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Use of SuperGravy® to Boost Appetite in Dogs with Kidney Disease and Other Chronic or Acute Health Conditions

Use of SuperGravy® to Boost Appetite in Dogs with Chronic or Acute Health Conditions: SuperGravy has been safely used as recommended for dogs with cancer, kidney disease, pancreatitis, liver disease and other health challenges as well as advanced geriatric dogs   

© 2020 by Anthony Bennie
Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer of Clear Conscience Pet®
2015 Pet Industry Icon Award Recipient

Summary: Award-winning SuperGravy® products have a 10-year history of safely and effectively boosting canine appetites and improving digestive health for dogs at every life-stage as well as those with underlying health challenges. SuperGravy is recommended for all breeds, sizes, and ages of dogs from weaning puppies to the oldest senior dogs. The safety and versatility of SuperGravy is based on a strict philosophy of precise natural formulations used in moderation. All formulas are made only from easily digestible whole superfood ingredients, and with NO added “free” minerals, synthetic vitamins, artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, or genetically modified ingredients.    

First, if your dog is facing any health challenge, we are sorry and very sincerely hope that you will experience a positive outcome. Over the 29 years in which I have been actively involved with dog nutrition, cancer, kidney, and liver disease are topics with which I have unfortunately become very familiar.

This article is intended to provide the most accurate answers possible to questions about canine disease as it relates to diet, specifically the intake of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

First, some background information and nutritional facts that will help give context to the facts presented:

1- Transparency and the ethical practice of animal nutrition are at the core of the Clear Conscience Pet philosophy, above all considerations of marketing or promotion.  Our  obligation is to give you the very best advice that we can. If we think one of our products is wrong for your dog or any dog, we will always say so. Fortunately, that is very rarely the case since we have formulated the products to work in the widest variety of health circumstances from the healthiest puppy to the geriatric pet with health challenges.

2- We respect the boundaries between nutrition and veterinary care, so we don't give medical advice; but we are eager to share our nutritional experience in hopes of helping dog guardians to sort out all of the confusing and sometimes conflicting claims and recommendations that you may hear from different sources;  

3- We've created SuperGravy and our other products to be impeccably clean, pure, and simple. Over the years, we have had veterinarians using the product with great success including with animals under treatment for liver and kidney disease, with very positive results in boosting the appetite, improving digestion, and keeping health-challenged dogs eating well. After all, without the right balance of nutrients, properly digested and utilized by the body, the ability of our dogs to fight disease is greatly compromised. That's why we are often sought out as the best in the industry at boosting appetites naturally, safely, and with a high level of successful results.

Now for the specifics.

SuperGravy® doesn't include any added "free" minerals or synthetic vitamins like virtually all pet foods and most treats. When I use the term "free minerals," I am referring to adding metals and mineral elements such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, and others as separate ingredients, usually included by manufacturers as part of a vitamin and mineral premix. This supplementation of mineral elements like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, etc.is required by regulations to declare a food to be a "complete and balanced diet” for dogs or any animal being fed.  

We're not against supplementation; but we do believe that our dogs are already getting plenty of these synthetic supplements in their food. What concerns us at Clear Conscience Pet is that too many treat makers also add these supplements to their products to present themselves as being "more nutritious" when in fact this introduces the possibility of over supplementation since the foods the dogs are eating already fulfill the daily requirements for these vitamins and minerals.

The reason that you can confidently continue to use our products as directed is that we do NOT add synthetic vitamins or "free" minerals. Instead, all of the nutrients present in SuperGravy and all of our treats and chews come from what is naturally present in the whole food ingredients we use. Providing all nutrition through whole foods allows the dog to digest the food and absorb minerals and other nutrients naturally present in those foods gently and naturally as opposed to just dumping heavy metallic elements into the body.

For example, Kelp, which is essentially dried seaweed, naturally contains trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. But adding a little bit of kelp to the diet through SuperGravy is not like taking these minerals on their own. The supplementation is beneficial, but the amounts supplied are very minimal to prevent imbalances or excess intake when combined with other dog foods and treats.     

This is particularly important when facing diseases or disorders impacting essential regulatory organ systems such as the kidneys, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and thyroid. When these essential yet potentially toxic trace minerals are fed as "mined" from the ground rather than bound up with the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in food, these "free heavy metals" are more likely to accumulate in the organs and cause excesses and imbalances that are detrimental to the function of these organs. This is especially true when there is already a stressed organ such as is the case in Kidney or Liver disease.

Again, I must be cautious and stress that the body can NOT function without essential minerals, electrolytes, and vitamins. By no means am I suggesting that we deprive an animal or person of minerals and vitamins; just as excess accumulation of minerals can cause or contribute to disease, deficiencies  in these essential elements can have devastating effects as well.

The answer is to feed whole natural foods that provide clean, pure, and digestible life sustaining macronutrients (Protein, fat, and carbohydrates) and also contain naturally beneficial levels of essential micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.    

