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Frequently asked questions

What is a meal completer?

A meal completer is a vitamin, mineral and amino acid supplement that you add to your dog or cat’s homemade meals. The purpose of it is to ensure that the meals are complete and balanced, which means that they provide all the required nutrients, in the correct amounts. For example, if you feed your dog cooked chicken and rice, the diet will be deficient in calcium (as well as many other nutrients), so a meal completer supplement contains the calcium and other essential nutrients that your pet needs. 

You might think that if you make delicious homemade meals for your pet with lots of tasty nutritious ingredients, then you won’t need to add any supplements. However, it’s actually quite hard to create a well-balanced and complete diet without supplements. You need to know what nutrients your pet needs, and how much of each, so that you can be certain that the diet doesn’t cause deficiencies or harmful toxicities. Too much vitamin D, for example, can cause kidney damage.

What are the benefits of feeding a homemade diet?

Palatability is a huge pro when deciding whether or not to switch to a homemade diet, and this can make a huge difference to dogs and cats with more selective appetites.
Feeding a home-prepared diet also allows you to have complete control over what goes into your pet’s diet. You can choose which proteins you’re comfortable with – you might prefer certain proteins for ethical reasons, for example.


You can also include organic fruits and vegetables, or choose imperfect produce to try and increase the sustainability of your pet’s diet and minimise food waste. You can also be completely confident in terms of the quality of the diet, because you made it!

Another pro for home-prepared diets is that fresh fruit and vegetables are a rich source of compounds called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are chemical compounds made from plants, like carotenoids and flavonoids. For example, you probably know of beta-carotene, found in orange and red fruits and vegetables like carrots or pumpkins. Diets rich in phytonutrients from whole foods are believed to confer long-term health benefits, and commercial diets are often lacking in these ingredients.

Finally, home-prepared diets are free of compounds like acrylamide (the perfect example of a source of acrylamide is burnt toast), which is considered likely to be carcinogenic in humans. This cannot be said of many dry diets, due to high-temperature cooking processes.


Can I use the products as part of a raw diet? 

Yes, all of our CompleteMe products can be used with raw meat. We recognise that many pet parents choose to feed a raw meat-based diet to their dog or cat, and that this is a personal choice. If a pet parent has chosen to feed a raw diet, our goals are to ensure that the diet is complete and balanced, appropriate for the individual pet, and also to provide truthful and practical information to minimise any food safety risks as much as possible. 

Obviously if our recipes include grains or seeds like quinoa or barley, these ingredients need to be cooked or soaked (depending on the recipe). We recommend steaming vegetables until they are properly cooked, to ensure maximum digestibility. We also recommend cooking all fish and shellfish. Some fish species contain thiaminases, which can destroy the essential B vitamin, thiamine.

If you are feeding raw meats like chicken, lamb, or game meats like wild boar or kangaroo (and especially if you are feeding offal from game meat), we strongly recommend talking with your local vet about potential risks, and also methods that can be used to ensure a higher level of food safety (for example, freezing of meat prior to use). All kangaroo and wallaby meat tested for Toxoplasma gondii has been positive in research studies; outbreaks of toxoplasmosis in humans have occurred due to consumption of undercooked kangaroo meat. Shellfish such as green-lipped mussels also frequently test positive for T. gondii. Other pathogenic bacteria like E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., and Listeria spp. are a concern. For clients with young children or immune compromised people in the household, we do strongly recommend a fresh-cooked homemade diet, which can be just as nutritious.

We do not use or recommend the feeding of bones as part of the recipes we provide, due to the potential harm caused by this practice (for example, dental fractures, oesophageal obstruction, or constipation/obstipation). We do recognise that many pet parents choose to feed bones; again, this is a personal choice that every individual needs to consider carefully, in terms of the potential pros and cons for their own pet.   

What recipes can I use them with?

