Top 5 Food Myths
we all should know
Top 5 Pet Nutrition Myths
Myth #1: Dogs are carnivores and therefore should eat a raw diet
Truth: It is important to remember that our family pets are domesticated, meaning that they have been bred over many years to be adapted to live with people. These domesticated dogs are in fact omnivores, just like humans. This means their anatomy, behavior and feeding preferences allow them to be healthy and happy eating both plant and animal foods.
Feeding a dog a diet consisting of raw meat puts them at the same risk of illness as a human eating raw meat. Animal-source proteins (meats, milk, eggs) that are not fully cooked may be contaminated with many of the pathogens you are familiar with, such as E.coli, Salmonella, Clostridium, and Listeria.
Not only can our dogs become sick from this, but they can also transmit those pathogens to their owners. This can happen while they are sick, but also when they aren’t. It is called a “sub-clinical” infection, meaning they are carrying and spreading the infection, but owners are unaware because the pet is not showing signs of being sick. This can be dangerous to the owners, especially children, elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
Myth # 2: Grain-free diets are healthier for pets
Truth: Humar’conditions, such as Celiac Disease, have made the term “gluten-free” a household phrase. In recent years, a similar concept has crossed over into the pet food industry, with companies incorporating “grain-free” diets into their product lists.
In dogs, however, there are no documented medical benefits to feeding a diet without grains. Many owners have been led to believe that feeding a grain-free diet will help with allergies. Grain allergies do exist, but it is far more common for our pets to be allergic to the protein source in their diet (chicken, turkey, beef, soy, etc.), and even then an allergy to something environmental is much more common than a food allergy. In fact, many grain-free diets replace the corn or wheat with soy. A common food allergen in dogs.
A new concern is recent research that has linked grain-free diets to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).
Myth #3: Treats do not affect my pet’s health
Truth: Our dogs and cats love treats, and we love to give them! Giving treats is an important part of the bonding process between us and our pets. While giving treats is a positive thing, it is important to remember that not only are treats a source of daily calories, but every treat is not the same.
A good rule of thumb is that treats should never make up more than 10% of the day’s calories. For example, a 20 pound neutered dog at his healthy weight will need about 550 calories per day. So, this only allows for about 50 calories from treats. Beggin’ Strips, a common household treat, has about 30 calories per strip. Some of the larger sized chew bones will have over 600 calories per treat! Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s calorie requirements and treat recommendations.
Myth # 4: Corn is a filler
Truth: A “filler” is a food ingredient that does not provide any nutritional value. Corn actually has several nutritional benefits. It is a source of protein and carbohydrates, as well as antioxidants and fatty acids. It is also well-digested by our pets, even more easily digested than rice or wheat.
Myth #5: If a food label includes “by-products” it is bad for my pet?
Truth: A by-product is something that is produced during the making of another product. For example, when soybeans are processed, the by-product is vitamin E, which we know to be very beneficial to our health, as well as that of our pets. Vegetable oils are another common by-product of food processing.
The meat by-products seen on your pet’s food label include organ meats, such as liver and kidney, which have excellent nutritional value. The by-products found in pet foods do not consist of hair, horns, hooves or teeth, which is often a concern that pet owners have.