If you have a healthy adult pet, then we suggest first using Autobalancer EZ® via the Homemade Food tab.
Alternatively, click on Autobalancer EZ® for Vet Patients via the Homemade Food tab, and click on the applicable condition(s) and then Done.
You can then click on the View button to see the default recipe, which will provide the exact amounts for ingredients to use as well as the amount of supplement(s) needed. Use the Adjust or Customize buttons to enter body weight or desired feeding frequency.
If your pet has a condition which requires a veterinarian's permission to be viewed, you will be asked for contact information for your veterinarian when one clicks on View. You will only be able to view a recipe after your veterinarian has approved your request. If you need the recipe faster, your veterinarian may be able to use the site on your behalf as recipes can be instantly viewed by professional veterinary users. You can also view the nutrient profile for recipes by clicking on the See Nutrient Profile button. Recipes using human supplements are available when using Autobalancer EZ® for Vet Patients.
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, 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.
The specific product to use and the amount of product to use is based on specific recipes or feeding instructions.
Basing the amount of supplement needed solely on pet body weight and not also on what is being fed can lead to nutrient deficiencies and/or excess.
For foods, the amount fed should be adjusted to achieve or maintain an ideal body condition.
Generated recipes and feeding instructions provide the calculated number of days any needed Balance IT products will last.
Balance IT® products with “K" in them are specially designed for specific health conditions and can only be purchased with a veterinarian’s approval. With a veterinarian's approval you will receive a "Vet Code" that can be entered and will enable you to add "K" products to your shopping cart for purchase. If you are unsure if you need a “K" product, check with your veterinarian and/or look at your recipe. “K" products are lower in phosphorus and sodium and higher in many B-vitamins and amino acids. Most recipes do not use these products.
These recipe settings were created over the years by veterinarians who are board certified specialists in nutrition and who hold graduate degrees in nutrition.
Yes. Dr. Delaney, 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 boarded veterinary nutritionists.
This often happens for one of two reasons. They are:
1. You entered the wrong credit card code. This code is different than your credit card account number. It is generally referred to as a CVV2 by VISA, a CVC2 by MasterCard, or a CID by Discover and is the last three digits on the back of the card on the signature field. On American Express cards it is referred to as a CID like Discover, but is four digits that sit right above the beginning or end of the credit card account number on the front of the card.
2. You entered the wrong billing address for your credit card. We have separate shipping and billing address fields so that you can ship product to an address other than the address your credit card bill is sent to or is under. Please check that the billing address you used matches the address your credit card company uses as your address.
We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced, but we are trying to do our part to avoid fraudulent charges so follow industry recommendations on security.
We currently support three browsers - Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 8+, Google Chrome, and Apple iOS Safari (for iPhone and iPad). Older versions of these browsers like IE 6 are no longer supported as they do not support the capabilities we need to make the site and its software work. Other browsers like Firefox, Opera and regular Safari found on Macs may work, but we do not test our site on these less commonly used browsers so we suggest using one of the supported browsers to avoid potential problems.
We ship to the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada via UPS and/or USPS.
UNITED STATES (UPS Ground with tracking; HI & AK USPS with tracking)
PUERTO RICO (USPS with tracking)
CANADA (USPS with tracking)
As of August 12, 2017, we ship internationally via UPS Mail Innovations to ALL other countries EXCEPT the following:
NORTH KOREA, KP
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Papua New Guinea
Republic of the Congo
Saudi Arabia (may be available as of April 12, 2020 without guarantee of service)
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
We subsidize the cost of international shipping resulting in a flat rate charge of US $8 per bottle as of 10/7/2014. To determine any fees, duties, taxes, or customs that might be due, you can contact your government's local customs authority before ordering. Our bottled products do not contain any "animal origin ingredients" in part to ease importation into countries where this may be a concern (e.g., BSE).
As of August 12, 2017, the following countries’ shipments will also come with UPS tracking information:
UNITED KINGDOM (UK)
*USPS tracking may be used instead
Expedited shipping may also be used/available, contact us for details ahead of time.
UPS = United Parcel Service; USPS = United States Postal Service
The software creates a custom recipe for your pet based on your pet's species, gender (neuter status), age, body weight, and any special health condition(s). These variables tell the program what nutrient levels are appropriate for your pet as well as how many calories should be provided in the daily recipe.
The nutritional information is derived from the USDA Nutrient Database (see the website footer for the Standard Release (SR) number we are using). In addition, because the USDA does not typically evaluate for some essential nutrients for dogs and cats (e.g., chloride, choline, iodine, vitamin D, and taurine), the most common or representative foods used in the recipes or feeding instructions have been evaluated by an outside lab for these additional nutrient levels, by referencing additional published nutrient databases, and/or by relying on expert knowledge to create a more complete nutrient profile when possible.
