SPEAKER 1: Thank you so much for joining us for the next segment of our Baker Pet Talk series. This segment focuses on pet nutrition. The Baker Pet Talks are co-sponsored by the Baker Institute for Animal Health and the Cornell Feline Health Center.
All of us here at the institute and the center are driven by our love for animals. And we're so happy to be able to connect experts from right here at Cornell's University College of Veterinary Medicine with fellow animal lovers, locally and around the globe.
Just a little bit about the Baker Institute and the Cornell Feline Health Center, in case you're not familiar with us. The Baker Institute consists of researchers, trainees, and staff committed to seeking out discoveries that will help fill major gaps in our understanding of cancer, genomics, viral diseases, and reproduction. These are discoveries that bring us one step closer to realizing our mission of creating a better future for our animal friends. The Cornell Feline Health Center is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all cats by supporting research on diseases and conditions that affect cats, and by providing information to cat lovers cat owners and veterinary professionals around the world.
So without further ado, let's get started. I know we're pretty anxious to hear all about pet nutrition, and what we can do to keep our cats and doggies healthy. I got just a couple of housekeeping items to cover. So most of you, I believe, know that this presentation is going to be livestreamed, because we do want this knowledge to be shared with as many people as possible. Our website has been up, and has been accepting questions all throughout the week. So I will be interjecting myself in-- hopefully-- appropriate places, appropriate times, and asking the questions that have been submitted online.
I encourage anyone here in the audience, in person, if you have a question, don't wait till the end. Chances are you'll forget it. So just raise your hands. Either myself or Danielle, who is over there in the corner raising her hand, she'll run over to you, hand you a mic, and that way, we can all hear your question and the folks watching online can hear your question.
So our presenter tonight received his DVM and his PhD from Cornell University-- go Big Red. He's a founding diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. He's section chief and associate professor of clinical nutrition. I could probably go on with a lot other things. But let's get started. So please join me in extending a warm welcome to Dr. Joseph Wakshlag.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Thanks. Good to--
So I was asked to come and talk about pet nutrition in about an hour. It's a pretty tough thing to actually get through in an hour. But what I'm going to actually talk about is my mind and the way I think about nutrition. And we're going to start off with-- not the cat's mind, because that's completely different.
But there is basically a dizzying array of various media outlets, internet sources, various bloggers that talk about pet nutrition. Which I get questions from the Feline Health Center, from dog people around the world, asking me to answer various questions. And there's a lot of myth and there's a lot of fact, and it's hard to really parse through what is myth and what is fact out there. And I think these are a couple of wonderful little examples. Here they are. Sharon Peters is talking about the dizzying array foods, and how somebody in the pet store is making an owner feel badly about their choice, saying, why are you feeding that? That's garbage. This is a better food. And if you choose A, versus B, versus C, all based on price, what are you getting that's different when it comes to pet food in general?
And I think that's where I'm going to tell you we don't know a lot. What we do know is that there are ingredients. We do know there are nutrients. And what we know as veterinarians and health care professionals is that dogs and cats need certain nutrients. They don't need certain ingredients, they need nutrients to survive, to have what we'll call a healthy lifestyle.
Now ingredients, of course, is what really plays in our mind. And we're going to go through a lot of different ingredients today and look at some packaging, to try to get an idea of what I look for. And that may be different than what Blogger X looks for. It may be different than what somebody else is looking for. And I won't even get into the raw controversy until later, maybe. And we can have a little Q&A on that later, and have a good heart-to-heart.
But let's just start talking about who are the experts today. These are the experts that I get questions from.
I read in the Whole Dog Journal that this is not a particularly good dog food. That's a journal-- not written by experts other than breeders, and I believe they do get some nutritional input from various folks. But I don't know of any nutritionists that are actually helping them write.
Dog Food Advisor actually is a fairly nice guy. He's a dentist. And I've actually had numerous conversations with him on the phone. He's trying to do the right thing. But sometimes there's a little bit of misinformation that will slide by, and some of these nuances, I think. He actually calls now and then, and ask me, what do you think of this? And we've had some good conversations.
PetSmart actually advertises that they have nutrition experts in their aisles to help you make the right choice. Nobody talks about what their credentials are, what certification courses they've been through. But I know PetSmart does do some training with them. I don't exactly know what that training is.
And then breeders are experts. And I'm starting to see more and more contracts that come with puppies. You can only feed a grain-free food. You can only feed a home-prepared raw diet. You can only feed X, Y, or Z. And then people come to me going, is this a good recommendation? And I say, well, it comes down to what you're looking to do with the dog, what's your ethos on feeding. There's a lot of things that go into that.
And then there is actually a website that's actually run by pet food advocates called Truth About Dog Food. And they take a stance on the end of, we'll say, whole food feeding, that you really, really don't know what's in your dog food. And I guess we can debate if we really know what's in dog food or not.
Then there are a couple of organizations that we, as veterinarians, really sort of rely on and send our owners to-- World Small Animal Vet Association, and then Tufts Veterinary Nutrition. They have wonderful articles about corn, they've got wonderful articles about grain-free, they have wonderful articles about protein, what to do if your dog's got diarrhea. All kinds of nice resources for you guys to look at, and start to make some of your choices based on what you're reading.
So I'm going to tell you that-- why do you guys feed the foods you feed your dogs and cats? Shout it out. Why? Why do you feed what you feed? If you're a student, I understand. You get it for a reduced price.
AUDIENCE: My dogs do well on it.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Dogs do well on it. OK.
AUDIENCE: Small poops.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Small poop. Small poop is huge. Well, it's not huge. It's small. It's exactly what we're looking for.
AUDIENCE: Coat quality, [INAUDIBLE]
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Right. Good coat quality, good muscling, is the dog vibrant and active, is your cat running around the house, does he have a shinier coat. Yeah.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] Buy Cornell's recommendation.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Really? OK. So I don't know if I made that recommendation, but hopefully it was-- seemed to work.
AUDIENCE: He can't [INAUDIBLE]
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: OK. So yeah, you have to go to a more elemental type of a diet.
AUDIENCE: Hoping against hope that my cat gets thinner.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Hoping-- and just keep hoping. I'm going to go through that portion. We're going to talk about my cat. I'm sure you live the same dream.
AUDIENCE: I had a cat that was constantly throwing up and pooping soft. And I switched him to one for sensitive stomachs, and--
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: It's worked.
AUDIENCE: --cleared everything up.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Yep. And I think that's what we're looking for, right? A more formed stool, no vomiting, no diarrhea. Those are the things we're looking for. And it's amazing you'll see what's in pet foods to actually help create that firm stool that you can pick up, and scoops nicely out of the litter box, less frequently. That's what the companies are actually going for. That's what they're looking to do, is create the perfect poop every time.
So that said, these are the things that we're kind of looking for. And we see them. And the reality is that dog food has done a pretty darn good job of kind of keeping our dogs consistent, keeping them in a good weight. They tend to like the food. We're looking that they eat it with vigor. They don't kind of pick through it, and just nibble. We want to see them eat. Because we feel that love is food. And if they eat it well, then we're doing a good job.
Well, the reality is that, from our perspective, as vets, it's all about the nutrients in that food. So I could just give you a whole list of ingredients that are things you don't understand. Because there are amino acids, and fatty acids, and you'd be like, what's this? That's not rice. That says cystine, and that says arachidonic acid. Why is that in food? Well, those are the nutrients they actually require in all reality.
And that's actually set by the NRC, the National Research Council, that sets our requirements for us. There is actually a dog and cat committee that gets together. I'd like to say they get together often, but it's like every 20 to 25 years. We're not quite as important as people-- or they're not quite as important as people. And the bottom line is that they establish all those things.
And then there's a regulatory body-- well, it's loosely a regulatory body. Each state has an AAFCO official-- American Association of Feed Control officials. And those AAFCO officials in each state basically give a rubber stamp to the food based on whether that food is meeting the NRC recommendations in rough. And so AAFCO basically gives you the stamp and says, yep, your food looks like it's going to be completely safe and healthy to feed to dogs and cats in our state. And then they allow you to sell it in that state. And you have to actually file that paperwork around the nation to actually sell your food. So it's easy to make a dog food. It's actually hard to get it through all the paperwork across all the states in an effort to sell it.
So what we'd like to do is add a little bit of this. I'm the worst. We did a study a while back with somebody out of Central Michigan, Michelle [? Herberger, ?] and she did surveys-- what do you feed your dog? And they had a huge human diet history thing. And I was expecting them to be feeding apples and carrots. But it was more like pizza crust, French fries, and things like that. That made it on the list more often than the green bean did. So people were feeding a lot of different things. And that made up over 20% of their calories.
So as we start to anthropomorphize, thinking, I like that steak, but I don't like the fat on the side of it. I'll feed it to the dog because he's a carnivore. He can handle it. Well, all I'm doing is adding caloric density without a whole lot what we'll call nutritional value in some of the things I'm using.
So the bottom line is it can also be a little bit dangerous. So we've learned through these types of things that onions don't go with dogs and cats. We learned that fresh garlic is not very good for red blood cells in dogs and cats. We've learned that grapes and raisins can cause kidney problems in some breeds of dogs. So of course chocolate, we all have heard-- dark chocolate, can't do it. It can kill your dog.
So the more we anthropomorphize and start adding all these things in, the more we learn. And sometimes dogs and cats just can't tolerate certain things. And so those things are off our list as far as things that we want to give.
