9 Commercial Pet Food Myths

Here are the top myths we hear from our customers.  It’s not their fault. These ideas are being spread primarily through marketing by the pet food companies, but unfortunately some of the myth-making is being done by veterinarians who don’t continue their own education on food to go beyond the limited one they get in school.  We want our customers to make informed decisions about feeding their pets. We strive to educate them with sensible information and build their confidence about natural nutrition.

 

 

  1. “Dry Food Cleans Their Teeth”
    Dogs and cats only crunch kibble enough to gulp it down, if they crunch it at all. They aren’t going to spend enough time on those little bits to have any effect on tarter building up on their teeth. In fact, the starches in dry food are just what will encourage tarter – the opposite of what the myth says. Chewing is how dogs and cats naturally keep their teeth clean. The second way for our pets is for us to help them out with regular brushing and dental care.
  2. “100% Complete & Balanced”
    Would you eat Total Cereal with milk as your sole diet? Of course not.  Commercial dry foods rely on the idea of nutritionism: promoting laboratory nutrient analysis over the importance of live, natural, whole food synergy and safety. While bags of nuggets may be able to sustain an animal, they are not providing optimal natural nutrition. The bottom line is to get out of the mindset that scooping nuggets out of a bag is all you need for a “complete” diet.
  3. “Don’t Change Foods”
    We don’t believe that you should rely on one company to decide what constitutes a healthy diet for your pet. Rotating foods regularly (at least 4 times a year) can prevent allergies and sensitivities that are due to over-exposure to specific foods, and will provide a variety of nutrient profiles for balanced health. Dogs and cats should be able to switch foods without experiencing digestive problems. If your pet can’t switch easily you should explore supplements and other ways to improve their digestive health before giving up on variety.
  4. “Grain Free Is Better”
    While dogs and cats aren’t physiologically designed to eat grains, this decent idea has become a bit of a fad, resulting in mediocre foods being made to fulfill demand. Many of these foods are still high in carbohydrates and high on the glycemic index, which is much more of a concern overall.  If you’re using grain-free dry food in the hopes of avoiding health issues, remember myth number one and go beyond the bag.
  5.  “Never Feed People Food”
    What is “people food” anyway? That entirely depends on the people. Processed foods aren’t good for anyone, but healthy, species-appropriate fresh foods are the #1 way to improve your pet’s health. Don’t give your pet your mealtime cast-offs, some of those could indeed be bad for their health (like a handful of cooked chicken skin). But don’t be afraid to give sensible bites of sensible foods (natural, fresh, whole… not sauces, fats, and sugars).  If you’re worried about begging at your dinner table simply put the food in your pet’s dish along with their meal and ignore your pet while you’re eating.
  6. Senior Food
    Too many “senior” foods lower the protein levels, which is a bad idea for animals that need help maintaining good muscle condition and energy.  It’s a myth that older animals need lower protein diets to protect their kidneys. Older animals may need more digestible protein and increased fiber, both of which can be easily added with fresh meat, eggs, and vegetables.
  7. Diet Food
    Many diet foods are low in protein and loaded with fillers that no dog or cat should be eating. Many animals put on these diets become hungrier because their body is telling them they aren’t getting the nutrients they need, and they often don’t even lose weight. Our pets shouldn’t be put on crazy crash diets anymore than we should be. After you’ve ruled out medical reasons you can do well by reducing calories a little while increasing exercise. Some of the best weight-loss stories we’ve seen have been animals switched off dry food and onto fresh raw diets that are naturally low in carbohydrates and high in whole nutrients.
  8. Prescription Diets
    Despite being sold by veterinarians most of these diets are filled with caloric place-holders that aren’t fit to be called food. They often also conform to outdated beliefs about certain health issues, and may cause other problems in the long term. If your pet truly needs a highly-specialized diet for the long-term there are many holistic veterinarians and practitioners who can design a healthy and appropriate diet that will be truly beneficial.
  9. Hypoallergenic Food
    Animals can be allergic to anything, and claiming a specific meat is “hypoallergenic” is misleading. True food allergies are rare, and food intolerance are better tested via elimination diets or a saliva test called Nutriscan. The bottom line for immune dysfunctional pets is that feeding only processed diets will never get them to optimal health.
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