A specific recipe is important to ensure that all nutrient requirements are met given your pet'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. In addition, independent evaluations of published home-cooked recipes for dogs and cats have shown that most recipes are deficient in one or more essential nutrient (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).
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 pet 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 Autobalancer 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 and should 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 one’s veterinarian is always indicated to make sure that there isn’t a medical reason that needs treatment besides diet and feeding more calories. If a dog or cat is overweight or obese, energy/caloric restriction is indicated, but so too is the feeding of a food that is nutrient enhanced. Nutrient enhanced foods have more nutrients per calorie to avoid deficiencies developing when less calories than are needed for weight maintenance are fed. Since there are other considerations besides just the calories fed, Balance IT software allows for one to specifically select overweight/obesity as a condition rather than relying solely on the selection of a BCS alone.
To enable additional recipe options using our Oats Blend and Potato Blend, we added these two options to the Autobalancer EZ as carbohydrate sources (please see the bottom of the blue column). Since the Autobalancer EZ was originally designed to just use the powdered supplements, it doesn't add the Oats or Potato Blends automatically even though it can be used to make millions of recipes with these two convenient products. We felt this benefit outweighed the inconvenience of having to manually add the desired Blend to one's shopping cart with two extra clicks (click the "Buy" tab then the "Buy Supplements" link then the "Add to Cart" button under the desired Oats or Potato Blend). We hope you agree.
Davis Veterinary Medical Consulting, Inc. licenses the technology and intellectual property for Balance IT® from a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and a software engineer who spent thousands of hours creating the software and 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 pet's individual needs. To develop the right levels 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 veterinary nutritionist a minimum of 24 YEARS to formulate and evaluate that many diets. This type of technological achievement led to the submission of the Balance IT® system for a patent (US patent pending and patent #CA 2606109).
Balance IT® supplements do not come with general use instructions, because the amount of supplement to give is dependent on the recipe fed, with different amounts needed even for the same pet. Use instructions can come from a recipe created on our website for FREE, from your veterinarian, or from a recipe created by a veterinary nutritionist. Balance IT Original Blends® products do come with a few recipe options right on the packaging, but far more are available via our website for FREE.
Balance IT Original Blends® Potato and Oats Blends are designed to be mixed with a raw protein source before cooking. The amount of vitamins in the Blends are increased to correct for the vitamin heat degradation that occurs with cooking. This makes these products the most convenient to prepare. Since the Oats and Potato Blends come with the needed carbohydrate source, one loses the flexibility that comes with other all-in-one supplements (i.e., Canine, Canine K, Canine K Plus, Canine -Cu, Carnivore Blend®, Feline, Feline K, and Feline -Ca) where one is not locked into using a specific carbohydrate source.
Balance IT® products that have the letter "K" in their name are designed for the nutritional management of a specific medical condition. Recipes that use these "K" products are generally lower in phosphorus and sodium and higher in many B-vitamins. These recipes may also need more purified amino acids added to them to meet needs. These "K" products are sold only through a veterinarian or a veterinarian's approval so if you are unsure if you need to use them or not contact your veterinarian or create a recipe on our site which will tell you which product(s) you need. Most pets do not need these "K" products even when one has been sent to the BalanceIT.com site by their veterinarian.
The amount of supplement needed is unique to each pet 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). The resulting figure is the number of days one bottle will last using that particular recipe. For example, if the recipe said use 10 grams of Canine daily, then there would be enough supplement for 60 days (600 grams per bottle/10 grams daily = 60 days per bottle).
The amount of Balance IT Original Blend® needed is unique to each pet and each recipe. To estimate how long a bag will last, divide the number of grams of the Blend that is needed each day into the total grams per bag (i.e., Oats Blend = 3630 g and Potato Blend = 2720 g). The resulting figure is the number of days one bag will last using that particular recipe. For example, if the recipe said use 32 grams of Oats Blend daily, then there would be enough Blend for about 113 days in one bag (3630 grams per bag/32 grams daily = 113.4 days per bag).
Depending on the illness that your pet has, there may be a more appropriate Balance IT® supplement or product for your pet. Currently there are two therapeutic Balance IT® supplements (Balance IT® Canine K and Balance IT® Feline K) that are sold only through veterinarians for pets with certain medical conditions. FREE recipes using these two products as well as recipes using our other supplements and products for health conditions require approval from your veterinarian (or must come from your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist).
