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Frequently Asked Questions

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How Balance It Works

How do I get a recipe?

If you have a healthy adult dog or cat, just use our free custom recipe tool. You’ll be able to choose things like your animal companion’s weight and their favorite ingredients to find the perfect homemade food recipe for them.

If your animal companion has a health condition, you may be required per the FDA to get your vet’s approval before you can view a complete recipe made with our free custom recipe tool or purchase supplements. We’ll ask for their info and contact them on your behalf (approval usually happens within 3 business days).

Which Balance It® product should I use and how much do I need?

The specific product to use and the amount of product to use is based on specific recipes or feeding instructions. Basing the amount of food solely on body weight can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Online Software

How does the software create custom recipes for my specific dog or cat?

The software creates a custom recipe for your companion based on their species, gender (neuter status), age, body weight, and any special health condition(s). These variables tell the program what nutrient concentrations are appropriate as well as how many calories should be provided in the daily recipe. Voila, a custom recipe for your favorite friend.

Where does the nutritional information for the recipes' ingredients or added foods come from?

The nutritional information is derived from the USDA National Nutrient Database (see the website footer for the Standard Release (SR) number we are referencing). This is a very comprehensive database on the nutrient profile of foods. In addition, because the USDA does not typically evaluate for some essential nutrients for dogs and cats (e.g., chloride, iodine, vitamin D, choline, and taurine), the most common or representative foods used in homemade dog and cat recipes have been evaluated by an outside lab for these additional nutrient concentrations, by referencing additional published nutrient databases, and/or by relying on expert knowledge to create a more complete nutrient profile when possible. For foods that have not been evaluated for these additional essential nutrients, the formulation software treats the value as zero to avoid under supplementation. For foods with known higher concentrations, like vitamin D in marine fish, some foods are automatically excluded from use to avoid over supplementation (e.g., dogs are very sensitive to vitamin D so we don’t want to underestimate the amount naturally found in vitamin D rich foods).

Why is it important to get a recipe for my specific dog or cat companion rather than using a more generic recipe from another website or book?

A specific recipe is important to ensure that all nutrient requirements are met given your animal friend's species, gender (neuter status), age, body weight, any special health condition(s), and caloric requirement. Many generic recipes are balanced for a medium-sized dog or cat, and may not remain balanced when the recipe is scaled down or up. Also independent evaluations of published home-cooked recipes for dogs and cats have shown that most recipes are deficient in one or more essential nutrients (Lauten, SD, et al. ACVIM Proceedings, 2005, Larsen, JA, et al. JAVMA.240.5.532, 2012, and Stockman, J, et al. JAVMA.242.11.1500, 2013).

Why can I not control the amount of calories in a recipe by selecting body condition score?

Body condition scoring is very helpful in grading the degree to which an animal is underweight, overweight, or even obese. Typically, veterinarians including board certified veterinary nutritionists use a 9-point scale for dogs and cats. In dogs, a body condition score (BCS) of 4 or 5 out of 9 is considered ideal. In cats, a BCS of 5 out of 9 is considered ideal. Each point above or below indicates being 10-15% under- or overweight. A score is assigned by looking and feeling for fat in certain body areas like the chest and abdomen where it is lost or accumulates. Although a BCS can be useful in communicating degree of adiposity, it is not as helpful in predicting energy needs. This is because even for animal companions with an ideal body condition, the individual energy requirement can vary by as much as +/-50%.

For example, if a dog is 1 out of 9 then they are as little as 30% underweight. 30% is less than 50%, so the normal variation that is addressed with any recipe is already accounted for. If a dog or cat is underweight then they should be fed enough additional calories to gain 1-2% of their body weight per week. Typically this is done by entering their goal weight when using Balance It’s free recipe tool software. If an animal companion is unable to eat that much food, increasing meal frequency can be helpful so that the volume that needs to be consumed at any one meal is reduced.

You can also speak with your veterinarian about increasing the overall energy density (amount of calories per unit of volume) of the diet by increasing the percent of calories from fat (if tolerated) as well as by the selection of denser and more highly digestible foods (if appropriate). If needed weight gain is not happening then a visit with your vet is always indicated to make sure that there isn’t a medical reason that needs treatment besides a typical diet and feeding more calories.

