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From The CriticsReviewer: Marcella D Ridgway, VMD, MS, DACVIM (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Description: This is a pet owner's guide to pet nutrition and home-preparation of balanced diets for dogs and cats. This soft-bound book addresses general concepts of pet nutrition and features over 200 recipes for computer-balanced diets for normal pets and pets with medical problems requiring special dietary modification.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a handbook for preparing homemade diets which are complete and balanced for healthy or sick pets from foods marketed for human consumption and thus to give pet owners a choice in their pet's diet. The author's goal of providing alternative diets that are owner-prepared from wholesome ingredients and nutritionally adapted for specific disease conditions as well as for normal life-stages is well met.
Audience: This book is written for pet owners who prefer to prepare their pets' food rather than use commercial pet food and for owners of pets with special nutritional requirements for which no available commercial diet is suitable. It is also useful for veterinarians treating pets with medical conditions requiring dietary modification; this is a source of recipes for balanced alternative diets which may benefit some inappetant patients or those accustomed to human food that refuse to eat appropriate commercial diets. The writing is often technical and presumes a higher level of understanding than appropriate for a basic owner-oriented guide, using technical terms without definition or clarification.
Features: The 18 chapters are organized generally by specific health condition (e.g. normal dogs and cats, renal disease), with a brief list of references after each chapter and a comprehensive index. Each chapter addresses basic concepts of pathophysiology and rationales for specific dietary restrictions, and features detailed recipes for diets appropriate for the particular disease. A variety of diets utilizing different ingredients are provided and recipes include a summary of caloric, protein, and fat content and, for many recipes, options for further modification of the recipe to accommodate more stringent dietary requirements. This book does not address palatability of these diets.
Assessment: I find much of the text of this book to be unsupported opinion presented as fact. What references are cited are often weak, such as class notes which are not peer-reviewed. The author condemns the commercial pet food industry and much of veterinary practice; he also implies commercial pet foods are causing many medical conditions with no objective evidence to support such claims. In fact, many inaccuracies and false statements occur throughout the text. The author strongly criticizes the pet food industry for failing to utilize feeding trials to verify the adequacy of commercial diets, then promotes computer-formulated diets never evaluated by feeding trials as most balanced and healthful for pets. Additionally, the book is poorly written and suffers from frequent errors in grammar and sentence structure, redundancies, and poor organization. While the book is useful as a compilation of computer-balanced alternative diets for patients preferring or requiring home-made diets, I would hesitate to recommend it as a valid resource for owners as it is inaccurate, contradictory, and misleading. It is best suited as a reference in the hands of a professional who can present the material objectively and compensate for the inaccuracies presented.