Dog Food Myth Buster

By Robert J. Weiner VMD DABVP (Canine and Feline)
County Animal Hospital New City, New York

Dog food is a multi billion-dollar industry worldwide. Pet food commercials are aimed at the dog owner’s heart. Dog food marketing targets nutritional myths–unquestioned answers. Here are four myths busted:

Grain Free” Grain free does not exclude rice, which is negotiably not any better than corn or barley, for example. “Gluten free” is another term used. Celiac disease, an allergy to gluten, is extremely rare in dogs. Dogs that do have food allergies are usually allergic to meat (beef, chicken, pork) or milk protein. Less typically the wheat or grain.

“No By-products” By-products include organ meats and bone meal that are valuable sources of nutrients. A diet composed of 100% muscle meat would be unbalanced for your dog.

No Preservatives Added “Added” is the operative word. The manufacturer may not have added preservatives to the ingredients obtained but you can be sure that the ingredients were preserved. Dog food is made of protein, fat and carbohydrate. Dry dog food sits in a bag in your closet for a long time before you use it. You don’t refrigerate it or freeze it. Before you bought it, it was shelved at the store, was transported in a non-refrigerated truck and prior to that, it was at a distributor. The dating on the package is many months (at least). How long would a hamburger last in your closet?

“Guaranteed Analysis” This is a list of what the minimum % of protein and the maximum % of fat is, for example, but does not enable one to knowledgeably compare one diet to another. To do so you really need the nutritional analysis on a caloric basis. These are available from most companies by request and are published by some companies and distributed to veterinarians. Your veterinarian can calculate the number of calories your dog needs. By consulting the nutritional analysis of a given diet on a caloric basis the exact number of grams of important nutrients that your dog would actually consume can be determined.

Your veterinarian is the trained expert in canine nutrition, knows your dog’s health issues best and is the most qualified to advise you on your dog’s nutritional needs.

As published in the January issue of New City Neighbors Magazine