Veterinary Nutrition Group
Fuel their fire
We are veterinarians dedicated to both
the science and the art of personalised nutrition for dogs and cats.
Our company provides expert consultancy services to pet owners, veterinary practices and pet food manufacturers in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East.
Therapeutic consultation for pets with medical conditions
Personalised recipes to suit your pet's special requirements
Feline nutrition consultation and personalised recipes
Complete and balanced recipes formulation specifically for your cat
Formulation of novel protein recipes for a diet trial
For the diagnosis and treatment of
an adverse food reaction
Vegan, vegetarian or
eco-friendly recipes for healthy dogs
Personalised recipes appropriate for healthy adult or growing dogs
Commercial diet recommendations for healthy pets
Commercial diet and treat options appropriate for your pet
Analysis of the pet's current diet and an amended recipe
Complete analysis of a homemade recipe and an amended/balanced version
Frequently asked questions
How does a therapeutic nutrition consultation work?
A therapeutic nutrition consult involves formulation of 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 therapeutic consult for a patient, please follow the referral instructions that can be found via the 'Services' menu, on the 'Therapeutic nutrition' page. Likewise, if you are a pet owner and would like a consult for your pet, please read the instructions on the 'Therapeutic nutrition' 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 exempt, and the turnaround time is usually 1 to 3 weeks.
How does a healthy pet nutrition consultation work?
Veterinary Nutrition Group currently offers four different services suitable for healthy pets:
1) Formulation of personalised recipes for a healthy adult or growing cat
2) Formulation of vegan, vegetarian or sustainable/environmentally-friendly recipes for a healthy adult or growing dog
3) Commercial diet recommendations for a healthy adult or growing dog or cat
4) Analysis of a healthy pet's current homemade diet and formulation of one revised/balanced recipe
Please refer to our list of services for more information and pricing. Request forms are available for each of the above under the 'Forms' menu tab.
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.
Can you formulate recipes for a vegan or vegetarian diet?
We can formulate both vegetarian and vegan recipes for healthy adult dogs with a good appetite. Please keep in mind that vegan or vegetarian diets are often less energy dense, so your dog will need to consume a relatively large volume of food per day. Some dogs will love this, however fussy dogs or dogs with a poor appetite may not cope well with this. For growing puppies, we will need to assess each case individually - a vegetarian or vegan diet may or may not be possible. For dogs with medical conditions, again, we need to assess each patient on a case-by-case basis.
Cats are more difficult and it is our strong preference not to formulate vegetarian or vegan recipes for cats, unless required for a medical reason (for example, hepatic encephalopathy). It is our experience that cats do not find these diets very palatable, a lot of supplementation is required, and that there can be problems with urine pH.
I'm concerned about animal welfare and sustainability, but don't want to feed a vegan or vegetarian diet to my pet - what can I do?
We believe these are valid concerns and we can formulate personalised recipes for healthy pets using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients. We can include proteins of your choosing, depending on what you have access to. For example, some owners would like to include eggs from backyard hens, some have access to sustainable game meats like kangaroo, and some owners prefer to include sustainable seafoods like squid or fresh Australian sardines.
We can also formulate recipes that minimise food waste - for example, most vegetables can be included with their peel, and we can incorporate offal to support a "nose to tail" approach. Grass-fed and free-range meats and eggs can all be added to the recipes, as desired - we can even use insect-derived protein or plant protein.
Finally, we can keep protein moderate in the recipes - there is no need or benefit to feeding most healthy adult dogs an extremely high protein diet. Reducing consumption of animal protein is an effective way for people to reduce their dietary footprint, and the same goes for pets as well.
If you would like to go ahead with formulation of sustainable/environmentally-friendly recipes, please complete our "Vegan/veg/eco request form" under the the "Forms" menu tab above.
What kinds of ingredients will the 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. If the recipes are not palatable to your pet, we will revise and adjust them. Therapeutic consults include three hours of email follow-up support.
If completely new recipes are required after the first month, there will be an additional charge of $180 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 recipes - what is required will be assessed on an individual basis. This may include supplements for joint health, antioxidants, fibre supplements, B vitamins, multivitamins/minerals and many others.
If you are currently giving a number of supplements and would like detailed 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.
If you would like to request commercial diet recommendations for your healthy dog or cat, please complete our "Commercial diet recommendations request form" under the "Forms" menu tab above.
Can you produce recipes for healthy pets that require no supplementation?
We certainly 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.
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.