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Healthy Three Legged Dog & Cat Diets, Supplements & Health Tips

Tripawds Nutrition

Is Corn in Pet Food a Bad Thing?

February 13th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Diet

Many of us avoid corn in pet food because we’ve heard that it’s bad for cats and dogs. Corn has a reputation for being an allergen, indigestible and an unnecessary filler. With a reputation like this, it makes sense to banish it from our pet’s bowls. But a recent article from the American Animal Hospital Association does a good job at turning corn’s reputation upside down.

Vet Experts Say Corn in Pet Food is Nutritionally Sound

corn in pet food

Is corn OK for pets? Maybe.

In the January 2017 AAHA-newsletter article “Myth Busters: Corn Edition!” veterinary nutritionists speak out against corn’s bad reputation. The article tackles popular myths about corn in pet food, such as:

Myth #1: Dogs and cats did not evolve eating grains and therefore cannot digest grains.
Myth #2: Grains are allergenic.
Myth #3: One can evaluate the ‘quality’ of a pet food by reading the ingredient list.
Myth #4: Corn/grains are non-nutritive ‘fillers.’

 If you’re a skeptic and thinking that experts in the article work for the major commercial pet food companies (we did at first), think again. Unlike previous pet food industry-sponsored information about corn, most of pet nutrition experts quoted are from institutions with no clear ties to the pet food industry. They include:

Ann Wortinger BIS, LVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM, Nutrition), from Animal Cancer and Imaging Center in Canton, Michigan, who says:

 “As with any grain, when higher levels are included in the diet, protein digestibility can go down. That is why there are no ‘all grain’ diets for dogs or cats,” she says. “As a grain, it has a biologic value [a measure of the amount of essential amino acids in a food] of 74; muscle meats, such as beef and chicken, have a BV of about 75. Egg is the gold standard for BV at 100, with whey and casein [milk proteins] just below that.

“When corn is combined with other plant products, they together can easily reach a BV of 100. All plants, due to their cellulose layers, have decreased digestibility when compared to meats. But when ground and cooked, so that the cellulose layer is broken, digestibility is comparable,” Wortinger noted.

Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, DACVN, is an associate professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) at the University of California, Davis. In the article, she states:

“Grains, and any other single category or individual ingredients, are neither good nor bad.

“Rather, what is important is how the ingredients work together to create the full nutritional profile of the diet. Likewise, carbohydrates, as an energy source, are utilized by the body the same way regardless of source, such as grain, legume, or tubers, and different sources of carbohydrates also bring other nutrients, such as fiber, fatty acids, and amino acids. Again, no ingredient has a simple effect since each provides multiple nutrients, and it’s not consumed in a vacuum.”

Martha G. Cline, DVM, DACVN, is a clinical veterinary nutritionist at AAHA-accredited Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Fall, N.J. Dr. Cline agrees and adds:

“At this time, there is no evidence to support that animals on grain-free diets have less incidence of food allergies than animals on conventional diets. Food allergies in general are uncommon.”

You might not buy it at first, and that’s smart. We believe a healthy dose of skepticism is good! But we encourage you to read the article because it makes it easy to digest why corn can be an acceptable ingredient in pet food. Unfortunately the topic of genetically-modified corn in pet food isn’t addressed in the well-intentioned article. As reported for years in many scientific journals, GMOs in foods are linked to a host of problems ranging from hormone disruptions in people and pets to kidney damage and abnormal cell growth in the GI tract. So, if corn in pet food is acceptable and we want our pets to eat as healthy as possible, then we must conclude that the only non-GMO, organically grown corn is safe.

corn in pet food

If you want to be certain your pet is getting non-GMO corn and other ingredients, the Non-GMO Project Pet Food Shopping Directory has a list of pet food companies that ban GMO ingredients in their food.

Read “Myth Busters: Corn Edition”
and decide for yourself.

Learn more about pet food ingredients.