So my mentor originally showed me this slide a long time ago. And he used to say, look at the dizzying array of foods that you can select at the grocery store. That was the grocery store. Because that's the only place you could buy food in the '70s. Then you got into Agways, and some of these feed supply stores.
Now we got PetSmart-- seven aisles on one side for the dogs, five for the cats. That's 12 aisles. And I was told that it was a dizzying array when there was one side of an aisle. And you can even see there. There's things in there that don't exist anymore-- Kal Kan and Martin's [? Technicale, ?] all these cool foods that just don't exist, because the market has evolved tremendously in the past 40 years.
So the real question is, can you do that? Can you actually open up a can of good old-fashioned Alpo, and eat it, and expect to survive for the rest of your life if you're going to eat it-- as a human? The kids in the back are giving me a face like, oh my God. Look, it looks like meatballs. They're perfectly delicious. Can you do it? Could you actually eat this dog food and live the rest of your life healthy? Hypothetically, yes. For most of the foods out there, if you're meeting a dog's requirement, you're definitely meeting a human's requirement for most things.
AUDIENCE: What about cats?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Cats have even higher requirements in certain things than dogs, because the carnivore metabolism. So you can eat a cat food, and man, that's like gourmet. Eat as much paté. And there are people who have done that. There have been blogs on people who have actually put out a can of cat food with patés. And people have eaten it, and felt that it was just as good as the patés that are out there. Some of the bloggers were like, yeah, this is what we did. We had a dinner party. They ate that stuff with gusto. So you can eat it. It's perfectly good.
The only thing you might run into as a human is scurvy. Vitamin C is not in all these dog and cat foods, because dogs and cats make their own. So that's the one major nutrient where we should have some potential problems. So eat an orange and your Alpo.
So really the whole idea of what we have to read [AUDIO CUTS OUT] food label. I'm just going to say they do the best they can. But when we read pet food labels, it's a bit confusing. We don't really understand what some of these things mean. And I'll go through how-- let's say, how I appreciate them. But I also I think there are some problems.
So the FDA has a Center for Veterinary Medicine. And they actually are the ones that take all the phone calls about recalls-- I think my dog is sick because the food. They log all that stuff. And they're the ones that actually release the recalls on X, Y, and Z. So the Center for Veterinary Medicine does a pretty good job of that. AAFCO is really more in charge of making sure that everything is in those foods that's supposed to be in those foods. And they actually have a model regulations for pet food, [AUDIO CUTS OUT] basically a standard that's adopted by all [AUDIO CUTS OUT] basically says your food has all the nutrients in it that are necessary for growth, necessary for maintenance, or necessary for gestation lactation. And so you make those claims based on the calculations of all the nutrients in your food and your labeling, and AAFCO says, yes, we believe you, gives it a stamp of approval, it goes on the shelf.
Now these are the things that have to be on a label. And you can see it's an old label from my mentor, too. I think it's kind of cool to see some of these old labels because there's a lot less words than there are now. But the reality is it doesn't have to say a whole lot.
It has to have the net weight, just like anything. Weights and measures are an important part of American life. It has to say who it's for-- beef and liver dinner for dogs, for cats, for canaries, for whoever. It has to have this guaranteed analysis, which is of course right here. It doesn't have a whole lot there. We'll go through that a little bit. It has to have a product name.
So you've got to be able to know what your product is. You've got to be able to contact the manufacturer. And probably one of the most important things is a nutritional guarantee. And it basically says that this food has been formulated, or it has been fed in a feeding trial, and it meets the nutrition requirements for a dog and cat. And so those are two different things. One is I can put it through a computer program, it calculates out all the nutrients. Or I can put it together and feed it to maintenance for dogs. So if I can get 10 dogs, feed it to them in a feeding trial for six months. If they are healthy, have normal stools, and they have their good red blood cell count and a good white blood cell count, and some chemistry parameters are normal throughout that feeding period, I can then feed that. And I can label it and put on the market.
And there are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. Very few actually-- more and more are starting to do it, but feeding trials are not done very often. And to be honest with you, the feeding trials are very cursory. They're not telling you that you actually have to meet anything for a long, long period of time. And for example, if I had a subclinical copper deficiency-- and copper is a required trace nutrient. I got a lot in my liver stored up. So I might not see a deficiency for two or three years. So that's why feeding trials are great, because it tells you whether dogs eat it, whether they maintain their weight, whether they have normal stools, things like that. But it doesn't tell you a tremendous amount about is it going to keep my dog alive forever.
That's why a lot of people like to kind of rotate foods. Because they're like, well, if one food were to have a mild deficiency in something, if I food feed food Y, I might make up that deficiency over time. And I know a lot of nutritionists actually like to kind of rotate every three to six months, just to kind of say, oh, you know, you never know. And we're worry-warts. We're veterinarians. Veterinarians worry about everything.
Then the last and the most important thing that I think we all read and we actually have an understanding of is this wonderful ingredient panel. Unfortunately, AAFCO doesn't really do a great job of telling you what's truly in there. What's byproduct? Well, why don't I just say, poultry livers, kidneys, necks, legs, feet, eggs that were in there, clean GI tract. I mean, that's what it is. So it's all the goodies on the inside.
So the reality is it's kind of hard. And those definitions don't-- they're not consumer-friendly-looking definitions. But according to my labeling, I have to put in-- that ingredient, I have to label it according to AAFCO. I can't say-- if I had liver, kidney, and tripe altogether in a gemisch, I can't call it kidney liver tripe. I have to call it byproduct. So that's kind of the nuances behind AAFCO.
So that said, one other thing has to be on there, and that's the feeding directions. And the reality is, most feeding directions are egregious in terms of the calorie consumption that they actually recommend for dogs and cats. And that's because these studies on metabolism we're not done on Labradors that lay on your couch all day or a cat who suns in your front sill all day. These were done on colony cats that are a lot more active. It's done on beagles who run around in cages all day in these facilities. And they're much more active. They have more playtime than my dog. I know that. So they end up having a higher calorie consumption. There's a huge window.
And I always tell people, when in doubt, feed on the low end of the feeding instructions for just about any food that's out there. Because the low end is at least going to be closer to reality for your average dog of average activity-- except for maybe yours, Marge.
So that's pretty much what we have to work with. And do you understand that? Crude protein what is that? That's actually the nitrogen content. And protein is the primary source of nitrogen. So that is what crude protein is. It's telling you the nitrogen source. Is it telling you about the quality? Is it telling you about digestibility? It's not telling you.
It's just saying, we think there's roughly 26% protein in here. Telling you about amino acid balance-- because that's what protein is. It's a whole series of amino acids that are essential to the body. 10 of them are essential, the other 10 are-- you can make some of them. But that's what it's saying, is that we think you're going to get a nice slug of protein here.
Crude fat is basically telling you about the overall fat content it's actually not a bad measure of fat that's in the diet. But is it telling you anything about healthy fats? We all hear about healthy fats today. It's not telling you about the healthy fats, or unhealthy fats, and things of that nature.
Crude fiber is a maximum. So they don't want to-- basically, I put it on my label that I have 3% crude fiber. I sure don't want to have over 3%. Because if somebody analyzes it and there's 4% or 5%, that's considered filler. But the reality is, is most of that comes with your carbohydrate sources. All the things that were supposed to be eating-- brown rice, quinoa, barley-- they have more fiber than white rice, couscous, and pasta. So fiber comes with those whole grains. And then companies will add in fiber, and we'll talk a little about why.
Then, of course, you have to put moisture content. So it's a real cursory view of what's in food-- protein, fat, fiber, moisture. And then you can only have up to 78% moisture in canned food, according to AAFCO, unless you're a stew or a gravied type of thing. Then you can have like 84%, 86%.
So all these little nuances to pet food. It's kind of bizarre.
So what is your brand, and why do you choose what you choose? And that's just a small representation. And I mentioned the grocery store, I mentioned the Tractor Supply, I also mentioned PetSmart, Petco, all those huge superstores just for pets. Oh wait a second, then there's the small holistic pet food stores that are independently-run and owned, all over the country. Every city has one. We have ours downtown, too. And they have different foods than what's in those other stores. So it's confusing, right?
So why do you feed-- why do you pick the brand. I mean, that's grain-free, I get it. Why the brand? Why do you pick what you pick?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Dog Food Advisor, OK. So Mike's doing a good job of getting to you. Anybody else? The cost--
AUDIENCE: Veterinarian recommended it.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Your vet recommended it. Oh, yeah, you're in the profession, so you've got to stick with what you know. Anybody else?
AUDIENCE: Friends recommended it.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Friends-- right, your friends told you that my dog does well on that, so I'm going to go with this brand.
And don't say cost is a factor. Because I can go buy a bag of dog food at 40 pounds for about $16.99 at Walmart. Or I can go over to Ithaca Grain and Feed, and buy something for $85 for 30 pounds. So cost is a big factor for a lot of us, too.
This is what gets my hackles up, is that I walk through a small street in France, and this is what I see, is byproduct everywhere. And that's not for dogs. There weren't dogs lined up to buy this. There were people lined up to buy this. So what's in your dog food is supplying nutrition. This is actually some of the best nutrition you can find. Because livers and kidneys have nutrients that skeletal muscle meat does not have.
So when you read that it has fresh chicken, that's all well and good. But I prefer to see a little bit of liver in there. I wouldn't mind seeing some kidney. I wouldn't mind seeing byproduct. A lot of people don't like byproduct because it's considered to be the entrails.