Supplements

What are the blue specks in the powder?

Totally normal. The blue specks in the powder that sometimes can be seen are copper sulfate, a source of copper, which is an essential nutrient for your dog or cat. Sometimes if a supplement is in contact with food for several hours in the refrigerator this can lead to little bluish spots or due to the natural yellow color of B-vitamins greenish/grayish spots.

My dog or cat companion is sick. Are there special supplements they can take?

Depending on the illness that your friend has, there may be a more appropriate Balance It® supplement or product for them. Currently there are four therapeutic Balance It® supplements (Balance It® Canine K, Balance It® Canine K Plus, Balance It® Canine -Cu, and Balance It® Feline K) for patients with certain medical conditions. Free recipes using these four patented products as well as recipes using our other supplements and products for health conditions require approval from your veterinarian per the FDA.

How are the Balance It® supplements shipped?

All of our supplements are sent via UPS or the United States Postal Service (USPS) in environmentally-friendly packaging. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost during checkout.

We also ship to most international countries (please see TROUBLESHOOTING section for countries we do not ship to).

Balance It® orders are typically shipped within 48 business hours after your order is placed. US orders are usually received within 5-7 business days after they are shipped. International shipments can take up to 4-6 weeks for delivery depending on location and local postal speed.

To see the current version of our shipping policy, please visit: https://secure.balanceit.com/terms/

Why is there a best by and lot number on the supplements?

Some of the nutrients in our supplements and products can naturally degrade over time. Vitamins are slowly destroyed when they are in the presence of trace minerals. The expiration date indicates that the minimum guaranteed amount for all the nutrients is still available until that date. Because the all-in-one supplements are mixed in batches or lots, a lot number is assigned to each batch or lot mixed for tracking purposes. All manufacturers concerned with the quality and safety of their products will use a lot number for tracking (aka traceability) purposes.

How long will a bottle or pouch last?

The amount of supplement needed is unique to each animal companion and each recipe. To estimate how long a bottle will last, divide the number of grams of the supplement that is needed each day into 600 grams or 500 grams (the net weight of the Balance It® supplements). For a pouch, divide the number of grams of the supplement that is needed each day into 20 grams. The resulting figure is the number of days one bottle or pouch will last using that particular recipe.

For example, if the recipe said use 10 grams of Balance It® Canine daily, and you are using a bottle, then there would be enough supplement for 60 days (600 grams per bottle/10 grams daily = 60 days per bottle) or for a pouch there would be enough for 2 days (20 grams per pouch/10 grams daily = 2 days per pouch).

Why do the supplements come in a powder form and not a tablet?

There are two main reasons:

  1. in developing Balance It® supplements, we realized that our products would need to meet the needs of dogs that range from 2 to 100 pounds and cats that might range from 5 to 20 pounds. So we needed a better solution than tablets, which have very limited flexibility in dosing. In powder form, our products can be scooped in smaller portions to meet each furry friend’s specific needs. This is also helpful if you have different size companions that you are cooking for;
  2. tablets don't mix super well with food. In fact, many board certified veterinary nutritionists will suggest crushing tablets into a powder before adding them to a dog’s or cat’s food. So we basically just saved you a step :).
Is it normal for the powder to have an odor?

Yes. Purified amino acids such as sulfur-containing amino acids like methionine and cyst(e)ine can have a rather strong scent to humans. Animals, especially cats, actually like this odor, and it helps improve the palatability of some of our products — but the main reason these ingredients are added is to provide essential nutrients. In addition, since our vitamins come in powder form (instead of encapsulated) the vitamins’ natural scents are a little stronger.

How can the Balance It® supplement work with so many different foods, and be right for so many different types of dogs and cats?

In short, because they’ve been researched, tested, and held to the highest standard.

Davis Veterinary Medical Consulting, Inc. licenses the technology and intellectual property for Balance It® from a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition who spent thousands of hours creating the software and patented formulations. Working with software engineers, Dr. Delaney spent years refining the software and testing numerous human foods to ensure that the resulting supplements had the highest likelihood of meeting your beloved friend's individual needs.

