Pet Nutrition Myths
Zootoo gets the straight scoop on healthy pet diets.
Having a pet comes with a learning curve, and each pet owner's experience differs a little bit from that of the next. But there are some old wives' tales that every pet owner will likely encounter at some point in time -- like that cats have nine lives, or that they will always land on their feet when they fall.
(Their agility has given them a good reputation to withstand falls, but yes, cats do only have one life, to set the record straight.)
A quick Google search will undoubtedly provide a variety of answers to this myth and others, but you can't always guarantee their veracity. So Zootoo talked with Jennifer Coates, petMD.com veterinarian, to get the scoop on the ins and outs of pet myths.
Coates says that most common pet myths she tries to debunk revolve around nutrition.
For starters, there's milk.
"Milk is not a normal part of the diet for a dog or a cat once they are weaned off of it [when they are young]," she told Zootoo in a phone interview.
Bones, contrary to popular belief, also have no necessary place in a dog's diet -- even if they are animal bones that can't shard.
"As a vet, I take a hard line on this," Coates explained. "I don't recommend bones because I see what can happen to dogs when they chew on bones."
Coates says she often has experience removing broken pieces of bone from dogs' teeth, tongues, and around their jaws; she also sees issues related to gastrointestinal disturbances.
Considering that they don't help provide dogs with any sense of balanced nutrition, "I don't see where the benefits outweigh the risks," she explained.
What's key when it comes to pets' nutrition is providing them with the right portions, especially when it comes to protein. Cats require 33 percent protein and 25 percent fat in their diet as adults. When it comes to dogs, they need less protein, averaging about 25 percent of their daily intake. So if you feed a cat dog food, you're going to wind up with a sick cat, devoid of the protein that it desires.
A new interactive tool -- MyBowl --hosted by petMd.com and Hill's Pet Nutrition allows pet owners of both dogs and cats to measure how much carbohydrates, protein, minerals, fats and oils their pets should be taking in each meal, in order to gauge their level of healthy, balanced eating.
"Food and nutrition are two things owners have complete control over these days and really play such a huge role in our pets' well being," Coates said. "I really want to emphasize that we have to get our pets easting the appropriate amount, and eating the right kinds of food, it really acts as preventative medicine."
How do you keep your pet's diet healthy? Tell us below!
2 years ago
You make some good points. It’s so funny how the media and old fashioned thinking might make believe things like milk is good for cats, you can give dogs bones, etc. All bad ideas! LOL. I’m happy I live in a time where good pet nutrition is available. Also like what you say about protein levels, etc. I have my dogs on a grain-free dog food with moderate protein called Alpha. They don’t get any table scraps and I try to walk them twice a day. This natural balance dog food has kept them free of any allergies, sickness, etc. The health of our pets is up to us!
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