Below you'll find answer to some of the frequently asked questions:
We have two great puppy formulas in the Taste of the Wild line—High Prairie Puppy and Pacific Stream Puppy. These two formulas have special features to help support optimal health and well-being for growing puppies.
Our two feline formulas—Rocky Mountain and Canyon River—are both formulated to meet the needs for all life stages, including kittens.
Follow the recommended feeding guidelines on the package and adjust up or down as needed to maintain your pet in an ideal, lean body condition.
Do you need to? No. All of our pet foods are complete and balanced. If you want to though, you can—with caution. In most cases, supplements will do no harm. However, it is important to remember that human supplements may contain things that are harmful to pets, and you should always check with your veterinarian prior to using any supplement for your pet.
Sometimes veterinarians will prescribe supplements to treat specific conditions. It is becoming more common that veterinarians are turning to natural therapies, either in combination with traditional therapies or alone, to treat different conditions. One such example would be the use of probiotics when an antibiotic is prescribed. Probiotics add back “good” bacteria to the digestive system to keep it healthy. Many antibiotics will actually kill the good bacteria in the digestive system, leading to diarrhea. Probiotics, when administered at least one hour before or after antibiotics, will help to minimize the digestive upset that can be associated with the use of antibiotics.
There are feeding guides on every package. It is important to remember that the amounts listed on the package are expressed in the number of 8-ounce measuring cups (a standard kitchen measuring cup, not the Big Gulp cup you found in your cabinet) to be fed per day. So, if it says 2 cups in the chart and you feed your dog twice daily, each meal should be 1 cup.
However, each dog is different. Do you have a friend who can eat everything and never gain an ounce? How about a friend who complains that she looks at food and gains weight? Well, people have different metabolic rates and so do dogs. They also have different activity levels. Feeding guides on pet food packaging designed for adult dogs use one equation, figuring that most adult pets are “moderately” active. Obviously some dogs will need more food than the moderately active adult because of higher activity levels and some dogs will need less food because of their “couch puptato” lifestyle.
Puppies have a much higher energy requirement per pound of body weight than adult dogs do. Very young puppies need more calories than older puppies as well. So, if you have two puppies that both weigh 10 pounds but one is 10 weeks old and the other is 10 months, you will find that the 10-week-old puppy actually will need to be fed quite a bit more food than the 10-month-old puppy.
Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s body condition. It is best for your pet’s health to be kept in lean body condition. Feed the amount of food that keeps your dog lean and fit, and remember it might not be the amount that is listed on the package. If you find that you are feeding less than half of what is recommended on the package for your dog’s age and weight, you likely need to consult your veterinarian and consider a switch to a lower-calorie formula.
Your pet should have free access to fresh water at all times. Most pets will drink the amount of water that they need. In very rare situations, dogs can develop a behavioral condition called psychogenic polydipsia. This simply means that a dog drinks excessive amounts of water with no apparent medical cause. This can be a real challenge to diagnose and treat, so if you suspect this condition, make sure to work very closely with your veterinarian.
Pets that are outdoors or very active will drink more water than pets that live indoors or lead a sedentary lifestyle. Monitor how much water your pet typically drinks. If he is suddenly licking the bowl dry faster than before, a visit to your veterinarian is important. An increase in water consumption can be an indication of many different health problems including diabetes, kidney disease and even infections.
There is a parasite that lives in the bodies of some salmon, mostly in the Northwestern United States. Dogs that eat raw salmon can become extremely ill if exposed to this parasite. Because our foods are cooked, and cooking kills the parasite, there is not a concern with feeding dogs our foods that contain salmon.
It is really best if you do not feed your pet table scraps. Some individuals choose to add human foods to their pets diet for variety, freshness and flavor. This is not necessary, but is not harmful as long as you choose wisely and your pet still eats adequate amounts of a complete and balanced diet so that nutritional deficiencies do not result.
The problem with table scraps is really the way that we cook. We often use seasonings that are too strong or even potentially harmful to pets. Garlic and onion are two things that pets should not consume. The way we prepare our meats is also problematic because of the high fat content. When veterinarians suggest feeding meat to a dog because of an upset stomach, we always say that the meat should be boiled. This gets rid of most of the fat in the meat. Rarely do we boil meat that we ourselves are going to be eating for our evening meal.
Feeding from the table encourages begging during mealtimes. Feed your pet his own healthy meal during your regular mealtime. This will ensure that he is satisfied and will not be begging for a morsel from the table. Feeding table scraps also encourages finicky behavior. Your pet may begin "holding out" for the stuff that comes from the table. You may interpret this as your pet not enjoying his food as much when this is not really the case. He just is not as hungry because you are feeding him from the table, and he knows he might get something if he skips that kibble in the bowl.
