What to feed your pet…and you though it was just religion and politics you should never discuss..

heartThe subject of pet food is often a heated topic. Everyone has an opinion and some suggest that some of those giving the opinions may have a vested interested in the answer (*cough* *cough* your vet).  In any case, there is a lot of information out there and it can be challenging to sift through it all. Personally, I am a fan of research…and on that note.Some say that a high protein diet is unhealthy for dogs, specifically that it can cause kidney problems. While dogs are not true carnivores they obviously can handle eating a fair bit of meat. The study that began this myth involved feeding rats…not dogs…a high protein diet and the results were applied to dogs (because they eat the same stuff right?!) Studies conducted on dogs did not find this to be true with the exception of dogs who have very high urinary nitrogen (uremia) or elevated urinary protein (proteinuria). For further reading….

  1. Bovee, KC, Influence of Dietary Protein on Renal Function in Dogs, Waltham International Symposium on Nutrition of Small Companion Animals, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, on September 4–8, 1990
  2. Finco DR, Brown SA, Crowell WA, et al, Effects of aging and dietary protein intake on uninephrectomized geriatric dogs, Am J Vet Res 1994; 55:1282
  3. Thorpe-Vargas S, Cargill JC, Fortify the Food Bowl for the Aging Canine

Some pet foods (and not just the cheap ones) contain a lot of questionable ingredients. For example, corn is often found in pet foods and is high protein source allowing them to use this cheaper ingredient instead of better sources (like actual meat). The issue is that corn can be difficult for pets to digest. It’s a big issue in cat foods because unlike dogs, cats are frequently allergic to corn.

A great source of information on the majority of commercial food available is dog food adviser.

Others suggest that kibble is a poor choice for your pet and a raw food diet is best. Proponents of the diet say that it helps to decrease the amount and result in firmer stools, mean less trips to the vet, naturally cleans teeth, etc. Although some suggest feeding (usually dogs) a whole prey animal, usually the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food) diet is followed.

This diet is more common among dog than cat owners. It involves a combination of organ meat, bones, veggies and possibly supplements to ensure your dog has a good  balanced diet. Usually BARF diets are home made but some commercial ones are available as well.
Those who are critical of the diet cite pathogens and the challenge in making a complete diet (could result in your dog being ill or worse). If you are interested in the BARF diet visit here for a list of good books on the subject and look here for some FAQs to get started.

What do you feed your pets?

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