Dog Food News: AVMA Unmasks 7 Nutrition Myths

by Mary Haight on February 26, 2011

Canoeing Labrador Retriever

Image by Melina. via Flickr

Dog food and new news is alway a topic of interest here at dancingdogblog, and I came across this article in February’s edition of PetAge magazine “Nutrition Myths Busted” on how the AVMA separates canine nutrition fact from fiction. I’m certain this will be a useful reference as the discussion moves forward. Here are the conclusions of researchers who spent 14 years following the progress of 48 pairs of Labrador Retriever littermates. Tell me if you feel adrift: 

l.  Myth: Dogs should only eat meat. Fact: Dogs as they have evolved today need a proportion of grains, vegetables and fruits to fulfil dietary needs.  Granted they say only a small amount of oatmeal, pasta, or rice, etc. should be part of the diet. 

2.  Myth: Raw eggs should never be fed to dogs. Fact: Eggs served on occasion, raw or boiled, are a good source of protein. Salmonella is not something dogs are as susceptible to as humans. 

3.  Myth: No dairy for dogs. Fact: Cottage cheese and yogurt are high in calcium, low in lactose. Some dogs are lactose intolerant, not all. 

4.  Myth: Fat is bad for dogs. Fact: Fat is converted by dogs bodies into energy. Low saturated fats like Omega 6 and 3 are needed in order to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. 

5.  Myth: Dogs are unable to digest grains. Fact: Partially true. While uncooked grains don’t do a dog’s body good, starch grains when cooked can be digested. Rice is a better option than wheat or corn! 

6.  Myth: “All commercial dog foods are bad. Fact: Research has shown that commercial dog foods are more able to meet dogs’ nutritional needs.” 

7.  Myth: A diet must suit a dog’s age and breed.  “Fact: In most cases the same diet can be used throughout a dog’s lifetime.  However puppies need more food than seniors and older dogs may need nutritional supplements.” 

There are many on-going arguments about what we should be feeding our dogs and I just had a conversation about corn with a blogger friend of mine.  I have been known to point out  what I believe to be failings of dog food companies, based on science and not emotions. Well, emotions are there, but so is the science.  Unfortunately this is a one-way conversation as people at these companies are legally enjoined from engaging in a conversation on this topic – or so I’ve been told. 

I do have bones to pick on a couple of these points, especially the one that is an incomplete thought. The article had a quote from Mike Grant, nutritional science director of SeniorPetProducts.com that noted it is just as important to know what to feed and in what amount. 

What I want to know is, what do you think?  Did you believe any of the myths described here? How are you handling all the back and forth about what’s best to feed your dog? Have you made recent changes to your feeding regimen based on new information, or have you chosen what you think is best and plan on sticking with it? 

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