Do yourself and your pet a favor and feed a healthy, balanced diet that is designed for pets and stick with it. If you want to give a treat, try a spoon of canned food, a treat or biscuit, or even a dental treat to help keep the teeth clean.
Absolutely not! There is not any reason to be fearful of higher protein levels in pet foods unless your pet is suffering from very specific kidney or liver diseases. Quality protein provides the necessary amino acids for your pet to remain in a healthy, lean body condition. Muscles use amino acids as building blocks. When dogs are overfed, they become overweight, just like people. Providing protein that your dog can use to maintain lean body mass will help keep him lean and healthy. You can still overfeed these foods, so if your dog is gaining weight, make sure to reduce the amount that you are feeding.
There is a myth that high protein causes allergies. This is absolutely not true. Proteins themselves are the components of foods that pets may be allergic to. If a pet has a mild allergy to a particular ingredient, it would make sense that the allergy symptoms would become worse when the pet is exposed to higher levels of this ingredient. It is not protein that is the problem, but the specific type of protein.
The beauty of the guaranteed analysis is that it gives you a lot of information about what is inside the bag of pet food. Once you understand how to read it, you will be better equipped to compare different varieties of pet food.
By AAFCO regulations, the guaranteed analysis is only required to list four nutrients: crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber and moisture. However, many pet food companies list additional guarantees not only to provide you with more information about the food but also as a mark of quality. The more things that are guaranteed, the more things that regulatory agencies can test for and fault a company if they do not meet the level on the label. Because of variances between different types of laboratory equipment, sometimes foods can be faulted even if they truly are not deficient in one of their guarantees. Added guarantees mean that the company is working hard to manufacture a precise formulation each and every time, and you can be assured that bag to bag, that product is likely to be more consistent than a product that only guarantees the four required nutrients.
The first nutrient listed is crude protein. This is a measurement of the guaranteed minimum level of protein in the food. If the food guarantees a minimum of 21% protein, it is not going to contain 32% protein. By AAFCO regulations, a diet that states a guarantee of 21% protein may have no less than 20.4% protein. There is not a specified maximum, but the protein is typically within 2% of the target. So a 21% protein formula would range from 21% to 23%, but would most often be right at 21% or slightly higher. Your dog will benefit from a food that has protein from animal protein sources. After you check the level of protein, look at the ingredient listing to see where that protein is coming from.
The next listing is crude fat. This is also a minimum guarantee, with a 10% allowed variance. So, if the guaranteed minimum fat content is 15%, the minimum allowed by AAFCO would be 13.5%. Most foods very closely target the fat level, so expect very little variance in this nutrient.
Next comes crude fiber. This is typically pretty low, 2–3%, and is a maximum level. In hairball formulas for cats and weight loss formulas, you will usually see a higher level of fiber, usually 6–8%. Higher fiber formulas will result in larger stools than low fiber formulas, but this is to be expected.
Finally, you will see the moisture guarantee. In dry formulas, this is typically 8–12% maximum, and in canned formulas it is typically 75–85%.
Protein and fat will show the widest variance among different types of pet foods. Cat foods have higher protein content than most dog foods. Formulas specifically designed for athletes, puppies, and low carbohydrate formulas for dogs will have high protein content and often high fat content as well.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way to remove plaque from the surface before it can become hardened into tartar. Plaque is a soft substance that is made up of food particles and bacteria. When the minerals in the saliva bind to the surface of this plaque, it becomes hard. This is called tartar and must be scraped off the surface of the teeth, usually under general anesthesia during a procedure called a dental prophylaxis. Most pets age 2 and older have some degree of dental disease. Dental disease is progressive, and if it is allowed to continue, it becomes irreversible and leads to illness, mouth pain and tooth loss. Start brushing your pet’s teeth when they are young. Use a gauze pad or small piece of cloth, apply a pea-sized amount of pet-friendly toothpaste, and rub the surface of the teeth gently. It is best to do this when your pet is calm and relaxed and not when it is play time. Your pet will soon become used to the brushing, and you can switch to a soft toothbrush to brush the teeth as your pet grows. Daily brushing is most effective. If you are looking for something a bit easier to keep your pet’s teeth clean, consider a dental treat that is endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). There are several brands of treats that have gone through extensive testing to prove their effectiveness. Diamond Pet Foods manufactures one such treat, under the brand name Bright Bites. If you are having a busy day and miss the brushing time, you can use the treats as an alternative. Some people give their pets dental treats as the main method for maintaining a healthy mouth with an occasional tooth brushing session thrown in for good measure.
