Pet Food Myths

There is a huge list of misconceptions circulating today about what makes a pet food “Good” or “Bad”. In order to provide the best possible nutrition for your pets and help them live a long and healthy life, they need adequate nutrition. This means a pet food that has been formulated and tested for the entire life of the pet, not just one that looks good on paper. A good pet food company follows AAFCO guidelines and is formulated by certified nutritionists. Anyone can make a pet food and package it and get a celebrity to endorse it. That does not mean it is actually healthy for your pet. The only statement that matters is one from the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) was formed in 1909 to establish a framework for uniform regulation of the feed industry. Although not a government agency, AAFCO operates within the guidelines of federal and state legislation including laws administered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). AAFCO establishes standards or models for regulations aimed at ensuring that manufacturers provide clear, accurate, and consistent information about animal feed, including pet food. For more information see www.aafco.org

Myth #1 “Pet foods should be grain-free”

Properly processed grains provide much needed nutrition by supplying carbohydrates for energy and sparing the body from using protein so it can be used to maintain/build muscle. Grains contain fiber to aid in digestion & essential fatty acids to help keep skin and coat healthy.

Myth #2 “Raw food diet is the most natural and best diet”

Feeding raw meat & poultry items can expose your pet and your family to harmful bacteria and microorganisms such as salmonella. Salmonella can even be expelled in your pets feces if they are exposed. Offering bones can cause broken teeth. Small chunks can be swallowed and cause a blockage or tears in the stomach or intestines. When feeding raw, you must maintain a complete and balanced diet to avoid your pet becoming ill due to vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Myth #3 “Gluten-free diets are healthier”

Gluten-induced disease or celiac disease is extremely rare in dogs just as with people. Studies have shown that pets that do have celiac disease are reacting to proteins in rye, wheat or barley, not corn gluten which does not cause any GI symptoms even in pets with this medical condition. Gluten is an excellent source of protein and is highly digestable, making it an important ingredient in a balanced diet.

Myth #4 “Animal digest is a poor-quality ingredient”

Properly processed grains provide much needed nutrition by supplying carbohydrates for energy and sparing the body from using protein so it can be used to maintain/build muscle. Grains contain fiber to aid in digestion & essential fatty acids to help keep skin and coat healthy.The word “digest” in “animal digest” is referring to the digestive process used in production, NOT the ingredients. Animal digest provides an extremely palatable source of protein that is used to flavor dry kibble.

Myth #5 “Wheat is a common allergy in pets”

It is estimated that only 10% of allergic skin disease in pets is actually caused by diet. The more likely culprits are flea allergy and environmental allergens such as mold, dust mites and pollens. Proteins such as beef and dairy products are the more common food allergies dogs and cats encounter. The only way to properly diagnose a pet with food allergies is to do an elmination diet trial with your veterinarian.

Myth #6 “Corn is a filler that causes allergies”

Corn offers a good source of protein, carbohydrates and fatty acids in pet diets as well as a large amount of antioxidants like vitamin E & beta-carotene. Corn gluten meal is very easily digestable. Corn is not on the list of most common food allergies. Proteins like beef and dairy products are most likely.

Myth #7 “Natural, organic & holistic are all the same”

“Natural” means the ingredient or ingredients are sources that have not been chemically synthetically processed. This term is defined by AAFCO. “Organic” is defined and regulated by the USDA (US Dept of Agriculture) and refers to the way the crop or animals were raised/handled. Crops must be on land that has been pesticide free for 3 years. Livestock is organic fed and not given antibiotics or hormones. “Holistic” is a term that is not defined or regulated by any organization, in regards to pet food.

Myth #8 “By-products are low-quality ingredients”

A by-products is any ingredient that is left over or produced when something else is made. Any by-product in pet foods must meet the standards set by AAFCO and come from clean livestock parts other than meat, like kidneys, liver and organs. By-products can not be feathers, hair, hide, hooves, intestinal contents, etc… By-products are an excellent source of nutrients such as protein, minerals, vitamins, calcium, and more.

If you have any questions regarding any of this information, please ask one of our staff members. If you are unsure of the food you are feeding your pet, please ask. Our technicians and doctors will be happy to go over a list of what is actually considered a premium pet food formulated with your pets’ optimal health in mind versus what is formulated with marketing in mind.

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Regarding COVID-19
UPDATE June 1, 2021:

Due to the decrease in current Covid-19 infections and deaths in this area and the increase in vaccinated people, we are pleased to announce that as of June 1, 2021, we will start allowing clients to come inside with their pets on a limited basis.

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