No, taurine is not an essential nutrient in dogs as it is made by dogs from the sulfur amino acids (SAAs), methionine and cysteine. 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. You will see some commercially prepared foods that add taurine to address a concern that they do not contain an adequate amount of these SAAs or that the SAAs present may not be fully absorbed or that taurine that is made is being lost at a greater than normal rate with bile acids in the feces due to a higher dietary fiber intake. Thus taurine can protect against taurine deficiency which can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy (aka DCM) and heart failure. However, this is not the preferred approach to supplementation as the SAAs are used to make other things besides taurine and taurine cannot be used instead of methionine and cysteine in many/most pathways. This is also not ideal, as although taurine can be measured in the blood or plasma, these other compounds cannot be as easily. This means that adding taurine alone may mask the ability to as easily detect a significant SAA deficiency. Therefore, supplementing with methionine and possibly cysteine is preferred. Using highly digestibility, high quality animal protein as is typical in homemade food provides plenty of SAAs. The Balance IT software always checks the SAA formulated level(s) before passing a recipe. If the level(s) is/are too low, the recipe will not pass, or in the case of vegetarian dog recipes that use something like lentils, it will add methionine to the recipe separately (some of our dog supplements use methionine and cysteine especially those for lower protein diets). Our founder, Dr. Sean Delaney, is actually the lead researcher that established the normal taurine blood and plasma levels 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 example, many years ago we reduced the amount of SAAs that the software calculated came from from lentils to 50% of the amount reported by the USDA to ensure more than adequate supplementation or prevent recipes from passing that might actually be too low due to bioavailability (something with lower bioavailability may test at a lab at a higher level than what the body can actually digest/absorb especially when other factors like dietary fiber are involved). As we indicate with vegetarian dog recipes, we recommend that taurine status be measured if there is a concern of deficiency. The likelihood of deficiency is extremely low if a normal protein level, homemade diet using food grade animal protein sources is being fed (this has never been reported in the literature that we are aware of). We also recommend measuring taurine status if a diet very high in legumes (aka beans) is fed to ensure adequate bioavailability of the sulfur amino acids. Recently it may also be advisable to measure plasma levels of methionine and cyst(e)ine as there are reports of clinical signs despite a normal blood taurine level. For more questions about your dog’s taurine status, we suggest speaking with your veterinarian, veterinary nutritionist and/or veterinary cardiologist.
The blue specks in the powder are copper sulfate, a source of copper, which is an essential nutrient for your dog and/or cat. The copper in the copper sulfate gives it its beautiful blue hue. Sometimes if 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.
This is normal and doesn't affect the nutrients bioavailability if then fed (some of the "moieties", or group of atoms within the molecule that react, keep the nutrient stable over time). To be more specific, some of the purified food (aka human) grade minerals we use in supplements like the calcium carbonate (active ingredient in some common antacids), sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda), and several sulfate containing mineral salts (weak bases) can react with the acids that are also present from nutrients like amino acids (e.g., lysine monohydrochloride), minerals (e.g., potassium citrate) and vitamins (e.g., pyridoxine hydrochloride). Dissolving these essential nutrients in water allows them to dissolve and then interact/react with each other, and the result is a classic acid-base reaction releasing a very small amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas (naturally found in air we breathe and what we and animals breathe out and plants use to live and make oxygen) like in the classic science fair baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid in an aqueous solution; meaning it also provides the needed water) "volcano" reaction. Customers usually do not recognize this small and normal reaction unless they just mix the supplement with water by itself and then see some bubbling. We generally recommend mixing the supplement with the food or overall meal, so most customers do not ever recognize this happening.
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 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 folks with concerns about the purity of the products they used in their sensitive pets. It also helped our international users. Many countries do not allow (or severely restrict) products with animal origin ingredients to be imported into their country, even from industrial countries generally held in high regard, like the United States.
In cats, vitamin D2 is not utilized as efficiently as vitamin D3. Morris of UC Davis in 2002 showed that cats used vitamin D2 with an efficiency of 70% as compared to vitamin D3 (J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2002; 86(7-8):229-38.). Therefore, the Balance IT® system adjusts for this different utilization to help ensure a cat’s special needs are met. To better understand this adjustment, if one needs, say, to give the equivalent of 17.5 IU per day per cat of cholecalciferol or vitamin D3 then one needs to instead provide 25 IU per day per cat of ergocalciferol or vitamin D2 (using the equation of 17.5*(1/0.7)=25 as 70% of 25 IU is 17.5 IU).
