Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Feeding and Nutrition
WHICH OF YOUR FOODS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR MY PET?
Each formula has a unique benefit for your pet, and we can help you select a formula. Please call 1-800-977-8797 to speak with one of our team members, and they will be happy to assist you. Our product specialists are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. You also can email our team at [email protected].
WHO DETERMINES THE NUTRITIONAL CONTENT OF YOUR FOODS? DO YOU WORK WITH A NUTRITIONIST?
These foods were developed using our proprietary formulation technology and a team of experts and scientists incorporating the latest research from many disciplines: veterinary medicine (DVMs), pet food nutrition (PhD), food microbiology (PhD), as well as food production and food science.
HOW MUCH FOOD SHOULD I FEED MY PET?
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) 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 they look 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. 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 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 your 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 30% less than the amount 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.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I FEED MY PET?
This is a common question, and really a matter of personal preference, but also depends on your pet’s age and lifestyle.
Starting with dogs: If you have a very young puppy (less than 4 months of age), consider 3 to 4 meals per day. For toy breed puppies (5-10 pounds full-grown), you should feed 3-4 meals per day until they are 10-12 months of age to prevent hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Between 4 and 6 months, feed 2-3 meals per day and after 6 months, feed 2 meals per day.
Some people leave food out all the time. However, in multi-dog households one dog may eat too much food and become overweight. Often pet owners compensate for the empty bowl by adding more total volume, so the “healthy eater” of the group will still eat too much but now the more timid eaters can get the proper amount. This method may also not reveal if a dog is not eating well, especially if you are using a feeder that holds multiple days’ worth of food. Illnesses may go undetected for some time because you are unable to see that your dog is not eating well.
One large meal a day works fine for many dogs. However, large and giant breeds that are prone to bloat should be fed multiple smaller meals per day (at least two). One large meal tends to stretch the ligaments that support the stomach, and over time, this relaxed ligament will make the stomach more likely to twist if the dog bloats. Bloating is bad, but bloating and twisting is much worse.
A final reason for feeding two meals per day is for those dogs that need medication on a daily or twice daily basis (for example: dog with diabetes needs insulin injections twice daily). When you are feeding two meals per day, it is easy to time the medication with the meal, which is some cases is a requirement.
IS IT OK FOR ME TO FEED MY PET TABLE SCRAPS?
It is best if you do not feed your pet table scraps. Some individuals choose to add human foods to their pet’s diet for variety, freshness and flavor. However, this is not necessary and can be harmful as it may result in an unbalanced diet. Treats of any kind (including table scraps) should make up no more than 10% of the total calories fed in a day.
Another problem with table scraps is the way they are cooked. 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 are going to be eating for our evening meal.
Feeding from the table encourages begging during mealtimes. Feed your pet their own healthy meal during your regular mealtime. This will ensure that they are 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 their food as much when this is not really the case — they are not as hungry because you are feeding them from the table, and they know they might get something if they skip 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.
WHAT DOES THE GUARANTEED ANALYSIS TELL ME?
The guaranteed analysis 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 much 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 add 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 very hard to manufacture a precise formulation each and every time and you can be reassured that bag to bag, that product will likely 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. 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 between different types of pet foods. Cat foods have higher protein 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.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO STORE MY PET FOOD?
The recommended storage method is to keep the food in its original packaging, in order to keep vital information handy in case you have a problem, emergency or question for the manufacturer. You may store the entire bag in a closed container as well. Please know, food should be kept in a cool, dry location as excess heat or moisture may cause the nutrients to break down.
ARE YOUR FOODS HYPOALLERGENIC?
We get this question quite often and the answer is no. There are very few truly hypoallergenic diets in the marketplace and the ones that are out there are available only through veterinarians. Limited antigen diets are another story altogether. Limited antigen refers to a diet that contains only one protein source and one carbohydrate source. Usually, the protein source is something unique that many pets have not been exposed to before. An example would be a fish and potato diet.
Although we do not have any hypoallergenic diets, or true limited antigen diets, sometimes changing to a diet that contains different ingredients than the one you are currently feeding can eliminate some skin problems. All of our foods contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, nutrients that help protect the health of the skin and help decrease inflammation. Talk to your veterinarian to determine which type of diet is best for your pet.
DO YOU HAVE A VEGETARIAN DIET?
At this time, we do not have any vegetarian diets. We believe strongly in the value of high-quality animal proteins for great health and lean body condition. The blend of amino acids that are found in animal protein sources better meet the nutritional requirements for dogs. This does not mean that a balanced vegetarian diet is not possible, but we have decided to stick with quality animal protein sources for now.
WHY ARE CARBOHYDRATES IMPORTANT?
Carbohydrates are one of the six nutritional components of food. The others are water or moisture, fat, protein, ash and fiber. The sum of all these components must equal 100%. Carbohydrates provide energy for your pet. There are fast-burning sources of carbohydrates that provide quick energy (think sugar) or slow-burning sources of carbohydrates that provide long-lasting energy (think carb loading before the big race). Now, pets really do not have a requirement for carbohydrates in their diet except for pregnant or nursing dogs. However, if you do not have any carbohydrates in your food, this nutrient must be replaced by something else, and it would be impossible to make a dry pet food without ANY carbohydrates.
HOW MUCH WATER DOES MY PET NEED?
