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Top 3 Pet Food Myths

Years and years of clever marketing strategies have perpetuated the greatest pet nutrition myth of all – the belief that it’s totally appropriate for a dog or cat to eat nothing but cooked, highly processed, chemically preserved kibble day after day. But in reality, the first pet food was only created to profit from by-products and ingredients deemed not fit for human consumption. Although these resulting pellets are great for convenience sake, commercial kibble is far from being biologically-appropriate for a living, breathing animal that in reality thrives on fresh meat and wholesome fruits and vegetables.

In celebration of this flood of false information, CHOW Bella presents a list of the top 3 pet food myths. 

Myth #1: Raw food is not appropriate for dogs and cats.

 

These days most people know this not to be true. But the more popular raw meat pet diets become, the more it seems the commercial pet food industry tries to convince the public otherwise. I guess we can expect more of the same until the big commercial pet food companies come out with their own raw pet foods.

In reality, raw meat is one of the best things you can do for your pet. Much the same as wild or zoo animals, a pet’s digestive system was designed to handle raw meat. That is not to say it isn’t important to follow safe-handling guidelines, much like you would for yourself. And, of course, every pet is an individual, and some might prefer cooked meat or may have a compromised immune system and unable to handle raw meat. Typically, dangerous bacteria such as salmonella are fought off in your pet’s highly acidic saliva. As an extra safe-guard, bacteria doesn’t have time to incubate when traveling through a dog or cat’s short digestive system. On a positive note, there’s a plethora of benefits that come hand-in-hand with the naturally-occurring nutrients and enzymes present in raw meat. Want some more information? Speak to one of our Certified Pet Nutrition Experts. They can help answer any questions you may have.

Myth #2: Vets are thoroughly qualified to provide nutritional advice.

 

This is a sticky subject that is guaranteed to offend some people, particularly those in the veterinary profession. Nevertheless, the harsh reality must be discussed and I encourage all pet parents to do their own research and draw their own conclusions on the matter. 

This myth is, in my opinion, false. Don’t get me wrong. Conventional veterinarians are highly qualified individuals; however, their qualifications are for conventional disease diagnosis and treatment, surgeries and conventional drug prescription. While veterinarians perform much needed services for our pets, these services should not include selling pet food, and/or administering ‘nutritional advice’. Veterinarians receive very little nutritional training during college. This is a fact. The training they do receive is often advocated by or even administered by the pet food companies. Their nutritional training comes from the inaccurate view that dogs are omnivores and can safely be maintained on a grain-based diet, even when scientific research has proven that canines and felines have no evolved need for carbohydrates, yet refined carbohydrates form the bulk of veterinarian-prescribed processed foods. Perhaps that is why pets today are allergy-prone, overweight, and suffering from a variety of ailments linked to carbohydrate-rich, processed food such as cancer, allergies, diabetes, poor dental hygiene, arthritis, seizures, inflammatory bowel disease, hyperactivity, etc. 

Veterinarians and pet owners alike need to remember that veterinarians are consultants. A pet owner consults a vet when their pet has a specific problem or need. The pet owner pays the veterinarian's wages; the veterinarian works for them. A client is perfectly within their rights to deny treatments or request that things be done differently. Furthermore, a client is perfectly within their pet ownership rights to feed their dog or cat a diet different than which the veterinarian recommends, and a client is within their rights to disregard a vet's 'nutritional advice.' 

Myth #3: Dry kibble cleans a pet’s teeth.

 

This is another myth that many pet owners (including veterinarians) believe to be true, but is totally false.

As leading holistic cat veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve points out, “Most cats don’t consistently chew dry food; they swallow it whole. Obviously, without contacting the teeth, there is zero effect on tartar accumulation. For cats who do chew dry food, whether consistently or occasionally, there is still little or no benefit. The kibbles shatter, so contact between the kibble and the teeth occurs only at the tips of the teeth.”

 

The same goes for dogs. In fact, since most commercial pet foods, including vet-prescribed foods, are loaded with high refined carbohydrate content, dry dog foods can actually increase plaque and tartar levels — and thus cause more dental problems than they supposedly prevent. When all is said and done, the only way to ensure the health of a pet’s teeth and gums is through the use of dental products designed specifically for pets. Ultimately, regular teeth brushing for both dogs and cats is the only viable way to ensure optimal pet dental health although there are many all-natural alternatives to choose from as well.