As referenced in 2006 by the National Research Council, it has been known since 1939 that dogs utilize vitamin D2 and D3 equally well (J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1939; 95:187-194.). In that first definitive study at the University of Wisconsin, growing dogs grew normally, with radiographic (x-ray) monitoring of bone development (if developmental abnormalities appeared) and blood calcium and phosphorus levels, over a five month experimental period. Later in 1943, Morgan and Shimotori of UC Berkeley showed that the same single massive IU dose of either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 maintained blood calcium levels and vitamin D levels equivalently in growing dogs over the 180 day study (J Biol Chem. 1943; 147:189-200.). It is worth noting that in this study, it appeared that the vitamin D2 may have had a better lasting effect in the last couple of weeks compared to the vitamin D3 sources. Subsequently in 1947, Morgan with colleagues Hendricks and Freytag at UC Berkeley showed normal growth in control dogs over approximately 300 days when the same amount of vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 was fed as part of this vitamin D toxicity study (Am J Physiol. 1947; 149:319-332.). Finally the specific effects of vitamin D toxicity on the adult dog’s kidneys were studied in 1979 by Spangler, Gribble, and Lee at UC Davis. In this study, they used an overdose of vitamin D2 exclusively. This helped to further confirm that the utilization of vitamin D2 is not unique to growing dogs (Am J Vet Res. 1979; 40:73-83.). DVM Consulting, Inc. also completed a recent supportive study in two client owned dogs that was presented at the 15th Annual AAVN Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium on June 3, 2015 in Indianapolis. The following is the scientific abstract of that study:
"Serum Ionized Calcium, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and Parathyroid Hormone In Two Dogs Fed A Homemade Diet Fortified With Vitamin D2.
Since 1939, it has been known that dogs utilize vitamins D2 (D2; ergocalciferol) & D3 (D3; cholecalciferol) equally well (Arnold et al., 1939). For decades, D2 was used in dog food studies as the source of vitamin D (vit D; NRC 2006). Effects of a massive dose of D2 or D3 has also been shown to last < ~5.25 mo in dogs (Morgan et al., 1943). There has been re-emergent use of D2 in dog nutritional products to avoid animal origin ingredients. It was hypothesized that dogs on a diet fortified with D2 would maintain normal ionized calcium (iCa) & 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-D) levels. 2 healthy client-owned adult Papillons, fed a Ca & Mg replete home-cooked chicken & rice diet for 3 mo with 138.6 IU of vit D per Mcal or 101.9% of the D3 2006 NRC recommended allowance (RA) for adult maintenance, had their vit D status determined. Further analysis via formulation software (Balance IT® Autobalancer®, Davis, CA) of the diet revealed that 8.849 IU of the 138.6 IU of vit D per Mcal was from D3 found in the cooked chicken breast meat with remainder from supplemented D2 (Balance IT® Canine, Davis, CA). 5 mo prior to current diet, the 2 dogs were fed another home-cooked egg diet fortified with D2 & exclusively fed melons as treats for the last 8 mo. Previously, they never were fed a diet exceeding NRC SUL for vit D or given vit D by any other route. A 1.5 mL fasting serum sample was collected & centrifuged within 1 hr & shipped overnight on ice to Michigan State University (MSU) for analysis. The resulting iCa & 25-D were within the reference range (RR) with the following values: iCa 1.31 & 1.35 (RR 1.25-1.45 mmol/L) & 25-D 163 & 110 (RR 60-215 nmol/L). Parathyroid hormone (PTH) was below the RR for the 1st dog at 0.4 pmol/L (RR 0.5-5.8 pmol/L), while the 2nd dog had a within RR value of 1.00. This lower PTH was not considered significant given the normal iCa and 25-D by the reviewing MSU endocrinologist. These findings support that D2 can be utilized as the supplemental source of vit D in dog food to maintain normal iCa homeostasis & 25-D levels in adult dogs.
We/I thank South Davis Vet. Center for collecting & submitting the 2 blood samples & the client for approving presentation/publication.
Abstract Copyright 2015 American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN)"
Most of the human supplements we suggest as an alternative to using Balance IT® supplements can be easily found at local drugstores or pharmacies or online, if they are not in stock locally. Recently, due to changes in human supplement formulations, specifically the increase in Vitamin D levels, it's become somewhat difficult to find supplements that would fit the lower levels of Vitamin D required for pets. 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 us for assistance. In the interim, you should not feed the recipe until all ingredients are available to avoid feeding a diet with nutrient deficiencies.
