Breed-specific dog foods

Back in January, I posted a blog about Prescription diets – what’s the truth?

In this post, I’m again going into the controversial world of commercial dog food and sharing some information on breed-specific dog foods.

The two labels most associated with breed-specific foods are Eukanuba and Royal Canin, although there are others.


In the November 2016 issue of Your Dog (published by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University), veterinary nutritionist Cailin Heinze provided opinion about such foods.

Dr Heinze re-iterated the common theme about the lack of rules for marketing.  “It’s a free for all.”

Although these pet foods must meet the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) standard, ‘tweaking’ recipes to make them slightly more suitable for a particular breed isn’t a big change to make.

The article points out that there are no feeding trials to support the claims made for breed-specific dog foods and that the breed-specific formulations are not therapeutic diets.

You will need to buy access to read the article in its entirety (follow the link above), and I won’t break copyright by printing too much of the article in this blog.

It is heartening to see a veterinary nutritionist making these comments.  Too often, criticism of commercial dog foods is discounted because the writers are not veterinarians.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

2 responses to “Breed-specific dog foods

  1. That’s a brilliant post. There’s so much confusion about pet food-and I can understand why people feel overwhelmed by all the claims. I do buy dry food even though I cook for my dogs, I’ve found a smallish local company selling a really good quality food . Plain packaging and no adverts…local meat and fish with vegetables and herbs. I doubt, however, many people actually want to obsess about their dogs’ diets, so there should definitely be the same rules for advertising dog and human food (no false claims).

    • For people and dogs, label reading skills are a must. I also buy a locally made commercial dog food and feed a hybrid diet with some raw meals, some home-cooked and others the commercial kibble. I am always concerned about marketing messages in an unregulated system such as we have with pet foods. Caveat emptor!

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