The Truth About Pet Food

The Dog Food Advisor

Readers, please feel free to share any other pet food ingredients you trust and recommend to others.




Healthy Dog Treat Recipes for Stuffed Toys

January 16th, 2017 · 1 Comment · treats

Store bought dog treats for stuffed dog toys are great time savers. But if you really want to make sure your Tripawd is eating the healthiest foods possible, take a few moments each week to make these healthy dog treat recipes from scratch. Odds are you have most of these ingredients in your pantry.

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes for Stuffed Dog Toys

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

Make healthy dog treats for your dog’s stuffed toys.

With special thanks to Tripawds member Michelle for sharing these healthy dog treat recipes with us. Many recipes make GREAT appetite stimulants too. Before choosing a recipe, remember:

  • Use the low-cal versions of high fat ingredients like cream cheese and cereal.
  • Try to use unsalted peanut butter (dogs don’t need salt in their diets!).
  • When including cat food and table scraps (i.e. steak) in the recipe, use sparingly.

Many recipes are omitted for space considerations, so if you want to view all of them, hop over to this “Hypoallergenic Dog Treats?” Forum topic.

Appetite Boosters for Picky Eaters


Mix together some fat-free cream cheese, peanut butter, and either sugar-free applesauce or a jar of baby food (like bananas, carrots). Cram a solid food item into the small hole at the end of the toy, then fill with the mixture. Seal the large hole with either more cream cheese or peanut butter.

Fruit Kitty Noodles

Mix together some fruit, cooked pasta, banana and dry cat food.


Cheese. Chicken skin. Bacon. Pate. Cooked lamb’s liver. Meaty canned cat food. – Use very sparingly and make sure this treat blocks the top hole so that none of your other ingredients fall out.

Fiber Treats for Upset Bellies and Constipated Colons

Doggie Omelette

Combine a scrambled egg, some beef, yogurt, cheese and steamed or mashed potatoes all together.

Fiber Crunch

Combine bran cereal with some peanut butter.

The Monster Mash

Steam a sweet potato, then mash. Mix with crushed dog biscuits. Stuff into toy.

Pumpkin Pie

Pureed pumpkin. Tahini paste (or peanut butter). Mix together the pureed pumpkin and tahini paste and fill the toy. Serve straight away or freeze for later.


Cold boiled white rice. About a dessert spoon of natural bio-yogurt. Mix and mash the rice and yogurt together and fill the toy. Serve straight away or freeze for later.

Super Healthy Veggie and Fruit Treats

Apple Pie

Squeeze a small piece of apple into the tiny hole. Fill the stuffed toy with a small amount of plain yogurt. Add a few slices of mashed banana, more apple, yogurt, banana. End with a slice of banana and chunk of peanut butter on the top.

Crunch N Munch

Combine crumbled rice cakes and dried fruit with some cream cheese and plain croutons.

Fruit Salad

Place apples and carrot chunks into a toy. Mush one quarter banana in large hole to hold fruit in place. You can include other fruits and veggies: orange slices, peach and/or nectarine chunks, celery sticks, broccoli and/or cauliflower. . .

Nut Crunch

Take 2-3 dog biscuits and crunch them a bit into very tiny bite-sized pieces. Add a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter. Then add a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Mix in bowl until soft, but not runny. Stuff inside toy.

Peanutty Pupcicles

1 ripe banana. 1/2 cup peanut butter. 1/4 cup wheat germ. 1/4 cup chopped peanuts. Mash bananas and peanut butter, stir in wheat germ. Chill 1 hour. Place in toy, store in refrigerator or freezer.

Poochie Pudding

Whole milk yogurt, plain or vanilla. 1 banana. 1 peach or nectarine (peeled). Strawberries or 1 apple (whichever the dog likes). 1 dog biscuit (bone-shaped). Mash the banana and the peach/nectarine (or put in blender). Slice the apple or strawberries into smallish chunks. Push a chunk of fruit into the bottom hole of the toy to stop leaking. Mix the banana, peach/nectarine, apple chunks or strawberries into the yogurt, then pour the mixture into the toy. Push the biscuit into the large end of the toy. Freeze for about 3-4 hours or until consistency of frozen yogurt. Can also be served unfrozen, for impatient dogs.