And the problem is that, in the industry, there are all kinds of qualities of these things. You could, in essence, think of Grade A versus Grade D. There are really good high-quality byproducts, and then there are cheaper byproducts. Usually, to some degree, you get what you pay for. But the reality is, in chicken meals, poultry meals, meat and bone meals, et cetera, you're kind of getting what you pay for, from the perspective of that when the supplier sends in a product, it could be really high in ash, which means a lot of bone, or it could be really low in ash, which means really low bone content.
And you have to think about byproduct this way. It's the insides, but it's also necks and backs for poultry. So if I have a lot of ash, I have a lot of calcium and phosphorus coming from bone, I'm going to have a really high-ash chicken meal. Versus something that's got more meat on it, or more innards, which doesn't have bone, I'm going to have low-ash chicken meal.
So there's a huge variety. I can go into-- as an ingredients supplier, I could supply you something that's around 8%, which is pretty much the whole chicken, ground up. Or I can supply you something as 25% ash. And that basically is a huge variation. So there's three times the amount of ash that's in the food. Ash is just bone mineral content, the minerals that are in my body. And if I were to burn your body, what's left is a pile of ash. The stuff that we spread in the garden after one of our beloved pets dies, and we want to spread their ashes, that's the ash. That's what's left over.
So that said, all kinds of qualities of everything. And the reality is you have to go through the ingredient list and feel comfortable with that ingredient list. And these are the things that I sort of look for in a food. And number one thing is an animal-based protein source. So even though corn gluten, and pea protein, and soy protein isolate are solid and good sources of protein, they're not as complete for dogs and cats as animal-based proteins. Not that you can't make a food with that stuff, I just prefer to see animal based protein as my first and second, or at least just my first ingredient. If plant-based proteins make it in there, that's great, because it's boosting my protein level. But it's not quite as complete of a protein as our animal-based ones.
And then this whole idea of our good fats-- so we need good fats in the diet. There are requirements of some of these good fats, the polyunsaturated fats. So I look to see if there's a source of that in there. Actually, to be honest, chicken fat is actually a really good source of some of the polyunsaturateds. So usually poultry fat makes it in. Even animal fats will have some. And then you'll see things like canola oil, or even corn oil, or soybean oil. And those are good sources of the polyunsaturates, and actually make me feel a little bit more comfortable that the company is thinking about putting those in.
Then there's the omega 3 fatty acids, which people talk about. That is a polyunsaturate, too, but it's a special one. And that's why we like to see things like fish oil or other marine oils-- algae oils or algae extracts. Those things will have some of these omega 3's in them.
And then we look for fiber sources. And a lot of people think of fiber as filler. But there are certain fibers-- and we'll go through some labels-- that actually have been tested, and show that they actually make poop more kickable. So they don't screw up your toes of your shoes when you kick it by accident. It actually smushes, and you don't leave it all over your shoe. It actually just kind of compresses. So that's the nice thing about fiber is it creates perfect poop. And so a lot of companies have worked really, really hard on fiber so that you feel comfortable about poop, OK?
And then we'll talk a little bit about soluble and insoluble. But that can maybe wait for the end.
And then there are minerals. A lot of people like to see minerals sources that are coming in what are called chelates today. So those are minerals that are actually bound to an amino acid, or a small protein, or a small peptide. And those hypothetically have a slightly better absorption than minerals that are bound to oxides. So in all reality, the higher-end foods, they pay a little bit more for those types of chelates as mineral in the food. And we'll see some labels that go through that. Oxides are less expensive, sulfates are kind of in the middle, and then these chelates are actually, quote, unquote, a little bit more absorbable. But there's not a lot of data in dogs and cats. It's more in poultry, and pigs, and things like that we have data on that.
And then lastly is, if I have a growing dog, lysine and methionine are things I like to see. So if it says an all-life-stage food-- because a lot of foods say it's meant for all life stages. You could feed it to puppies, you could feed it to adult dogs, you could feed it to a 15-year-old Labrador, feed it to anybody. If I'm feeding it to a puppy, I'd like to see those two things in there. Because those can be destroyed during the processing and making of the food-- the natural stuff. So if you can put a little bit more of that in there, it makes me feel a little bit more comfortable that this is going to be really good for my puppy.
AUDIENCE: Just for dogs, or also--
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Cats. Cats as well. And then taurine, of course, is important for cats.
AUDIENCE: So everything you say for dogs applies for cats unless you say otherwise.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Yep. And we'll just kind of go through some of the differences in dogs and cats in a second.
So this is what I call the basic formula. And what you're going to see is the guaranteed analysis. If you read this guaranteed analysis-- crude protein's 26, fat's 14, fiber's at 4. All right, I get it. It's about the same. And every single food I show you has the exact same guaranteed analysis. So how do you make your choice between those three foods?
Reality is, you start looking at the ingredients. Well this actually has porcine meat meal, some ground yellow corn, a little bit of soybean meal, and ground wheat. Meat's made it as my number one ingredient. They are using some soybean meal as a protein source. And then they're using wheat and corn.
No I know that those types of things get people's hackles up today. However, they've been around forever. And when you actually look at the data around allergy in dogs, corn really doesn't make it to anywhere within the top five. Cats, it doesn't make it within the top five. I think wheat is number seven or something like that for dogs, and I can't remember what it was for cats.
But the reality is this whole corn, soy, and wheat craze that people are into-- I don't want it to have that-- the reality is that those things really aren't what dogs and cats are allergic to. They're usually allergic to that major protein source, that animal protein source, more often than not. And the corn, wheat, and soy thing, it's probably a little bit more of the idea of getting away from things like aflatoxins or mycotoxins. And those are actually from fungus that grows on the wheat or the corn. And all manufacturers test for those things before they make their pet food. So those are now considered to be quality control tests that are done before you make the pet food to make sure that that ingredient is safe to put into food. However, occasionally a third-party manufacturer decides, well, I'm going to skip this batch.
And that's what happens every 15 years. You'll get an outbreak of something that's frying the livers in dogs or causing cats to have some problems. And so that's just about quality control. And actually, to be honest with you, I think that's sort of been taking care of more recently with some new food safety and modernization programs that are in place.
All right, so we keep going down here. Corn gluten meal. That's an extra bit of protein. That's pretty far down. Now we have salt, potassium chloride, et cetera, et cetera. I want you to pay attention to this-- potassium chloride and salt. These, as well as choline, are major nutrients that are usually in foods. And they're at about 1% of this diet. Just keep that in mind.
Now we've got all these wonderful vitamins and minerals-- sulfate, oxide, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E. So they're using sulfates and oxides for their minerals. So not a bad choice.
Now we go to another one. So this one is the same guaranteed analysis. It's made with chicken meal, ground corn, brown rice, chicken fat. And they are now telling you that it's preserved with mixed tocopherols. That is different than this group which is preserved with BHA. That's a chemical preservative, very inexpensive, great preservative. But there are negative connotations these days to chemical preservatives.
There is one called ethoxyquin that really is not making it into food anymore because there is so much negative press against ethoxyquin. So we just don't see it as much as we used to. It rarely makes it into our-- we'll call mid and higher-tier foods-- because there's such negative press. So these chemical preservatives have gotten a bad press. So what we've done is we now use natural mixed tocopherols. Those are different variations of vitamin E that are used to preserve your food.
We've got some rolled oats, pearl barley, and we have this dried beet pulp. That's actually the fiber that makes things nice and pick-up-able. Brewers yeast, flaxseed meal, wheat germ, lecithin, et cetera. The flaxseed is actually providing omega 3's. So that's a good thing. I've got my polyunsaturates that are all coming from chicken fat. And then the omega 3's are coming from the flaxseed. The last few didn't have omega 3's in any nice slug. But I prefer to see fish these days, because fish has probably got a slightly better bioactivity.
Going through, methionine and lysine have made it into this food. It didn't make it into the last food. Salt right here. Then we have all the other vitamins and minerals. And you can see we have protenates. We have some oxides. We also have sulfates. So they're putting in a mix of all kinds of chelates, sulfates, et cetera, to potentiate slightly better absorption, hypothetically.
So this is a solid food. It's got-- all the marks have been checked. Omega 3's, I've got some polyunsaturates, it's made primarily with the animal-based protein. It's got DL-methionine, and it's got the lysine, and then I've got all these chelates, et cetera. They put a little bit more thought, and time, and energy into making this food.
And then we have the kitchen sink. So you can see that my font just keeps getting smaller. And that's because this is de-boned chicken. God, that sounds great. You're not even supposed to say de-boned, because chicken's chicken. AAFCO doesn't like de-boned, because you're telling him something that they should already know. But that sounds cooler and groovier, right? It's de-boned chicken. It's not even boned. All right, great, so that's de-boned chicken.
Chicken meal-- and this is where it gets kind of fun. Because you can see they've got two major proteins. It's a chicken-based diet. If I were to actually take all the water out of that chicken, it would fall somewhere down on this second line. All this is dry. This is dry stuff. This is a chicken meal. It's 90% dry matter, 10% water. This is about 30% dry and 70% water. So it falls down here somewhere. So it's really a chicken-meal-based diet.
And what they've done is they've taken the brown rice, whole barley, oatmeal, rye, potatoes. They've now parsed out their carb sources. If they had just used rice it would be the number one ingredient. But nobody likes to see rice as your number one ingredient. So this a little bit of trickery. It's smoke and mirrors. It's Wizard of Oz stuff, right? Who's behind the curtain?