We provide an extensive database of online recipes for use with our CompleteMe products. These recipes have all been specially formulated by our Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionists®, using a range of different ingredients. There are recipes for healthy dogs and cats, growing puppies and kittens, and for dogs and cats with medical conditions. 

Why do you provide recipes? Other meal completers just need to be added to meat only.

A lot of meal completer products come with instructions to add a certain amount of supplement to boneless muscle meat in order to produce a complete and balanced diet. We completely understand that this is convenient and quick! However, there’s a few reasons why we don’t do this:


We formulate our feline recipes to have protein, fat and carbohydrate percentages similar to a mouse. Sometimes this requires the addition of a fat source, as some meats may be too lean. Alternatively, some meats are quite fatty and can actually produce a moderate to low protein diet.

Our recipes are enriched with omega-3 fatty acids (namely EPA and DHA) to produce a diet with an optimal ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. This typically requires additional omega-3 fatty acids, from fish oil, krill oil or marine algae oil. Meal completer supplements generally don’t contain adequate amounts omega-3, and given that a lot of meat-only diets are quite high in omega-6 (from animal fat), we specifically add in certain types of oils rich in omega-3s.


We enrich our recipes with specific types and amounts of fibre. Our feline recipes include animal-derived fibre from CompleteMe feline, and some recipes also include plant-derived fibres. This can help to support the health of the gut microbiota, and also reduce the risk of constipation.

We want to ensure that your cat has access to nutrients derived from a wide range of food ingredients - not just muscle meat. We have therefore included different types of offal like rabbit liver and duck hearts, antioxidant-rich leafy greens, and different fat sources in our recipes. Variety is the spice of life and has been shown to promote a more stable gut microbiota at least in other species.


Who formulated the products?

Our Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionists®, Dr Becca Leung and Dr Meredith Wall, formulated the CompleteMe range of products. Both nutritionists work full-time and are based in Sydney, Australia. Transparency is very important to us, so both Dr Leung and Dr Wall are very happy to answer questions on the formulation of the products, or their ingredients.  

Can I use these products as part of my nutrition consult?

Many of the CompleteMe products are suitable for dogs with different medical conditions, so for most consults, using these supplements will be an option. However, for some medical conditions, the products may not be appropriate. For example, some dogs with liver disease require a copper-restricted diet; at this time, there is no CompleteMe product that is adequately low in copper. If you are requesting a consult, please let us know if you are interested in using a CompleteMe product as part of your dog or cat’s personalised recipes. 

Are the products suitable for puppies and kittens?


Yes, we have two meal completer products for puppies and kittens – CompleteMe Hypo Puppy and CompleteMe Hypo Kitten. These products can be used as part of a balanced homemade diet for healthy puppies or kittens. As they don’t contain any animal-derived proteins, they can also be used to create balanced recipes for puppies or kittens with food sensitivities. Please see our recipe databases for healthy puppy and kitten recipes, and hypoallergenic puppy and kitten recipes.


Are your supplements synthetic?


The vitamins in our CompleteMe supplements are synthetic or ‘nature identical’. There’s a few reasons for this. 


The first reason is that we need to avoid animal-derived ingredients in our Hypoallergenic products, because many pets have allergies to particular proteins, and we need these products to be suitable for those pets. 


The second reason is that synthetic vitamins are generally more pure, potent and stable, compared with natural vitamins. We need our products to have a reasonable shelf-life, so they are practical for pet parents to use. Some natural vitamins can have a shelf-life of weeks, rather than months. Potency is also important – we prefer concentrated forms of vitamins and minerals, because this reduces the volume of powder needed to be added to every meal. This can make a big difference to palatability, and it also reduces the cost for pet parents, if every bag of CompleteMe lasts longer. 


The third reason is that some food ingredients are naturally quite inconsistent, in terms of their nutritional composition. For example, we know that lamb liver can vary in terms of its mineral content, depending on the supplementation given to the sheep before processing, the soil and pasture the sheep graze on, and many other factors. The fatty acid composition of green-lipped mussels can vary depending on the location of the mussels, the season, the age of the mussels, how long they are stored for, and how they are cooked or processed. We need to be sure that our products contain the nutrients that they are supposed to, and this can be very difficult using food ingredients only. 


