Choosing a pet food for your furry family member is a huge decision. There are so many companies and products out there, where do you even begin?

Here are a couple of myths that are prevalent about pet food that we are going to bust for you.

One of the biggest myths about pet food includes animal by-products being a low quality ingredient. Animal by-products are parts of the animal other than the meats that humans normally consume. They are not allowed to include hair, horns, teeth, hooves, contents of the gastrointestinal tract, or feathers. Bones, organs and fat are a few of the things that are included which are all important nutrients . Rather than just worrying about the ingredient of animal by-product on the label you should look at the percentages of nutrients in the food. That will give you a better picture of what will be provided to your pet.

Grains are another source of controversy in pet diets. This seems to have come up a lot more recently with the surge in GI diseases caused by or made worse by the presence of gluten in our own diets. While there certainly are cases in people that removing grains from your diet helps with your GI symptoms the same has not been found in our pets. Properly cooked grains are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, amino acids and are highly digestible. There have even been some concerns that the ingredients that are substituted for grains have some link to causing heart disease in our pets. Allergies to grains can happen but are not anywhere near as common as allergies to primary protein sources.

Our third myth is that corn is low quality filler that does not provide any nutritional value and is difficult to digest. In reality the processing that corn goes through during food manufacturing makes it a highly digestible source of nutrients. It is also a cost effective way to provide these nutrients while helping to keep the cost of pet food low for consumers. There are some individuals that may react to corn as an allergen source but it is not the most common allergen. If your particular pet has been proven through an accurate elimination diet trial to have a reaction to corn then that would make it a poor ingredient source for that individual.

Finally there has been a lot of interest in RAW and BARF diets over the last several years. BARF stands for either Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods or Bones and Raw Foods. Raw diets include various meats, fruits, vegetables, bones and grains mixed together to produce a diet similar to what our pets may eat in the wild. This can be tricky as you must feed a wide variety of ingredients in order to ensure that you don’t cause any nutritional deficiencies. Raw diets also carry the hazards of bacterial contamination. E. Coli and Salmonella can be spread through uncooked meats and can cause some pretty serious consequences for the human owners. This does not stop just after preparing the food but can also be spread through contact with your pets saliva and/or feces. These bacteria can also cause issues in our pets depending on immune systems and quantity ingested. Raw meats can also spread intestinal parasites both to the pet and the owner. Since RAW diets also include bones you must also be concerned over broken teeth or the possibility of GI injury from the sharp edges.

Overall, a good quality commercial pet food will include all the nutrients that your pet needs in an easy to feed and safe form. It is usually best to stick with a brand that has been researched over many years and has the benefit of a veterinary nutritionist on staff. Since our pets are as individual as we are, there is no one food that fits all. The best food is one that your individual pet does well on with no bad side effects.

Talk to your Veterinarian Technician or your Veterinarian about what food would be best for your pet!


Article written by: Heather