To develop the right profile for just Balance It® Canine, almost 100,000 homemade recipes were formulated and evaluated by using this new software. With other software used at the time, it would have taken even the fastest board certified veterinary nutritionist® a minimum of 24 YEARS to formulate and evaluate that many diets. This type of technological achievement led to the submission and receipt of multiple patents. Over the years, with ongoing effort and offerings, the number of unique recipes that can be automatically and safely fortified to meet essential nutrient needs has grown from thousands to millions to billions and now trillions - yes really trillions with a “T”. In practice, this technology allows us to proudly help veterinarians, board certified veterinary nutritionists, and human companions to create over 10,000 free, custom homemade recipes everyday.

Why are Balance It® supplements better than just using human supplements?

Human supplements are just that - for humans. So they don’t have the right balance of vitamins and minerals that dogs and cats need. In addition, no human supplement that we are aware of contains all of the nutrients that Balance It® supplements provide. With that said, there are rare times where a combination of supplements designed for humans might be helpful and when that is the case we provide that option as well - all completely for free. We want your animal companion to have a safe and wholesome diet whether you buy anything from us or not. Rest assured that when you rely on Balance It® supplements that they are food (aka human) grade, and our own dedicated food facility is third party certified, registered, and licensed for human dietary supplement manufacturing.

Why are Balance It® supplements a better choice than another dog and cat multivitamin supplement?

Most dog and cat multivitamin-multimineral supplements simply aren't designed to do what the Balance It® supplements are and are feed grade.

Other dog and cat supplements are typically developed to be added to already complete and balanced commercial dog and cat food. They are not designed to make up for all the nutrient needs of a dog or cat fed a homemade diet and for good reason.

Adding a concentrated supplement like a Balance It® supplement to a commercial pet food could potentially lead to over-supplementation of nutrients and adverse health consequences and is not recommended. Knowing the potential for over-supplementation, most manufacturers of dog and cat multivitamin-multimineral supplements add lower or even trivial amounts of each nutrient they use in the product. This way, the typical human companion that gives their dog and cat supplement to their animal companion won't give enough of a vitamin or mineral to do any harm since they most likely are on a commercial pet food that already has all the vitamins and minerals that they need. You also won't see a generic recommendation on how much to give your friend based solely on body weight, because that depends on what your dog’s or cat's individual needs are and what you like to feed them.

By manufacturing food (aka human) grade supplements that also meet the even higher human dietary supplement standards, Balance It® supplements meet additional quality and safety standards. The most significant and most expensive is that every finished blend is assayed for every guaranteed essential nutrient to make sure each meets specification prior to release.

There are some ingredients in your product that aren't familiar to me, can you explain them a bit?

Of course. Here are the more commonly known sources for our ingredients:

  • INGREDIENT
  • SOURCE OF/SOURCE OF ACTIVITY OF
  • biotin
  • biotin
  • calcium carbonate
  • calcium
  • choline bitartrate
  • choline
  • d-alpha tocopherol acetate
  • vitamin E
  • L-methionine
  • methionine
  • ergocalciferol
  • vitamin D2
  • potassium iodide
  • iodine
  • ferrous sulfate
  • iron
  • folic acid
  • folic acid
  • inulin
  • prebiotic/fiber*
  • L-cyst(e)ine
  • cystine
  • L-tryptophan
  • tryptophan
  • magnesium sulfate
  • magnesium
  • phylloquinone
  • vitamin k1*
  • niacin
  • niacin
  • calcium pantothenate
  • pantothenic acid [and calcium]
  • potassium chloride
  • potassium and chloride
  • potassium citrate
  • potassium
  • powdered cellulose
  • insoluble fiber*
  • pyridoxine hydrochloride
  • vitamin B6
  • riboflavin
  • riboflavin
  • sodium bicarbonate
  • sodium
  • sodium selenite
  • Selenium [and sodium]
  • taurine
  • taurine
  • thiamine mononitrate
  • thiamine
  • tricalcium phosphate
  • calcium and phosphorus
  • vitamin A acetate
  • vitamin A
  • cyanocobalamin
  • vitamin B12
  • zinc sulfate
  • zinc

*not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog/Cat Food Nutrient Profiles; vitamin K is required for cats on high fish-containing diets

I’ve been feeding a homemade diet to my dog or cat for years without giving them any vitamins and minerals, and they don't seem to have any problems. Why should I start giving them Balance It® supplements?

