What is the nutrient composition of HILARY'S BLEND supplement?

The exact composition of HILARY'S BLEND supplement is a trade secret. Its composition is quite different from traditional pet supplements.

HILARY'S BLEND supplement is specifically designed, using food formulation software, to balance the home-made recipes featured in the book Complete & Balanced: 101 Healthy Home-made Meals for Dogs by Hilary Watson. The nutrient content of the supplement itself is not as important as the nutrient content of the supplement when combined with the recipes in the book. It is the supplement + foods in the recipe that the dog will consume, so it is the supplement + foods' combined nutrient content that is relevant. Each recipe in the book has a nutrition table listing 43 different nutrients on an as fed, dry matter and per 1000 kcal basis. These values can be compared to the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles, which provide the basis for making a claim of "complete and balanced" nutrition. Recipes created with the free online software at http://hilarysblend.ca also have a full nutrient profile provided under the "Nutritional Information" tab.

What are the ingredients in HILARY'S BLEND supplement?

Here is the ingredient list for HILARY'S BLEND supplement for dogs:

Chicory root extract, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, choline bitartrate, zinc sulfate, iron sulfate, vitamin E succinate, sodium chloride, magnesium oxide, manganese citrate, calcium D-pantothenate, copper sulfate, niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12, potassium iodide, vitamin D3, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), folic acid.

HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS contains the above ingredients plus vitamin C, biotin and taurine and biotin.

HILARY'S BLEND RENAL supplement contains the same ingredients as HILARY'S BLEND for dogs except it contains no phosphorus, and it contains added taurine, biotin, vitamin C, vitamin K1 and the amino acids methionine and tryptophan.

Chicory root extract is pre-biotic fibre (promotes the beneficial bacteria in the gut at the expense of harmful bacteria). The rest of the ingredients are bioavailable sources of essential vitamins and minerals (all with digestibility greater than 95%). All human-grade. This supplement meets all criteria for being sold as a human vitamin-mineral supplement. No fillers, no preservatives, no flavourings.


My pet has allergies. Can I feed HILARY'S BLEND supplement to my dog/cat?

Yes. The most common allergens for dogs are the proteins contained in meat, fish, dairy or cereal ingredients. There are no meats, fish, dairy products or cereals in HILARY'S BLEND or HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplements. The only plant ingredient in HILARY'S BLEND supplements is chicory root extract. This ingredient is an extract which is more than 75% inulin, a pre-biotic fiber. This ingredient is almost 100% carbohydrate, and contains only trace amounts of protein. All of the other ingredients in the supplement are purified sources of essential vitamins and minerals. This supplement is 100% hypoallergenic and can be safely fed to pets suffering from allergies.


My dog has cancer. Can I feed HILARY'S BLEND supplement to my dog?

Yes. Here are my general recommendations for dogs with cancer.

For cancer you want less than 25% of calories from carbs. If you look at any recipe page in my cookbook, you'll see a pie chart that has 3 wedges marked P, F and C. P = protein, F = fat, C = carb. That pie tells you where the calories are coming from in that recipe. So for cancer, you would pick any adult recipe that has a pie chart with a small "C" wedge (ie the C wedge should be less than one quarter or 25% of the pie). R12, R13, R14, R15, R18, R21, R22, R23, R24, R25 would all be good choices.

The other thing we do for cancer is we increase the omega-3 oils and reduce the omega-6 oils. Omega-3 oils are fish oils. Omega-6 oils are plant oils, for example the safflower oil in my recipes is pure omega-6 oil. You want to keep the total oils the same, but change the relative proportion increasing omega-3s and decreasing omega-6s.

So as an example, if you picked Adult 5 (R15), which is a good choice for cancer because the C wedge is small, you can see that this recipe has 8 tsp of safflower oil (omega-6 plant oil) and 2 tsp of salmon oil (omega-3 fish oil), and has an omega-6 to 3 ratio of 6.7 to 1 (listed towards the bottom of the nutrition table). You would keep the total oils the same (10 tsp) but skew it more towards omega-3s. So you could feed 5 tsp of each type of oil, or 4 tsp of safflower and 6 tsp of fish oil.

If your dog is experiencing cachexia (muscle wasting), I have a high calorie recipe specifically designed to treat cachexia. This type of recipe is not always necessary - it's only recommended if your dog starts to lose weight and muscle. That recipe is provided in my MARCH newsletter which can be downloaded here.

Alternatively, for cachexia you could also feed one of the high calorie recipes in the book (R56-R59). But only feed these high calorie recipes if you are seeing weight loss, reduced appetite or muscle loss.