The products look like they have a lot of synthetic ingredients, compared with other meal completers. Why? 


As discussed above, our products do contain synthetic vitamins. We are transparent about this and list all the ingredients clearly and individually, using their complete names (for example, ‘thiamine mononitrate’, instead of just ‘thiamine’). Unfortunately, many manufacturers try toconceal the number or type of synthetic compounds in their products by using shortened names, acronyms (for example, ‘SHMP’ instead of ‘sodium hexametaphosphate’), or abbreviated names (for example, ‘vitamin B complex’ instead of listing all the B vitamins individually). We don’t believe in trying to conceal or disguise ingredients; you won’t see this in any of our ingredients lists.


Why do some of the supplements have an odour?


We do include therapeutic ingredients in some of our products that have quite a strong aroma. For example, marine algae powder (a source of omega-3 fatty acids) has a strong aroma that is a bit like dried kelp. Theracurmin® (a highly bioavailable form of curcumin) has a slightly spicy aroma. Yeast-derived ingredients can smell malty or toasty. 
Whilst you may notice these aromas, we have found that they are not a deterrent to either dogs or cats. Storing the product in the fridge (as per the storage instructions) may help to minimise the aroma slightly. Additionally, performing a gradual transition to the new product will allow your pet time to adjust to the new aromas and flavours.


Do your products contain animal-derived ingredients?


CompleteMe feline does contain multiple animal-derived ingredients (please see the ingredients list). CompleteMe feline renal contains freeze-dried chicken breast. The remainder of the products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Are the food ingredients Australian?

Yes, the food ingredients that we have included in our CompleteMe products are sourced locally, and, where possible we partner with Australian farmers that are focused on ethical and sustainable farming practices. 

Can I add the products to a commercial diet?

No, this is not necessary nor recommended. Commercial diets are already formulated to be complete and balanced, and thus adding our CompleteMe products to such a diet may result in excess amounts of certain nutrients, which could prove to be harmful and have serious or even life-threatening consequences. For example, excessive vitamin D can cause kidney damage. 

Can I feed 50:50 homemade diet and commercial diet?

Yes, we understand that sometimes life and/or finances can make it tricky to feed solely a homemade diet, and doing a mix of a homemade and commercial diet is often easier or more practical – which is fine! If you do plan to feed both, we recommend doing so in a 50:50 ratio, in other words, meeting half of your pet’s requirements from each of the two diets. However, you could also feed 25% homemade diet and 75% commercial diet – even a smaller amount like this could provide nutritional benefits.

Why do I need to include supplements in my pet’s homemade diet?

While the ingredients in many homemade diets provide a lot of essential nutrients, homemade diets alone (i.e., without added supplements) are often deficient in several key vitamins and minerals. Feeding a homemade diet without any added supplements for a long period of time can cause serious, even life-threatening nutrient deficiencies, which can manifest in various ways clinically. Therefore, we recommend utilising supplements to ensure that your pet’s diet/meals are complete and balanced, while still delicious, too! 

Why isn’t the expiration date longer?

We don’t have very long expiry dates for our products for a few reasons. Supplements are obviously perishable as vitamins naturally degrade with time. The rate vitamins degrade is increased when in the presence of trace minerals like manganese and copper. We account for this inherent degradation with our formulations, to ensure that there are extra vitamins present when the products are first made. These “overages” have to be limited to avoid excess at the beginning of the supplement’s shelf-life.

As our products also contain ingredients that supply omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, there is a risk of rancidity if the product is stored for a long time (this is the case for any ingredient that contains fatty acids, for example, mussels, fatty fish, krill, or algae powder). Oxidised omega-3 fatty acids are known to be harmful, so again, we want to make sure that all the freeze-dried food ingredients are as fresh and nutritious as possible. Freeze-dried foods do generally last a long time, but fattier freeze-dried foods don’t always, and this is especially the case if they are powdered.

