Ask our veterinarian about dog food and dog health - Q&A with Dr. Doron Vardi

Ask our veterinarian about dog food and dog health - Q&A with Dr. Doron Vardi

"The majority of the people that I see have overweight or obese pets and almost none of them realize that there is a problem. Pallaby is a unique product as it really does offer a solution. There is just nothing like this out there."  - Dr. Doron Vardi, DVM

Below you will find a list of common questions that we posted to our veterinarian, Dr. Doron Vardi, DVM.

Would you feed your own dogs pallaby food?

Absolutely! I have 4 dogs, aged between 3-14 years and they are all on Pallaby food. The quality of the food is exceptional, and I don’t have to think about how much to feed them. Each dog has their own pouch per day. It’s so easy and convenient and the dogs love the food and treats!

What types of dogs might pallaby be a good solution for?

Pallaby is an exceptional food appropriate for any dog, of any age bracket, not sensitive to its ingredients. It is an especially good dietary solution for overweight or obese dogs whose owners want to take out the guessing work when it comes to how much food they actually need to feed their dogs.

What are some health risks for overweight dogs?

Obese dogs live shorter lives and are at a higher risk of developing illness. Even mild obesity appears to be significant; One life study on Labrador Retrievers found that lean dogs lived an average of 2 years longer than their mildly overweight siblings (15% overweight). These lean Labs also had a delayed onset of chronic illnesses. Another study found a decreased quality of life when pets were overweight and an improvement in vitality and decreased pain after successful weight loss.

It is also widely documented that overweight dogs are at a particularly high risk for an early onset of arthritis, orthopedic injuries such as ACL tears and herniation of intervertebral discs of the spine (aka “slipped disc”).

With every passing year, we uncover more and more links between canine obesity and disease. Obesity in dogs is also thought to increase inflammation, decrease heart and lung function and elevate the risk of infections, cancer, hormonal disorders and anesthesia.

What are some health risks for underweight dogs?

While being a little underweight might be better than being overweight, a significantly underweight / malnourished dog is at risk for stunted growth, decreased immunity and other deleterious effects that depend on the exact deficiencies in the diet.

What do you recommend for dogs with sensitive stomachs?

If your dog has a history of having a sensitive stomach with symptoms such as picky eating, vomiting and soft stool, I recommend you schedule a consult with your veterinarian to help pinpoint the exact cause.

Does my dog need to eat organic food?

Great question! In short… not really, and this is why: The benefits of organic foods are really more marketing hype than anything evidence based. When you actually look at the nutrient differences between conventional and organic foods, they turn out to be minimal and unlikely to result in any health benefits. Furthermore, nutrient levels in foods can vary widely based on the season, soil type, temperature, growing methods, and transport/storage times. As such, an organic piece of fruit doesn’t necessarily contain more nutrients than the conventional one next to it at the supermarket. Moreover, if a diet already meets the requirements for a specific nutrient, more of that nutrient doesn’t necessarily make it better.  So, the bottom line is that there is little evidence to back the nutritional benefits of organic foods!

Many consumers purchase organic foods to reduce pesticide exposure. This is a common misconception; people believe that organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides. In reality, organic foods are typically treated with pesticides, but they are usually different than those used in conventional foods. Note that different doesn’t necessarily always mean safer – it just means that the pesticides cannot be synthetic and have to be certified for use in organic farming.

Lastly, to be “certified organic” and carry the USDA Organic seal, a pet or human food must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. Foods that do not meet this standard can still be listed as “made with organic” on their packaging if they contain at least 70% organic ingredients overall or simply use “organic” as a qualifier for specific ingredients in their ingredient lists if they do not meet this threshold. Otherwise, the standards for organic pet foods are identical to those for pet foods using conventionally-farmed ingredients.

What do you think about raw diets? Fresh food?

I would strongly advise against feeding your pets raw diets. Raw diets are another example of trends in human nutrition that have made their way into pet nutrition. The reason raw foods have gained popularity in recent years is that a given raw food tends to be higher in nutrients compared to its cooked counterpart. While this is true, there is a reason we cook our foods. The cooking process kills/eliminates a wide variety of food borne pathogens that can be found in raw foods. This includes a wide range of bacteria, viruses and parasites.

The health risk posed by feeding your pet a raw diet isn’t limited to your pet alone, but extends to you – the human owners! Thus, pets can become infected with pathogens and then expose their owners to the same disease. This can be particularly concerning when we have pets with asymptomatic infections (no symptoms at all) or chronic/low grade infections that are very difficult to identify. In these cases, humans can be exposed to dangerous pathogens for prolonged periods of time, sometimes lasting months and even years!

Fresh foods are a perfectly acceptable alternative to kibble as long as they are properly cooked. The main issues we see with fresh foods have to do with spoilage and contamination with pathogens. These occur when the meticulous storage and refrigeration that are required for these types of foods are not maintained throughout the chains of production / transport, points of retail and/or at the end consumer’s home.

What would you tell other vets about pallaby?

Canine and Feline obesity have been plaguing our profession for way too long. We’ve all had the countless and at times, hopeless, discussions with pet owners on how to achieve weight loss with their furry babies. And as simple as caloric restriction is, we’ve all experienced poor compliance, and see those repeat weight offenders return to our clinics and hospitals year after year.

Pallaby offers a novel solution where the pet’s daily caloric requirement is calculated and prepackaged into a single pouch containing his/her entire daily serving of food (and a treat). This takes all the math work out of the equation for pet owners and makes weight loss literally fool proof! I think Pallaby is a game changer when it comes to our battle against obesity in pets!


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About Dr. Vardi:

Dr. Doron Vardi is a practicing veterinarian at Value Vet in Los Angeles. Dr. Vardi was born in Boston, Massachusetts and spent the greater part of his childhood living in Nairobi, Kenya. After graduating from high school, he served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Dr. Vardi received his veterinary degree from the University of Perugia, Italy in March 2014. For his academic achievements during veterinary school, Dr. Vardi was awarded a scholarship to train at Colorado State University during his clinical year. Prior to moving to southern California, Dr. Vardi worked as a Spay/Neuter surgeon at Spay Me! Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin – a clinic that strives to deliver high quality veterinary care for animals and populations in need. During his time there, he provided surgical services, supported the resident veterinary medical team and trained 4th year veterinary students from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and other visiting veterinarians in efficient, high quality surgical technique.

Apart from his passion for surgery, Dr. Vardi holds special interests in small animal internal medicine, emergency medicine and clinical pathology. Dr. Vardi prides himself in seeking the most up-to-date standards and therapeutic protocols for caring for your pet. He strongly believes in providing high quality medical care for animals, ensuring that animals are as comfortable as possible during their hospital visits and supporting your informed decisions as an pet owner.

Outside of the hospital, Dr. Vardi enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors and playing music. He has backpacked in Australia and New Zealand, lived in a variety of countries and loves meeting new people. Dr. Vardi currently lives in Torrance, California with his wonderful wife Allison. They both love animals and plan on adding a puppy or two to the family in the near future!



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