If you want to offer a few extra benefits, there are a couple of extra things you could do. Tumeric and ginger are clinically proven to be helpful in people with cancer (not proven in dogs but no risk). You could add a small pinch of each to every meal. Green tea is also helpful, so you could make some green tea, let it cool and add some to each meal. Most other clinically proven ingredients for people with cancer are not healthy options for dogs (do not feed onions, garlic, grapes/wine, dark chocolate to dogs). .

My dog/cat has diabetes. Which recipes should I feed to my dog/cat?

There are two approaches that work for dogs with diabetes mellitus.

One approach is to increase soluble fibre and use carbs with low glycemic index (this is equivalent to the Hill's w/d approach). The alternative is to limit all calories from carbs, and derive most calories from protein and fat. With low carb diets, glucose enters the blood slowly as protein/fat is converted into glucose via gluconeogenesis rather than directly from the diet (this is equivalent to the Hill's m/d approach which works for both dogs and cats with diabetes). The latter approach tends to be better accepted by dogs (they prefer protein/fat recipes over carb/fibre recipes). The former approach is cheaper (vegetarian recipes are cheaper than protein/fat recipes). Both approaches work equally well from a nutritional standpoint, so it's really the owner's choice.

In the case of the w/d approach, vegetarian diabetic recipes R69 and R70 in my dog cookbook are the recommended choices.

In the case of the m/d approach, recipe choices are based on the ME pie charts on each recipe page. You'll note that the pies on each page have 3 wedges, marked P (protein), F (fat) and C (carb). This pie tells you where the calories are coming from in that recipe. So for the m/d approach, you would pick any Adult recipe with a small "C" wedge, so for example R14 and R15 would be good choices.

If the dog has concurrent pancreatitis or gastroenteritis and needs a low fat recipe, recipe R87 is the best choice. If you need to limit calories from carbs (for diabetes) and lower fat as well, that leaves protein as the primary source of calories. R87 is low in both fat and carbs, getting most calories from protein.

Almost all of the recipes in my cat cookbook are suitable for diabetic cats. Almost all of my cat recipes are low in carbs and high in protein because I believe this is the best approach for all cats. Consult the table on page 72 in the cat cookbook for more info, or follow the above guidelines on picking a low carb recipe from the book.

Note changing the diet of any diabetic pet may alter the petís insulin requirements (insulin requirements often drop when switching from commercial kibble to a home-made recipe) so care should be taken in making diet changes. Consult your veterinarian. It may be advisable to do a glucose curve to determine insulin needs.

My dog has diarrhea/soft stools. Which recipes should I feed to my dog?

Dogs with soft stools are generally not digesting their food well. For these dogs, low fat recipes tend to work best. There are several low fat recipes in the cookbook. These include R85 (a simple low fat chicken/rice recipe that works well in acute cases), R86 (which works well for chronic cases), R87 (a high protein, low carb recipe that works well for lymphangectasia, protein losing enteropathy or diabetic dogs needing low fat), R88 and R89 (which contain more fruits/veggies), R63 and R64 (which are both low fat and low oxalate recipes which can be fed to any dog but are designed for dogs with at risk of oxalate bladder stones who need a low fat recipe) and finally R84 (a low fat limited antigen recipe based on goat/potato).

I also recommend digestive enzymes for any dogs with loose stools or large stools, or dogs who are underweight and need to gain weight or dogs with pancreatitis or exocrine pancreatic deficiency. Digestive enzymes are not probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria. Enzymes are molecules which are naturally produced by the pancreas and intestinal cells that break down large food molecules into smaller molecules that can be more easily absorbed into the body. I have developed a digestive enzyme supplement for dogs and cats called Aurion Digest-7, which is sold through veterinary clinics. More information here.

My dog/cat has urinary tract disease (bladder stones). Which recipes should I feed to my dog/cat?

For cats with urinary tract disease, please refer to chapter 10 of my cat cookbook. The subject of urinary tract health is covered in detail along with recipe recommendations for the prevention and treatment of urolithiasis in cats. Some of the information below is also relevant to cats.

About 85% of struvites in dogs are caused by UTI and controlling the urinary infection will prevent a recurrence. About 80% of struvites in cats are ďidiopathicĒ meaning there is no obvious cause. These cases cannot be cured with antibiotics.