Puppy Trail

Fill the toy with some cashews (unsalted) and freeze-dried liver bits. Add some dry dog food and/or dog crushed dog biscuits and some Cheerios. Drop in a spoonful of peanut butter, followed by some dried fruit (NOT raisins, sultanas or currants, these are toxic to dogs). Finally, top it off by using a piece of ravioli or tortellini to close the large opening.

Veggie Omlette

Scramble one egg and fold in vegetables your dog may like. Put into toy. Sprinkle some shredded cheese over the top and microwave for about 20 seconds. Cool thoroughly before giving to dog.

 Everyday Boredom Buster Treats

The Cheesy Elvis

Combine a ripe banana, 3 spoonfuls of peanut butter, and a slice of cheese. Mix until blended well. Fill the toy and freeze.

Egg-Ceedingly Tasty

1 scrambled egg. 1 chopped Frankfurter or hot-dog sausage. Boiled white rice. Mash the scrambled egg and rice together in a bowl and then mix in the chopped sausage. Fill the toy, using a chunk of sausage to plug the end.

Gooey Cheerios

Combine cheerios and peanut butter. Freeze.

Mac N Cheese

Melt leftover macaroni and cheese in microwave until gooey. Add to toy. Pour one small cube of heated cheese into the toy. Make sure it has cooled before giving to your pet.

Meaty Treat

A portion of your dog’s normal kibble. About a teaspoon of meat paste. A chunk of banana (about an inch thick). Half fill the toy with kibble, and then add the meat paste. Using the handle of the spoon, mix the meat paste into the kibble. Add some more kibble, packing it in well, and then plug the large opening with the banana.

Peanut Butter Glue

Fill stuffed dog toy 1/3rd full of dog food. Pour in melted peanut butter (after it has cooled from microwaving). Add more dog food, followed by more melted peanut butter until the toy is full. Freeze until solid.

Philly Steak

Steak scraps. 1 ounce cream cheese. Place small scraps of the steak inside toy. Spread cream cheese in large hole to hold scraps.

Rock-Hard Kibble

Combine some of your dog’s regular food with cream cheese, which acts as a cement, keeping everything inside.

Sticky Bread

Smear peanut butter on a piece of bread. Fold it over and stuff inside the stuffed toy. Mix together plain yogurt with some fruits or vegetables (carrots, celery) and pour inside. Freeze. The yogurt sticks to the bread holding everything together.

More Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

Jasper’s Jazzy Healthy Dog Cake Recipe

How to Cook Liver Treats for Dogs and Cats

Pill Taking Treats, Strategies and Secret Recipes

Homemade Anti-Cancer Dog and Cat Treats Make Great Gifts

How to Make Paw Lickin’ Good, Home Made Chicken Jerky Dog Treats

Make Your Own Pill Pocket Dog Treats

Healthy Birthday Cake Recipe for Dogs

More Healthy Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

Energy Bars for Dogs

Do you have a favorite treat recipe you’d like to share with the Tripawds community? Contact us and we’ll feature it here!



The Difference Between Human versus Pet Pharmacies

January 5th, 2017 · 4 Comments · Medication

You know that big box pharmacies and online pharmacies sell affordable pet prescriptions. But did you know that the difference between human versus pet pharmacies is huge — and could be a matter of life or death for your animal?

What to Know About Human Versus Pet Pharmacies

human versus pet pharmacies

Do human pharmacies understand veterinary prescriptions?

It’s a safe bet that your big box store pharmacy staff lacks the same level of veterinary pharmaceutical knowledge found in your vet clinic. If a human pharmacist wants to legitimately become a veterinary pharmacist, they must receive additional training and certifications.

