Your pet’s nutrition is crucial. Read about pet nutrition, what pet food & pet treats are good, what’s bad & what you need to know to make good decisions about your pet’s health & nutrition. The Pet Nutrition section has resources for further information about pet nutrition & diet, and will also include product reviews.Search pet product for further reviews.

Archive for the ‘Pet Nutrition’ Category

Hill’s® Ideal Balance™: Pet Nutrition Doesn’t Have to be Complicated… it’s Natural Now!

Posted on October 18th, 2013

Hill’s® Pet Nutrition is big on helping your fur-babies stay healthy, as is evidenced by their numerous formulas made specifically for certain medical conditions, and now, by their nutrient-based Ideal Balance™ recipe, which is chock-full of veggies, meat and all the other good stuff your cat or dog needs to lead a life emphasized by balanced nutrition.

Since our cats started eating Hill’s Ideal Balance (Poached Salmon wet food recipe) they seem to show more energy (for sure), and have harder stools and more frequent urination. They have also been more tolerant of each other in the household (behaviorally I mean, i.e., sometimes Sasha doesn’t get along well with the two younger guys {Tate and Max} because she’s 13 and they are 3 and they chase her all over the place all the time). The chase sessions have nearly ceased in recent weeks.

We think this is all due to the fact that proper nutrition = happy kittehs. Balanced natural meals = full bellies & fewer behavioral issues.Hills kitty w IB

But we do wonder, and we often hear this from our furball-owning friends, “Is Natural Enough?”

Is Natural Enough?

In the desire to feed our pets natural foods, we first look at the ingredients. While ingredients are important, it’s what is IN the ingredients that matters. Really, ingredients are vehicles for nutrients.

Here’s what I mean. Ingredients are chicken, vegetables, fruits, etc. Nutrients are what your pet’s body absorbs from those ingredients. And as ingredient quality increases, so does a pet’s ability to absorb and use the nutrients from those ingredients. No single ingredient makes a food better or worse. Too much of one nutrient (like protein) or too little of another (like phosphorus) can be harmful to a pet’s health. A pet food is a sum of its parts.

IB badge logoSo, the goal is to make a pet food with quality ingredients that deliver nutrients like protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals balanced in the right proportions to provide optimal nutrition for your pet.

The interesting thing about this whole topic is the idea that feeding your pet what they would eat in the wild is better for them. Dogs and cats need protein in their diet to meet their requirements for essential amino acids. The amino acid requirement for cats is higher than for dogs. However, once those requirements are met, additional protein beyond what the pet can use for energy is excreted.

A dog’s or cat’s energy requirements can also be equally met by carbohydrates. Using carbohydrates rather than protein to meet energy requirements has the benefit of controlling the level of minerals or other nutrients to avoid excessive levels that are not optimal for a pet’s health.

Therefore, a diet with a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals from a variety of sources is ideal.

Comparing the food of dogs and cats in the wild to that fed to our pets misses the main point that optimum food in the wild is that which allows maximum reproduction as fast as possible.

So… the question is: Are there any natural dog or cat foods out there that have the ingredients you want PLUS the nutrients in the right balance?

Well, there may be others, but the new Hill’s® Ideal Balance® line of pet foods, as I mentioned before, is one that has surely caught my attention. In these foods, what you will find are natural ingredients that you want to feed your pet with 100% balanced nutrition. What makes me feel good about recommending this food is that Ideal Balance is a true natural pet food crafted by pet nutritionists who know how to perfectly balance natural ingredients for better health for your dog and cat.

See for yourself in this video featuring Hill’s Pet Nutritionist Kathy Gross, who chooses to feed Hill’s Ideal Balance to her own pets: dog video or cat video. Check out the Ideal Balance website for great information about finding the right Ideal Balance food for your pet, compare for yourself how Ideal Balance stacks up against the competition, and be sure to take advantage of the Try Me Free rebate!

Be sure to check out the following Ideal Balance formulas; click on them for more information.

Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult dog food


Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Grain-Free Natural Chicken & Potato Recipe Adult dog food


Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult cat food


Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Grain Free Natural Chicken & Potato Recipe Adult cat food


The key takeaways here?

–          Balanced nutrition is the key to good pet health.