And then we actually see that we have mixed tocopherols as our preservative. And we have tomato pomace. Now they say it's a natural source of lycopene. But guess what? Tomato pomace is kind of like beet pulp. All right, so it's not as cool as we think it is. It's fiber.
Whole carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, flaxseed, barley grass, dried parsley, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, taurine, L-carnitine, lysine, glucosamine, yucca shidigera, green tea extract, turmeric, garlic, sunflower.
And then finally we get to a little bit of fish oil. That's our long-chain omega 3's from a fish sauce that we kind of like to see. And actually, if you look, this is definitely less than 1% of the diet. So basically some of these things maybe at 2% or 3%. But that's not a lot. It's like six blueberries, two cranberries, half of a carrot-- half a baby carrot. It's not a lot. And now we get into green tea extract, turmeric, garlic-- what the hell, might as well put garlic in-- dried chicory root.
And then we have all these cool things-- fructooliogo-- [? manocytosologone. ?] It's like, oh, that's the cool stuff, that fiber that ferments in my colon. And my doctor said I need more soluble fiber. So I'm on fructooligosaccharides for my slight GI problem. That's in the dog food. Well, that's cool. But dried chicory is the same thing as that. So why would I double-dose it? I don't know. But it's fun, because people recognize these ingredients. And people say, well, that's got that in there. I'm going to buy that food. I'm not going to buy that last food.
And then we've got all kinds of things. Now we get to the vitamin and mineral stuff, right. Copper chelate iron amino acid complex, chelated zinc. So they're doing all the cool stuff. They've spent the extra $2 a pound on that pre-mix of vitamins and minerals that gets put in. Then, what the hell? I'm going to go ahead and put in some lactobacillus and bacillus subtilis, some bifidobacteria, and all these bacteria that-- they're dead, but I'm putting them in because people love probiotics. So that is a glorious example of marketing.
Now if we're putting things in it therapeutic concentrations, very typically, some of these things that are used in therapeutic diets actually go higher. But they've done a good job of really feeding into what we'll call the ethos of the average consumer, of what I like to see because I shop at Whole Foods. But it's a perfectly good food. Not much different, actually, than the rest. It's going to have a little bit more soluble fiber for sure. Because I saw all those cool soluble fibers, like chicory root, [INAUDIBLE], oligosaccharides, and fructooligosacchardies.
So these are my top 10 questions that you should really be asking. If you're this interested in what's going into your dog or cat, you should be calling the manufacturer. And you should be asking these questions. Because this is all about food safety. This is all about, can you tell me more about your food, because I'm not going to really believe that this food is 100% safe.
Ash content, we've talked about. That's our calcium and phosphorus. So-- yeah.
AUDIENCE: Do we get a handout of this, or can we snapshot that?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: You can snapshot. I could hand it out. I'll give it to anybody that wants it.
SPEAKER 1: So what we can do Dr. Wakshlag, if you don't mind, you can send this to me via email. And if anyone wants to reach out to the Baker Institute, our contact information is online. Shoot us an email. I'll be more than happy to forward it to you.
And so this is basically grilling the person on the phone. You want to just ask them things about ash content. A typical food will have an ash content that's probably around 4%, maybe 5%, get upwards towards 6%. So somewhere around that 5% and 6% is pretty typical. Let's say it was 10%. That's got a lot of bone in it. It's got a lot of extra stuff that your dog and cat doesn't need.
AUDIENCE: With ash-- urinary blockage in male cats, I was always told that ash is an issue with that.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Yeah, a lot of the foods-- ash has always been an issue. And that's because back in the '70s and '80s, we were making foods with lesser quality ingredients-- in my mind, at least. And so they tended to be the high-ash-content stuff. That made it into a lot of the foods. And so they were high in magnesium, and phosphorus, and calcium, et cetera. And that was blamed for the higher incidence of urinary blockage. Magnesium was implicated. However, it actually really came down to higher-protein and lower-protein diets. And high protein diets acidify. And that's why we like high-protein diets for cats.
AUDIENCE: Which is good for preventing urinary blockage?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Yeah. And a lot of the diets that were made were meeting the cats' minimum protein requirement. So they weren't considered high. Today, a lot of the diets are considered much higher. They were barely meeting those requirements. They were putting in a lot of vegetable-based things. So urinary acidification wasn't very good. And I think we're now much more aware of that. And so every company has a urinary tract formula that helps keep the urine more acidified.
And so it got blamed on ash primarily, but it actually was more of what we'll call a lower-protein diet in general, and we'll say lesser-quality ingredients. Because the higher the ash, the more bone, the less muscle, [INAUDIBLE], et cetera. So I get all that bone. I get all the ash. I get the collagen, which is a protein source. It's not the best protein source compared to muscle meat.
So I will tell you that that's less of a problem, probably, today than it was 20 years ago, 25 years ago. When I was in school it was kind of like that was the big issue. That was mid-'90s into the 2000s. And I think a lot of companies have sort of corrected that.
Is it gone? No. And that's because cats don't like to drink water. And that's why we say if you have a male cat who has had a plug at one point in their life, you're going to feed them canned food. You're going to try and make that transition from the crunchies to the canned food, because that can has more water. And cats will actually get more water from eating canned food than they would from eating dry and being allowed to drink normal quantities. So that's the ash thing. know
SPEAKER 1: I actually have a question from online that's related to what you were just talking about. The question comes from Chris. How can you get your cat to transition from dry to wet food? They have grain-free dry out all the time. And one cat is on urinary SO for crystals. They get wet food twice a day. I've heard wet food is better for their long-term health. I want to reduce or eliminate the possibility of kidney disease as they get older.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: So that transition is ungodly difficult for that one cat in your household that just doesn't want to eat it. He'll lick the gravy off, but he won't actually eat that food. And so what you really have to do is you have to start mixing in very small chunks of it with his dry. And eventually they'll start to eat that. They'll start to accept it. But that may take-- there's vets in the room. Vets, how long? two weeks? a month? two months? Sometimes it takes forever. And then there are just some cats that won't make the transition. They just love their crunchies too much.
So the problem is, cats aren't all there when it comes to eating. They would rather starve themself than actually eat something that they don't really want to eat.
SPEAKER 1: So if all they want to do is eat the crunchies, let them eat that dry food?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: What I would think is that you might actually try and get them away from crunchies. So cats like sharp edges. Most of our foods for cats are made with little star shapes, triangles, pyramids. And that's because cats love that sharp feel in their mouth.
And so I would get away from those kinds of foods, and go to something that's round and lifeless. And then try to then mix in some other wet with that, and see if you can make that transition. Everybody's had that one cat that won't actually transition over. But 99% will. It's just that 1% or 2% that just won't do it.
Now the whole idea of kidney health-- hydration is important for urinary tract health altogether. Now whether your cat's going to get kidney disease or not, it probably doesn't have much to do with what form you're feeding. But as soon as your cat does have the urinary tract problem or that kidney problem, wet food is an important part of flushing the kidneys, flushing the urinary tract.
And so I think the biggest recommendation is that, as a kitten, you should be trying to feed both canned and wet from the get-go. Because if you can do that when you get them, they're more inclined to be very accepting of that canned food when you have to make that transition later in life.
AUDIENCE: So are you saying that any canned food would be better than the dry? Because I'm giving him urinary tract dry mixed with something else, and slowly getting him to eat that. He used wet food. He doesn't like wet food anymore.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: OK. You have to do what you can. So I would try to get him to eat some canned food or make sure that he's drinking. Or people put out water fountains. Cats play in them more--
AUDIENCE: He's stopped drinking out of that, too.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Yeah, because cats like to play in them more than they actually like to drink in them. Chicken broth-- flavor it up. Try to do things that actually will promote that drinking. Anything you can find-- sheep's blood. I don't care what it is. You have to get them to get more fluid into their bodies. And that's a pretty hard thing to really come by for a lot of cats. And so there's all kinds of recommendations out there. And to be honest with you, the king of epidemiology in this is Tony Buffington. And I hope Tony doesn't see this. But you should look him up. He's at UC Davis. He has sort of been dealing with cat behaviors and cat urinary tract health for 30 years. He probably has more tricks than I have.
AUDIENCE: My cat doesn't like the canned cat food. He's had urinary tract trouble since he was a kitten. But he likes canned dog food.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: What?
AUDIENCE: He thinks he's a dog. He was raised with them. But can I've mix a little bit-- how bad is canned dog food for cats? I've heard that it's not good for them.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Yeah, what I would do is I would actually look at the canned dog food and see if it has taurine in it. Because that's the one major thing that doesn't make it into dog foods. And it's not perfect, but a lot of foods now have taurine added for dogs. And if not, you could actually add in 250 milligrams of taurine into that dog food, and see if the cat would eat it with that in there. I'd be more comfortable with that.
SPEAKER 1: Could you wait for the mic, please, so that our viewers online can hear.
AUDIENCE: I have a lot of cats. And my cats love-- I feed primarily dry, supplemented with canned food. My cats love drinking water. But I give them water in big dog bowls, and not little tiny cat bowls. And I find that-- I have one cat who's separated from the others in a different room. And in that room, I have the two little dishes in the little dish holder thingy. That cat, it's very hard for me to get that cat to drink. But the others, they're--
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Are they more community?
