Unfortunately, when looking for your pet’s nutrition information, you’ll probably find more myths than facts. As Veterinary professionals, it’s our job to navigate through these marketing claims to find the truth for our clients and their fur babies.
Myth #1: “Corn is used as a filler”
As a society, we have been made to believe that corn is only used as a filler in pet food. Contrary to this myth, corn is actually a great source of protein, essential amino acids, fatty acids, and other nutrients. Corn is definitely a valuable component in pet food. Think about it, when you eat corn on the cob you’re more than likely going to see it the next day… this is because the shell on corn kernels is undigestible. BUT the corn in pet food is ground down and has this shell removed, revealing all the nutrients which is why you don’t see it the next day when your pet goes potty! Their body totally digests all of corns great nutrients.
Myth #2: “Meat is better than meat meal”
The way meat is marketed it definitely looks way better than meal. But in reality, your pet isn’t getting fed the most tender part of a T-bone steak. That’s for us humans! Everything that humans don’t eat on an animal, goes to our pets. Now does that REAL meat still sound as scrumptious? Meat meal is just a highly concentrated, dried, or cooked protein source. In fact, studies have shown that the protein in meat meal is higher than our T-bone steaks!
Myth #3: “By-products are bad for you”
By-products are defined as secondary products produced from the principal product. The myth that by-products are bad and unfit for human consumption is incorrect. We all eat by-products! Food like tomato pulp, chicken stock and chicken fat are considered by-products but do have major nutritional benefits! Believe it or not, Vitamin E is a by-product too! When we extract the oil from nuts and seeds, vitamin E is a by-product of that process. Modern marketing has made by-product a bad thing but think about it, when you were sick as a kid what did you eat to make you feel better? Chicken noodle soup, made from chicken stock!
Myth #4: “Grain free diets are better”
This is a big one but despite most marketing claims, grain-free diets don’t appear to offer any health benefits. Although some dogs and cats have wheat allergies, these are very rare… about less than 3%. According to veterinary nutritional scientists, there’s no advantage to feeding a grain-free diet and can actually cause severe health risks.
Myth #5: “The pet food industry won’t let anything bad in my pet’s food”
Surprisingly, there is very little regulation in the pet food industry and almost no quality control. The only time the FDA gets involved is if there is a major incident. Therefore, it’s extremely important to be properly educated about pet nutrition and what goes into our pet’s bellies.
Myth #6: “Organic pet food is healthier”
Unless the pet food has the USDA label for organic diets, it is not 100% organic. Many companies will use one organic product in the entire formula and then claim the whole bag is organic. Organic does not denote quality or research, only that some ingredients used are organic.
Myth #7: “The 1st ingredient on the bag has the most quantity than everything else”
This is actually true, but because the pet food rules are so vague, companies often manipulate the system. For example, a less reputable pet food company will include whole chicken with internal organs, bones, etc. when weighing the chicken to determine where it goes on the ingredient list… (before cutting out all the extra stuff not going into your pet’s food) A lot of companies even inject the chickens with water, so they weigh more to move it up the list of ingredients. So yes, the first ingredient on a pet food label did weigh the most out of everything else, but that’s before cutting out all the bones, organs, and taking out all the water from the meat.
At the end of the day, Veterinary professionals are faced with the important task of choosing a food that’s the right fit for the pet and the owner. Identifying nutrition myths as such, and replacing them with sound, fact-based information is a giant step toward a long and healthy life for your pet.
Did you know that Animal House offers free nutritional consultations with every exam? Schedule your food consult by following this link –> http://bit.ly/animalhousehi