–          Nutrient excess can lead to certain pet health conditions

–          Nutrient deficiency can lead to certain pet health conditions.

–          Good nutrition isn’t just about ingredients – it’s about the right balance of nutrients.

–          “Creating a natural pet food is one thing. Creating a perfectly balanced one to Hill’s high standards is quite another.” – Kathy Gross, Hill’s Pet Nutritionist

–          Natural ingredients do not guarantee optimum nutrition, precisely balanced nutrients does.

–          Hill’s Ideal Balance is 100% balanced nutrition for your pets guaranteed or your money back.


*Author has been compensated for completion of this article. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article. All opinions in this article are honest and belong solely to J.L. Smith, the Administrator and Author.

Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Is Purr-fectly Pleasing: Gift Basket GIVEAWAY Announcement!

Posted on October 1st, 2013

Maxwell Endorses Purr-fectly Pleasing & Palatable Ideal Balance™ Offers FREE IDEAL BALANCE™ GIFT BASKET GIVEAWAY!

Imagine the sun starting to peek through the bedroom window. You’re fast asleep enjoying dreams of your cat purring and kneading, purring and kneading – no wait! Your cat IS purring and kneading, telling you, “Hey! It’s time for my breakfast!” This is Max EVERY morning…

Didn’t we grow up learning that breakfast is the most important meal of the day???

Well kittehs need breakfast too! Whether you’re getting ready for work or staying around the house for the day, it’s still breakfast time for your cat. Why not start the morning by serving your cat a nice, tasty dish of wet cat food? Measure her food and place in her dish, stir slightly, and serve! Your cat will rub your ankles and warm your toes!

Since cats are grazers by nature, you’ll want to leave a dish of her dry food for her so she can nibble throughout the day. You know the routine: nibble, bathe, sleep – nibble, bathe, sleep. Ah—the life of a cat…

If you’re at home during the day, you’re no doubt busy with activities, however kitty is constantly asking for attention. (I know Maxwell comes over and walks all over my laptop if I don’t pay enough attention to him while I’m writing… MOL.) Giving your cat treats throughout the day is sure to make her feel special, and you don’t feel guilty when you get busy.

Now, it is dusk, you’re walking through the door from work or winding up your day at home and it’s supper time! Your cat greets you, and often “talking” meow, meow, meow….”hello, it’s great to see you. I’m hungry!”

Sound familiar?Hills Ideal Balance Product Layout

Your kitty is not just saying she’s hungry for food; she’s hungry for your attention. Treat time! Have her treats in a convenient place so you can pat her on the head, hand her a tasty treat and all will be right in the world again.

Now it’s supper time. Mmmm, more of the wet food is a great appetizer! As you’re spooning her food, she’s smelling the aroma and twining through your feet purring anxiously. Refill her dry food dish for the evening nibbles and to help satisfy her hunger throughout the night.

Offering your cat complete and nutritious meals every day eases your mind and satisfies your cat.

Our friends at Hill’s® had you and your cat in mind when they created their line of cat foods. In the Hill’s tradition, making food that is nutritious is a core philosophy; quality (and safety first) is above all else. Hence, you will have peace of mind when feeding any Hill’s food and treats to your cat.

What’s more, feeding Ideal Balance™ brands of wet, dry and treats assures that your cat is getting complementary natural nutrition. Often times when pet food brands are mixed, it can throw off the perfect balance of natural nutrition that Ideal Balance so carefully provides. Plus, all Ideal Balance wet, dry and treats are made with NO corn, wheat or soy and NO artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Maxwell IBIdeal Balance is the trifecta of natural nutrition for your cat!

Here’s a great meal line up for your cat, or you can choose which Ideal Balance food you think your cat will love most!


Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Roasted Turkey Recipe – Gourmet taste of turkey in a soft, smooth texture is a great way to start the day.

Daytime Nibbles:

Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Grain-Free Natural Chicken and Potato Recipe dry food- Delicious ingredients like chicken (the first ingredient), green peas, apples, cranberries, carrots & broccoli will make your cat happy while providing the nutrition that she needs.


Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Crunchy Naturals with Real Tuna – yummy, natural treats that are healthy too! Go ahead, give your cat these treats – we all love to be treated special!


Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Slow-Cooked Chicken Recipe – Food made with natural ingredients like real chicken and brown rice, carrots and greens in a delicious sauce says “comfort food” and “love”.