AUDIENCE: I mean, they do play in the water. But they also really drink. I watch them, and they really lap it up. And I think the fact that it's bigger, deeper water, it stays cooler and it stays cleaner.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: And I also think there's a communal thing about it, where if I have a big dog bowl and the dog's drinking, my cat always goes up and takes a few licks like, hey, if you're doing it, I'm going to do it. And I there's a communal thing about that where if it's big enough, it's all good. But if one cat goes and drinks out of a small bowl, a second cat can't go and drink out of that bowl. But if you have a really large bowl, now it's kind of like Simba and Mufasa at the watering hole, where one guy's here, I've got my space, I'll come in over here, another guy can come in over here. And so there's more of a communal thing about it. And I think that keeping it cooler--
I stopped putting out my cat's water bowl because he would never drink from it. It would sit downstairs and evaporate over a month. And he would sit there and drink out of the dog's bowl. But in the end, I'm also thinking, the freshness of it too may have been a factor because my dog's always drinking and I'm always filling that bowl. And I always forget the downstairs bowl where the cat is. And so there's definitely that communal thing, too, I think.
SPEAKER 1: I'm going to jump in with another online question related to kidney disease since we talked about it earlier. This question comes from Elizabeth. She says "My question is in two parts, but related to the same thing. My dog is not a big eater, and loves to run after the ball. Therefore, she's always running a little underweight. She's now 13 and is diagnosed with kidney failure. She's running at 25% of kidney function. She's eating KD canned. She looks and acts fantastic. You'd never know."
Her questions are, one, "Is there anything I can do to help keep her weight up?" And two, "Is protein bad for dogs with kidney disease? I give her baby carrots and apple slices, small amounts for treats, which she loves. But I used to do chicken strips. Am I going overboard? What percentage of her diet should be protein? She is an 11 and 1/2 year old Affenpinscher Shi Tzu mix rescue."
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: So that is a strangely loaded question for somebody. Because I don't have the blood work in front of me. But there are various stages of kidney disease for dogs. And in the earlier stages, the protein restriction isn't that necessary. It's phosphorus restriction.
And so things like-- we often talk to folks who have, let's say, hunting dogs who have gone into kidney failure. They want to keep up the lean mass. We'll actually use protein supplementation until that dog's kidneys show us the signs with the blood urea nitrogen going quite high, telling us we have to back off at that point. But as long as you have phosphorus restriction in the diet-- and we do. I'd say one in every four diets that we do for a home-prepared diet for dogs is actually a kidney failure diet for people who are looking for an option that's not as low in protein as the commercial diets these days. Because I don't think you need it in early renal failure. But if you're in later stages, which are stage 3 and 4 IRIS, that's where the protein restriction becomes important, because you're building up nitrogen byproducts in your bloodstream, and you just can't get rid of them.
SPEAKER 1: Dr. Wakshlag. We've got an abundance of questions asking about raw diets. Is that something that you can speak to?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Can we just wait till the end and talk about that as a--
SPEAKER 1: Cover it then? For sure.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: --bit of an ethos thing.
SPEAKER 1: You got it.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: OK. So I'm not going to read through these, but these are the kinds of things that you should be actually talking to them about. Because a lot of folks, when you call that company, aren't going to know half of these questions. They won't have done the testing. And that's because companies can make food-- as long as you stay by AAFCO standards, I don't have to do trace metals. I don't have to do heavy metals. I don't have to do mercury and lead testing. I do aflatoxin and mycotoxin testing. They should be able to give that to you. They should be able to tell you that it's so many parts per million aflatoxin X, Y, or Z.
And then some of the things that become a little more important is, from a quality control standpoint, if I have my own factory-- the big manufacturers do, the small manufacturers tend to have what are called third-party manufacturers that make their food for them because they just can't afford a $62 million plant. Because that's about what it would cost to build a high-quality plant. And so they actually have it made.
But what's nice is that now there are some food safety and modernization things that have gone into effect, where you have to have a person there that sort of a hazards and quality control expert that is monitoring that on a daily basis to make sure everything that you say is going to be in the pet food is in there, to make sure some of the basic microbe testing, starch-jelling-type of stuff is being done. So there are now measures that are making it better and safer. But nothing's perfect
And then if you actually ask them to supply you a concentration of a vitamin or a mineral at a specific concentration in dry matter, that's great. But a really knowledgeable technical support person will be able to give it to you in the amount per 1,000 calories. And that's just a test to see how astute the technical support people are, and whether the company is thinking about nutrients for dogs per calorie and cats per calorie consumed, versus the dry matter. Because dry matter is very different. My dog could eat two different foods, and eat 600 grams of one and 300 grams of another, and get all the energy they need from those two different amounts, which means that they minerals and vitamins have to be different in those two different things, because one's really calorie-dense, the other one's really light and fluffy-- no fat in it. It's got more carb and protein.
So those are the kind of things you might want to actually talk to people. And then because I am a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, do you actually have one that you work with on your formulas and talk to on a regular basis, to answer questions, things like that.
So what's the difference between dogs and cats? Well, there aren't--
AUDIENCE: On the last topic of the top 10 things to ask-- my number one concern has become whether or not they outsource their products from overseas. Is that really something that's founded, or is that just a fear that I'm basing on a few isolated incidents?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Yeah, it's more on isolated incidents. And the quality control overseas is not quite where it is here. Even from a manufacturer's standpoint, all these food safety acts and whatnot have come into effect-- it started in 2011, was when the Food Safety Modernization Act sort of started. And so we have all kinds of checks and measures in place for quality control and hazard analysis, et cetera, that just other companies don't have that are overseas. Now if you asked me if I was getting it from Germany, I would think that I would feel a little more comfortable with a European product than I would from something that's from Malaysia. Because they just don't have the same standards and controls.
And actually, it's funny. My resident, Hunter Kim, is in the back. We talk about Korea because he's from Korea. He talks about the quality control measures in Korea are not even close to where they are here at this point. But everybody is working towards better quality control in general because they want to have things in the US market. But yes, Made in the USA makes us feel pretty good.
Any other thoughts?
So this is where science comes into play. Because there are about a handful of things that make cats different from dogs. And really the major thing that's different-- we'll start with dentition. Cats don't really have molars. Yeah, they've got a couple of molars in the back. So molar 1 and 2, and they're really tiny, teeny, real non-existent things. If you have molars, it means you're supposed to be grinding up plant-based materials. If you don't, that means you're a carnivore. So even dogs have more molars than cats do.
But in all reality, this is because cats have evolved to eat meat. And bottom line is that cats are very different from a behavioral standpoint. I think we've already addressed that halfway through here, that they go they pick out three kibble, they walk away, they go meow incessantly at you, to then go back down, eat three more kibble, come back up, bother the dog, go back down, eat three more kibble. That's just how cats eat. Dogs are gorgers. They just gorge themselves to death.
And cats have a higher urine concentrating capability. Their kidneys are always working overtime because they are-- I like to call them desert animals. Their urine solutes, the mineral and whatnot that actually concentrates in a cat's urine is always far greater than yours or mine or a dog. And that basically tells you that they are a little bit different in terms of their water consumption. And so this comes into the dry and wet feeding. We're talking wet in general-- urinary tract, kidney health, all these things, when we have a problem, are probably pretty important.
However, if I have really bad teeth, which a lot of cats have horrible teeth, dry feeding certain diets may be better for dental health. And so I think it comes down to what's your cat's problem in trying to determine what you're going to feed them.
And then this transition, we've talked about. They just take longer. They don't like change. And actually, cats are known to be neophiles. They actually liked something new, but they won't eat it long term. They'll go try it, have a few meals, and then they'll go back to their old thing.
OK, so that's why cats are difficult. That's why there are all kinds of cool palatants. That's why there's like five companies that just make palatants for dogs and cats. And they're always coming out the next best palatant. And so palatants are what's sprayed on your kibble to make them as tasty as possible, so your cat keeps going back to the bowl so he can get feat. And we'll talk about that in a few minutes.
So the number one reason that they are different metabolically is that they require more protein-- almost twice the amount that a dog requires in the diet-- of a good quality animal source. It's about 10 grams per kg versus 20 grams per kg in dry matter is what's required to allow them to live and have normal function. And that's all due to these enzymes in their liver. And so they cannot downregulate enzymes in their liver. That actually turns protein into carb and turns protein into fat. That's what happens is, in the cat's liver, blood glucose still runs the world, but you have to make that blood glucose out of something if you're not taking in carbs. And that's made from protein. And cats are highly efficient at taking their protein and making it into glucose.
They also have this strange requirement for something called taurine, which is sort of an amino acid derivative, part of the protein cascade. And this is the biochemistry behind it. So take a picture of that one. And the reality is that methionine and cystine are two amino acids that are actually typically in the diet. But they kind of go into this pathway here for energy, versus being made into taurine.
And then cats are weird because they have these things called bile acids that help break up the fat so you can absorb it. And they only have the ability to conjugate that to taurine as part of the biologic function. So they basically lose taurine excessively in their bile. And so this creates a requirement.
Now how do we know these things? It's because we tried to feed things without taurine in them for a long time. Muscle meat is not very good. Chicken don't work. Cod doesn't work. Pork-- a little better. Beef-- eh. Guess what's number one. Mice-- mice have tons of taurine. Songbirds-- plenty of taurine. So we're dealing with the wrong protein source hypothetically.
And we learned this, and that's why we put taurine in. If they ate more of the innards, they would get more taurine, too. But our anthropomorphization of our cats, by saying, oh, they need fresh skeletal muscle meats, and they're going to be happy. Not really. They actually need that whole animal. And that's why chicken meal and byproduct actually makes me feel a little bit better about a food.