If a pet is being fed a home-made or raw diet, itís important that the recipe be balanced. Feeding an unbalanced home-made or raw recipe can lead to struvites. Since calcium and phosphorus compete for uptake from the gut, too much phosphorus relative to calcium in a food results in too much phosphorus being absorbed from the gut. The excess phosphorus is then excreted in urine. Struvites are composed of magnesium-ammonium-phosphate. Excess phosphorus in conjunction with high protein intake can therefore drive struvite production. In this case, changing to a properly balanced recipe will generally correct the problem.

The commercial struvite diets reduce struvite risk by strongly acidifying urine. There are no human foods that will acidify to the same degree. There is no recipe in my cookbook that will acidify to the same degree as the commercial veterinary acidifying kibbles.

However, feeding home-made is a lower risk for all crystals because of the higher moisture content of home-made foods. By adding extra water to every meal, owners can further lower the risk of crystals of any type. In most cases, preventing UTI along with feeding a properly balanced home-made recipe with extra water added to maintain a dilute urine (SG < 1.030) will prevent recurrence of struvite crystals and uroliths. It is not possible to formulate a home-made recipe that is acidifying to the degree that it achieves struvite dissolution.

The second type of urinary stone is calcium oxalate. Certain human foods are extremely high in oxalate (for example peanut butter, sweet potato, spinach etc). There are low oxalate recipes in the dog cookbook (R61-64) and in the cat cookbook (R96-101). As well, please refer to the tables of high risk foods on page 48 of the dog cookbook or page 67 of the cat cookbook.

Again, with any type of bladder crystals, moisture is your friend. Feed extra water with every meal, and/or provide liquid treats (greatly diluted broth, milk, juice etc) between meals to keep urine dilute. Have your veterinarian monitor your petís urine for specific gravity, UTI and crystals on a regular basis.


Can I use HILARY'S BLEND supplement with my own home-made recipes?

Yes, depending on the recipe itself. Obviously no supplement can make any collection of foods into a balanced recipe, but most reasonable recipes can be balanced with Hilary's Blend supplement. HILARY'S BLEND supplement is specifically designed, using food formulation software, to balance the home-made recipes featured in the book Complete & Balanced: 101 Healthy Home-made Meals for Dogs by Hilary Watson. This supplement can be fed in conjunction with the recipes in this book. You can also formulate your own balanced recipes using the free online software at http://hilarysblend.ca For more info on how to use the software, refer to Evaluating Your Own Recipe (pdf).


How are your recipes formulated?

Commercial pet food companies use food formulation software to formulate complete and balanced dry (kibble) and canned diets. There are a number of different software programs available. Over the past 20 years, I have personally used Brill, Genesis and Winfeed. Brill is the program used by most pet food and livestock feed companies. It is a very versatile program that is particularly useful for least-cost formulating. Genesis is the software used by most human food companies (ie Heinz, Kraft etc). It is used to produce the nutritional labels that appear on human food products. For the recipes in my book, I used Winfeed, which is a software program developed in the UK. I use Winfeed for both home-made recipe formulation and for formulating commercial kibble recipes. I prefer this software because it allows me to do stochastic formulation. Stochastic formulation is based not just on the mean nutrient content of the ingredients but also on their standard deviations. This allows for much greater accuracy in predicting the nutrient content of the final recipe.

Food formulation software works as follows: potential ingredients are entered into a database. This database includes all nutrients of interest, for example all the essential nutrients defined by AAFCO, as well as non-essential nutrients, for example antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids etc. Targets can be set for the final recipe (ie AAFCO Nutrient Requirements for dogs). The software can then be used to generate a "complete and balanced" recipe. Of course, it's a little more complicated than that, but in fact, the process is the same whether you are developing complete and balanced kibble or complete and balanced home-made recipes. The only difference is the ingredients contained in the database.

I have been formulating complete and balanced pet foods for more than three decades. I created my first cat food recipe in 1987 and have created hundreds of recipes since then. I earned a living as a pet nutrition consultant formulating recipes for pet food companies, both traditional kibble and also raw pet food companies, who were interested in selling complete and balanced recipes. If you want the best recipes delivering the highest quality nutrition, you should only trust a qualified and experienced pet nutritionist to develop recipes for your dog.


Can I mix home-made recipes with dog kibble?

Yes. If you mix a "complete and balanced" kibble with a "complete and balanced" home-made recipe, the mixture will deliver "complete and balanced" nutrition. Owners who wish to add some fresh human foods to their dog's regular kibble diet can easily do this using the recipes in the book.