Most likely your dog’s or cat’s body has been carefully conserving essential nutrients as much as possible over the years, but there unfortunately may already be problems that have developed. Thinning of the bones or osteopenia can occur and can be difficult to notice unless you see your veterinarian, and they take an x-ray or radiograph or, worse, your dog or cat breaks a bone.

Other nutrient deficiencies are much harder to test for and typically won't show up on routine blood work. The typical way potential deficiencies (and excesses) are evaluated is by analyzing the diet using formulation software with a robust food database. Unfortunately, many diets that "seem" alright can actually be grossly deficient in numerous essential minerals and vitamins. If you’re interested in seeing what a recipe looks like without supplementation, make a recipe using ourfree custom recipe tool selecting the foods you feed and then click to see the Nutrient Profile next to a passing recipe. Then you can check out the recipe with and without supplementation. It can be quite surprising to see the many deficiencies that exist without supplementation.

However surprising, it can make sense if one thinks above the natural prey that dogs and cats or their ancestors consume in the wild versus how we often or prefer to feed them. Most commonly we feed exsanguinated, eviscerated, and deboned muscle meats along with rich sources of starch. This approach results in minerals from bones, electrolytes (other important minerals) from blood, and vitamins and trace minerals from the liver at much lower concentrations than when whole prey is consumed. Unfortunately, a whole prey method of feeding has its own disadvantages as well which can include difficulty of preparation/sourcing, nutrient variability or uncertainty, foodborne pathogens, increased consumption of natural toxins filtered and “sequestered” by the prey species, and a nutrient profile more supportive of reproduction of a few litters than longevity. If you are considering a whole prey or whole food approach to feeding, we strongly recommend consulting with a board certified veterinary nutritionist® for specific guidance about the challenges, benefits, and risks.

Do the Balance It® supplements come with general use instructions?

Balance It® supplements do not come with general use instructions, because the amount used is dependent on the recipe fed. Use instructions can come from a recipe created on our website, from your veterinarian, or from a recipe created by a board certified veterinary nutritionist®.

What if I can’t find all the needed supplements designed for humans?

Most of the supplements designed for humans that we suggest as an alternative to using Balance It® supplements can be easily found at local drugstores, pharmacies or online.

Recently, due to changes in human supplement formulations, specifically the increase in vitamin D concentrations, it's become somewhat difficult to find supplements that would fit the lower concentrations of Vitamin D required for animal companions especially dogs. If you continue to have difficulty, we recommend that you contact your local pharmacist and ask if they can order the needed supplement for you. If the supplement cannot be sourced, please contact a board certified veterinary nutritionist® for a consultation. In the interim, you should not feed the recipe until all ingredients needed are available to avoid feeding a diet with essential nutrient deficiencies.

Can I return any unused supplement?

We gladly accept returns when delivered to our current Northern California location (find our address here! ). Returns that are unopened or are at least 3/4 full and postmarked within 45 days of the purchase date will receive a full refund to their credit card account. We do not pay for return shipping as all of our orders come with free or already subsidized shipping to you. Any specially requested expedited shipping cannot be refunded under any circumstances. Please include your order number and full name within the return or your refund may not be processed.

To see the current version of our returns policy, please visit:https://secure.balanceit.com/terms/

Should I worry about the temperature of the shipping truck or if the product was left outside for a while?

No The temperature reached should not result in any quality issues. Products we sell to you also do not go through a distributor, so they typically have one less journey to make.

My dog or cat is extremely picky. Are there suggestions on how to get them to eat the supplement?

