog’s heart, which can lead to heart disease.

What can I do to help my obese dog lose weight?

If your dog is obese, it is important to help it lose weight in a safe and healthy way. Here are some tips:

1. Feed your dog a healthy diet:

Make sure your dog is eating high-quality food that is appropriate for its age, breed, and activity level. Avoid foods that are high in calories and fat.

When dogs eat too much and exercise little, they can accumulate extra weight. Dogs can also get obese by consuming large amounts of snacks, table scraps, and meals during the day and will gain weight fast, especially if they are inactive.

Feed your dog his regular meals in the morning, but replace his second meal with exclusively green beans (low salt), a little kibble, and a doggie multi-vitamin at night to help him lose weight.

Switching to healthier alternatives for your dog’s snacks will not only help him shed pounds, but it’ll also aid in weight loss. Reduce the number of rewards given at a time by minimizing calorie intake. Replace biscuits, cheese, and other high-fat delicacies with fresh chopped carrots, apples, or green beans that are free of added flavorings or sweeteners.

2. Exercise your dog regularly:

Exercise is important for all dogs, but it is especially important for obese dogs. A good goal is to exercise your dog for at least 30 minutes a day. This can be done through walks, runs, playtime, or even swimming.

Just like people, regular physical activity is crucial in maintaining a healthy weight for dogs. It helps to burn calories, and it also keeps the metabolism going. For example, a 10-minute walk burns about 50 calories in a small dog, and up to 200 calories in a large dog.

3. Visit the vet regularly:

Make sure to take your obese dog to the vet for regular check-ups. The vet can help you create a weight-loss plan for your dog and monitor its progress.

4. Start Running as a hobby:

You can opt to run to help your dog lose weight. This is a good way to bond with your dog while also helping it to get some exercise. Try to run for at least 30 minutes a day.

Keep in mind that if you want to run with your dog, he is still quite young. Running on hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt might cause damage to a dog’s joints. Avoid jogging on hard surfaces until your pup is at least 12 months old, and preferably 18 months old, according to many breeders. Instead, engage him in other activities such as swimming, playing fetch, or Frisbee. These activities won’t put as much strain on his joints.

5. Go for walks:

Walking is a great way to bond with your dog while also helping it get some exercise. Try to walk for at least 30 minutes a day. If you can’t walk for that long, try walking for shorter periods of time throughout the day.

6. Play fetch:

Playing fetch is a great way to bond with your dog while also helping it get some exercise. Fetch is also a good way to tire out your dog so that it will be less likely to beg for food or snacks.

7. Swim:

Swimming is a great way to bond with your dog while also helping it get some exercise. Swimming is also a good way to tire out your dog so that it will be less likely to beg for food or snacks.

8. Use pet stairs:

If you have a small dog, you can help it lose weight by using pet stairs. Pet stairs help your dog get exercise by forcing it to walk up and down the stairs. This is a great way to get your dog some extra exercise without having to do any extra work.

9. Feed your dog smaller meals:

Feeding your dog smaller meals is one approach to assist it shed pounds. This can help you reduce the amount of food your dog eats and the number of calories it consumes.

10. Avoid human food:

Avoid feeding your dog human food to help your dog lose weight. Human foods are frequently high in calories and fat, which can lead to obesity in dogs. Don’t offer your dog table scraps or other human meals.

11. Give your dog healthy snacks:

Giving your dog healthy snacks is one approach to assist it lose weight. This will aid in the reduction of calories ingested by your pup and will also avoid boredom. Carrots, apples, and green beans are great nutritious alternatives for dogs.

12. Make sure your dog is getting enough water:

One way to help your dog lose weight is to make sure it is getting enough water. Water helps to fill up the stomach and can help to reduce the amount of food a dog eats. Make sure to give your dog plenty of fresh, clean water.

13. Avoid giving your dog too many treats:

Avoiding treats is one way to encourage your dog to lose weight. Treats are often high in calories and fat, which can contribute to weight gain in dogs. Avoid offering your dog too many treats or serving it table scraps if possible.

