If you ask a group of people basic questions about pet food such as “what kind of foods are healthiest?” and “Is expensive food the best food?” or “can my cat have raw meat?” etc., there will be a wide variety of answers. Similarly, there are also plenty of beliefs people have about pet food products that are widely based on misleading marketing schemes. Here is a list of the top ten fallacies most people assume about pet food.
Top 10 Pet Food Myths
- Feeding animals raw bones is dangerous. Because humans can get diseases like salmonella from raw poultry, many believe that raw foods are detrimental for cats and dogs. However, in no circumstance do wild cats and dogs eat anything but raw meat, bones, flesh and skin. Whole products are much healthier than heavily processed foods like kibbles, dog biscuits and treats that have raw bone as a minor additive ingredient rather than using it as a stand-alone substance.
- Table scraps are bad for dogs and cats. Plain grilled chicken, duck, turkey, beef, and pork are all superior sources of protein compared to many of the “treats” and canned items sold in your standard pet-food mart. A health-conscious mother would not feed her family rancid meats, and over-processed o recycled table oils, and starches, yet these elements are routinely found in mainstream pet foods. We offer lists of human foods which are poisonous foods to pets, as well as guidelines about table scraps and what kinds of foods you should feed your pet. Treating your cat or dog to clean leftovers can provide a healthful snack if varied and given in moderation.
- Most diseases are inherited (and are not caused by poor nutrition). This is false, as it is quite common for vets to link organ diseases and failures to factors such as poor dental hygiene and nutritional imbalance. The abundance of sugar, alternative sweeteners, artificial flavoring, fillers, and over-processed starches can do plenty of damage to an animal’s overall health.
Note: Many degenerative diseases have only increased with the mass production of modern processed foods.
- Feeding dogs and cats the same food products continually is the best way to maintain a consistently stable diet. Many people believe once you find a pet food product that works, or that the pet seems to like, you should just stick to it for life. This is a poor choice, since dogs and cats run the risk of developing food allergies if they stay on a one-product-only diet. Rotating products not only brings about better balance in the cat of dog’s nutrition, but it also helps them maintain a healthy lifestyle long term.
- All pet food allergies can be solved by feeding the animal only hypoallergenic food. The more broken down (and digestible) pet food is, the easier it is on the pet’s body. While hypoallergenic foods might assist animals with genuine allergies or difficulties digesting certain products like lactose or gluten, it will not solve every food allergy. Most food sensitivities are caused by feeding pets over-processed foods without any dietary variation, and failing to provide them with raw, whole foods from fresh sources. Products that claim to be more digestible might have high fiber, or may make the pet’s stool solid and easy to dispose of, without actually providing concrete long-term actual health benefits.
- Pets need age-specific food products to provide them the nutrition they need for that season of life. In nature the realm of available food remains the same as when a wolf pup or wild cat is 6 months old as when he is an aging senior dog. Though studies have shown us that low levels of certain vitamins and supplements can cause dogs and cats harm, it really reflects a need for varied nutrition all their life (containing supplements, natural vitamins, minerals, micro and micro nutrients, etc.) rather than treating a physical need that only lasts for a short period in an animal’s life. Oftentimes age-specific products are more a marketing strategy than a necessity.
- Expensive food is always better quality than cheaper food. While quality foods usually do cost more than low-quality pet food brands, a higher cost does not ensure a more reputable product. The cost might actually be due to the complexity of marketing, advertising, packaging, as well as numerous other factors. Do not assume that high price equates high quality.
- Products with “high- protein content” are the best kinds of products. Just because a pet food product claims to have a higher percentage of protein, does not mean that the ingredients are high-quality. Poor-quality proteins actually do more damage than good, stressing the metabolic system if eaten in larger quantities. A larger amount of sub-par proteins are far worse than healthy whole proteins in smaller portions.
- Obese animals need high-fiber and “lite” food products to maintain their weight. Though fiber is a helpful element to weight loss, the problem of domestic pet obesity does not lie in a lack of fiber. Rather is largely caused by the overconsumption of highly-processed carbs in their food, eating too many treats, and failing to get sufficient exercise. Increasing fiber or low-fat foods might actually agitate their digestion or create a negative reaction or allergy for them.
- Pet food that is “100% natural and balanced” will protect my pet from diseases caused by imbalanced nutrition. This is unfortunately not true. Even the best intentions and highest dedication to food quality cannot promise 100% perfection. Not only does science lack 100% infallible knowledge of everything, but pet food companies can neither predict the future nor promise such results, as each animal’s digestive system and body will function individually.