Owners should make up an entire home-made recipe as per the instructions in the book (including HILARY'S BLEND supplement), to yield a kilogram of food. Then that kilogram of home-made food can be mixed with kibble in whatever proportion the owner wishes. Make sure to reduce the amount of kibble accordingly. For example, an owner could feed kibble at half the usual serving plus a home-made recipe at half the recommended feeding and this would provide the dog with a complete and balanced meal.

Improving the nutrition of your dog is not an all-or-nothing thing. If you prepare one meal/week using human food ingredients, you will improve the health of your dog. If you substitute 1/10th of your dog's calories from kibble with the same calories from a complete and balanced home-prepared meal, you will improve the health of your dog. Obviously, the more meals you prepare yourself, the greater the benefit to the dog, but this way of feeding doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. You can derive great benefits from small changes.


How much HILARY'S BLEND supplement should I add to my pet's home-made food?

HILARY'S BLEND supplement is not added per kg of pet body weight. HILARY'S BLEND supplement is designed to balance the nutrient content of human foods (raw and/or cooked) so the amount to add depends on the foods in the recipe.  Each food has a unique nutrient profile so every recipe has a unique nutrient content. The supplement is typically in my recipes at a rate of 1.5-2% (15-20g per kilogram of prepared food).  You can use my online software to determine how much supplement needs to be added to your own recipe to properly balance it.  Please follow the instruction here Tips for Evaluating Your Own Recipe (pdf) to determine how much supplement to add to your recipe.


I feed commercial raw pet food. Can I use HILARY'S BLEND supplement to balance my pet's food?

If you're feeding raw food that you are making from scratch using fresh ingredients, HILARY'S BLEND® supplement can probably balance your all-raw recipes.  Please follow the instructions in this pdf to determine how much supplement to add to balance your recipe.   The supplement inclusion rate depends on the foods in your recipe because the supplement is balancing the nutrients in the foods in your recipe.

If you are feeding a commercial raw food that contains bone, HILARY'S BLEND supplement will not balance this food. No supplement can balance raw pet foods that contain bone. These foods are not complete and balanced and no supplement can make them complete and balanced. For more information on feeding bone, please refer to this Raw food, bone and HILARY'S BLEND supplement (pdf).


What is the shelf life of HILARY'S BLEND supplement?

Because the supplement contains only purified human grade ingredients, and the carrier is an extract, the product has a very long shelf life. If it is properly stored at room temperature, it retains full potency for up to 3 years from the date of bottling. Of course, we turnover our stock far more frequently (ie every 1-3 months) so the supplement sold is always fresh. Each bottle has the expiry date printed on it. The expiry is written in black ink on the jar itself above the label.


Where can I buy HILARY'S BLEND supplement and/or recipe book?

HILARY'S BLEND supplements and the cookbooks are all available through veterinary clinics across Canada. All veterinarians in Canada can order my books and supplements from CDMV, Veterinary Purchasing, WDDC and AVP. Veterinary order codes are found here. If your veterinarian does not currently carry the supplement, you can also buy directly from the HILARY'S BLEND Webstore.

My recipe book and supplement are not sold in pet food stores or grocery stores.


What kind of quality control do you have?

HILARY'S BLEND supplement is produced by a human pharmaceutical facility in Canada. Ingredients are not sourced from Asia (no ingredients from China or India in my products). Human food facilities have much higher quality control standards than pet food companies (see explanation below regarding human food standards). Any product being produced for human consumption must meet government requirements for ingredient quality and for controlled blending and packaging. HILARY'S BLEND supplement is a human food product produced under the highest quality control standards.

These standards have 4 components:

1) First, all ingredients to be used in HILARY'S BLEND supplement are quarantined upon their arrival at the pharmaceutical company. They are each analyzed for potency and purity before they are released from quarantine for use in the supplement.

2) Second, the blended supplement is quarantined prior to being bottled. The blended mix is tested for nutrient content to ensure that it meets nutrient specifications. This testing is in place to catch mixing errors or equipment failures. Once it has passed this analysis, it is then bottled.

3) Third, a few bottles are randomly sampled from each run and tested for their nutrient content, again to ensure that they meet nutrient specifications.

4) Finally, several bottles from each run are retained by both the pharmaceutical company and by HW Veterinary Nutrition Inc. to ensure that samples are available from every product run should we receive any customer complaints.


Can you produce custom home-made recipes for my dog?

I am no longer able to offer this service. However, my free online software allows owners to create their own home-made recipe balanced with HILARY'S BLEND supplements. For more information, refer to these pdfs: Creating new recipes from scratch and Evaluating Your Own Recipe.


