Common Myths About Pet Food and Nutrition,
by Sloan McKinney
One of the biggest myths we have been told when it comes to our pet’s nutrition is to not give them “people food” to curb a variety of health issues, perhaps the most prevalent being them becoming overweight and avoiding the many risks associated with obesity. While some table scraps are unhealthy for animals, you should follow these two guidelines when feeding them your food:
1. It must be good for them, to steamed meats without fat, rice, oatmeal, healthy fruits, and vegetables. No fried, processed, or junk foods, and avoid sugar.
2. If you are feeding them some of your food, it should coincide with their regular diet and they should get less of their own food so they don’t put on any extra weight.
The infographic below shows a list of seven “superfoods” that are packed with nutrients and healthy for humans and their four-legged friends. While we’re on the subject of nutrition, here are a few more common myths when it comes to feeding our pets:
Only the premium and most expensive foods on the market are healthy for animals.
While it’s true that many pet food manufacturers are selling us inexpensive kibble made mostly from starchy ingredients such as corn, empty calorie grains, and soy, some of the top-of-the-line brands aren’t much better in nutritional value. As consumers, we need to read the labels and avoid buying pet foods where real beef, fish, and chicken, not meat meal or poultry by-products, are amongst the first few ingredients.
By nature, animals’ digestive systems are not designed to process things like grains, soy, and corn, so they tend to have issues after ingesting them and they could cause other problems like allergies. Big manufacturers of pet foods add these ingredients for two reasons, they are cheap and they boost the protein levels of the food in order to meet regulations.
High-protein meat foods are hard on their kidneys and liver, especially as they age
Another myth fed to us by big pet food manufacturers is to cover up the fact that plant proteins from grains and corn are simply not as nutritious as the higher protein levels found in real meats, poultry, and fish. In fact, higher protein levels derived from these meats are easier for pets to digest and offer them much better nutritional value than they actually need as they continue to age.
Healthy dogs and cats can eat something different at every meal as long as it is healthy and good for them. A variety of foods is actually better for them since it helps avoid the development of sensitivities to any particular type of food or protein. Consistently feeding them the same thing can lead to the development of allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients found in some foods. Many veterinarians believe that feeding them the same thing for many years is a contributing factor to inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive problems.
Mostly it’s the big-name pet food manufacturers that are spreading these lies in order to get you to buy their products. There are plenty of healthy alternatives out there with real ingredients that aren’t derived from plant and soy proteins. Check out this infographic on some other healthy foods for fido that can be found in most of our homes:
Sloan McKinney is a journalist based in Southern California. After writing about pop culture for a number of years, she has recently begun writing for a new audience. Inspired by DeAnthony, her cat, as well as her dog Max, Sloan now hopes to help other pet owners guarantee their animal companions happy and healthy lives.