Evening Nibbles:

Set out more of her Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Grain-Free Natural Chicken and Potato Recipe dry food to keep kitty satisfied until the morning light. These are my suggestions but be creative with your meal offerings using all of the foods and treats from Ideal Balance. Here is a link to the entire menu!


Twenty (20) lucky winners will receive a Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Gift Basket that includes the following (I will be choosing 10 dog winners and 10 cat winners):


  • Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Grain-Free Natural Chicken & Potato Recipe Adult – 3.5 lb bag
  • Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ wet food – 6 cans
  • Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Treats – 2 bags variety
  • Dog bowl
  • Blanket


  • Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Grain-Free natural Chicken & Potato Recipe Adult – 2 lb bag
  • Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ wet food variety pack – 6 cans case
  • Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Crunchy Naturals with Real Tuna
  • Cat bowl
  • Place mat

***TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY, please leave me a comment telling me why you think you should get a FREE GIFT BASKET of Hill’s Ideal Balance products. Please be specific and tell me what kind of pets you have and how many. Entries will be taken until Friday, October 12 at 6 pm EST. Winners will be notified via email so please leave your real email.***


* Author has been compensated for completion of this article. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Announcing Hill’s® Ideal Balance, New Natural Pet Food from the Famous Food Formulators at Hill’s

Posted on September 13th, 2013

If you’ve been shopping at any pet food store recently, you might have seen something brand-spanking-new from my furball-loving friends at Hill’s Pet Nutrition…

So what is it? Well, the silhouette of a dog or cat against a burst of daybreak sunlight on the bag of this newest pet food is pretty hard to miss. In fact, this new pet food is so different from other natural products and even the company’s other pet food brands, you might not have realized it was from the expert pet nutritionists at Hill’s.IB badge logo

I’m talking about Hill’s® Ideal Balance™, the new, natural pet food recipes for dogs and cats.

There are plenty of natural pet foods on the market, but there’s something that sets this one apart – the natural ingredients in Ideal Balance provide perfectly balanced nutrition for your pet.

Early on – in the discovery and creation process, Hill’s sought substantial consumer input in order to understand exactly what pet parents wanted in a natural pet food. Ingredients like fresh fruits, veggies, and meat-based proteins were on the tops of all the lists, while ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy ranked lower. Hill’s listened to those consumers who stressed that they wanted more from their pet food than the same ingredients other brands offered — they wanted those ingredients in the correct proportions.

Taking this feedback into consideration, the experienced and animal-loving pet nutritionists at Hill’s created a recipe with a careful selection of high-quality, natural ingredients. They aimed to create pet food recipes with optimal levels of over 50 nutrients that actually taste good.

And I can aver that the pickiest cats in the world, Maxwell and Tater Tot, have given Ideal Balance 4-paws-up in the taste department. These guys devour this dry food like it’s going out of production or something….

Ideal Balance™ was formulated with not too much and not too little of the key ingredients that help promote your pet’s best health –key ingredients that actual consumers said they wanted.

Hill’s Ideal Balance provides perfectly balanced natural nutrition, guaranteed.

With 100% balanced nutrition guaranteed, your pet will love it, and will in turn love you for assessing and meeting his or her needs.

Once Hill’s had developed this breakthrough natural pet food, the next challenge became marketing it…

IB logoHow do you introduce a pet food that’s like nothing else on the market?

Hill’s, hence, took on the challenge of completely revitalizing the Ideal Balance packaging and in-store advertisements. Packaging research – also conducted with pet parents who purchase natural foods — demonstrated that the new Hill’s Ideal Balance is effective in communicating the main message of natural, balanced nutrition. It outperformed other natural brands in:

– standing out on the shelf

– looking unique

– being viewed as a high-quality product

The next step was to introduce the new Hill’s Ideal Balance to a national audience of pet parents. To highlight the natural blend of balanced nutrition in Ideal Balance, Hill’s flew to Warsaw, Poland, where, with the help of a skilled production and animation team, they created commercials set in a hyper-realistic world of balanced nutrition for cats and dogs. In separate commercials, we follow a dog and a cat as they discover the world of Ideal Balance. Along the way, they journey through the balanced elements that make up Ideal Balance: perfect proportions of what pets need to be healthy – not too much, not too little.

