Just as there are many myths about what we should be eating, stories also abound about what is and isn’t good for dogs.
A dog’s diet affects every aspect of her life: her health, her psychological well-being, her energy levels and her coat. But there are some crazy dog food myths out there that we feel obligated to expose once and for all. Read on for what not to believe about your dog’s diet…
Myth No. 1: Homemade diets are better than purchased dog food
Many of the better dog foods available have been thoroughly researched and designed to meet all your dog’s nutritional needs. However, some people prefer to make their pooch’s food themselves.
The trouble is, unless you are feeding your dog according to the advice given out by a veterinary nutritionist, you might not be doing your canine buddy any favors.
Just like humans, dogs have specific nutritional needs and require a diet balanced in protein, carbohydrates, fats and micro-nutrients. So although a homemade diet might sometimes be better than commercial, it often isn’t.
Myth No. 2: A raw-food diet is better
There are those who advocate a raw-food diet for dogs, but the benefits don’t always outweigh the very real risks. The FDA’s list of diets to be recalled for salmonella and listeria contamination contains mostly freeze-dried or raw diets.
These bacteria are not only a danger to your dog but also put you at risk. A salmonella or listeria infection is no joke and can even lead to death. So maybe a raw-food diet isn’t worth the risk.
Myth No. 3: Exotic proteins are better than regular
Some people believe that feeding their dogs exotic proteins like ostrich, kangaroo or crocodile is better than feeding them regular proteins, but science suggests this may cause a heart condition caused by a lack of taurine, an amino acid.
If your dog has an allergy to other protein forms, consult your veterinarian about which protein alternatives to choose. Only feed your dog scientifically developed and tested foods.
Myth No. 4: Feed grain-free for higher protein levels
Diets that become popular with people often get translated into fad diets for pets. The trouble is, humans and other animals have very different nutritional requirements.
Humans, for example, can build proteins from smaller building blocks, while animals can’t. This is the problem when it comes to grain-free diets that replace grains with beans, potatoes, peas and other starches. These can lack the necessary nutritional requirements for your dog.
Myth No. 5: Large companies make food that is more processed
Lots of people are attracted to the smaller pet food retailers because their products look and sound better than the usual dog food available. This is sometimes true, but often it isn’t. The fact is that larger pet food companies can afford the scientific studies required to develop foods that are health-giving for your dog in the long-term.