14. Avoid letting your dog become overweight:

Avoiding allowing your dog to become overweight is one approach to assist it to shed pounds. You’ll need to check your dog’s weight and ensure that it gets enough exercise in order for this to work. If you believe your dog is beginning to put on weight, have him checked out by the veterinarian.

15.Switch to a low-carb and high-protein food:

If you are looking for a food that will help your dog lose weight, consider switching to a low-carb and high-protein food. These types of foods can help to reduce the amount of calories your dog ingests and can also help to promote a healthy weight. Many pet stores offer these types of foods, so be sure to ask about them when you are shopping for pet food.

#16. Add more fiber to your dog’s food:

Adding more fiber to your dog’s food is one approach to helping it lose weight. Fiber helps to fill up the stomach and can reduce the amount of calories your dog ingests. Many pet foods already contain some fiber, but you can also add it yourself by mixing in a teaspoon of pumpkin puree or adding some chopped vegetables to your dog’s food.

17. Get your dog a weight loss supplement:

There are many weight loss supplements available for dogs that can help them lose weight. These supplements usually contain fiber and other ingredients that help to fill up the stomach and reduce the amount of calories your dog ingests. Many pet stores sell these types of supplements, so be sure to ask about them when you are shopping for pet food.

18. Be Patient:

Remember that weight loss takes time, so be patient as you help your dog lose weight. It may take a few weeks or even months for your dog to reach its ideal weight. Be sure to continue working with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is on the right track.

What amounts of food should I feed my dog to promote weight loss?

The amount of food you should feed your dog will depend on its weight, age, and activity level. Your veterinarian can help you determine how much food your dog needs in order to lose weight safely. In general, dogs should be fed two to three small meals per day. Meals should be spaced out evenly throughout the day and shouldn’t exceed the dog’s daily calorie needs.

I got some really cool table from the VCA Hospital blog indicating the calories to feed your dog to achieve the ideal weight for dogs of different weights.

As shown above, a puppy that weighs 10 pounds, you can aim to feed the puppy 210 – 340 kcal per day. For an adult, that weight would be 820 – 1,230 kcal/day to maintain and to lose one pound a week. A 50-pound overweight dog could aim for 1620 kcal/day to lose 2 pounds per week.

If your pet is already eating a diet food or you are unsure of the calories in the food, you can always ask your veterinarian or the pet food company for calorie counts.

What makes veterinary weight loss diets special?

Veterinary weight loss diets are complete and balanced diets that have been specifically formulated to help dogs lose weight.

High carbs and low protein:

These diets usually contain high levels of fiber and protein and low levels of fat and calories. Some options include; Purina Proplan OM® and Royal Canin® Calorie Control

Contains L-carnitine:

Many veterinary weight loss diets also contain L-carnitine, which is an amino acid that helps the body to burn fat. Veterinary weight loss diets are available in both dry and canned formulas and can be found at many pet stores and online retailers.

High fiber:

High fiber diets are another type of diet that can be helpful for dogs trying to lose weight. These diets usually contain high levels of fiber and low levels of fat and calories. Fiber helps to fill up the stomach and can reduce the number of calories your dog ingests. Some vet pet food for weight control that are high in fiber include Royal Canin® Satiety and Hills® Prescription Diet w/d 

Contain nutrients that can promote increased metabolism:

Some weight loss diets also contain nutrients that can promote increased metabolism. Metabolism is the process by which the body breaks down food and converts it into energy. A higher metabolism can help the body to burn more calories and lose weight. Some veterinary weight loss diets that contain nutrients that can promote increased metabolism include Royal Canin® Metabolic and Hills® Prescription Diet r/d 

How fast should I transition my dog to a low-calorie diet?