Hill’s has changed the “blueprint” for pet food marketing by creating something that feels interactive and textured. The commercials blend real, natural elements like grass and gravel with stylized landscape animations. Combined, the two layers work seamlessly with live-action footage of pets, putting the animal in the Ideal Balance world that showcases the food’s true potential. Much like the reinvention of Ideal Balance pet foods from the ground up, Hill’s managed to successfully reimagine how to communicate with consumers and give them what they want. Here’s a Behind the Scenes video that gives you a look into how the TV commercial was created. In fact, research measuring advertising effectiveness shows that the Ideal Balance TV advertising creates strong stopping power and engagement with consumers.Maxwell IB

Now that the food is on store shelves (Ideal Balance is currently available in the “Naturals” aisle in most pet food stores), it’s received TONS of positive reviews from pet parents.

“The dogs loved the food! And after talking to my vet about making the switch it was a no brainer” – Kristin, dog owner

“Our dog loves this so much we use kibbles for treats!” — Anne Marie, dog owner

“Our cats LOVED the food. I have never seen them devour something so quickly. I was very impressed with this product.” — Maya, cat owner

“My cat loves it! And the ingredient list makes me feel great feeding it to her. Good stuff.” — Cassandra, cat owner

Now that you know a little more about what went in to making this amazing new, natural pet food – go out and get some for your own family, and see the difference natural ingredients perfectly balanced can make! Hill’s website offers all sorts of information on the products, including where you can purchase them, online or in your neighborhood – and you can even try it free with the rebate offer!

If you’ve had an experience with Hill’s Ideal Balance, please share it in the comments section below.

If you’d like to be entered into a FREE GIVEAWAY for a bag of Hill’s Ideal Balance, please come back and visit the blog in approximately ten days for a giveaway announcement post.

And remember, stay tuned for more details and information on how Hill’s formulated Ideal Balance, consumer-tested it, and brought it to market.


Author has been compensated for completion of this article. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article. Opinions in this article are completely my own – based on my own experiences.

Paws Off! Preventing Pet Poisoning!

Posted on March 4th, 2013

No matter how protective a pet parent you are, chances are there are still some things in your home that can be toxic to pets. Veterinary practices see thousands of cases each year of pets accidentally poisoned by everyday household items. With Pet Poison Awareness Month right around the corner, it’s smart to arm yourself with some information that could potentially save your pet’s poison

When you think about “accidental toxin ingestion,” fruit is probably not the first thing that springs to mind, but something as simple as a handful of grapes can sour a situation in a matter of seconds. Small breeds, like the Chihuahua or Maltese, show signs of distress pretty soon after ingestion, but even larger animals are at risk – dogs can go into acute renal failure within 48 hours after eating grapes (or raisins!).

Wondering what other everyday household items that can spell trouble for our furry friends? Here’s a list of some of the most common culprits:

Prescription or Over-the-Counter Medication

Human medicines, whether prescription-strength or not, are dangerous in the wrong paws. In fact, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin and ibuprofen, can present big problems for pets. I’ve seen dogs sickened from snacking on a bottle of aspirin, but I’ve also seen patients come in because their pet parents administered the drug thinking it would work for their dog the way it does for them. While there are some medications that work for both species, always, always check with your vet before giving your pet any type of human medicine. In the meantime, keep pill bottles behind closed cabinet doors.

Table Food/Drink

Kitchen staples like chocolate, onions, alcohol, coffee grounds and sugar substitutes (or foods containing sugar substitutes) are all a recipe for catastrophe. I see dogs come into the clinic who have eaten an entire pack of sugar-free gum from an unattended purse. Trust me; the minty-fresh breath is NOT worth the trip to the vet. Keep all food and drink meant for human consumption under lock and key – especially fatty foods. Even a single incident of eating high fat food can trigger pet pancreatitis, a potentially fatal disease from fatty foods that causes inflammation of the pancreas and requires prompt medical attention.


Nicotine poisoning is also a danger to our pets. If you are a smoker, you pet’s health may already be compromised by secondhand smoke, but if he gets his paws on a pack of cigarettes and eats them, he can really get burned. The toxic level of nicotine in dogs is 5 milligrams of nicotine per pound of body weight. Just one cigarette contains 15 to 25 milligrams of nicotine – if your pet tears into half a pack, the overdose can be deadly.