Most companions readily consume the supplement even though we do not add any flavorings or palatants to our products. Rarely some dogs or cats will not eat the supplement even when slowly introduced over 5-7 days to the food and mixed well with food that they like. In those rare cases, in dogs it can be helpful to mix the supplement with a little honey or sugar syrup* (no artificial sweeteners since they might contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs). Alternatively, a savory treat like peanut butter or cheese* might help.

*You should always check with their veterinarian if your dog is not healthy to make sure that the use of honey or sugar syrup is not contraindicated as it might be with diabetes mellitus or that added salt or fat is acceptable. Treats should always be limited to 10% of daily calories or less.

In cats, mixing the supplement with the protein source specifically can be helpful as can the use of the Carnivore Blend® where an all meat/poultry/fish diet can be fed if otherwise tolerated.

Why did you reformulate your supplements to not contain “animal origin ingredients"?

We reformulated our products without “animal origin ingredients" to eliminate any concern that animal antigens might be added to the product. These changes started on February 22, 2013.

Accordingly on formulations you'll see that we no longer are using vitamin D3 that is made from lanolin or sheep's wool grease, and are switching to vitamin D2, the form found in plants/fungi. This form of vitamin D is utilized at 70% of the rate of vitamin D3 in the cat, so we adjusted the feline formulations and software accordingly.

We also switched to using calcium carbonate and/or tricalcium phosphate to avoid the use of dicalcium phosphate that may be highly processed but still derived from bone. These changes also allowed us to further optimize the formulations and to make international exportation from the USA easier.

Why isn't the expiration date longer?

Supplements are perishable, and vitamins naturally degrade with time. Also the rate they degrade is increased when in the presence of trace minerals. We account for this inherent degradation with our formulations to ensure that there are extra vitamins present when first made. Consequently, 12 months is the maximum amount of shelf-life for the safest product possible.

Can either vitamins D2 or D3 be used for cats and dogs as a source of vitamin D?

Yes. Vitamin D2 is also known as ergocalciferol and vitamin D3 is also known as cholecalciferol. Vitamin D2 is the form that is found in non-animal derived foods, like mushrooms. Vitamin D3 is the form that is found in animal meats and fats or is made from animal products, like lanolin or sheep’s wool grease.

In 2013, Balance It® shifted from using vitamin D3 to vitamin D2 to further avoid the concern of animal antigens and animal origin ingredients in its all-in-one supplements. This was especially helpful to people with concerns about the purity of the products they used in their sensitive animal companions. It also helped our international users. Many countries do not allow (or severely restrict) products with animal origin ingredients to be imported.

How can I best address my small dog's limited need for supplement and the leftover supplement that may expire?

A full bottle lasts up to one year, so rarely will you end up with a bottle expiring before your animal companion can finish it. But if that’s a concern for you, we recommend our powdered supplements in smaller pouches. These pouches are great for trial, traveling, easy-to-open and may be more convenient than buying a whole bottle.

Do your bottles or pouches contain BPA or phthalate?

No, we use HDPE for our white plastic bottles and PET for our pouches which don't use BPA. HDPE is often used to make milk jugs and toys. PET is used commonly to make water bottles.

Do I need to add taurine to my dog’s diet?

No, taurine is not an essential nutrient in dogs as it is made by dogs from the sulfur amino acids (SAAs), methionine and cyst(e)ine. The dog’s body can make ample taurine when enough SAAs are provided in their diet. Dogs also use SAAs to make other important compounds like s-adenosyl methionine also known commonly as SAMe.

The Balance It software always checks the SAA formulated concentrations(s) before passing a recipe. If the concentration(s) is/are too low, the recipe will not pass, or in the case of vegetarian dog recipes that use a legume like lentils, it will add methionine to the recipe separately (some of our dog supplements use methionine and cyst(e)ine especially those for lower protein diets). Our founder, Dr. Sean Delaney, is actually the lead researcher that established the normal taurine blood and plasma concentrations in the dog in 2003 (see S. Delaney et al. Plasma and whole blood taurine in normal dogs of varying size fed commercially prepared food J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2003 Jun;87(5-6):236-44.), so this is an area we have always been focused on and aware of since our launch in 2005. For more questions about your dog’s taurine status, we suggest speaking with your veterinarian, board certified veterinary nutritionist® and/or board certified veterinary cardiologist.

