Frequently asked questions
How does a standard therapeutic nutrition consultation work?
A standard therapeutic nutrition consult involves formulation of two recipes for an appropriate home-prepared diet, for a pet with medical concerns. Therapeutic consults are done remotely with no face-to-face contact, however they do need to be requested by the pet's veterinarian. This is because we need all test results and medical history, to make sure the recipes are suitable. We also can't (and shouldn't) provide medical advice directly to pet owners that we have no face-to-face relationship with.
If you are a veterinarian and would like to request a standard therapeutic consult for a patient, please follow the referral instructions that can be found via the 'Services' menu, on the 'Standard therapeutic consult' page. Likewise, if you are a pet owner and would like a consult for your pet, please read the instructions on the 'Standard therapeutic consult' page, and also ask your vet to do so as well. Therapeutic consults include two different, personalised recipes for a home-prepared therapeutic diet, and can include commercial diet recommendations as well (if desired). We can take into account ingredient preferences when we formulate the recipes. The cost for a consult is 380.00 AUD GST and VAT exempt, and the turnaround time is usually 1 to 3 weeks.
How does a healthy pet nutrition consultation work?
Veterinary Nutrition Group is not offering personalised nutrition consultations for healthy pets at this time. We do have a range of complete and balanced recipes for healthy pets available for purchase and download via our 'Sales' page.
Do you formulate recipes for raw meat-based diets?
We can certainly consider requests with respect to cooking of ingredients. We do recommend that all meat or offal is cooked thoroughly, to reduce the risk of bacterial or parasitic contamination. This is particularly important if you have immunocompromised people or young children in your household.
Regardless of this, if you would like to feed your pet a raw meat-based diet, please keep in mind these limitations:
We will not formulate any recipes using intact bones to meet calcium requirements. The absorption of calcium from bone has been shown to be highly variable, and we favour a more precise approach to the calcium and phosphorus content of the diet. Bones can certainly provide valuable enrichment, however they can also cause dental fractures, oesophageal or intestinal obstruction or perforation, or constipation and obstipation. If you have decided to feed raw bones to your pet, you can still use our balanced recipes and provide raw meaty bones as a "treat" several times a week - we can allow for this.
Our raw meat-based recipes will still contain supplements. Formulation of complete and balanced recipes without supplementation typically requires a larger number of different ingredients and this is not often practical. Of course we can discuss what you would like, and try to incorporate foods as sources of particular nutrients, however some supplementation will still be required in a majority of cases.
We will not formulate raw meat-based recipes using mixed muscle meat/offal/bone "pet meat" products. The reason for this is that these mixes are typically inconsistent in terms of their composition, and even slight variations in the types/amounts of offal can greatly affect the nutritional composition of the mix. We use and recommend only human-grade meat and offal in our formulations.
I want to feed my dog a vegetarian or vegan diet. What can I do?
We have complete and balanced vegan and vegetarian recipes for healthy adult dogs available for purchase via our 'Sales' page. We do not provide vegan or vegetarian recipes for cats, or growing puppies. We recommend that all puppies are fed a non-vegan, AAFCO-formulated diet appropriate for growth, and that cats are not fed a vegan or vegetarian diet.
What kinds of ingredients will my recipes contain?
We try to take owner preference into account as much as possible. Please let us know what your pet loves, and what they don't like! This helps us produce the tastiest possible recipes for your pet.
Otherwise, there are no hard-and-fast rules with respect to ingredients, other than not including toxic foods, for example, grapes or macadamias. If you would like to avoid certain ingredients, we should be able to do that.
Will my pet enjoy eating a homemade diet?
Many pets love eating a homemade diet! Sometimes it can be a challenge to introduce something new (especially with cats!) However, most of the time, we can adjust the recipe to achieve success, with a bit of patience and experimentation. Over time we have accumulated lots of tips and tricks to persuade even the fussiest pet to try, and hopefully enjoy, their new diet. Please ask us for help if you are struggling, we are always very happy to provide advice.
What kind of follow up is provided?
We try to provide as much follow up and support as possible, however this can take a lot of time. Standard therapeutic consults include three hours of email follow-up support; if the recipes are not palatable to your pet, we will revise and adjust them.
If completely new recipes are required after the first month, there will be an additional charge of $150 AUD excluding GST per recipe. We also have ongoing intensive support available ($200 AUD GST exempt per month - this includes email support and minor recipe revisions, as necessary).
We have always received great feedback from both our referring veterinarians and owners, so we are very confident you will be happy. Please have a look at our testimonials page if you have any concerns.
Can you tell me what supplements to feed my pet?
We use a range of supplements in our therapeutic recipes - what is required will be assessed on an individual basis. This may include essential fatty acids, antioxidants, fibre supplements, B vitamins, multivitamins/minerals and many others.
If you are currently giving a number of supplements and would like comments on these, with recommendations, just let us know.
Do you ever recommend a commercial diet?
Yes absolutely - we do not hate commercial diets, or judge owners that choose to feed a commercial diet. In fact, we have excellent relationships with many large (and small) pet food manufacturers, and we often work with them to find the perfect solution for an individual dog or cat. A home-prepared diet doesn't suit every pet or every household, so we are always happy to recommend other options, as needed.
Can you produce recipes for that require no supplementation?
We sometimes can, but in reality this approach is often impractical for many owners, as the recipes require a larger variety of ingredients, some of which may be expensive, unpalatable and/or hard to source. It may also not be possible to include the required ingredients in some recipes. For example, an animal with inflammatory bowel disease might need a novel or limited protein diet, so we can't add salmon to provide vitamin D, or egg yolk to provide choline, for example, as these ingredients could cause an adverse reaction. If you are certain you would like your pet's recipes to contain minimal or no supplementation, let us know and we can discuss what options are available.