Can I make large batches and freeze what I don't feed right away?

Yes. The supplement is stable frozen and thawed. Make larger batches by doubling or tripling all ingredients, including the supplement. Put into daily feeding portions. Thaw frozen food in the fridge, then add warm water to take the chill off before serving. Microwaving is not recommended as overheating can damage some vitamins.


Why is HILARY'S BLEND supplement more expensive than some other pet supplements?

When comparing prices, it's important to remember 4 things about HILARY'S BLEND supplement:
1) It is a human food product.
2) It is 100% pharmaceutical grade (not nutraceutical grade).
3) It is 100% active (ie it contains no fillers).

4) It is much more concentrated than most supplements.

1) HILARY'S BLEND supplement is a human food product. The term "human grade" can be misleading. Human grade does not just apply to the source of an ingredient, but also to the entire supply chain. Obviously human grade ingredients must be sourced from human grade suppliers. However, they must also be transported in trucks that are exclusively used to transport human foods. They must be warehoused in warehouses exclusively designated for human foods. They must be blended and packaged in certified human food facilities. If a "human grade" ingredient leaves the human food supply chain (is transported in a non certified truck for example), it is no longer considered human grade. It cannot re-enter the human food supply chain and it can no longer be sold as fit for human consumption. In other words, if a pet food company buys a "human grade" ingredient, then brings it into its pet food facility, that ingredient is no longer considered human grade. Pet food companies often claim that their products contain human grade ingredients. Typically this means that they have purchased some of their ingredients from human food suppliers, but this does NOT mean that their pet foods are fit for human consumption.

Human grade supplements typically cost 5 to 10 times more than the equivalent supplement in pet grade. This increased cost is not just due to higher priced ingredients. There is a significant cost associated with the more stringent QA requirements for human foods. Pet food companies are subject to far fewer regulations or inspections than human food facilities.

HILARY'S BLEND supplement is 100% fit for human consumption. It contains 100% human grade ingredients that were transported by human food trucks, warehoused in human food facilities, and blended and packaged in a government regulated human food facility. Its ingredients are similar in quality to those found in name-brand human multi-vitamins such as Centrum®, One-a-Day® or Flintstone's®. HILARY'S BLEND supplement meets all government requirements for being sold as a human supplement in a grocery or drug store.


2) HILARY'S BLEND supplement contains only ingredients that are pharmaceutical grade. The pharmaceutical industry in Canada is highly regulated. The nutraceutical industry is not nearly as regulated as the pharmaceutical industry. Using only pharmaceutical grade ingredients ensure that each ingredient is tested for purity and potency before it is used in my supplement. You can rest assured that the quality and safety of my supplement is guaranteed because of the very high quality control standards that apply to the human pharmaceutical industry.

3) HILARY'S BLEND supplement contains no fillers. It is 100% active ingredients. Most pet supplements contain fillers or flavor enhancers. Many human supplements also contain fillers. Read the label and check the ingredient list. The first ingredient in HILARY'S BLEND supplement is chicory root extract, an expensive extract which is more than 75% pre-biotic fiber. Following chicory root extract on the ingredient list are 20 bioavailable purified sources of 20 essential vitamins and minerals. There are no fillers in this supplement. Every ingredient serves a purpose and actively contributes to the health of the dog. Check the ingredient list of competitive products. Most contain inexpensive fillers and carriers, such as rice hulls or cellulose which are both insoluble fibre that have no nutritional value. Some pet supplements are up to 95% filler.

4) HILARY'S BLEND supplement is more concentrated than most supplements (see chart below for a few examples). 15-20 grams of HILARY'S BLEND supplement makes about a kilogram of home-made dog food (1.5-2% inclusion rate). A 350g bottle will make approximately 20 kilograms of food which would last a 40lb dog approximately a month. The vitamin and mineral levels in HILARY'S BLEND supplement are very different from those of other vitamin mineral supplements. Commercial vitamin and mineral pet supplements are intended for pets being fed commercial pet foods. Virtually all commercial pet foods are formulated to meet AAFCO minimum nutrient guidelines, so they already contain all essential vitamins and minerals that a dog needs. Because many minerals and some vitamins can be toxic at high intakes, pet supplements designed to be fed in association with complete and balanced commercial pet foods must contain low enough levels of these nutrients to be safe when fed with any complete and balanced commercial pet food. For this reason, they have relatively low concentrations of most vitamins and minerals. In fact, some pet supplements are up to 95% filler. Read the ingredient list to check for fillers.