During 15 years of running a successful family dog food store I was continually surprised at how pet parents, veterinarians, even nutritionists, (especially nutritionists), failed  to see a connection between the increase in the amount of carbohydrates used in dog food and the epidemic in overweight and obese dogs, as well as an increase in problems like food allergies, skin problems, and excessive itching.

We were in a particularly unique and advantageous position in that we saw thousands of dogs on a fairly steady basis over periods of years, knew what they were eating, and could observe its effect on their health.

We noticed a strong correlation between the amount of grain, potato, and high-glycemic carbohydrates in the food and the dogs that were overweight and obese, many of which suffered from itchy skin and other problems that were growing more common.

Most veterinarians prescribed steroids, antibiotics, or other medicines that addressed the symptoms, not the causes, and were at best temporary solutions, with some of the solutions like antibiotics making the situation even worse over time.

Allergies to protein in the food were increasing despite nutritionists and Veterinarians telling pet parents they are extremely rare; a point of view they still hold due to a lack of peer reviewed studies to explain Leaky Gut to them and show how it can be the cause of allergies to the protein in the food.

In the absence of peer reviewed articles to show a clear cause and effect and propose a possible solution, most veterinarians and nutritionists repeat the worn out refrain, “There is no proof that such and such causes such and such” and offer something for brief relief of the symptoms, that usually ends up making it worse in the long run.

Lack of ability to understand the cause of a problem does not mean the problem does not exist. Lack of peer reviewed studies to explain or validate a common sense solution that works does not mean the solution is any less valid. More and more dogs were becoming overweight and developing other problems like food allergies that they did not have an explanation for, and very few veterinarians or nutritionists were looking at the food as a possible cause despite it being the most logical place to look, certainly for a nutritionist!

It was obvious the Veterinarians and nutritionists did not have a handle on what was causing this increase in problems; but what surprised me was their reluctance to seriously consider the possibility that the increasing amount of carbohydrates in the dog food might be the source of the problem.


In the 2022 Pet Obesity Prevalence Study [1] the choices in the survey for the possible causes of overweight and obese dogs were listed as:

  • Overfeeding
  • Poor Feeding Choices
  • Biological Disorder
  • Inadequate Exercise
  • Lack of Pet Owners Willpower
  • Pet Owner 

It is interesting that none of the choices in the survey asked if they thought the ingredients or formula of the food could be one of the causes. One thing is clear, overweight is unhealthy!

The following is reprinted from “Tools & Resources” on the

Association for Pet Obesity Prevention Website

“Studies show that excess unhealthy adipose tissue can cause debilitating conditions and disease and reduce a pet’s life expectancy by an average of two years.

    • Osteoarthritis or other orthopedic diseases
    • Luxating patella (knee dislocation) due to cartilage damage
    • Type 2 diabetes (metabolic and endocrine disorders)
    • Respiratory and Heart disease
    • High blood pressure
    • Kidney disease
    • Chronic inflammation
    • Many forms of cancer – especially intra-abdominal cancers
    • Overweight and obese dogs are expected to live shorter lives than their healthy-weight counterparts.” [1]

 We saw a few thousand dogs a year and it did not take long to see a connection between overweight dogs and the amount of carbohydrates (mostly grains and potatoes) in the food they were eating.

Over a period of 4 to 12 months we noticed a tendency for dogs on a high carb diet to develop additional health problems.

The dogs eating food high in carbohydrates and low in animal protein began exhibiting skin problems usually marked by excessive itching, licking, and gnawing. They were developing hot spots, sores, hair becoming brittle, falling out, or thinning. Yeast infections in the ears and feet became more frequent. Food allergies and food intolerances were increasing and more and more dogs were being prescribed antibiotics or steroids for allergies or skin conditions.


I recognized these conditions as symptoms of Leaky Gut and Systemic Candida which I had personally suffered with for years before a doctor ahead of her time diagnosed it, confirmed it, and put me on a grain, potato, and sugar free diet to heal it, which took a few months and restored me to health.

Our customers would share their stories, the constant trips to the veterinarian, the solutions tried that never worked for long, and the misery of watching their family dog suffer.

We experimented with switching their dogs to food that was higher in animal protein and fat and lower in carbs and it made a positive difference. Unfortunately there were no dog foods at the time that were both grain and potato free.

We decided to hire an animal nutritionist and create a food that would test our theory that excess carbohydrates in the dog food, especially the high-glycemic grains and potatoes, were responsible for the epidemic of overweight dogs, and possible contributing factors to Leaky Gut and Systemic Candida.