Since we do not add any of these free minerals to the products, the amounts added to the diet of a dog eating food supplemented with SuperGravy is extremely low. Following this note, we will provide you with calculated estimates on a per serving basis based on the average amounts of these minerals found in the whole food ingredients we use. You will see that the levels are extremely low, but In any event, since these minerals are present only as naturally occurring in the molecular structure of the food ingredients themselves, excess mineral consumption is virtually impossible; this is true even if a dog were to consume many times the recommended serving amount of any SuperGravy recipe. At the recommended daily serving amount of 1.5 teaspoons (15 cc) by volume (about 4 grams by weight), the chance of over supplementation with minerals or metals is essentially zero.

The Intake Equation: Understanding Percentages vs. Consumption Amounts:  This is where a lot of misconceptions arise when it comes to nutrient and mineral intake. The percentage of a nutrient present in a food product is important, but it is meaningless if not considered in the context of the amount of the food product consumed.

Example: How can whole milk add MORE fat to your diet than cream? The answer is, your consumption amount determines the total intake of any nutrient. Here's an example of the math:

  • Light cream contains approx. 20% Fat;
  • Whole Milk contains approx. 4% Fat;

So the cream obviously has a much higher fat content, right? BUT, if you add ONE ounce of cream to your coffee, you will consume about 6 grams of dietary fat. If you drink an 8 oz. glass of whole milk or add that amount to your cereal, you would be consuming 10 grams of dietary fat.  The consumption times the percentage determines the intake, not the percentage itself.

Protein Consumption: Bringing this example to the protein content in SuperGravy, Paw Jus contains 48% Protein, the highest percentage of protein among the 4 formulas. But a serving only has 4 grams total weight, so the dog getting a scoop of Paw Jus daily is only adding 1.9 grams of protein to their diet. One half ounce of 93% Lean ground beef, a chunk about the size of the size of a strawberry, has 3 grams of protein.

"Prescription" Clinical Diets:

The following is used here only as an illustration. Hills K/D is only one of hundreds of clinical pet diets sold chiefly through veterinarians made by Hills(Colgate), ProPlan (Nestle-Purina), Royal Canin (Mars), and Blue Buffalo (General Mills).  These brand names are registered trademarks of their respective parent companies. 

Hills Dry K/D "Kidney Diet" has 15% Protein, and the recommended feeding amount for a tiny 5 lb. dog is 50 grams daily. That means that the dog is getting 7.6 grams of protein from the K/D or 4x the amount as in the SuperGravy Paw Jus serving scoop. For a 70 lb. dog, Hills recommend 370 grams per day. That means the dog gets 57 grams of protein in their daily intake of Hills K/D, 30 times the amount in a scoop of Paw Jus.  But how can that be, if Paw Jus has 48% protein and Hills K/D only has 15%?  That's the Intake Equation at work: Amount Consumed x Percentage of Any Nutrient =Actual INTAKE of that nutrient.

Unfortunately, the pet food industry and the veterinary profession hardly ever touch on these calculations. Too many veterinarians either don't understand this at all (a scary thought), or they dumb it down for their clients and just push incomplete advice like "don't feed more than 20% protein to a dog with kidney disease." But you have just seen incontrovertible mathematical evidence that you can safely and easily use a 48% protein product if used correctly and in the right quantity. It's sad that such misinformation can lead to dogs being deprived of things that could be very beneficial for them on the basis of incorrect assumptions and lack of fundamental knowledge.           

No matter what the condition or size of a dog, adding 1.9 grams of protein in the form of a scoop of SuperGravy can't possibly overload a dog with protein. The same goes for  phosphorous, other minerals, or dietary fat. It is physically and mathematically impossible for SuperGravy used as directed to "overload" a dog with any of these substances.         

SuperGravy Average Nutrient Values in All Formulas

Values provided are calculated based on average naturally occurring levels of nutrients in our natural whole food-based ingredients. Natural whole foods will vary in nutrient and mineral concentrations. 

  • calories: 17
  • carbohydrates: < 1 gram (less than 1 gram)
  • protein: < 2 gr. (less than 2 grams)
  • fat: < 1.5 gr. (less than 1.5 grams)
  • phosphorus  < 6 mg (less than 6 mg)
  • potassium     < 10 mg (less than 10 mg)
  • sodium  < 6 mg (less than 6 mg)
  • calcium   < 15 mg (less than 15 mg)
  • Note that these values would be similarly low with some variation in all four SuperGravy recipes

Conclusion: SuperGravy® products used as recommended provide a very safe method for boosting the appetite, improving digestive health, and increasing the absorption of essential nutrients for all dogs, regardless of underlying conditions. The only situations in which SuperGravy is contraindicated are in the presence of specific proven allergies to any ingredient present in any of the formulas. We deeply appreciate the opportunity to be of service to you and your dog. 

Anthony Bennie, December 19, 2020