Category Archives: Dog Nutrition


Grapes and Dogs, Is it a Big Deal?

Short answer: Yes.

But the “why” is interesting and grapes are no where near the epidemic they make it out to be on television.

Grapes are substantially and prevalently non toxic to dogs and most dogs don’t have a reaction to grapes, [similarly to dogs and their potential (0.5% odds) reaction to onions].  Recent research (probably ten years old now, but has not filtered down through television vets yet) is that there is / are (as-yet-unidentified) insecticides, fungicides or herbicides on grapes that ARE deadly when present or there is a rare, idiosyncratic ‘reaction’ to grapes.
Means: If the grape your dog ingested was/were dusted / sprayed with something toxic to dogs, you’ll see a kidney disaster.
Even then, it’s a thing with the size of the dog, how many grapes were consumed, and which chemical is present, and in what amount.
Alternatively: If the grape-reaction is an oxidative injury (0.5% odds) the result is the same.
If neither condition exists, your dog could eat grapes all day long and never have a problem.
The first time I heard there was a problem with grapes I was confused because I have a personal friend in Napa California who owns a family vineyard. And he would take off bunches of spoiled grapes and toss them to his Labrador. Who ate grapes sun up to sun down (inasmuch as a family vineyard can produce spoiled grapes heh heh) and he never had a problem. Jim never used any herbicides / fungicides nor insecticides.
(If you leave spoiled grapes in the vineyard it brings birds, so you dispose thoroughly and in his case, via dog.)
So, what about these grapes?  
The FDA / EPA has “Grapes” in the top twenty most chemically treated / hazardous imports to the US food market.  They checked forty-eight-thousand (48,000) imported foodstuffs. And grapes are in the top twenty. 
I eat grapes because they never hurt me. Yet. But I suppose we shouldn’t unless we know for a fact they were organically grown? Or at least not imported? Side bar.
If grapes (or their chemical burden) intends to hurt the dog, it’s not a delayed reaction. If kidney issues have not shown up in the bloodwork within 72 hours of ingestion, problems are intrinsically unlikely.
So, why do doctors and emergency clinics make such an enormous deal out of a grape ingestion?
Several reasons:
  1. If you’ve ever seen that dog with kidney shut down from a grape, you never want to see it again
  2. If you’re dismissive, and DO NOT make a big deal out of it, and that dog is the 1:100 reactor, you will be crucified in small claims court.
  3. People don’t bring their dogs to clinics just to have their concerns minimized or dismissed
  4. Owners and vets don’t want to take any risks, even half a percent
Do I give Ajax grapes? Yes.
Would I give him more than a few at a time, or a bunch? Absolutely not. I also can’t help buy into the media hype around grapes. It’s ingrained in my industry and the lay literature, even though it’s not anywhere near as bad (or as often) as they say.
“So, Dr Johnson, have you ever seen a grape-kidney-case in 32 years?”  Nope, never*.  But there’s always a first time.
*(I worked for a vet for ten years before I became one 22 years ago, so there’s 32 years behind a veterinary counter)
Doc Johnson
How much pumpkin should I give my dog?


Pumpkin for Pets

If you wanted to give the same amounts of fiber to your pet that is found in one high-fiber therapeutic diet, you’d need to feed more than 2 ½ cups of pumpkin per day to a cat and nearly 12 cups per day to a medium-sized dog.

I hear from owners—and vets—all the time that they’ve added pumpkin to a dog or cat’s diet to increase the fiber. Dog and cats don’t require any fiber in their diets. But it can help with issues such as diarrhea, constipation, diabetes, and high fat levels in the blood, as well as to help overweight pets feel full while on a weight-loss diet.

Typically, I see people giving anywhere from ¼ teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of pumpkin at meals to increase a pet’s fiber intake. Unfortunately, this may not help and, in some cases, may cause problems. That’s because if you wanted to give the same amounts of fiber to your pet that is found in one high-fiber therapeutic diet, you’d need to feed more than 2 ½ cups of pumpkin per day to a cat and nearly 12 cups per day to a medium-sized dog!

The minuscule amount and type of fiber in pumpkin usually limit its effectiveness as a fiber source. But pumpkin also can contain ingredients that undermine a pet’s health. While canned pumpkin is only 83 calories per cup, canned pumpkin-pie mix is up to 281 calories per cup due to added sugar, which can pack on the pounds. Too many calories from pumpkin (anything more than 10 percent of total calorie intake) can unbalance your pet’s diet. And canned pumpkin without salt contains only 12 milligrams of sodium per cup, but some canned pumpkin brands with salt contain nearly 600 milligrams of sodium per cup—way too much sodium for a dog or cat with heart or kidney disease.

Finally, by adding a lot of fiber from pumpkin you may accidentally decrease how much protein and other nutrients your pet can absorb from their food, putting them at risk for deficiencies.

So, what’s a better way to add fiber to your dog or cat’s diet? Talk to your veterinarian, who can recommend an appropriate fiber supplement or prescribe a therapeutic diet that contains increased amounts of the specific types of types of fiber—which each have different effects in the gastrointestinal tract and throughout the body—needed to address your pet’s individual needs.

Full credit: Lisa Freeman, J86, V91, N96, head of the veterinary nutrition service at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center

Caption: If you wanted to give the same amounts of fiber to your pet that is found in one high-fiber therapeutic diet, you’d need to feed more than 2 ½ cups of pumpkin per day to a cat and nearly 12 cups per day to a medium-sized dog.

Phycox Glucosamine, Vitamin and Anti-inflammatory

What’s so great about Phycox?

Well I’ve gotten older and there’s some pain in aging and some creaking joints.

Nothing different for old dogs. They creak and groan a little, too. Here’s where “Phycox” comes in. Phycox is a chewable ‘treat’ that you can give your dog to help with several aspects of aging.

Phycox has

  1. Three natural antioxidants
  2. A potent multivitamin
  3. Glucosamine/Chondroitin and MSM

For less than Dasequin or Cosequin

Phycox is the answer to supplementing arthritis with glucosamine but there’s SO much more to it. In this document I explain how Phycox provides the benefits of five other arthritis modalities but ALSO where it falls short.

What’s So Great About Phycox? PDF read online or download