When transitioning your dog to a low-calorie diet, it is important to do so gradually. A sudden change in diet can cause digestive upset and may make your dog less likely to eat the food. To transition your dog to a new diet, start by mixing the new food with the old food. Slowly increase the amount of new food while decreasing the amount of old food. After a week or two, your dog should be eating only the new food.

Start by mixing a quarter of the new diet with a sixth of the old for one to two days, then half-and-half for another two days, and finally a third of new food and a quarter of the old food for three days before completely changing to the new diet.

What are some health issues caused by Obesity?

Obesity in dogs can cause a number of health problems, including:

1. Arthritis: Obesity can cause arthritis or make existing arthritis worse. Arthritis is a painful condition that can make it difficult for your dog to walk, run, or play.

2. Diabetes: Obesity can lead to diabetes in dogs. Diabetes is a serious condition that can cause a number of health problems, including blindness, kidney disease, and heart disease.

3. Heart disease: Obesity can cause heart disease in dogs. Heart disease is a serious condition that can lead to heart failure.

4. Breathing problems: Obesity can cause breathing problems in dogs. Breathing problems can make it difficult for your dog to exercise and can lead to fatigue.

5. Liver disease: Obesity can cause liver disease in dogs. Liver disease is a serious condition that can lead to liver failure.

6. Cancer: Obesity can increase the risk of cancer in dogs. Cancer is a serious condition that can be fatal.

7. Kidney disease: Obesity can cause kidney disease in dogs. Kidney disease is a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure.

8. Reproductive problems: Obesity can cause reproductive problems in dogs, including infertility and miscarriages.

9. Skin problems: Obesity can cause skin problems in dogs, including infections, hot spots, and rashes.

10. Gastrointestinal problems: Obesity can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs, including constipation, diarrhea, and bloating.

Are there different levels of obesity?

Yes, there are different levels of obesity. Obesity is classified as a body condition score (BCS) of 5 or higher on a 9-point scale. A BCS score of 6 and 7 is considered overweight, while a BCS score of 8 and 9 are considered obese.

What is Your Dog's Body Condition Score? Find Out Here. • Petmania

According to the Body Condition Score, a score of 1 to 3 indicates that a dog is underweight. You’ll be able to notice an underweight dog by his ribs, which will be visible and prominent.

A score of 4 to 5 indicates that a dog is at a healthy weight. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs without having to press hard, and there should be an obvious waist when viewed from above.

A score of 6 to 7 indicates that a dog is overweight. You’ll be able to feel your dog’s ribs, but they will have a layer of fat covering them. There will be no waist when viewed from above, and the dog may also have a “saggy” belly.

An obese dog will score an 8 to 9 on the Body Condition Score. You won’t be able to feel your dog’s ribs, and there will be no waist when viewed from above. The dog’s belly will be saggy and may hang down low.

Your dog's Body Condition Score - PDSA

What is the ideal weight for my dog?

The ideal weight for your dog depends on a number of factors, including age, breed, and activity level. You should talk to your veterinarian about what is the ideal weight for your dog.

How can I tell if my dog is overweight or obese?

The best way to determine if your dog is overweight or obese is to consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to feel your dog’s body and determine if there is too much fat. They may also recommend a weight loss plan for your dog.

How Long do Pitbulls live? Guide to Pitbull’s Lifespan

Having studied an entire book on Pitbull care, we have come to the conclusion that there is a lot of misinformation on the internet about this wonderful breed of dog. In order to help clear up some of this confusion, we are going to explain the lifespan of Pitbulls and what impacts their lifespan.

Before going into detail explaining the lifespan of Pitbulls, it is important to highlight some key information (bombshells!) that will shape this article on the longevity of Pitbull’s life here on earth.

#1 Bombshell: Pitbulls are actually mix-breed dogs:

A 2018 peer-reviewed study by Lisa M, Rebecca T, and Clive D titled, “A canine identity crisis: Genetic breed heritage testing of shelter dogs”, determined that the majority of dogs often labeled as “pitbulls” are mixed breed dogs.  The scholars took the DNA of more than 900 dog shelter samples and applied six different commercial tests to them. The study found that less than 2% of the dogs were of a “purebred” status, with the remaining 98% being mixed-breed dogs.