Many pet medications began as human prescriptions. Gabapentin, aka Pfizer’s Neurontin®, is one example. But that doesn’t mean we can share those drugs. An animal given Neurontin® could die from Xylitol that’s included in the human version. Can you guarantee that your pharmacist knows the difference between the two?

The veterinarian Dr. Patty Khuly puts it best in her blog post “Why Human and Veterinary Pharmacies are NOT Created Equal.” She tells of a feline renal failure patient who nearly died after a human pharmacy mistakenly put Meloxicam, not Mirtazapine, in the cat’s prescription bottle:

After examining the pill and looking it up online (thank you,  it was clear that the pharmacy had given her the wrong medication. It was 7.5 mg, just like the mirtazapine was supposed to be (it even said 7.5 right there on the tablet), but it was decidedly not mirtazapine.

Unfortunately, this was meloxicam, not mirtazapine. Which is a very bad thing indeed. Let me count the ways:

  1. 7.5 mg of meloxicam is an appropriate dose for a 150-pound mastiff, not a seven-pound cat.
  2. Meloxicam is only approved for cats as a one-time injectable dose for post-operative pain.
  3. This drug is an NSAID, a class of drugs well known for their potential renal side-effects.
  4. Meloxicam is expressly contraindicated in the case of renal compromise.

In other words, I can’t think of a worse pharmacy mistake. Well … maybe I can, but I’ve never personally treated a patient who experienced one more more potentially catastrophic. (READ MORE).

In their excellent article about buying pet drugs online, The United States Federal Drug Administration even warns against buying pet prescriptions like Meloxicam from human pharmacies and says “NSAIDs should not be purchased on the Internet without a veterinarian’s involvement. . . ”

That doesn’t mean you can’t buy from online or human pharmacies. Or that your vet is being greedy and grumpy about losing business to bix box stores. We all love saving money, but when we do we must be extra smart about buying pet prescriptions from anyone but our vet. “I also recommend you look up your pills online to be sure they’re what the pharmacy says they are,” suggests Dr. Khuly.

Play it Safe with Veterinary Compounding Pharmacies

Our animals are worth so much more than a few dollars we save at human pharmacies. If you want to play it safe, many legitimate veterinary pharmacies offer equally affordable animal prescriptions. Roadrunner Compounding Pharmacy is one. We bought metronomic chemotherapy drugs from Roadrunner for Spirit Jerry, and they were excellent to work with.

When we had the chance to meet Roadrunner staff at the 2016 AAHA Conference, we asked them to explain what veterinary compounding pharmacies do:

A legitimate online veterinary compounding pharmacy like Roadrunner creates customized medication for animals. The AVMA supports compounding veterinary pharmacies and says this service “is needed in veterinary medicine to provide individualized medication for specific patients with special needs not met by FDA-approved drug products.” The drug you receive is based on size of the animal, strength of the prescription the veterinarian wants and the form that our animal will tolerate best (pill versus liquid, for example).

Compounding pharmacies can be very affordable and fast too. Roadrunner even offers free express shipping.

We encourage you to talk to your vet about the best places to get your pet’s medications. Learn more from this excellent article by the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Prescriptions and Pharmacies: For Pet Owners.

Read More About Human Versus Pet Pharmacies

Tripawds Nutrition Blog: Know Where Your Pet Meds Come From


For the #DogObsessed Parent in All of Us

December 5th, 2016 · No Comments · Diet, Manufacturers

When we heard that the Honest Kitchen published a dog care guide, we had to get our paws on it. Written by company founder Lucy Postins, “Dog Obsessed: The Honest Kitchen’s Complete Guide to a Happier, Healthier Life for the Pup You Love,” is exactly what the dogtor ordered for new and experienced pet parents alike.

