“Our mission is to help dogs live longer,” says Lori R. Taylor, the founder and CEO of TruPet. She started the pet food company in honor of her deceased Great Dane named Truman. At age five, Truman was diagnosed with carcinoma. He died months later.

Bouncing back

Taylor blamed Truman’s commercial dog food diet for the illness. She says many pet foods are loaded with fillers and not the meat and proteins animals need. That’s why she encourages owners to read pet food labels.

“I always say, ‘Your choice is your dog’s voice,’” says Taylor. “Your dog is just going to eat what you give him.”

TruDog sells “BOOST ME: Real Meat Meal Boosters.” The freeze-dried powder formula, featuring organs, meat, bones and bone marrow, can be used every day at every meal.

“Freeze-dried raw dog food or a frozen raw dog food is by far the best way you can feed your dog,” explains Taylor, recommending two tablespoons of the booster for every cup of dog food.

Nourishing nature

“Poor quality foods may ease hunger but they’re of no nutritional value,” explains Dr. Lisa Hara Levin, DVM and Medical Director of Animal Care & Control of New York City. She recommends consulting a veterinarian about what to feed your pet and how often.

"Give pets healthy treats such as apples, sweet potatoes and raw carrots."

“If an animal is eating a well-balanced diet and there are no special nutritional needs because of a development stage or a health issue, they don’t need to start getting into vitamin and mineral supplements,” says Dr. Levin.

Still weight gain, digestive issues or skin problems can indicate the pet’s diet needs to change. “Diet matters. It matters a lot,” adds Dr. Lester Mandelker, DVM, a private veterinary practitioner at Community Veterinary Hospital.  He suggests feeding pets “gluten free, novel protein diets,” like bison, venison, duck, rabbit or kangaroo. He also advises avoiding dog foods with cornstarch or soybean oil, because they aren’t as nutritious as other ingredients.

Mealtime vs. treats

For cats, stay away from dry food because it has a high carbohydrate load. “I feel canned food is far superior for cats because cats are straight carnivores,” says Dr. Mandelker.

Dr. Levin recommends feeding pets at least twice a day, explaining once a day feedings can be dangerous, including giving some dogs bloat. Give pets healthy treats such as apples, sweet potatoes and raw carrots. Avoid grapes, raisins and onions, which can be toxic to dogs.