What are some other myths about dog nutrition that you hear as a veterinarian? - Advanced Animal Care in Richmond

This is my favorite point. So grain-free diets right now have been going around as the big fad—that's really important in people's opinions. And maybe at one point, it was for certain things, but I think it's getting overused. Unless your dog has been diagnosed with a food allergy by a dermatologist or they're having skin issues or they’ve seen an internist for GI upsets, we should not be giving dogs these grain-free diets. It's actually correlated to a horrible heart condition called DCM, and that's oftentimes fatal. So let's prevent that by not starting a grain-free diet unless it's been prescribed.

What are some other myths about dog nutrition that you hear as a veterinarian? - The Waggin' Train Veterinary Clinic

Right now? What I hear so much about is grain-free diets. That's the biggest one because they think their dogs have allergies and they're going to put them on grain-free and everybody's going to live happily ever after. And let me just say that if your dog is allergic to grain, then yeah, you might live happily ever after. But that's the only reason. If they're not allergic to that, why do it?

If I'm allergic to strawberries, I'm not going to quit eating steak or anything like that. It just doesn't make sense. Not to mention one of the things I will say about grain-free diets and a lot of the public is still not aware of, and I won't go into great detail, but there has been plenty of studies that show that there is a correlation between dogs who eat grain-free diets that developed premature cardiovascular disease or heart disease if you will. You will find a plethora of information out there about the potential dangers of a grain-free diet. Unless a dog has been proven to be allergic to grains, I don't recommend grain-free diets. And that's one of the big misconceptions that I hear on a weekly basis.

What are some other myths about dog nutrition that you hear as a veterinarian? - Freeport Veterinary Hospital

I think the two big ones are that grain-free dog food is healthier for your dog, which is entirely not true. Grains have an excellent place in an average dog's diet. And there are certainly some dogs that may have sensitivities, but the vast majority of dogs can eat grain in their food and be healthy. I think another myth is that raw foods are somehow healthier for your dog, and I disagree with that. I think a lot of dogs don't do well on a raw diet. And studies have shown that dogs on a raw diet have more foodborne illness-causing bacteria like E-coli or salmonella in their stools and on their body, so it puts owners and families at an increased risk.

And then I think another thing to think about is byproducts. Everybody thinks byproducts or corn or certain ingredients like that are a big no-no in dog food, and that's just not true. When processed correctly, corn is an excellent source of several nutrients and is a relatively inexpensive way to add some of those nutrients to food. And so it can make dog food more affordable and still very nutritious. The same goes for byproducts. Byproducts are just the parts of the bird or animal that we don't typically eat, so that would include things like the windpipe or liver or things like that. That are just not as appetizing to a human.

What are some other myths about dog nutrition that you hear as a veterinarian? - The Drake Center

There are many dog food myths. There are a couple that are big for me. One is that many people are very afraid to feed foods that have the word byproduct on the label. I think it's a poor understanding really of what byproducts are. Byproducts are organ meats. They're not the inedible parts of the animal. Byproducts are not horns, hooves, beaks, feet, hair feathers. Those are not allowed to be byproducts. Byproducts are organ meats. There's not a big demand in human nutrition for organ meats. A lot of people don't buy organ meats for themselves.

When animals go into pet feed, there's a lot of waste. What pet food manufacturers have done, they're able to buy those organs and put them into their diets, and they're tremendously healthy. I think honestly; dogs don't get enough organ meats in their diets. We're looking at lungs, spleen, liver, kidneys; all those things are very healthy, digestible, and nutritious for dogs. There's no reason to be afraid of the word byproduct.

There is some marketing in pet foods where they say, "Does not contain byproducts," but then if you look at the labels, they're listed out—heart, liver, etc. They're included in there, but they've gotten away from saying that they're byproducts, so they don't scare people off. Don't be worried about byproducts; they're very nutritious.

What are some other myths about dog nutrition that you hear as a veterinarian? - Animal Hospital of Statesville

The big one is feeding raw food. I don't recommend it. You'll see a lot of stuff on the internet about how it's better and more natural for them. With commercial foods, we see dogs living longer and longer. These commercial pet food companies have worked hard to formulate balanced nutrition, so dogs thrive on it. The raw foods often harbor bacteria like salmonella, and the meats can have parasites and enzymes in them that can be harmful to the dog. So I don't recommend raw food because of diseases and deleterious things that it can transmit. If you're going to insist on feeding non-commercial dog food, I recommend that a nutritionist balance it and that you cook it. You're not hurting the nutritional value by cooking it.