All of the Balance IT® supplements are sent via UPS or the United States Postal Service (USPS) in environmentally friendly packaging if you are located in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico. Expedited shipping is possible at an additional cost by emailing us.
We also ship to most international countries (please see TROUBLESHOOTING section above for countries we do not ship to) using reduced global shipping rates (via UPS Mail Innovations) via the destination country's postal service at a flat rate of $8 per bottle as of 10/07/2014. To determine any fees, duties, taxes, or customs that might be due, you can contact your government's local customs authority before ordering. Our bottled products do not contain any "animal origin ingredients" in part to ease importation into countries where this may be a concern (e.g., BSE).
Balance IT Supplement and Original Blends orders are typically shipped within 48 business hours after your order is placed. US orders are usually received within five to seven business days after they are shipped. International shipments can take up to 4-6 weeks for delivery.
The following global animal-health technology and services company distributes Balance IT® products: http://www.covetrus.com/.
Some of the nutrients in the Balance IT® 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 and Original Blends 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 purposes. The lot number and expiration date sticker for Balance IT® Original Blends bags are in the cavity on the bottom of the bag.
Vitamin containing foods and supplements are perishable. Vitamins naturally degrade with time and the rate at which 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. These “overages" enable the vitamin minimum guarantees to be met at the end of the product’s shelf-life. Unfortunately, for some vitamins (e.g., vitamin D for dogs especially) there are safe limits to how much extra vitamin can be added without risking a nutrient excess when first made and then used. Consequently, 12 months is the maximum amount of shelf-life one can typically achieve safely and consistently. Since we take the extra step of assaying certain key nutrients after production using a third-party laboratory, the longest shelf-life we ever might have is 11 months (since it can take a month for shipping, testing, and packaging). We also make every effort to never have product ship with less than three months left on its expiration date as this ensures that the average user will use the entire bottle before it expires (the average size dog on the average recipe uses about 600 grams a month, for specific use rates please see the recipe).
Several years ago we analyzed 10,000 pets that had been entered into our software. The average dog size was 35 pounds resulting in a use rate of our bottled supplements of about one month (just an average as variation can be great depending on specific recipe). Rarely there are very small dogs that need to use so little supplement daily to meet their needs that a full bottle could last them up to a year resulting in the bottle expiring before they can finish it. Fortunately, for these customers they spend just a few cents a day and a small fraction of what 95% of our customers do. Unfortunately, it can also result in some waste. For those unique cases, we suggest speaking with one's veterinarian about whether they are able to sterilely dispense smaller amounts at their practice or through a local pharmacy that handles veterinary products. If that it isn't an option then speaking with one's veterinarian about alternative solutions for fortifying food using a combination of human supplements may be advisable.
We gladly accept returns when delivered to our current Northern California location (please see mailing address via Help > Contact Us). 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 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.
Very rarely we get calls about the supplement being in hot delivery vans during their journey to homes or sitting on a front porch for a day. The temperatures reached should not result in product quality issues. Our products also do not go through a distributor; thus, they typically have one less journey to make.
No, we use HDPE for our white plastic bottles which doesn't use BPA or phthalate. HDPE is often used to make milk jugs and toys.
There are two great reasons why we make Balance IT® as a powder.
First, tablets are great for a "one-size-fits-all" approach to nutrition. In developing Balance IT® supplements, we came to realize that our products would need to meet the needs of dogs that range from 2 to 200 pounds and cats that might range from 5 to 20 pounds. Therefore, 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 pet's specific needs. This is also helpful if you have different size pets that you are cooking for.
Second, tablets don't mix well with food. In fact, many veterinary nutritionists will suggest crushing tablets into a powder before adding them to a pet's food. This prevents animals from eating around tablets or getting a mouthful of just pills and no food. So we decided to keep the vitamins, minerals and amino acid(s) in a powder form. We think you'll find this is a much better approach than using a pill cutter and crushing tablets.
Purified amino acids such as sulfur-containing amino acids like methionine and cystine have a rather strong scent to humans. Pets, especially cats, like this odor, and it helps improve the palatability of some of our products; however, that is not why these expensive ingredients are added. They are added to provide essential amino acids that would not otherwise be present when cooking with a variety of common meats and protein sources. In addition, vitamins themselves have a strong smell to many people. Usually, this smell is masked or reduced by tabletizing and then coating the vitamin supplement. However, since we don't add any ingredients to encapsulate the vitamins and, instead, provide it in powder form, the full strength of the vitamins' odor is evident.