The study also found that there was often little correlation between the dog’s physical appearance and their DNA results. In other words, a dog that looked like a purebred Pitbull was just as likely to be a mixed-breed as a dog that did not look like a Pitbull. This is important to keep in mind when trying to determine the lifespan of a “Pitbull”, as there is no one definitive answer.

How long do Pitbulls live?

The answer to this question largely depends on the individual dog’s genetics and lifestyle. A 2018 study published in the “Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine” found that the median lifespan of all dogs was 10.3 years, with smaller breeds tending to live longer than larger breeds. The median lifespan of a Pitbull-type dog was 9.4 years, which was on par with other large breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.

However, it is important to note that these are just averages and that individual dogs can live much longer or shorter lives depending on their genetics and lifestyle. Studies have found that Pitbulls have a median lifespan of 10 to 14 years when kept as a pet, but only 6.5 years when used for dog fighting.

Pitbulls come in a variety of colors, and their lifespan is believed to be 10 to 15 years, given that they include many sub-breeds like Red Nose or Blue Nose Pitbulls.

What impacts Pitbull’s lifespan?

There are many factors that can impact a Pitbull’s lifespan, with the two most important being genetics and lifestyle.

A dog’s genetics play a large role in determining how long they will live, with some breeds naturally having shorter lifespans than others. For example, Great Danes have a median lifespan of 7 years, while Chihuahuas can live up to 15 years.

Lifestyle is also a very important factor in determining a dog’s lifespan. Dogs that are well-cared for and live in good conditions tend to live longer than those that do not.

For example, dogs that are kept as indoor pets tend to live longer than those that are kept outdoors, as they are less likely to be exposed to diseases and accidents. Similarly, dogs that are fed a high-quality diet and receive regular exercise tend to live longer than those that do not, as these factors help keep them healthy and fit.

What can be done to lengthen a Pitbull’s lifespan?

There are several things that can be done to lengthen a Pitbull’s lifespan, including:

  • 1. Providing them with regular exercise: Exercise is important for all dogs, but it is especially important for Pitbulls. Pitbulls are a very active breed and need to be exercised regularly in order to stay healthy and fit. A good exercise routine for a Pitbull should include at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day.
  • 2. Feeding them a high-quality diet: A healthy diet is important for all dogs, but it is especially important for Pitbulls. Pitbulls are susceptible to obesity, so it is important to make sure that they are fed a high-quality diet that is low in fat and calories.
  • 3. Taking them to the vet regularly: Regular checkups and preventive care are important for all dogs, but they are especially important for Pitbulls. Pitbulls are prone to certain health conditions, so it is important to have them checked by a vet on a regular basis and to keep up with their vaccinations.
  • 4. Avoiding dog fighting: Dog fighting is a cruel practice that puts Pitbulls at risk of serious injury or death. It is important to avoid dog fighting and to report any instances of it that you may see.
  • 5. Providing them with love and attention: Love and attention are important for all dogs, but they are especially important for Pitbulls. Pitbulls are a very affectionate breed and need to feel loved and appreciated in order to thrive.

Impact of Hybrid Vigour on Pitbull’s Lifespan:

One of the main reasons that mixed-breed dogs tend to live longer than purebred dogs is due to something called “hybrid vigour”. Hybrid vigour occurs when two different breeds of animals are bred together and the offspring have increased health and vitality. This is because the offspring inherit a greater diversity of genes from their parents, which often leads to them being less susceptible to the genetic diseases that often plague purebred animals.

Pitbulls are often less Susceptible to Common Dog Health Conditions.

While there is no guarantee that a Pitbull will never experience health problems, they are often less susceptible to common dog health conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and bloat. This is due to the fact that Pitbulls are often bred for their athleticism and strength, which has led to them having healthier skeletal structures than many other breeds of dogs.