Are there other veterinary distributors that sell Balance It® products?

Yes. Balance It® products are also available through this global animal-health technology and services company: http://www.covetrus.com/

I just mixed the supplement with water. Why does it fizz/bubble?

Don’t worry, this is totally normal and doesn't affect the nutrients at all. To be more specific, some of the purified food (aka human) grade minerals we use in supplements can react with the acids and bases that are also present from nutrients like amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. Dissolving these essential nutrients in water allows them to dissolve and interact/react with each other, and the result is a classic acid-base reaction releasing a very small amount of carbon dioxide, which can cause fizz or bubbles. We generally recommend mixing the supplement directly with food instead of water, so you shouldn’t experience this too often :).

What is a “K” or “-Cu” product?

“K" products are lower in phosphorus and sodium and higher in many B-vitamins and amino acids. “-Cu” is a no copper added version of our Balance It Canine® supplement to fortify lower copper homemade recipes. They’re specially designed for specific health conditions and can only be purchased with a veterinarian’s approval per the FDA.

A special "Vet Code" you get from your veterinarian or board certified veterinary nutritionist® directly can be entered during checkout or approval can be requested via an online process that uses email or a fax number to meet this FDA requirement and purchase these products.

Homemade Recipes & Preparation

Why are the ingredient names and amounts so specific?

Your dog's or cat’s new recipe has been formulated as precisely as possible. The nutrient content of the ingredients can differ significantly by cooking procedure, cut (specific to meat), inclusion of skin (such as with poultry or potatoes), and a variety of other variables. Because of these variations, we have been as specific as possible in our instructions, helping to ensure that your companiont's diet has all the desired nutrients and intended characteristics.

Why don't the recipes have spices and seasonings?

There are a couple of reasons. First, a dog's or cat's sense of smell is far superior to ours. So adding a lot of additional flavorings would just take away from the happy sensory experience of eating freshly prepared food. Second, many seasonings are untested in dogs and cats for safety. For example, onions and garlic are toxic to dogs and cats at amounts that are well-tolerated by people. A worry would be that adding rarely-used seasonings might also pose a health risk. In short, pure, simple, and fresh is best for your animal companion.

I have two dogs, and one weighs twice as much as the other. Can I just feed twice as much of the same recipe to the bigger one?

No Because the nutrient requirements do not scale linearly, we recommend that you create a recipe for both your larger and smaller dogs separately to prevent from feeding too little or too much.

I feed my animal companion commercial pet food. Should I feed them a homemade diet instead?

Generally the answer is no. Most commercial pet foods are less expensive, more convenient, and some have undergone controlled testing. However, if you prefer to make homemade food for your animal companion, we believe as do thousands of veterinarians that we provide the best option short of an individualized consultation with a board certified veterinary nutritionist® who will create a homemade recipe following medical record review and evaluation of a diet history.

Can I use a different vegetable oil?

Generally no. Many people ask if they can use something like olive oil or coconut oil, but unfortunately, part of what makes those oils healthful for humans is related to their low concentration of the essential n-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid. Corn oil is the richest source of linoleic acid that is readily available at least in North America, so it is widely used in our recipes along with canola oil to minimize the amount of extra fat that has to be added to recipes.

In cases where corn oil will not work, walnut oil can be used as an alternative and very close substitution. Other substitutions should not be made unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian or a board certified veterinary nutritionist® as doing so may not only change the amount of essential fatty acids, but any important n-6 to n-3 fatty acid ratio. This comparison table may also be helpful:

  • FOOD
  • LINOLEIC ACID (g/Mcal per USDA Data)
  • oil, corn
  • 59.46
  • oil, walnut
  • 58.78
  • oil, cottonseed
  • 57.22
  • oil, soybean
  • 56.61
  • oil, sesame
  • 45.89
  • oil, peanut
  • 35.56
  • oil, canola
  • 21.12
  • oil, almond
  • 19.33
  • oil, flaxseed, cold pressed
  • 15.91
  • oil, safflower, high oleic (primary form sold)
  • 14.14
  • oil, olive, salad or cooking
  • 10.85
  • oil, palm
  • 10.11
  • oil, sunflower, high oleic (70% and over)
  • 4.01
  • butter, unsalted
  • 3.72
  • oil, coconut
  • 2
Is white or light/lite canned tuna safe to feed my animal companion?