We hired an Animal Nutritionist with a Ph.D in gut biology and 35 years experience in the dog food industry to formulate “The healthiest dog food possible in kibble form” and six months later we had what has proven over the last 15 years to be nothing less than extraordinary in every way a dog food can be.

These are the attributes of the food we have been using successfully to help dogs lose excess weight and stabilize at a healthy weight for the last 15 years and it has not needed to be changed at all.

The Balanced Calorie Diet:

  • High Protein (32% to 40%)
  • Over 90% of protein is animal sourced protein which is the natural source of Taurine for heart health. Vegetable protein does not supply Taurine.
  • Over 10% Eggs to provide all 10 essential amino acids the dog can not make and must get from food.
  • Animal Fat the same as animal protein on a calorie weighted basis.
  • Healthy carbohydrates (low glycemic carbs with resistant starch to feed the beneficial bacteria, and insoluble fiber to help prevent re-absorption of bile and fat discarded by the liver.
  • Long chain prebiotics - necessary food for the probiotics that does not feed the bad bacteria the way short chain probiotics do.
  • Special Encapsulated probiotics that do not activate prematurely the way normal probiotics do, and survive to open up in the gut where they are effective..
  • Taurine and L-Carnitine are added to be certain the heart stays strong and healthy.
  • Whole cell dried algae for a clean source of Omega 3 DHA rather than fish oil that can have heavy metals in it.
  • All natural preservatives (Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Vitamin C, Mixed tocopherols). No synthetic preservatives and no Ethoxyquin, period.
  • Digestive Enzymes to ensure complete breakdown of proteins and help prevent the development of food allergies.
  • Soluble fiber to carry bile and waste fat from the liver into the colon and prevent it from being reabsorbed.
  • Designed to keep the Gut Microbiome of 90 trillion bacteria in balance so Leaky Gut and Systemic Candida do not develop.
  • Symbiotic nutrient pairs that have a synergistic relationship are balanced precisely to each other (ie. Ca/P, Na/K, Ca/K, Zn/Cu, Na/Mg, Ca/Mg, & Fe/Cu)


Over the last 15 years this Dog Food Formula has helped thousands of dogs lose weight naturally, without the need for a low-fat diet, and maintain their optimum weight going forward.


The balanced Calorie Diet was not designed to be a diet food but because it is so well balanced, high in animal protein and fat and low in high-glycemic carbohydrates it is a very effective one because dogs can eat less of it than their daily requirements to lose weight evenly and painlessly and still feel they are getting enough nutrition and not being starved to lose weight. being fed slightly less to lose weight. Once the weight is where it needs to be it is a simple matter of feeding a little more to stabilize the weight where it is.

It is effective weight loss without starving the dog on a low-fat high carbohydrate diet.

It has proved what we suspected, that most of the overweight problems in todays dogs are due to the excess amount of carbohydrates being added to dog food - especially the high-glycemic carbs.

The balance between the three sources of nutrition (Protein, Fat, & Carbs) is crucial and far more important than just counting calories.

Every dog that switched to the BALANCED CALORIE DIET dropped weight naturally at a healthy rate and was stabilized when they achieved their ideal weight by feeding a little  more to maintain the proper weight.

Dogs on the Balanced Calorie Diet were satisfied with the equal amounts of protein, fat, and low glycemic carbs and reduced weight at a healthy even rate. As they did their energy increased and they became more active.


Below is a dry matter, calorie based pie chart of an 800 calorie/day BALANCED CALORIE DIET for a 60 pound dog that needs to lose 10 lbs. One cup of Brothers is 400 cals. Feeding rate is 2 cups a day.


Below is a dry matter, calorie based, pie chart of a low-fat diet that is also 800 calories/day. One cup of Eagle Pack Reduced Fat Dog Food is 343 Cal. Feeding rate is 2 ⅓ cups a day.

Below is a dry matter, calorie based, pie chart of a low-fat diet that is also 800 calories/day. One cup of Eagle Pack Reduced Fat Dog Food is 343 Cal. Feeding rate is 2 ⅓ cups a day.

The difference in the amount of carbs in the two diets is substantial.



  • Low-fat diets are based on the flawed premise that weight loss is simply a matter of feeding fewer calories to the dog than the dog burns in a normal day.

Usually referred to as "Calories in - Calories out”. In other words If the dog only eats 600 calories a day, but it burns 800 calories, it will lose weight.

  • It may make sense mathematically but it does not work in the real world because it is a starvation diet.