Most pets readily consume the supplement even though we do not add any flavorings or palatants to our products. Rarely some pets 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 honey or sugar syrup (no artificial sweeteners since they might contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs) to increase its acceptance. One should always check with their veterinarian if the pet is not healthy to make sure that the use of honey or sugar syrup is not contraindicated as it might be with diabetes mellitus. 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.
Human supplements are just that - they are for humans. As such, they do not 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. Thus, in the past, veterinary nutritionists frequently combined multiple human products together to get something with the right balance and with all the needed nutrients. Unfortunately, finding all the needed products was/is not easy and may even require the special ordering of products. Plus, inconvenient and hard to use pill cutters are frequently needed to get just the right fraction of a tablet. Even with all that extra effort, it can still cost more to buy the human products compared to the more convenient Balance IT® supplements.
Most dog and cat multivitamin-multimineral supplements simply aren't designed to do what the Balance IT® supplements are. Other dog and cat supplements are typically designed 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 amounts of each nutrient they use in the product. This way, the typical pet lover that gives the dog and cat supplement to their pet 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 can even see this difference in our packaging - we use child-resistant lids that must be used by federal law on any concentrated nutrient product. You also won't see a generic recommendation on how much to give your pet based solely on body weight, because that depends on what your pet's individual needs are and what you like to feed them.
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 Feb. 22, 2013. Accordingly on new 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 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 US easier. Please use our free online recipe generator to check if the dose you need for your recipe has changed. If you received your recipe from another source, please check with the original formulator to make sure that no change in dosing is needed.
|INGREDIENT||SOURCE OF/SOURCE OF ACTIVITY OF|
|d-alpha tocopherol acetate||vitamin E|
|folic acid||folic acid|
|[calcium] pantothenate||pantothenic acid [and calcium]|
|potassium chloride||potassium and chloride|
|pyridoxine hydrochloride||vitamin B6|
|sodium selenite||sodium and selenium|
|tricalcium phosphate||calcium and phosphorus|
|vitamin A acetate||vitamin A|
|vitamin B12 supplement||vitamin B12|
Most likely your pet has been conserving essential nutrients as much as possible over the years, but there 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 pet breaks a bone. Other nutrient deficiencies are much harder to test for and typically won't show up on routine blood work and won't be obvious until a severe problem develops as blood levels are often maintained to the detriment of the rest of the body. The typical way potential deficiencies are evaluated for is by analyzing the pet's diet, which can be performed by using the more advanced version of Balance IT® available to veterinary specialists. Surprisingly, many diets that "seem" alright are grossly deficient in numerous essential vitamins and minerals. If you are interested in seeing what a recipe looks like without supplementation, make a recipe using the Free Recipe Generator and click on the See Nutrient Profile button next to a passing recipe. In the resulting window at the top, there will be a button that you can push to toggle between showing the recipe with and without supplementation. It can be quite surprising to see the many deficiencies that exist without supplementation.
There are a couple of reasons. First, (and maybe most importantly) a dog's or cat's sense of smell is far superior to ours. Think about how sensitive it must be to find people by just smelling where they have been. Therefore, adding a lot of additional flavorings would just take away from the wonderful sensory experience of eating freshly prepared food (think about how too much pepper or perfume can be overpowering and ruin a good thing). Second, many seasonings are untested in dogs and cats for safety. For example, onions and garlic are toxic to dogs and cats at levels that are well-tolerated by people. A worry would be that adding rarely used seasonings might also pose a health risk.
No. Because the nutrient requirements do not scale linearly, we recommend that you create a recipe for both your large and small dog separately to prevent from feeding too little or too much.
Generally the answer is no. Most commercial pet foods are less expensive, more convenient, and some have undergone controlled testing. (Please see - What are the benefits and drawbacks of making homemade pet food?) However, if you prefer to make homemade food for your pet, we believe we provide the best option short of an individualized consultation with a boarded veterinary nutritionists who will create a homemade recipe for generally between $200 to $400 per recipe. (Please see the Help tab for a listing of boarded veterinary nutritionists if that is of interest.)
Generally no. Many folks wish to use something like olive oil as it is healthful. Unfortunately, part of what makes it healthful for humans is related to its 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. Other substitutions should not be made unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian or a boarded veterinary nutritionist as doing so may not only change the amount of essential fatty acids, but important n-6 to n-3 fatty acid ratios. The following comparison table may also be of interest:
|FOOD||LINOLEIC ACID (g/Mcal per USDA Data)|
|oil, flaxseed, cold pressed||15.91|
|oil, safflower, high oleic (primary form sold)||14.14|
|oil, olive, salad or cooking||10.85|
|oil, sunflower, high oleic (70% and over)||4.01|
Your pet'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 pet's diet has all the desired nutrients and intended characteristics.
