Pet Food Dangers: Fact or Myth?
We love our pets – they are a part of the family, after all! That’s why it’s important to ensure they get a high-nutrition diet. Always consult your veterinarian if you have a question about your pet’s diet.
Fact or Myth: My pet can survive on table scraps and “human” food.
Myth. Pets need a very specific balance of protein, nutrients, sugars and fats. Human food and table scraps may not contain the nutrients necessary to keep pets healthy, and could contain ingredients unsafe for animals. While the occasional piece of meat is okay, your pet should be on a diet of mainly pet food recommended by your vet.
Fact or Myth: Corn is just a filler in pet food.
Myth. Corn can actually be a healthy addition to your pet’s diet. It is a source of essential nutrients, and is one of the best grains for pet food. Adding complex carbohydrates, like corn, to a pet’s diet is essential to maintain their energy levels.
Fact or Myth: Chocolate is poisonous to dogs.
Fact. When ingested by pets, chocolate, coffee and caffeine can all cause vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and even death. Pet owners should also avoid allowing pets access to alcohol, citrus, coconut, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, cow’s milk, nuts, onions, garlic, animal bones, salty snacks, raw dough or batter, and artificial sweetener. While most will only cause your pet minor stomach upset, excessive amounts can cause severe complications and death if not treated immediately.
Fact or Myth: My dog or cat can be a vegetarian/vegan.
Myth. Pets are domesticated versions of wild animals. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they need a mix of meat and vegetables to get their essential nutrients. It is technically possible for your dog to be a vegetarian, though this often requires adding expensive supplements and nutrients to a homemade or specialized diet. Always do this under the supervision of your veterinarian.
Cats are carnivores. Studies show that cats cannot thrive on a diet without meat, and reputable veterinarians strongly recommend against a vegetarian diet. Cats who are not fed meat cannot metabolize the nutrients they need from other sources, and are at high risk for life-threatening conditions.
If you have ethical concerns about your pet eating meat, there are a number of naturally vegetarian pets that are a great alternative, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and small birds.
Fact or Myth: My pet can eat the same food every day.
Fact – sort of. While your pet can eat the same nutritionally-balanced food (wet or dry) every day, it is still recommended to switch it up from time to time. Different foods may address different needs, even if the nutritional quality. For example, by occasionally adding wet food to a dry diet, cat owners can help prevent urinary tract infections later in life. The ideal diet includes both wet and dry food (and the occasional treat!)
Fact or Myth: Meat by-products are a bad ingredient in pet food.
Myth. A meat by-product is any part of the animal that isn’t muscle meat. This includes very nutritious organs such as the liver. Meat by-products are perfectly healthy sources of protein, and it is not necessary to avoid them.