Your pet should have free access to fresh water at all times. Most pets will consume the amount of water they need based on their level of activity and the environmental conditions. If you feel that your pet is drinking an excessive amount of water, contact your veterinarian right away as this can be a sign of a medical problem.
DOES THE HEAT OF THE COOKING DAMAGE THE NUTRIENTS IN YOUR FOOD?
Some nutrients in the food are diminished by the cooking process. Diamond takes this into account and adds appropriate levels of these particular nutrients so that the finished product provides proper nutrition and meets our guarantees.
WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
Probiotics are “good” bacteria that live in the digestive systems of animals. These beneficial bacteria help keep the digestive and immune systems healthy by balancing out “bad” bacteria in the GI tract.
WHAT ARE K9 STRAIN PROBIOTICS?
Through extensive research and proprietary technology, Diamond Pet Foods developed probiotics specifically for dogs. K9 Strain Probiotics are derived from bacteria that are found in the GI tract of dogs and are added after the cooking process to guarantee viability.
ARE PROBIOTICS SAFE FOR PETS?
Yes, the probiotics are processed under strict quality and safety standards. Each strain is purified and guaranteed to be free of harmful pathogens or other contaminants.
WHY DO YOU PUT SALT IN YOUR DIETS?
The answer to this question is simple! Dogs require it in their diet. Sodium and chloride are important minerals for dogs, especially for young puppies. Dietary sodium must be at a minimum of 0.3% on a dry matter basis for growth and reproduction for dogs. If we didn’t add salt, the food would not meet these minimum requirements. For adults, the minimum required is much lower. Although our diets are not “salt restricted” like some prescription formulations, they are certainly not high in salt.
WHERE ARE YOUR FOODS MADE?
We have six manufacturing facilities, all located in the United States. One is in northern California, one in central California, one in Missouri, one in South Carolina, one in Arkansas and one in Kansas.
Tour our facility to see how our pet food is made.
Health and Lifestyle
MY PETS ARE EATING GRASS. WHY?
Dogs will often “graze” as a normal behavior. If dogs are graze to the point that they vomit, you should contact your veterinarian. Your pet might be suffering from an upset stomach.
MY PET HAS DIARRHEA EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. COULD IT BE THE FOOD I AM FEEDING?
Diarrhea or soft stools is a common complaint from pet owners, especially dog owners who walk their dogs on a leash and cat owners who are responsible for cleaning out the litter box. Dietary intolerances can certainly cause digestive upset, leading to vomiting and/or diarrhea. However, if your pet is not tolerating something in their regular diet, you would expect to see signs of digestive upset everyday, not every once in a while.
For dogs that have occasional diarrhea, the most likely culprit is something they ate that was not part of their regular diet. This could be a treat or it could be something tasty that they found in the yard or on your walk around the neighborhood. It is nearly impossible to prevent a dog from EVER picking something up and swallowing it that they should not. Some dogs do this very infrequently but some dogs do this on a daily basis. If the diarrhea occurs every time you feed a certain type of treat or a certain type of people food, try stopping this particular item and see if the problem persists.
If your dog seems to occasionally suffer from a bout of diarrhea, talk to your veterinarian about adding a probiotic to your routine or switching to one of our Professional+ formulas. K9 Strain Probiotics is the only product species specific probiotic available. These probiotics, found in our Professional+ dog formulas, are developed from bacterial strains found in the canine GI tract, which help reduce the risk of irritation and allergic reaction.
CAN TOO MUCH PROTEIN CAUSE KIDNEY PROBLEMS?
Absolutely not. This is a myth that needs to be dispelled. Dogs that have been diagnosed with a kidney problem should be treated with a prescription diet (low protein content) that is designed specifically for these animals. This will help control the advancement of the disease and likely help the pet survive longer.
This does not mean that a normal healthy pet, even a senior pet, should eat a diet that is restricted in protein – that diet does not prevent kidney disease.
In recent studies, it has been proven that protein restriction for senior animals can lead to muscle wasting, protein deficiency and shortening their normal lifespan. We are starting to see diets for senior pets that have the same level or even higher levels of protein than diets designed specifically for adult dogs.
Choosing a diet that contains healthy animal protein sources will help keep your pet healthy while maintaining proper body condition for a longer, happier life.
DO I NEED TO SUPPLEMENT MY PET'S DIET?
It is not required to add supplements into your pet’s diet. All of Diamond’s pet foods are complete and balanced to provide your pet with the nutrition they need. However, you can decide to add supplements into your pet’s diet if you wish. Keep in mind that in most cases, supplements will do no harm, but human supplements may be harmful to pets. Consult with your veterinarian prior to giving your pet any supplements.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY DOG IS CONSIDERED A LARGE BREED?
Mini/Small Breed (up to 25 lbs)
Medium Breed (26-70 lbs)
Large Breed (over 70 lbs)
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY PET IS TOO FAT OR TOO THIN?
Veterinarians do not really 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. Nearly 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. Also, if you can see the 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 OK, but you should not see more. If you don’t see any ribs, this is probably OK too; just rub your hand gently across your pet’s ribcage. The ribs should be easy to feel, with very little fat between the ribs and the skin. From the top, your pet’s waist is 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, they probably are. If you have to press your hand against your pet’s side to feel the ribs, there is too much fat. Also, 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, they are 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.
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.