House Plants

Every spring veterinarians see an increase in pets poisoned by lilies, and during the holiday season poinsettias pop up on our radar. Azaleas, tulips and autumn crocus are other threats, and in in regions that have sandy soils in tropical climates (Florida, California, and Texas, I’m looking at you!), sago palms are both common and extremely toxic if ingested. It’s worth a mention for our friends in Colorado and Washington (and maybe a few other states) that marijuana is toxic to pets, too. Keep all leafy greens planted firmly out of reach.


If you have a baby in the house, watch out for diaper rash creams containing zinc. Also be sure to keep coins, screws, bolts and other galvanized metals out of reach, too, as they all contain dangerous levels of the element. Pennies are particularly toxic, so be sure your rainy day savings is safely stowed away.

These are some everyday items to look out for, but there’s plenty more around the house and garden that can make a pet sick. For a more complete list, check out a resource like Pet Poison Helpline for more information. Once a pet has snacked on something unsavory, time is of the essence. Get him to the vet immediately for the best chance of saving him from danger.

Dog Nutrition: Raw Dog Food Diet Becoming More and More Popular

Posted on November 20th, 2012

By J. Hale

Many of us share our lives with dogs and cats who have become absolute loves – our beloved friends and our faithful companions. Of course, we desire to provide them with the absolute best care so that they live long, happy, healthy lives.

Unfortunately, we are losing our pets in ever increasing numbers to cancer, heart, kidney, and liver failure, dental problems, allergic reactions, failing immune systems, and urinary tract disorders. This is but a few of the miseries that plague our pets these days.

Many of these issues have backgrounds or roots in the nutrition of the pet, or rather, the lack of it. By disregarding the basic nature of dogs and cats and feeding them food that they were never intended to eat, pet food corporations have set a stage for health problems. The fact that many animals can live long, healthy lives eating these foods, has less to do with the quality of the food, than the animals’ ability to survive on less than good nutrition. After all, until around the mid-1920’s, dogs and cats ate as nature intended… a raw food diet that they mostly caught for themselves.

Nature designed dogs and cats as carnivores – eaters of raw meat. Their internal systems were designed to extract the maximum benefits from meat in its raw state. Cats were hunters of mice and birds, dogs were meat-eaters, too, (in a less cat-and-mouse-game form)…

Feeding a raw diet to your dog has many benefits you might not be aware of.  The popularity of raw frozen dog food diets, which emphasize raw meat, fruits, bones and veggies, is definitely on the rise. According to WebMD, racing greyhounds and sled dogs have been eating raw food diets for decades… Extending those feeding practices to the family pet however, is a more recent idea.

Likely benefits of raw dog food diets include: shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, higher energy levels, and smaller stools.

A raw dog food diet typically consists of:

  • Muscle meat, often still on the bone
  • Organ meats such as livers and kidneys
  • Bones, either whole or ground
  • Raw eggs
  • Apples or other fruit
  • Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
  • Some dairy, such as yogurt

Raw products are now one of the fastest-growing segments of the pet food industry, and sales of raw pet foods have climbed 15 percent annually for the past three years and are projected to keep up the fast-paced growth, according to David Lummis, the senior pet-industry analyst for Packaged Facts, a market research company, according to a recent article in the NY Times.

Some pet owners have turned to feeding raw frozen dog food products due to the growing number of recalls of processed pet foods, particularly the epidemic of pet food recalls in 2007 linked to Chinese ingredient suppliers.  Others complain of salmonella.

Makers of raw pet foods say their products allow cats and dogs to eat a more natural diet, similar to the way animals in the wild hunt prey and eat it raw. Cooking pet foods, they claim, kills a wide assortment of vitamins and enzymes. And pet digestive systems, advocates say, did not evolve to handle the corn, grains, flour and other fillers often added to highly processed pet foods.

Raw diets, in conclusion, deliver complete nutrition for every stage of your dog’s life. Most raw frozen pet foods are prepared with whole meats, fruits and vegetables to create a well-rounded meal. Through cold process pasteurization, they’re able to retain the natural nutrients that are beneficial in a healthy lifestyle.