A Few Myths About Pet Food
The best foods are those by veterinarians – False. Although they are sold in vet’s offices and may benefit some animals with health issues, for the average pet, the ingredients in these foods tell a different story. Most have high amounts of grain or grain by-products as protein sources instead of real meat. Grain by-products are a cheap source of protein, which is why they are often used. When choosing food for your pet, look for the top ingredient to be meat or meat meal. If your vet recommends food for a health issue for your pet, discuss this diet with them carefully.
Table scraps and other people foods are bad for your dog or cat – False. Healthy leftovers are great treats for your dog or cat, just choose wisely. Consider plain cooked meat (not fat), steamed veggies like beans, carrots, or sweet potato. Most dogs love certain fruits, like apple, pear, or blueberries and they make great low-calorie treats. Cats enjoy cooked fish and eggs too.
It’s okay for dogs and cats to eat each other’s food – False. Your pets have different dietary requirements and should have their own food. Cat food has higher levels of protein, fat, and taurine. This isn’t what dogs need. Cats that eat dog food are at high risk for weight gain (more carbohydrates in dog food) and can develop nutritional deficiencies. Dogs that eat cat food risk weight gain (extra fat in cat food) and even pancreatitis. No need to panic if it happens occasionally, but they do need their own cuisines.
High protein diets cause kidney failure – False. Dogs (along with cats & people) need protein, and if you don’t get enough, you take it from your muscles (not good). So protein doesn’t cause kidney failure. The jury is out for pets that already have kidney issues. Even pets with kidney problems need protein but less of it, and it’s better to choose proteins with high biologic value, like eggs, milk (plain yogurt), low-fat cheese (0% fat cottage cheese), and fish.
Pets don’t need grain – Kind of False. Dogs and cats in the wild actually eat grains in the animals they hunt (mice, rabbits, etc.). Most dogs can digest them with no problems. Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores and don’t need grains at all. Many people think that grains cause allergies in their dogs. This may be true for some dogs, but the # 1 allergen for dogs is beef, and the #2 is dairy. Of course, your pet may not have allergies, so don’t panic if your high-quality pet food has some grain in it.