Veterinarians do not talk about weight as much as they did in the past. Body condition score is now more commonly used for assessing whether a pet is too fat or too thin. It is not very common that we see a pet that is too thin, as the obesity epidemic in pets is mimicking that of the human population in the United States. More than half of all pets that are seen in veterinary clinics are overweight or obese. If a pet is too thin, there is often a medical explanation.
If you are concerned that your pet is too thin, please contact your veterinarian right away. To determine whether your pet is too thin, look at them from the top and the side. If you can see the outline of each rib, your pet is too thin. If you can see the actual hip bones when looking down on your pet, this is also an indication that your pet is too thin. If you are seeing these things but your pet has a large belly, there is most likely a medical problem that needs to be addressed immediately. In this case, your pet’s weight may be normal, but the body condition score is too low.
A normal, healthy pet will have a nice waistline and a tucked-up abdomen. From the side, your pet’s belly should go up at the end of the ribs. You might be able to see the last rib and this is okay, but you should not see more. If you don’t see any ribs, this is probably okay too: rub your hand gently across your pet’s ribcage. The ribs should be very easy to feel, with very little fat between the ribs and the skin. From the top, your pet’s waist is very visible. Between the rib cage and the hips should be a nice indentation. Unless your dog is very furry, you will probably be able to see the outlines of the major muscles in their legs.
If you think your pet is too fat, he probably is. If you have to press your hand against your pet’s side to feel the ribs, there is too much fat. If you look at your pet from the side and the abdomen does not go up at the end of the ribcage, there is too much fat in the belly. And finally, when looking from the top, if your pet is a solid sausage with no waistline, he is too fat.
Being overweight is not only a burden to your pet’s bones and joints but is also a health hazard. Dogs that are overweight are more likely to suffer from pancreatitis and heart disease than dogs that are at a healthy weight. Research has proven that dogs live longer when they are kept at an ideal lean body condition than if they are allowed to be overweight. Cats that are overweight are susceptible to type 2 diabetes, just like people. They are also more likely to suffer from breathing problems and fatty liver disease.
Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s body condition score and start making an effort to get your pet to the ideal lean condition.
Any time you change the diet that you are feeding to your pet, there is a possibility for changes in the quality or character of the stools. This is especially true if the new diet is very different from the previous diet that was being fed.
When making a diet change, it is best to do so very gradually. This means that the first time you feed the new food, it should make up only 25% of the ration that is being fed that day. So, if your dog eats 1 cup of food two times daily, feed 1/4 cup of the Taste of the Wild mixed with 3/4 cup of the previous diet. Do this for 2–3 days. If the stools are firm, increase the Taste of the Wild to half of the daily ration for another 2–3 days. If the stools are still firm at this point, increase the Taste of the Wild to 3/4 of the daily ration for another 2–3 days. Finally, feed only the Taste of the Wild.
Dogs are similar to people in regards to the population of bacteria that live within their digestive systems. Because of this, digestive upset caused by a diet change can sometimes be prevented by mixing some plain nonfat yogurt in with your dog's food each day during the transition. The live cultures in the yogurt will help balance the flora in the digestive system and minimize flatulence or loose stools that are sometimes occur with a diet change.
We certainly expect that the stool quality is equivalent if not improved with a switch to the Taste of the Wild, and while this may be true in most cases, there will be some dogs who simply do not tolerate this recipe. This may be because of an intolerance to a particular ingredient or even an allergy to a particular ingredient. Symptoms of a dietary intolerance include larger stools than normal, foul-smelling stools, diarrhea, vomiting the food back up and even skin problems. If your dog suffers from an apparent intolerance after a gradual transition, try a different recipe with different protein sources.
Yes, any of our formulas are suitable for your small breed dog and will meet their nutritional needs.
Wild boar is a species of pig (Sus scrofa). They are known by various names, including wild hogs. The wild boar in Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon is wild-caught boar, sourced from a supplier in Texas.
Venison is a highly digestible, lean protein source that can add variety to your dog’s diet. For dogs with protein sensitivities, this is a protein that may be helpful to them. Venison is a heart-healthy protein that provides the necessary nutrients to support strong bones and muscles.
We have four manufacturing facilities, all located in the United States. One is in northern California, one in central California, one in Missouri and one in South Carolina.
Our formulas are free of artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Although the main protein source is beef, we wanted to highlight the unique, exotic red meat alternative used in the formula: boar.