Pitbulls are also less likely to experience common skin problems such as allergies and hot spots. This is because their short, stiff coats do not provide a good environment for bacteria and allergies to thrive in.

Health Conditions that Pitbulls are Susceptible to:

While Pitbulls are less susceptible to many common dog health conditions, there are still some health problems that they are more likely to experience.

  • Hip dysplasia: This is a condition that affects the hip joint and is common in large-breed dogs. It can be caused by genetics, weight gain, or injury, and can lead to pain, lameness, and arthritis.
  • Elbow dysplasia: This is a condition that affects the elbow joint and is also common in large-breed dogs. It can be caused by genetics, weight gain, or injury, and can lead to pain, lameness, and arthritis.
  • Heart disease: There are many different types of heart disease that can affect dogs, and Pitbulls are susceptible to several of them. Heart disease can be caused by genetics, lifestyle factors such as obesity or lack of exercise, and environmental factors such as air pollution.
  • Cancer: Cancer is a common cause of death in dogs, and Pitbulls are particularly prone to certain types of cancer, such as bone cancer and lymphoma.
  • Heartworm disease: One of the most common health problems faced by Pitbulls is heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms that live in the heart and blood vessels of an infected animal.
  • Pitbulls are also more likely than other breeds of dogs to experience adverse reactions to vaccinations. This is due to the fact that Pitbulls often have higher levels of the hormone adrenaline, which can cause them to react negatively to vaccinations.
  • Pitbulls are also more likely than other breeds of dogs to be born with congenital defects such as cleft palates and heart defects. However, many of these defects can be surgically corrected and do not impact the dog’s lifespan.

What usually kills Pitbulls?

The most common cause of death for Pitbulls is cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death for dogs in general, but Pitbulls seem to be particularly prone to the disease. Other common causes of death for Pitbulls include heart disease, intestinal problems, and respiratory problems.

How Old Was The Oldest Pit Bull to Ever Live?

Max, a pit bull from Louisiana, lived the longest of any pit bull ever recorded. Max had a long and robust existence, dying at the age of 29 years old, 282 days. Although he was a terrier mix breed, he was still considered to be a Pitbull.

Max now has a Wikipedia page and was reported widely when he died in 2009.

If Pitbull is a mix-breed, what are some parents of Pitbulls?

Pitbulls are often a mix of Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers. However, there is no one definitive answer as to what the parents of a Pitbull are, as there are many different types of Pitbulls.

What is the difference between a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, an American Pit Bull Terrier, and an American Staffordshire Terrier?

The main difference between Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers is their size. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are the smallest of the three breeds, while American Staffordshire Terriers are the largest. American Pit Bull Terriers are somewhere in the middle, although they can vary somewhat in size.

Another difference between these three breeds is that Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers are considered to be two separate breeds by the American Kennel Club, while American Pit Bull Terriers are not recognized as separate breed.

Finally, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers are bred for show purposes, while American Pit Bull Terriers are not. This is because American Pit Bull Terriers were originally bred for fighting and so their appearance was not as important as their ability to fight.


Pitbulls are a versatile and resilient breed of dog that can have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years when kept as a pet. However, there are many factors that can impact a Pitbull’s lifespan, such as genetics, lifestyle, and health conditions. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to ensure that your Pitbull is living a long and healthy life.


Q: How long do Maltipoos live?

A: Maltipoos are a cross between a Maltese and a Toy Poodle and typically live between 10 and 15 years.

Q: How long do pugs live?

A: Pugs typically live between 12 and 15 years. However, there are many factors that can impact a Pug’s lifespan, such as genetics, lifestyle, and health conditions.

Q: How long do Shih Tzus live?

A: Shih Tzus typically live between 10 and 16 years. However, there are many factors that can impact a Shih Tzu’s lifespan, such as genetics, lifestyle, and health conditions.

Do you have a Pitbull? How old is he or she? Let us know in the comments below!