From all the hype you hear on TV commercials about “proper” nutrition and helping your dog live longer to the advice you get from your likely commissioned veterinarian, many pet owners just don’t have the resources they need to make informed decisions when it comes to feeding their dogs. Is there really harm in switching dog foods? Or is there harm in not doing so? What causes allergic reactions and how can they be prevented? With the hope of answering these questions and more, today we will examine three myths about dog nutrition.
100% complete and balanced dog diets can be achieved with one bag of food.
If you actually think about this, it’s kind of funny. Would any human be able to live a healthy and balanced life on a single diet for a lifetime? No. So why would you put your dog through that? The truth about dog foods that advertise complete nutritional benefits in a bag is that they are governmentally regulated to contain the bare minimum percentages of protein, fiber, fat, etc. This means that if these minimum requirements are met, dog food companies can legally present their products as “100% complete and balanced.” What your dog actually needs is a variety of food options—different ingredients, different foods, and different meals that cater to their dietary needs.
All my dog needs to stay healthy is a diet free of corn, wheat, and soy.
This notion comes from the growing problem of pet food allergies that has more or less been caused by feeding our dogs meals made almost exclusively from these cheap and readily available ingredients. More so, however the idea that corn, wheat, and soy are the root problem of pet food allergies comes from corporate manufacturers who boast their exclusion of these ingredients. What many consumers don’t realize is that the carnivorous nature of dogs and cats makes starchy, sugary, and carbohydrate-packed foods a poor choice from the get go, regardless of the fact that we are feeding them to our pets meal after meal, day after day. The solution here is to provide your dog with meat-based, protein-packed foods. And fortunately, this is becoming more and more possible thanks to a growing movement by small, independently owned holistic and organic pet food companies who care for your pets as much as they do their own.
My vet knows all there is to know about proper pet nutrition.
We really wish this last one was the case. Unfortunately, when looking at requirements for veterinary schools, the majority of them don’t even require nutrition courses for graduation. Further, if vet students do opt to take a nutrition course as an elective, they are more than likely taught by a representative from a leading dog food corporation such as Purina or Iams.
These companies have also been known to publish textbooks on the subject, and often times they will offer commissions to veterinarians who sell their products in their own practices following graduation. This means you may be left on your own to discover the truth about offering your dog the nutritional benefits she deserves.
About the Author: Stephanie Sundheimer advocates a holistic approach to pet ownership through proper pet nutrition and well-rounded pet lifestyles. She writes on behalf of Joey’s Pet Outfitters, an organic pet supplies store, e-collar dog training facility, and one-of-a-kind dog park in Michigan.