AUDIENCE: So that's why cats like crunchy food, because the mice are crunchy.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: They're very crunchy, exactly. Lots of sharp edges when you're eating the femur of a mouse. Does this go viral ever, and like make it onto YouTube?
It might tonight. So vitamin E and vitamin D are very interesting. Because you and I, and ruminants, actually, we have this wonderful enzyme in our GI tract that breaks up beta carotene. Beta carotene is in all the leafy greens, carrots, all the things we eat. And so we actually get our vitamin A from that. But cats don't have that enzyme, which means they shouldn't really be evolutionarily eating plants, because they haven't developed the enzymatic machinery to make vitamin A out of beta carotene like we have. Dogs could do it, right?
So they're kind of special in that regard. And it's actually pretty cool. Because they've tried to feed toxic levels of vitamin A to cats to see if their kittens would have facial deformities like rats and things. Couldn't really do it. Because cats actually can take in tons of vitamin A, and they excrete it through their urine really efficiently compared to other species. And of course vitamin D is actually something that's required in the diet as well in cats. Now you and I, we have this cholesterol that circulates through our bloodstream. And it circulates through, and it gets to the skin. and then the UV irradiation hits a specific metabolite, and that turns into cholecalciferol, which is in essence vitamin D.
Now dogs and cats actually can't do that. So they actually have an oral vitamin D requirement. So they can't get it from UV exposure. And of course vitamin D is important for all kinds of things like bone and immune function, and even potentially tumor growth.
So sort of close to last is the fact that cats don't have a really cool enzyme. And that enzyme is an enzyme that turns linoleic acid into arachidonic acid. And so it's thought that cats actually have an arachidonic acid requirement. And guess what's full of arachidonic acid. Animal fat. So linoleic acid comes from plant fat. So my plant fats and my plant oils have linoleic. So I can't feed linoleic, and my cat cannot convert that into arachidonic. And that's a required fatty acid for reproductive health.
And then lastly, this whole idea of carbs. And this is one of the major arguments that cats don't like carbs or shouldn't get a lot of carbs, is the fact that we have a carb overload enzyme called glucokinase, and when we take it a lot of carb, our liver kind of upregulates this enzyme and says, hey, carb overload, get it into the body. Cats only have hexokinase rather than glucokinase. And so they really can't metabolize it when it's really high in the diet. So if we were feeding 60%, 70%, 80%, they would metabolize it. It would just take a lot longer with this enzyme. Versus you and I, we would take it in, we'd turn it into fat really quickly.
Then lastly we have this enzyme in our mouth called amylase that actually starts to break down the starches. And cats don't release amylase in their saliva, again saying that they don't typically have high-starch diets.
And then lastly is, they don't have sweet receptors on their tongues. So if you don't have a sweet receptor, good chance you're not going to want to eat a donut. However, there are plenty of cats who eat the strangest things. And I'm sure we'll get a call in about, why does my cat eat cantaloupe or something like that, which is true. Cats love cantaloupe.
So let's talk a little about obesity, and what's causing obesity, and my viewpoints on obesity. This was Gus-- and earlier in my Cornell career, I liked to study obesity. And I realized that I was fighting a bit of a losing battle, so I just stopped studying it. But I wanted to understand it a little bit better.
And this was Gus McNamara. And I think that Mrs. McNamara, if she's out there, I've got to say that she knew that mass in the universe is a constant. And if Gus lost mass, somebody had to gain mass. So she would bring us these plates of brownies every time she came in for a visit. And then we got him down from that body condition of about 9, down to a nice 5. And 5 is considered ideal. And I think myself and my technician, we both gained like 5 pounds. So we gained Gus's weight to keep mass in the universe the same.
But this is actually a nice little diatribe by Speakman, who's kind of one of these kings of obesity and energetics in humans. And he's done a little bit of work looking at dogs, too, with some of the publications that have been out. But this is actually the complexity. We're dealing not only with genetics. We're dealing with the environment. And this is where the environment comes in, and we say, well, we have control over what we feed our dogs and cats.
But let's face it, if you ever went to a cocktail party and they didn't have some chips out, you'd be like, I ain't coming back, right? Because we're always eating. And we've taken that general mantra over to our dogs and cats. Oh, we just got back from the groomer. Here, here's your biscuit. I just back from-- I'm going to get my cat. Oh, I've missed you all day, and he's sitting there rubbing against you. Here's two more Pounce treats. Here's your Beggin' Strip.
And I think we equate food with love. And we are no better than our hosts at these parties who want to supply us with potato chips and Doritos rather than a vegetable plate. Because we do that. We don't feed them the healthiest things. They look cool and they have a little shape of a fish, so we think it's going to be great and my cat's going to love it. We should be trying to feed them the cantaloupe if they like cantaloupe, rather than some of these other things we're feeding probably, just from an energy standpoint.
And we have all these [AUDIO CUTS OUT] We have a resting metabolic rate. And you'll see me use the term, resting energy requirement. Active metabolic rate, my time spent being active. There's a thermic effect of food. So protein actually creates a little bit more of a temperature rise in your body, which you have to thermoregulate. So that's where protein becomes an interesting thing in cats. And then we kind of go when and where do you eat, your micronutrient selection, its energy versus intake versus expenditure.
And so it's complex, but it's actually pretty simple. What you take in versus how much energy you expend-- that is 90% of it. And I think we can make those choices for our dogs and cats pretty well. And what's interesting is there are all kinds of models throughout the years as to what's sort of running appetite. And really, in general, I think-- at least in my opinion-- this lipostatic model, which is I take in energy, I actually store it as fat. But actually there's fat in my diet, too. And I'll show you some interesting pathways that actually show that fat actually can satiate the appetite better than carbs can. And so there is something to fat in the diet. But in the end, when we talk about fad diets and all that fun stuff, yes there are some subtle nuances. But still, 90% of it is intake versus energy expenditure. Yeah, you can play with that 10% based on the fiber you take in, based on the kinds of fats you're taking in, the amount of fat versus protein, et cetera. But still, the end-all be-all is energy expenditure. So this is an interesting list of all the things that are quote, unquote, orexigenic-- which is makes me eat, that come from my brain or from my body, like the GI tract, which is peripheral-- versus things that are anorexigenic, make me not want to eat. So you can see there's a whole bunch of things here, right?
And so I think I'll use this example that our body releases things that are kind of like cannabis. So cannabis, which is marijuana-- not that there are any users in this room, but it gives you the munchies, right? We have all kinds of interesting things that are released at the level of our central nervous system, endocannabinoids being one of them, to actually activate that same system that give you the munchies.
Then we also have anorectic agents. So once again, we see extracurricular drugs make it into the list-- cocaine and amphetamine-related transcripts. Cocaine makes you not want to eat and makes you pretty jazzed up. Amphetamines, same thing. So we've pharmacologically known how to mess with this system. Unfortunately, it's all illegal.
We are now looking at ways to influence these systems in the brain, as well as coming from the periphery. And so we have these two major areas in the central nervous system that are being affected by these neural peptides. And then we have things that are released from the GI tract primarily, or the pancreas, that actually also influence this system.
So I'm going to mention a few hormones that are cool because they've made it into our common medicine today. The ones in red, one's called PYY, peptide YY, and one's called GLP-1. And this is our intestine here. And we have these little endocrine cells that are in our intestine system that actually release these into the bloodstream after we eat. And two of the major ones, PYY and GLP-1, actually are driving long-term satiation. So I'm satiated with my meal. What actually drives that up? Usually it's actually fat is pretty good at doing that. And so fat in the diet becomes important to the satiety effect, for long-term satiety.
We also have something cool called ghrelin. These two turn off your appetite, this one turns it on. So ghrelin is pretty interesting because it's in your stomach. It's a small peptide that gets released when your stomach's all shrunken up and shriveled. As soon as you start to stretch it, it actually turns off the production. And so this is our normal circadian rhythm of I'm pretty darn hungry I can keep my brain active, but at the end of the day, if I haven't eaten lunch, my stomach's all shrunken, my ghrelin's now up, it's hitting my brain, saying, it's about time to eat.
And that's cool, because anorexia nervosa patients tend to have an excess amount of this in their bloodstream, versus people who are morbidly obese have lower amounts. So there's almost a genetic component to this, too.
AUDIENCE: You have it backwards.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Do I? I do have it backwards. You're right. You're right. Thanks, Marge. So yes, it's depressed in-- because it's supposed to be stimulating the appetite. So actually, no, I'm right. I'm right. Yeah, I'm right. It's actually morbidly obese have it elevated because it's constantly hitting the brain, telling them they want to eat, versus the anorexia nervosa, where it's actually lower, and so they actually don't want to eat as much because they don't have that stimulus from that hormone.
So this is actually already being used, but we don't talk about it. And you guys have seen the commercials if you watch television. Victoza is GLP-1. It actually is an insulin-sensitizing hormone. And actually some of these things are now making it into the cat literature for diabetes to some degree, too, which is kind of cool. I just saw something on a similar analog to this being used in cats. It seems to be kind of cool for diabetes.
Now this actually-- I didn't really pay much attention to the commercial until I actually watched my father, who used to be a four-slicer, eat only two slices when he was on this for insulin sensitization. And actually, if you read the brochure, it says, you may lose weight while you're on this. And the reality is this GLP-1 hits your brain and says, I'm not that hungry. So it's pretty cool.
