Run Oskee, Run!

Run Oskee, Run!

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Pet Diet Debacle

The diet Debacle!

There is a large amount of information out there on what is the best diet for our pet's and what we should stay away from. Hopefully through this post I can give you few tips

1.) Now, I know this first statement is not what pet owners want to hear (including myself) but feeding your pet people food is the number one diet mistake owners can make in my opinion. Just like the american population, about 50% of our pet population is overweight or obese. Most of our pets are much small than humans and proportionally need a different diet. Feeding them people food can not only cause them to pack on the pounds but can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, pancreatitis and dental disease. Keeping pets in a healthy weight range will keep their joints feeling better longer, it will be easier for them to breath and decrease other health risks. Quality dog and cat foods are formulated to be well rounded. When feeding quality pets foods there is no need to supplement your pet with human foods and it is important to follow feeding recommendations on the bag. If you have questions on how much your pet should be eating please consult with your veterinarian. 

2.) Prescription Vs. Over the Counter pet foods. As a veterinarian I see prescription diets helping pets in a variety of ways, from preventing urinary stones to keeping liver and kidney values in the normal range. The prescription diets we carry are from reputable food companies that have a long history in the pet food sector, spend millions of dollars on research and follow strict guidelines when sourcing their ingredients and formulating their diets. There is not one company I choose over the other but rather I pick the food that I think will best help a pet with the problem they are having. While I do like prescription diets, pets with no issues can do well on an over the counter product. However, and this is REALLY important to remember, talk with your veterinarian on what over the counter food they would recommend for your pet!!! Many of the over the counter pet foods companies do not follow the same guidelines. Their ingredient sources are not always regulated and their diets are not always as balanced as what label portrays. Some of the companies make good marketing claims about their foods but when those foods are actually analyzed in a lab the label is often wrong or misleading. I encourage pet owners to talk with their veterinarian about the food you are feeding and if they have any recommendations for your pet.  

3.) There are commercials on TV, food ads and internet posts on how grains are bad to feed to our pets. In reality this is NOT true! Grains can be an important part of a pets diet and can provide good sources of protein, beneficial fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Dogs who are truly allergic to grains such as barley, oats, corn and wheat make up a very small percentage of the dogs that actually suffer from allergies. I do not like to eliminate grains from a pet's diet unless I know for sure it is detrimental to their health. 

4.) By product  and chicken meal does not equal low quality pet foods. By products, such as chicken by products, refer to the internal organs such as liver and kidney. These organs provide key amino acids and vital nutrients in a pet's diet. While byproducts may not sound appetizing to humans, they play a huge role in formulating a balanced diet for a pet. Chicken meal just means the water is removed. This provides a more concentrated source of protein which is healthy for your pet. 

5.)   When a pet food package says "all natural," "organic," "holistic," or even "human grade," it does not mean it is a quality pet food. These terms are, for the most part, marketing gimmicks. They are using pleasing words and fancy labels to try and trick you into thinking that the food is of good quality. 

The following links are to our clinic's website where you can listen to a video which has a good explanation about pet food.

To Greenhaven's Website

To Best Friends' website

I hope this clears some of the misconceptions up. Again if you ahve any questions please contact your veterinarian

Thanks again,
Doc E

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