A starvation diet is hard for loving pet parents to follow when they are faced with the constant begging or whining for more food, or the sad listless behavior of a hungry dog. Or those sad eyed looks they can give that melts your heart and your resolve.

Anyone who has been on a strict diet knows how uncomfortable it is to force the body into starvation mode until it loses weight.

They also know that the tendency, once off the diet, is to regain the weight if they return to the diet that led to the weight gain to begin with.

  • Low-fat diets are based on the flawed premise that all calories are created equal when it comes to weight loss.

Nutritionists generally consider one calorie of carbohydrates to be equal to a calorie of protein or fat when it comes to dieting. This is why they reduce the fat in low-fat diets because a gram of fat has 9 calories and a gram of carbs only has 4 calories. However, because the body reacts so differently to carbohydrates than it does to protein and fat, it changes the entire dynamic of what works.

There is a big difference between how a dogs body reacts to 500 calories of meat and fat versus 500 calories of grain or potato and that difference changes everything.


High-glycemic carbs cause a spike in blood sugar which  triggers the Pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin directs the body to remove the excess blood sugar and store it as fat in the muscle tissue. Exactly the opposite of what we need if we are trying to get our dog to lose weight. When the blood sugar drops the dog feels hungry again and begs for more food.


Protein and fat DO NOT raise the blood sugar levels and therefore do not trigger the release of insulin into the system. The protein and fat is converted to glucose in an even, satisfying way and the dog does not experience hunger pangs from an insulin induced sugar crash, as they do on a low fat, high carb diet. [1]


Research shows that dogs on higher fat/protein and lower carbs diets have more energy and lower steady blood glucose levels than they do on high carb low-fat diets. [1] This increases the dogs inclination to exercise due to feeling nourished by the healthy levels of protein and fat; and the benefits of exercise for weight loss and overall health are well known. [6]

  • Finally if they go back to the food with too many carbs because they do not acknowledge that the excess carbs in that diet caused the weight gain to begin with, they will eventually be back where they started.

Written by Richard Darlington, CEO

Brothers Dog Food, llc

July 4, 2023





PREbiotics - Necessary food to nourish the beneficial gut bacteria. Ideally it is a long chain prebiotic (like those used in the ABC Diet) so it feeds the good bacteria and not the Candida Albicans and other potentially harmful bacteria.

PRObiotics - The beneficial bacteria in the gut that performs numerous essential functions without which the organism would not survive. A healthy colony can be as much as 100 trillion bacteria in the gut. Ten times more than the number of cells in the body.

POSTbiotics - Fairly recent term to describe the beneficial effect that certain carbohydrates with insoluble fiber, like peas, and highly resistant starch like Tapioca have on the system when they arrive in the colon undigested where they ferment and feed the beneficial bacteria there. The bacteria extract the available nutrients and return excess moisture to the system which results in a firm stool.

Gluconeogenesis - A trait most predominant in carnivores who are designed to eat predominantly meat and fat, by which they convert fat into glucose for the body to use as energy. Omnivores, like people, usually convert carbohydrates into glucose.

Digestive Enzymes - Enzymes used to break down the protein, fat, and carbohydrates in food to where the body can absorb them. They supplement the digestive enzymes made by the dogs pancreas which basically has a limited lifetime capacity that will eventually be depleted.

Leaky Gut - A condition where the cells that line the inside of the small intestine (Enterocytes) become damaged and allow fecal matter, including the yeast/fungus Candida Albicans to get through the damaged joints into the blood stream.

Systemic Candida - The result of the yeast/fungus Candida albicans leaking out of the gut into the blood stream where, fed by the carbohydrates in Most dog foods is grows and causes a wide variety of skin problems, itching, and misery for the dog.

Insoluble Fiber - The ability of some carbohydrates to survive the digestion process and get to the colon where they ferment and provided energy for the beneficial bacteria there.

Highly Resistant Starch - The ability of some starch to resist digestion and get to the colon where they feed the beneficial bacteria and support essential biologic functions.

High & Low Glycemic - The speed at which a carbohydrate is turned into Glucose. The high glycemic carbs cause the blood sugar levels to spike which then requires the pancreas to secrete insulin to remove the excess blood sugar and store it as fat. Low glycemic carbs do not spike the blood sugar levels and do not cause the pancreas to release insulin into the system.

The ABC Diet - A diet where the calories of Protein, Fat, and Carbs are evenly balanced between each other and additional supplements are added to create a highly effective, healthy way for a dog to regain its optimal weight and maintain it.