Now what's nice is that we have companies that are now making these kinds of things for dogs and cats. We haven't got to a good appetite suppressor recently. But clinically, we're using this now, which is called Entice, which is a ghrelin analog. It actually can be given. And it actually tells the brain, I want to eat, for all those dogs and cats that are in our hospital. It's only approved for dogs at this point. All dogs and cats that aren't eating well, we can actually boost their appetite. So these are the kind of things they're going to make it in, medically, to most of the hospitals and things that we can use as clients to either promote or diminish appetite. Now that's kind of pie-in-the-sky stuff. We'll get there one day.
What's the best way to lose weight? Stop feeding your animal. Just stop doing it. Now this is my favorite paper, written by Tony Buffington and his tech, Cheryl Holloway, and one of their students. And this actually followed dogs over a weight loss protocol. And actually, it had one group of dogs that they actually started on a weight loss protocol. And they had another group where the owners came in for client education every single month during the six-month weight reduction trial. And when you read this, you're sitting back going, good, it's all about education.
But you know want to know what happened? Those dogs lost no more weight than the other dogs that came in for their monthly assessment. So educating people did nothing to improve weight loss. But they were really successful. And the reason they were successful was because those dogs came in every single month. And if you're accountable as an owner, you're going to do it. And that's why we have to have our staff involved. We have to get our clients involved. We can't just sell a bag of pet food and say, see you next year. The reality is, the more involved, and the more calls you get from that annoying veterinary technician from that hospital, the more likely it is that you're going to comply.
And the sad part is, when we look at the therapeutic pet foods that we sell for weight loss, the actual refill rate long term is less than-- it's around 5%. So 5% compliance for weight loss. Why? Well, you go to the store, and you're like, I just bought that bag of whatever it is-- metabolic health. And he seems to be doing OK on it, and I don't want to go back to the vet. I'm in Agway-- ooh, healthy weight management. Ain't no different. Pick it up, you buy it, start feeding it. Oh, this isn't working. So you quit.
And the reality is, the reason that these companies are successful is they create accountability. You've got cards. You can only use so many cards per day. You have to come back and do a weigh-in, you have another session. And the last thing you are going to do the night before you go back for a weigh-in is eat a piece of chocolate cake. And it's the same thing, I think, with owners. The last thing you're going to do is feed that extra piece of chicken off your plate when you know that next week the vet tech just scheduled that appointment. You're actually going to cut that extra cup out because you hadn't been complying anyway. So really, it's about accountability.
So from my perspective, the ones I can have success with are the good ones, where I know that the owner has been overfeeding. So it's typical. It's a golden retriever who's inactive. Four cups at 50 kcals in a cup. He's eating 1,400 calories. The dog should be around 70-some. I know that if I cut the calories back, whether I use an over-the-counter or a therapeutic approach from my clinic, I'm probably going to have some pretty good success.
It's this one that I'm going to have a hard time with. This is a Rotty who's already eating less than he really should be. Because a Rottweiler who even weighs, let's say, 90 pounds, should be eating more than 1,100 calories. So I know I've either got a really inactive dog-- and a lot of them just aren't eating-- or I've got a really non-compliant owner who's doing all kinds of things that they're not telling me.
And that's the ugly part of this. And the ugly part is that people lie. This is like a bad episode of House. You're not going to watch this one every week, because it's the same story. People are feeding [AUDIO CUTS OUT] all kinds of cool things. Well, yeah, I only feed two cups a day. Really? Well, you know, he does get a rawhide. Well, he gets a pizzle stick every other day. And then, well, yeah, my husband loves to feed those big Milk-Bones, 125 calories of Milk-Bone. So there's the extra 600 calories in that diet. And then, oh, yeah, he goes out and it's hunting season, and he eats deer carcass all the time. Sadly, that's actually my dad's dog. He goes out and eats what's left in the back woods.
So there's all kinds of problems here in trying to get a good diet history. And if you have the time-- which you do, because this is a great story-- somebody came all the way from Toronto. And they brought in a couple of dogs, and they're like, we want to try-- there was a new weight loss drug on the market, and they couldn't get it Canada, so they came all the way to Cornell. And they were about to dispense this stuff.
And I just kept looking and her, going, I just can't believe those dogs are only eating like a cup of that light dog food. It just doesn't make sense. And the husband's sitting there reading a book in the corner. And it was almost like he wasn't in the room. And she just kept going on about the dogs, and their health issues, and this and that, and they're too obese. And I've tried, and I've tried, I've tried.
And then I said, I don't know who's feeding these dogs. Somebody is feeding those dogs. And then she just looks at her husband and goes, honey, you haven't been feeding them? And he goes, well, I watch David Letterman at night. And I do give them each a scoop of ice cream.
And then I just sat back. I said, I think I'm going to leave the room. I can only imagine what that car ride home was like. But it was pretty cool. So anyway, that's my favorite obesity story from my clinic.
So when we do put them on weight loss diets, most vets are expecting 1% to 2% weight loss per week. So you guys can track that typically. And then, of course, there's all kinds of pitfalls-- owner compliance, accountability, food equals love.
This is a dog that came in. And they came in for surgery to remove this lipoma. They didn't even think their dog was fat when we asked them. We said, can we put them on a weight loss? They didn't want to put him on a weight loss diet. They just want to get that lump taken off, which is a lipoma. Which actually, if you lose weight, it'll give a somewhat smaller. But it's not going to get that much smaller.
So anyway, it's kind of interesting. We've seen dogs with, of course, begging behaviors, breaking into the cat food, eating loaves of bread out of the pantry, trying to kill the other dog during feeding time, things like that. So weight loss is not easy. That's why we all don't do it.
For the sake of time, because it's getting late, I'll kind of go past this. But what I want to say is that over-the-counter foods that you're picking up may not even comply with what's considered to be AAFCO's terms of what's a light dog food. So you really have to look at those foods. Some of the weight maintenance foods may be 450 calories a cup, which is actually a lot. That's the same as a maintenance diet. That's actually as high as a performance diet. There's no regulation unless it says light, lean, reduced fat. Those ones are the ones you're looking for, because they're going to be usually less than 300 calories in a cup.
Here are some of the things that make it into our diets. And some of them make it at what we'll call therapeutic levels in the therapeutic diets. Protein concentration is important for maintaining lean mass. So during weight loss, your lean mass is primarily what's burning energy. And so if you can maintain that during weight loss, you're a little bit more successful. Carnitate is actually a interesting amino acid derivative that if you actually supplement it in the diet of cats, they maintain their lean mass better during weight loss as well. So we put that into some of our therapeutic diets.
Then lastly, fiber has been shown to increase satiety. Now does it increase long-term satiety? That's kind of debatable. And if we're feeding twice a day, I'm pretty sure my lab's just as hungry at night as he was in the morning when I fed him, regardless of the fiber. And we're reducing the overall amount we're feeding. So that fiber fill effect isn't quite as good as we would probably want it to be. So how useful is it? It's probably a short-term satiety thing.
And then lastly, the over-the-counter weight loss diets and senior diets all tend to be lower in protein. So if you're going out they're looking for a diet that's over-the-counter to try to help with weight loss, find one that's higher than 20%. You should be closer to 30% because you're going to be feeding at a reduced level. And then you're going to want to maintain the lean mass. And when you feed a 30% diet at only 60% of the energy requirements, it's kind of like feeding a 20% diet. So you got to be aware of that. So I think that's where some of the pitfalls are of people.
So my dogs have always been really lean, in really good shape. But unfortunately, I also have cats.
And that's not my cat, but my cat is not far off. And here are all the problems with cats. It's the hardest weight loss program to really get on board with. Because it's been found that cats actually don't have an active requirement for metabolism. And it's like basically telling you that putting a cat in a cage and watching it breathe is about the energy expenditure of your cat at home. They have what's called a resting energy requirement they. Don't even have an active energy, because what do they do? Go to the bowl three times in the morning, you go pee once, you go lay on the couch for another eight hours. You just don't have a whole lot of activity.
And there are a lot of people who talk about how to get cats more active. And we'll talk a little bit about that. Cats also, when you actually start to take calories away, they're metabolically different. They don't tolerate starvation very well. Yeah, fatty liver disease, right? And so dogs, it's actually been shown, you can starve-- there are actually studies showing you can starve a dog for like six weeks, and they lose weight precipitously wonderfully, and their serum chemistries look beautiful, and they're happy.
You can't do that to a cat. So you have to be a little bit more careful when you're doing that weight reduction. Now most of these cats are barely at resting energy requirements, which is a typical fat cat needs like 160 calories a day to survive, to 200. It's not a lot of calories. And they're nocturnal, so they will get up to eat, and they will also get up to bother you about eating at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 8:00, anytime you're sleeping.
And cats do have what we call the dew flap. They call it the apron. So they carry their fat differently, just like people. There's pear shapes, there's all kinds of shapes. Cats have a dew flap. When they carry fat, they carry it in-- they call it the apron. But that thing shakes on the ground. Anyway, they just definitely have-- you can feel your cat on the back, and you're like, ooh, he's all muscly. And then you turn him over, and you're like, oh my God, it's Buddha. So they just carry it differently.
That's my cat. Shows everybody he can take a pretty good picture. But when he's laying down, there's the Buddha. So I actually tried to get him to lose some weight. And I had two cats. And Emmy was my little tabby. And she was on a different food. And I was trying to restrict him. And he would always beat her up and try and take her food. So it was not a great situation. So I built the Fat No More box, which is right here, which she can get into to get her food anytime, but he sits outside just waiting for anything that's dropped.