Yes. Generally, restrictions on frequency and amount are placed only on human consumption. In veterinary medicine, there is currently no peer-reviewed literature to support a limit on fish ingestion including tuna consumption or recognized reports of mercury toxicity. So white and light/lite canned tuna are still fine options.

Why do you recommend a specific marine or fish oil?

In order to ensure the quality and consistency of important components found in omega-3 fatty acid rich marine oils (e.g., algal and fish oils), we do not recommend using a different product than called for in a recipe. Marine/fish oils can vary greatly in the concentration of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA & DHA (aka eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) as well as fat soluble vitamins A & D and potential bioaccumulated toxins like mercury, PCBs, and dioxins. High concentrations of vitamins A & D can lead to toxicity especially vitamin A in cats and vitamin D in dogs.

If you’re unable to find the specific product found in a recipe at your veterinarian’s practice, online, or at a local retailer, you can compare the nutrient profile of the suggested product to the label on your preferred product to see if they are comparable. It is very important that the EPA + DHA concentrations match and that vitamins A & D amounts are reported and similar.

How do I prepare or cook dry tapioca pearls?

Measure out the called-for amount of dry tapioca pearls (please note that the pearls are different than minute or instant tapioca). Measure out seven parts of water for each part of tapioca, and bring the water to a boil. Slowly pour in the tapioca pearls and stir lightly until the tapioca pearls float to the top of the water. Cover and boil on high heat for thirty minutes. After thirty minutes, remove from heat and allow to stand for an additional thirty minutes. Drain the tapioca pearls and rinse with lukewarm water.

How do I make more than one day's worth of food?

Recipes generated on our site are generally defaulted to provide the amount of calories needed for the average dog or cat for one day. This daily recipe can be divided into multiple meals to feed throughout the day. Any supplements that are called for should be evenly distributed across all meals. To make larger batches for multiple days, you can multiply the amounts of each ingredient including any supplements by the number of days one would like to feed.

As multiplying fractions can be harder to do, it often is easiest to multiply the gram amounts provided on recipes and use a kitchen gram scale (usually quite affordable) for measurement.

Alternatively, you can indicate a different feeding frequency than daily when creating the recipe, and the software will take care of all the math for you - easy!

My recipe calls for adding broth — what kind should I use?

The best broth is one made by just using water, chicken parts/bones (or other indicated species like beef), and salt and boiling them together. Any fat layer should not be used/fed (the fat layer can be best determined and removed by allowing the broth to cool in the refrigerator and skimming off the part that solidifies). Only the liquid portion that has the salt dissolved in it and has the chicken/meat flavor infused in it is used.

If a recipe calls for a specific broth like “Soup, chicken, broth or bouillon, dry, prepared with water (ID n6480), looking at the nutrient profile or nutrition facts (click on the “i” icon next to food names when selecting) reveals that it has 401 mg of sodium per 100 grams (grams = g) once prepared or 966.41 mg sodium per prepared eight fluid ounce cup. This is the equivalent of adding 2.46 g of table salt (NaCl) or just under ½ tsp (where 1 tsp of table salt equals 6 g per USDA standard reference data) to eight fluid ounces (237 mL) of water. There is likely some contribution of sodium from the chicken, but if unsalted chicken is used then it is likely non-significant. You can calculate the amount of table salt that is needed to be added to match the sodium content by dividing the reported sodium amount per unit of volume/mass by 0.39339. The resulting quotient is the mass of table salt that will need to be added to the noted volume or mass of water to provide that much sodium as table salt is 39.339% sodium. From the example above, 966.41 mg sodium/0.39339 = 2456 mg or 2.46 g of table salt.