Depending on the illness that your pet is suffering from, there may be dietary modifications that could aid in the management of his or her illness. Recipes for your pet's specific illness can be created by a non-veterinarian for their pet with their veterinarian's permission using our FREE recipe generator, or by a veterinarian, or by a board certified veterinary nutritionist.
If your pet doesn't like the recipe that you have created, please create another recipe that your pet prefers.
You can use the free Autobalancer EZ tools available via the Homemade Food tab, and if needed adjust the amounts of ingredients with the advanced option to edit ingredient amounts. Alternately, your current recipe can be evaluated by a board certified veterinary nutritionist (see Help tab > Work Directly With Boarded Nutritionist for a listing) as part of an individualized consultation.
All homemade pet foods must include ingredients that provide protein, essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids (additional vitamins and minerals are provided by the supplement/s). Although carbohydrates are not required for the maintenance of an adult dog or cat, they are commonly added to provide energy, fiber, and additional nutrients like B vitamins. You will notice that all of our recipes include at least one protein source. The foods used in our recipes have been specifically selected because the levels of required nutrients for dogs and cats are known or can reliably be estimated. Certain human foods should never be fed to dogs and/or cats like chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, kabocha squash, and xylitol.
If your veterinarian does not provide this service, we recommend that you contact a board certified veterinary nutritionist (see Help for a listing).
The benefits of making fresh homemade food for your pet include:
-the ability to use fresh food ingredients,
-an increased ability to select specific/desired ingredients,
-an increase in palatability,
-an increase in the food's digestibility, and
-an increased bonding experience with your pet.
The drawbacks include:
-the increased time for diet preparation,
-a potential increase in cost depending on the ingredients used, and
-and the increased risk of your pet developing a deficiency if the recipe is not followed precisely.
Some commercial foods have also undergone palatability testing, stool quality testing, digestibility testing, and/or feeding trials that help to ensure that the nutrients in the food are bioavailable and that the animal remains healthy while fed the food. Because of the nature of homemade pet foods, they cannot undergo these types of feeding trials; therefore, the fact that they have not undergone this type of testing is sometimes seen by some as an additional drawback.
Yes, you may feed a combination of commercial pet foods and homemade pet foods to your pet. However, the Balance IT® supplements should never be given on top of an exclusively commercial pet food diet. Complete and balanced commercial pet foods are already highly fortified with additional vitamins and minerals; therefore, the addition of a Balance IT® supplement is not needed and could even become harmful over time if given in high enough amounts. Therefore, Balance IT® or human supplements should only be used for the homemade portion of the diet.
No. The Balance IT® system was designed specifically to create custom feeding recommendations for individual pets. We believe that each dog and cat is unique, and thus, they have unique nutritional needs. Differences may be as simple as the amount of calories a pet needs to be fed and what that particular pet likes to eat, but even those seemingly simple differences can make a big difference in a recipe. Therefore, we have invested heavily in the belief that you will agree with us that every pet deserves a diet that is just for them.
Yes. We have free recipes for puppies and kittens. Please see vet.balance.it or the "Homemade Food" tab and then the "FREE Autobalancer EZ For Vet Patients" link.
You may prepare the food in batches and store in the freezer for up to three weeks or in the refrigerator for two to three days. One just needs to be sure not to heat the vitamins ever if a non-heatable product and only once if a heatable product (e.g., Canine Plus, Canine K Plus) is used. The non-heatable supplements contain vitamins that will be degraded to levels lower than guaranteed if heated. The heatable products have additional vitamins added to allow them to be heated one-time to a food safe temperature of 165 degrees F or 74 degrees C. Reheating heatable supplements after already cooking them once can cause vitamin degradation that has not been accounted for and lead to deficiencies. Thus, one should add heatable supplements before the last time the food will be heated (e.g., right before refrigerating a large batch but before reheating and serving a meal portion of that batch). The Oats and Potato Blends should be prepared fresh or not reheated prior to serving if previously prepared and then refrigerated or frozen.
