MYTHS ABOUT PET FOOD

I have a different topic for this article. I get asked a lot of questions about small animal nutrition and what food to feed them. Well, there are a lot of choices out there. What other section of the grocery store is more profitable for a whole aisle to be donated to than pet food. We also have a lot of what I call niche companies coming in to play. The newest one is about only feeding natural ingredients and no cereal grains. That’s OK, but are they balanced. One of the major advertisers has had a major problem. Their food was causing bladder stones. I have had at least 8-10 cases myself. There have been other vet clinics that had to do surgery to get rid of the big stones caused by this food. Luckily I have been able to dissolve them with a special diet. And get the diet changed so they do not reappear.
Right before the first of the year Michigan State Diagnostic lab became involved and figured out what was going on. I new it was calcium, phosphorus, magnesium to potassium ratio out of balance. Michigan State figured out it was a hypervitaminous A causing increased calcium in the urine. This then formed the stones or crystals. And yes, this was all coming from the diet. The smaller pet food companies do not have the funding to do all of the testing that the big 4 have. I personally like a company that has the resources to do independent testing. And in the face of all of the pet food recalls we have had in recent years, “Why Not!” And just to mention the big 4 are Purina, Hill’s, Eukanuba, and Royal Canin.

Now I ask the question, “Do pets require any protein in their diet?” NO!!!! They actually require the percentage of the 10 essential amino acids which are the building blocks for protein. And does their body care where they come from? NO!!! Just that they are there! This is why we use cereal grains in pet food diets. They generally are cheaper than these other sources. And as consumers we are always looking for a way to save money. And just to mention it cats require 11 essential amino acids. This is why cat food is generally higher in percentage protein than dog food. It is to make sure that they have the eleventh amino acid in there adequately.

To understand more about feeding pets I refer you to this website. It has a lot of answers to the myths and marketing that a lot of people are doing right now. www.purina.com
Tim E. O’Neill, DVM