The key concern with some specific canned broths or recipes can be the use of onions and/or garlic which can cause anemia in cats (the specific toxic doses are not clearly known). A broth that avoids those ingredients can generally be used. Note that if water is called for then broth cannot be substituted as the additional sodium intake could be a concern in cases like kidney disease, cardiac or heart disease, or hypertension (aka high blood pressure).

Our Credentials

Who created the homemade dog and cat food recipes or the free recipe tool?

The formulation software including requirements for medical conditions and recipes were created over a decade and a half by veterinarians who are board certified veterinary nutritionists, and who hold graduate degrees (MS or PhD) in nutrition. You can also head over to the About Us page to see more about our founder, Sean Delaney, BS, DVM, MS, DACVN, and his extensive experience and expertise in the world of veterinary nutrition.

Are reading materials or resources available?

Yes. Our founder, co-edited and co-authored a text book entitled, Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition, and published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2012 (it is available for purchase online including at Amazon.com in Kindle e-book form). There are also contributions in the text by many other board certified veterinary nutritionists.

Troubleshooting

My browser isn't supported. What should I do?

We currently support three browsers - Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 8+, Google Chrome, and Apple iOS Safari (for iPhone and iPad).

My credit card was declined. What happened?

Oh no! This often happens for one of two reasons.

  1. You entered the wrong credit card code (it’s the three digit pin on the back of your card or if an AmEx card the front four digit code).
  2. You entered the wrong billing address. We have separate shipping and billing address fields, so that you can ship products to the address you want. Please check that the billing address you used matches the address associated with your credit or debit card.
Is my personal information secure on your website?

Yes. We use secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate authority to enable secure e-commerce and communications for our website. For additional security, we don't store credit card information after processing orders. For automatic re-orders, all needed information is captured by our secure credit card gateway, Authorize.net which is owned by VISA. Also we never sell your personal contact information to outside parties. To see the current version of our privacy policy, please click on the link at the bottom of our front page or visit https://secure.balanceit.com/terms/

What countries do you ship to?

We ship to the United States including Puerto Rico, and Canada via UPS or USPS.

We ship internationally via UPS or USPS to ALL other countries EXCEPT the following: CUBA, GUATEMALA, IRAN, NORTH KOREA, SPAIN, SYRIA, YEMEN.

COVID-19 Update: Some shipping restrictions may apply due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We recommend that you check directly with the carrier you will choose for shipping prior to finalizing your order to confirm that they are currently shipping to your location/country. As this is a very dynamic situation, packages may be delayed or may not be delivered if the carrier you select is not currently delivering packages in your area.

*Note: shipping charges for your international order will be calculated and displayed at checkout. Your order may be subject to import duties and taxes (including VAT), which are incurred once a shipment reaches your destination country. Balance It is not responsible for these charges if they are applied and are your responsibility as the customer. To determine any fees, duties, taxes, or customs that might be due, you can contact your government's local customs authority before ordering. Our packaged products do not contain any "animal origin ingredients" in part to ease importation into countries where this may be a concern.

Expedited shipping may also be used and is available during checkout.

Are you open in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain open as we provide a vital veterinary service. Our dedicated team is fully trained and equipped to address potential pathogens including COVID-19 as part of our third party audited cGMPs and per our State of California human processed food and FDA registrations. Our custom built 10,000 sf facility and its “clean rooms" were specially designed to address and mitigate concerns of pathogens. Our formal and detailed Food Defense Plan, prerequisite programs, environmental cleaning and monitoring, and our employee personnel practices policies are all designed and implemented to ensure food remains safe. Although industry leading in many areas of sanitation, quality, and testing, we continue to improve and increase our efforts in light of the pandemic and have the majority of our team working from home while we practice social distancing onsite. Access to our facility remains restricted, and we are following current guidance from local, state, and federal public health officials. We are also actively working with our suppliers, including the world’s largest manufacturer of vitamins, to ensure we maintain adequate inventory. We also have contingencies in place to shift carriers (e.g., UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.) as needed and available. As this is a dynamic situation, we will provide updates as needed, but we remain committed and focused on helping provide essential nutrition to animal companions at this very difficult time.

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