Many pet foods are distributed on the market today, ranging from ingredients, nutrients, quality, and production methods. When it comes to your dog’s diet, it’s important that you’re providing them with quality foods that have nutritional value beneficial to their overall health and lifestyle. Continue reading for information on various dog food myths, facts, products, ingredients, and diets.
Myths and Facts About Dog Food
- Dogs are carnivores.
- Dogs need raw meat diet.
- Cooking destroys nutrients in dog food.
- Raw meat provides better nutrients than cooked dog foods.
- Grains are unnecessary fillers in dog food.
- Dogs are allergic to grains.
- Dogs cannot digest grains to use as energy.
- By-products are cheap, low-quality fillers used in dog food.
- Dogs are omnivores.
- Raw food diets can cause serious health risks to your pets, including foodborne illness caused by bacterial contamination from uncooked meat that can significantly impact the health of both humans and dogs.
- Grains are nutritionally valuable dog food ingredients that provide protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, B-vitamins, minerals, and readily digestible carbohydrates.
- Food allergies are rare in dogs. When food allergies are present, it is often meat proteins that your pet is allergic to.
- By-products are a common ingredient in dog foods that can provide a highly digestible and nutritious source of protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
- By-products can deliver more essential nutrients than regular muscle meat.
- Foods made with by-products are more sustainable, utilizing the nutritious components of a whole-food ingredient.
Holistic dog food focuses on the overall nutritional needs of your pet, providing quality food with natural ingredients. However, the pet food industry has accepted no legal definition of the term holistic resulting in misleading labeling on dog food products. It’s important to read the ingredients, and composition, ensuring that your pet receives the best and healthiest food options for their meals.
Now more than ever, organically grown foods are being consumed by humans and their pets. Organic dog food refers to food that is grown, harvested, and processed using all-natural ingredients. Pet foods that meet the human requirement for organic ingredients will display the organic seal on their product label within a few restrictions.
Listed below are the restrictions accompanying organic pet food labels:
- “Organic” will display on the organic seal if at least 95% of the content is organic.
- “Made with Organic” will display on the seal if at least 70% of the content is organic.
- Only the organic ingredients can be listed if less than 70% of the content is organic. If less than 70% of the content is organic, no seal will be displayed.
BARF can be identified as Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) or Bones And Raw Foods (BARF). They are diets that typically consist of various foods mimicking meals eaten by cats and dogs in the wild consisting of raw meat, grains, vegetables, and bones. Compared to conventional diets, foods consumed in a RAW/BARF diet do not have any significant benefits for your pet’s health. However, it can increase your pet’s risk of gastrointestinal problems or nutritional deficiencies and expose your pet to dangerous bacteria that can cause serious illnesses. It’s important to practice safe food handling in this diet to prevent microbes from transmitting contaminated foods to humans and pets. You should also consult one of our veterinarians or a veterinary nutritionist before starting your dog on one of these diets.
Meat is considered the clean flesh taken from slaughtered mammals limited to parts of the striated muscle, the tongue, diaphragm, heart, and esophagus. Mostly, this is what comes to mind when you think of “muscle”.
Meat meal is the product rendered from mammal tissues. The rendering process cuts and grinds the tissue into small pieces that are blended and cooked. The fat and protein are then separated, leaving a highly concentrated protein powder that is added to the food.
Meat Vs. Meal and Meat by-products
Many pet owners find it overwhelming and challenging to distinguish the benefits of meat from meat meal as a protein source in their pet’s food. Meat meal can be just as beneficial (and sometimes even more so) than whole meal. It really comes down to the quality of the original source. Meat meal is a more concentrated source of protein since it doesn’t contain whole meat’s water content, allowing it to be added to dry foods in greater quantities achieving a higher protein content than whole meat.
Corn and Grain
In the past few years, corn has been considered a low-quality filler used in pet foods and has been implicated as the culprit for food allergies in pets. However, contrary to this belief, corn is an affordable and nutritious source for your pet’s foods that provides a variety of nutrients essential for enhancing your pet’s energy and healthy skin, including:
- Amino acids
- Fatty acids
- Immune system function
These nutrients can be easily absorbed and utilized when included in well-balanced diets. Your pet is more likely to be allergic to the meat protein in their food than the corn.
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!