The #DogObsessed Guide to Dog Parenting


What’s not to love about the Honest Kitchen? They are one of (if not the) first pet food company to open our eyes to the importance of feeding our pets meals with premium, human grade ingredients. Since the company’s founding in 2002, many have tried to imitate the Honest Kitchen. Sill, it’s difficult to find another dehydrated pet food that matches the freshness and quality Lucy and her crew put into every bag. Yeah, we’re biased. They make great dehydrated pet food!


Lucy Postins, Honest Kitchen’s Founder, with Chief Canine Officers

Lucy’s new book is the key to having healthier dogs (and we sure hope that a “Cats Obsessed” book is in the future!). Featuring over 45 easy-to-prepare recipes for treats, party meals, and tasty menus that you can actually share with your dog (complete with wine pairings), the book also offers vet-approved health tips designed to troubleshoot common issues like food sensitivities and chronic illnesses, tips for camping and picnicking with your pup, as well as a two-week health and fitness plan.

We know that the Tripawds Community is a super-smart group of highly evolved pet parents. However even the most conscientious dog dad and mom can learn things in this book that they didn’t already know.

As a bonus, we especially love how Lucy demonstrates ways to integrate The Honest Kitchen food into larger batches of home cooked pet food. Recipes like Cod and Potato Oven Fritters are such a pawesome way to stretch your pet food budget!


Hop over to the Honest Kitchen website for more great recipes with dehydrated dog (and cat) food.

There are a couple of things we wish the book would have included, like more information about how choose a veterinarian. Also, more about why choosing AAHA-accredited clinics and working with board-certified vet specialists makes a difference, especially during a pet health crisis. Otherwise though, this is a fun read for ever #DogObsessed pet parent.

Combine the “Dog Obsessed” book with a sampling of The Honest Kitchen’s many recipes and you’ve got a pawesome gift that any pet parent will love!










Tripawd Versus TruDog’s Ultimate Premium Dog Coat Supplement

November 10th, 2016 · 1 Comment · Supplements

That lucky dawg Wyatt. As Tripawds spokesdog he gets to inspect TruDog’s pawesome products, like their premium dog coat supplement. Recently he had a chance to try TruDog’s “Soothe Me” Dog Coat and Skin Detox formula.

premium dog supplements

Can Soothe Me get rid of Wyatt’s hot spot?

This post is sponsored by TruDog®. We are being compensated to create awareness about TruDog’s products, but we only discuss products we’ve tried ourselves and feel you may be interested in knowing more about. TruDog® is not responsible for the content of this article.

A Tripawd Meets TruDog’s Premium Dog Coat Supplement

Wyatt’s done great since he began devouring TruDog’s products earlier this year. From their FeedMe Turkey raw freeze-dried meat meals to their #FreeMe Joint Supplement, everything we’ve tried has kept him in tip top shape.

Unfortunately earlier this year Wyatt got a hot spot. His vet told us it probably happened when a foreign object scratched his skin and an infection set in. What’s a dog to do?

premium dog supplements

SootheMe premium dog supplement by TruDog.

Start devouring TruDog’s #Soothe Me of course! This soft chewable treat:

  • Aids in immune support
  • Provides a healthier skin and coat
  • Helps to decrease hot spots and excessive itching/scratching

Here’s a peek at the ingredients that make it so special.

premium dog supplements

See what’s inside Soothe Me.

Like all products he tries, we inspected Soothe Me before giving it to Wyatt. He also  inspected the literature carefully, then put his giant snout to work because he wanted to make sure he liked the taste.

premium dog coat supplement

“Hmmm, what’s it all about?”

We let him poke around his TruDog shipment, and here’s what happened.

Soothe Me contains essential OMEGA 3 DHA and EPA to help your dog cope with the toxic effects of our environment naturally, leaving your dog with fewer symptoms and a shiny, healthy coat.

So far so good! Wyatt’s got no problem begging and doing crazy dog tricks in exchange for this premium dog coat supplement. And we love that his hot spot is completely gone too!

Want your Tripawd canine to try it too? Shop TruDog’s premium dog coat supplement and let us know what you think.