How long will a bag last?

For a dog weighing 10 kg, and after taking into account minor losses (occasional spillage, etc.), we estimate that one bag of our CompleteMe canine would make 100 meals.
For a cat weighing 5 kg, and after taking into account minor losses (with your cat knocking over the open bag and losing a bit of the powder during the clean-up), one bag of our CompleteMe feline should last for 30 days. Please see our product pages for more information.


My cat/dog won’t eat their food with the supplement added. What can I try?


Some cats and dogs can be particularly fussy when it comes to their diet. Our recommendation is to go slow and steady with these guys. You can either introduce the new diet first without the supplement and then slowly titrate in the supplement (a few grams at a time), or you can introduce the new diet with the supplement already added in. 


For cats, try introducing a teaspoon of the new diet next to their current diet on a flat plate. After a few days, and only if their current diet is eaten without a fuss, should you increase the new diet by another teaspoon and start bringing the two diets closer together on the plate. You can entice them to try the new food by warming it up or crumbling some enticing treats on the new food. Do this on repeat (gradually increasing the amount of the new diet) while simultaneously reducing their previous diet until eventually they're eating the new diet alone, without needing toppers. 


For dogs, similarly, do a gradual introduction of the new diet (without or initially without the supplement) to their current diet, a little bit at a time. Warming up the food or crumbling some enticing treats on the new food can help encourage them to try it as well. Slowly increase the amount of new diet (or the amount of supplement) every few days until they are eating the new diet alone, or the new diet with the full amount of supplement. 

It can be a long process (several weeks sometimes), but we've found that this gentle approach can convince even the pickiest eaters.


How should I store CompleteMe once it's opened? 


We recommend storing the opened CompleteMe in the fridge for optimal freshness. It can be stored in its original bag or transferred into an airtight container and placed in the fridge. 


Do the feline products contain water-soluble phosphates?


Recently, there has been studies showing that feeding diets with increased highly soluble phosphate can lead to renal injury in cats. Water-soluble phosphates include monopotassium phosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate and phosphoric acid. Therefore, we have no added phosphates in the adult CompleteMe feline, CompleteMe Hypoallergenic feline, or CompleteMe Renal feline. CompleteMe Hypoallergenic kitten contains dicalcium phosphate, which is poorly water-soluble, compared with other forms of inorganic phosphorus.


Can I swap ingredients in the recipe?

Ingredients should not be substituted or swapped in the recipes. Ingredients that may seem similar can vary greatly in the amounts and types of nutrients they provide. This is especially true of any vegetable oils used as they have very specific fatty acid profiles. In addition, the percentage fat in meat ingredients is very important, as feeding a meat that contains a higher or lower % can greatly affect the overall nutrient profile of the diet.

Why do the products contain calcium carbonate, rather than bone?


While bone can be a rich source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, etc, it is often an unreliable one. This is because the digestibility of bone is variable and dependent on several factors, including the individual. Deficiencies in these essential nutrients can lead to harmful effects, and so calcium carbonate has been chosen as a natural and concentrated source of bioavailable calcium. 

What are the benefits of CompleteMe vs. human supplements?


Humans have different nutrient requirements to dogs and cats and so while it’s possible to use human supplements to balance a dog or cat’s diet, it often requires several supplements in order to do so. This can be a bit of a hassle, as you will often need to crush tablets and empty capsules. 
Our CompleteMe meal completers have been specially designed with the nutritional needs of dogs and cats in mind. We’ve also added specific ingredients to support overall health beyond just the essential nutrients. For example, we believe that supporting the gut microbiota is important, and so have included probiotics and prebiotics in all of our meal completers. Our goal is to make it quick and easy for people to feed a very high quality homemade diet.


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