And so that took me about-- I'm actually not a carpenter. It took me the better part of I'd say an afternoon-- a solid afternoon-- to build this thing and get it wedged in perfectly inside my laundry area there. And within about two weeks, I woke up one night hearing--
[MAKING SCRAPING NOISE]
He actually had learned how to put his feet up against it, and move it far enough to actually get to her food. So that wasn't working for me. But now we have cool things like this automated feeder. You wear the collar. It only opens a couple of times a day. You put the portion in that you need, and that's it. Cool balls, we have cool mazes, there's actually a cool box they can actually go into, that's a maze that the fat cat can't get around, to get to the food. There's all kinds of cool things out there to help you out if you're having this problem.
So we were feeding Kermit-- that's his name, Kermit-- twice a day. And Alex German wrote a really good paper saying, cups suck. And I actually tried it out on my kids. And I actually had them each scoop out a little bit of food. And you can see the differences between my three kids-- 23 all the way up to 29 grams. That is a 20 calorie difference, depending on what you consider a quarter cup twice a day. So that's actually 20% of his calories. So the best solution is to get a gram scale. The people who are most successful feed a certain number of grams per day. They will feed 28 grams in the morning and 32 at night, or whatever. And they're far more successful.
The biggest problem for me was I was tripping over my cat. My cat was butting his head against our bedroom door. And eventually my wife was going to make me sleep with the cat. Because it was getting out of control. And he started fighting with the other cat. And it just wasn't a great situation. But we did what we could.
And the biggest trick I had was-- I was at a conference, and I was telling this story to a French nutritionist, and said, yeah my cat, he just wants more and more. And she goes, why aren't you using the zucchini? And I said, zucchini? And she said yes, cats love zucchini. It's almost like the cantaloupe thing, but less calories. And she says about half the cats that she does weight reduction, she'll chop up zucchini, put it in with the cat food, and it takes on the flavor of what's in there because the palatants rub off. She says, mix it well, and the cat will eat it.
And so at nighttime, I would feed my cat zucchini to get a little bit of weight off of him. So I did that for a few weeks. He actually would eat the zucchini, and I wouldn't get bothered till about 2:30 instead of at 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, and 2:00. Luckily, my cat's an indoor/outdoor guy. Can't stop him. He loves it. So I would just put him out at 2:30. And so we had a better lifestyle. There are ways to do it.
So there's the idea that canned actually may be a better way to actually induce weight loss. So if you have a cat who likes canned cat food, they get more stomach fill. So you kind of play with that ghrelin system a little bit if you use cat food that's canned. It only tends to last like 10 days, and then their metabolism in their brain catches up. And so it's a good way to sort of jump-start some of that weight loss.
And I'm not going to talk much about this, but the evidence is poor that dry food actually leads to obesity. Backus and Patrick Nguyen out of France, they both have done studies showing that if you give, ad lib, high fat, high protein versus high carb, high protein, high fat cats always gain more weight. And these are all neutered males, where the problem's the worst.
And so there is really very little evidence that carbs are the culprit. It's the overfeeding. We have calorically dense food. It's 4 and 1/2 kcals per gram. And I'm telling you a cat needs 200 calories tops. That means your cat only needs 50 grams of dry food a day. That's a pittance compared to what's in the can, which has about 160 grams. So no wonder you could probably curb weight gain and you can curb overall appetite by feeding wet, because they just get to take in more food.
So activity-- should I stop soon.
SPEAKER 1: We do have to wrap it up.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: OK. The last thing I'm going to say-- because I won't get into the adipokine story, which is kind of a cool story-- is that activity is great. You can do things to make dogs more active. However, getting a cat more active is the hardest thing to do. Yes, I watch Jackson Galaxy all the time. And I love his show about how to make a better living environment for your cat. However, the feather chase thing-- in my cats, it worked for about, I don't know-- it started off working for about 10 or 15 minutes. Now we're down to about like 60 seconds.
So it depends on the cat. It depends on your lifestyle. There aren't treadmills for cats, but there are treadmills for dogs. There are underwater treadmills or exercise programs. But were just so much better at getting our dogs active. But actually when we did a study looking at trying to get people and their dogs active, before the study, the dogs took about 6,000 steps a day. When we gave them a protocol and the rah rah speech, a month into that, dogs walked about 6,000 steps per day. And then at the end of the study, they still walked 6,000 to 7,000 steps per day. I'm including using pedometers. It's just hard to get people to change their lifestyles.
So with that any other thoughts, questions?
SPEAKER 1: Danielle, I'll bee right down with the microphone.
AUDIENCE: The food that I'm feeding the one dog who can only eat a certain kind of food-- the protein is soy. Do you see any problem with soy food over a long period of time?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: No, not for-- we were talking about some of these hydrolized diets, and using single ingredients like soy. Those are well fortified with other amino acids to make it complete and balanced. So it's probably not a problem. And then there are people who talk about the estrogenic effects of soy. But they haven't been shown to affect many other systems that's been shown to affect thyroid, potentially, in people.
But the studies that have been done in dogs have shown no association with soy and thyroid problems or anything like that, as well as the estrogenic effects. We haven't seen or observed any of those things. So I think it's definitely safe. Because there are plenty of dogs who've been on those kinds of diets long term.
And actually it's interesting, because it's a fad that's starting to come up even in shelters, about sustainability. In LA right now, there's actually a bill going in saying we should be feeding vegetarian-based diets to our shelter animals. Craziness-- that would be pretty soy-based. And there of veterinarians that are behind this.
AUDIENCE: Yeah, for what I pay per bag for the dog.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Yes, the hydrolized soy.
AUDIENCE: And is there a standard you should look for pretty averagely active dogs for the protein level?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: In general, I like to see all dogs taking in somewhere around 4 grams per kg body weight. And that's where the nuance comes in. Because if I'm feeding something that's 28% protein, 12% fat, versus 30% protein and 22% fat, I'm going to get more protein 28/12 than I'm going to get from that 30/22, because the calories are just more dense here.
And so I kind of like to do the math and say, I'm feeding so many grams per day of this food, and it's 30% protein. I'm feeding 200 grams. That's-- per 100 grams, that would be 30 grams, or 28 grams plus another 28. That's 54. My dog's 10 kgs. He gets 5.4 grams per kg. I'm safe. That's a good spot to be in. That's for lean body mass retention. That's for long-term, normal, healthy, geriatric. There's not a lot of data. There's one paper from 1966 where they actually looked at older dog protein requirements. And the older dogs required about 50% more than the young dogs to maintain liver DNA, protein synthesis, and skeletal muscle protein synthesis. So that's sort of where I play with the numbers to get a grams-per-kg body weight.
AUDIENCE: OK, thank you.
AUDIENCE: So I've lost the teeth battle with my cat, who has practically no teeth. So is there a problem feeding her dry food, or not?
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: No, because if your cat's like my cat, it just swallows it whole anyway. So what I tend to do in those cases is not get the sharper kibbles. Get the smaller, round kibbles. Because those are easier for the ones that-- if they can't really chew, then they're going to have an easier time swallowing those foods in general. And so I just tend to think it's probably a slightly better way to go. But feeding dry is fine. Because most of those kibbles are so small, a lot of cats just swallow them.
AUDIENCE: OK, and the zucchini, you were talking about raw, I assume.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: Yeah. You can do it. I always felt like heating it up for 20 seconds in the microwave. I don't know why, but I did. But she had said you just have to chop up fresh zucchini. And they like the edges on it, too, because it's a firm vegetable. So you cut it in little cubes, and they tend to eat it with their food. And it does provide a little extra gastric fill in that evening meal.
SPEAKER 1: I think we have time for just the one last question, and then we can wrap it up. Mark is distributing some evaluation forms. If you wouldn't mind just taking a few minutes and completing them before you leave, thank you in advance.
AUDIENCE: I have a really, really, really old 6 and 1/2 pound toy poodle who's got kidney issues, seizures, nerve medicine-- she's got nerve pain and stuff. Any suggestions what we can do to get her to eat more? She's starting to lose weight.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: That's sort of the insidious part of kidney failure is they tend to lose their lean mass over time no matter what. Are you on a kidney diet right now?
SPEAKER 1: Yeah, Hill's Science Diet KD, both canned and dry we try to get her to eat. I've resorted to feeding her by hand now.
JOSEPH WAKSHLAG: What I do in some of those cases is I actually will feed Hill's GD, and mix in small amounts of chicken, or things like couscous, or things like rice that have been soaked in chicken broth. Sometimes they'll eat some of that better than they'll even eat the KD. A lot of ways to do that. And if you want to email me, Hunter and I'll work on that with you.
AUDIENCE: OK, thank you.
SPEAKER 1: Thank you, Dr. Wakshlag, and thank you all for coming-- really appreciate it. We'll have another Baker Pet Talks in the spring. Thank you.
We do have one person who sent us a couple emails. Do you mind if I--
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Struggling to keep your pet at a healthy weight? In the next session of Baker Pet talks, learn the tricks of the trade in combating pet obesity, discuss the pros and cons of dry vs wet food, and get a better understanding of your cat’s needs as a carnivore. Presenter: Joseph J. Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVSMR. Co-sponsored by the Baker Institute for Animal Health and the Cornell Feline Health Center.