Recipes generated on our site are generally defaulted to provide the amount of calories needed for the average pet 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, one 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 amount provided on recipes and use a kitchen gram scale (usually quite affordable) for measurement. Alternatively, one can look at the amount of calories that are initially recommended for daily feeding and multiply that value by the number of days one wishes to prepare food ahead of time. Then one uses the adjust or customize button option to enter a new higher body weight that results in the same or close to the same amount of total calories being displayed (entering new body weight automatically changes the amount of "kcal/day" changing also). Then one can make a recipe for this higher amount of calories (and for a larger pet). Unfortunately, energy needs do not scale linearly so one cannot just enter a body weight that is, say, twice as much to get a recipe for two days. If using a non-heatable supplement(s) then the supplement(s) should not be added until after any meal portion reheating is to occur. If a supplement that can be heated one-time to a food safe temperature of 165 degrees F or 74 degrees C is used, like Canine Plus or Canine K Plus, then it may be most convenient to add and mix in the supplement after any batch cooking right before placing the large batch in the refrigerator. This approach allows a meal portion to be heated before serving and the heat degradation that the vitamins experience will be accounted for. If preferred one can also just avoid reheating and add the non-heatable supplement(s) to the batch after cooking or add the heatable supplement while cooking. Then the meal portion (often it is best to divide the large batch into meal portions before freezing/refrigerating) is thawed in the refrigerator if frozen and allowed to sit on a counter top for up to 30 minutes to take the chill off before feeding.
No, there can be considerable variation in the caloric distribution (amounts of calories from protein, fat and carbohydrate) and nutrient levels between different protein, fat, and carbohydrate sources. Therefore, substitution of ingredients can result in significant changes to the diet and may lead to nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. If you wish to substitute ingredients, a new recipe must be created to ensure that the diet is not deficient and has the desired nutrient characteristics.
Measuring ingredients by volume introduces a great deal of variation. Depending on how tightly packed an item is when measured, the actual amount of ingredient added can vary drastically. Therefore, it is recommended that a kitchen gram scale be used for recipe preparation using the provided gram amounts. Using a gram scale is actually the preferred method of measurement of top chefs in much of the world, and many non-US cookbooks only provide the gram amount of each ingredient. It is also very helpful to measure in grams when making recipes for very small pets (less than 15 pounds) as measuring in fractions of, say, cups can often be too imprecise.
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.
We NEVER recommend feeding raw meat as it can potentially result in serious life-threatening infections for both pets and people (please see the comprehensive review about the risks AND benefits of raw meat–based diets at http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/full/10.2460/javma.243.11.1549).
It is now known that asymptomatic pets can shed foodborne pathogens like Salmonella sp. into their environment when fed raw meat even with the best personal and kitchen hygiene and sanitation practices (e.g., cats and dogs shed the pathogens in their feces then cats walk through their litter box and then jump onto counters with unwashed paws; dogs lick their perineum or private area that is contaminated and then lick human companion hands and/or faces as well as their own paws and then jump on shared common surfaces like furniture). This environmental contamination can then lead to people getting sick especially the immunocompromised or immunosuppressed and the young or elderly. This potential public health risk and the inherent associated liability is one that we must avoid regardless of any potential or perceived benefits given our licenses, registrations, and insurance coverage.
The following statement from the American College of Veterinary Nutrition may be of further interest:
“Raw diets, both home-prepared and commercial, have become more popular. Advocates of raw diets claim benefits ranging from improved longevity to superior oral or general health and even disease resolution (especially gastrointestinal disease). Often the benefits of providing natural enzymes and other substances that may be altered or destroyed by cooking are also cited. However, proof for these purported benefits is currently restricted to testimonials, and no published peer-reviewed studies exist to support claims made by raw diet advocates. No studies have examined differences in animals fed raw animal products to those fed any other type of diet (kibble, canned, or home cooked) with the exception of looking at the effects on digestibility. Typically raw meats (but not other uncooked foods like grains or starches) are slightly more digestible than cooked meat."
It is important to cook each ingredient as directed in the cooking instructions for home cooked recipes, as the cooking method can significantly change the level of nutrients in the cooked food. For example, boiling a food results in some loss of nutrients into the surrounding water; therefore, if the recipe instructs you to bake the ingredient and you choose to boil it, the total dietary concentration of nutrient may be significantly decreased. Always use safe handling procedures when cooking with raw meats by washing hands, preventing cross-contamination, cooking food thoroughly, and storing food properly.
The additional guidance from the AVMA at https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Raw-Pet-Foods-and-the-AVMA-Policy-FAQ.aspx may also be of interest.
The best way to measure the ingredients is on a gram scale. Standard volume measurements are included for your convenience; however, there is more room for error with this method of measurement due to variation in how tightly an ingredient can be packed.
Daily with hot soapy water. Some issues like feline chin acne have been linked to poor cleaning practices. Plastic bowls may increase this risk.
Absolutely - thanks for asking.
Yes. Our board certified veterinary nutritionists are recognized world experts in animal nutrition and are regularly interviewed at the local and national level.