8 canine nutrition myths debusted

A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association [October 2010] has managed to bust several canine nutrition myths.

This canine nutrition study lasted 14 years and 48 pairs of Labrador Retriever littermates were followed.

Nutrition myths disproved in the Lab study

#1 A raw meat diet is the only one for canines

Domesticated dogs are not true carnivores. In fact, they will get sick when fed a 100% meat diet!

Dogs need small amounts of carbohydrates and nutrients as present in grains, like rice, oatmeal, pasta, vegetables and fruits to complete their nutritional needs.

#2 Raw eggs are an absolute no-no for dogs

Dogs are far less susceptible to Salmonella poisoning than we are. An occasional raw or boiled egg is a good source of protein for dogs.

Akita dog washes cat Fighting like cats and dogs - another myth!

#3 Dogs should never have any dairy products

Dogs may have a lower lactase enzyme activity, meaning they cannot digest milk sugar (lactose) as well as most humans. Exceptions exist though as I'm a human that cannot digest lactose pretty well either.

Most dogs are lactose intolerant, like me, but low lactose products are still fine. You can choose from cottage cheese to yoghurt and usually your dog won't have problems digesting these products. But stay away from milk when your dog is truly lactose intolerant. The lactose levels in milk are much higher than in cheese.

Some dogs may be lactose intolerant, but cottage cheese and yoghurt are two low-lactose options that are high in calcium.

Food intolerances differ from food allergies »

Read my story »

#4 Fat only gives dogs empty calories

Whereas you use mainly carbohydrates as fuel for movement and activity, your dog is better at metabolizing fat for prolonged exercises.

In dogs, fats are the main source of energy. Glucose provides less than 20% of the energy during exercise. This declines even further as the length of the exercise time increases.

Fat is also necessary for the proper absorption of fat-soluable vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K)

Your dog also needs low-saturated essential fatty acids, the socalled omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Learn about the metabolic pathways that convert food to motion in dogs »

#5 A dog is unable to digest grains

Your dog has a much shorter digestive system then herbivores and true omnivores like you. Also enzymes activity differs resulting in differential processing of foods.

length of the canine digestive tract as compared to other species Relative length of the digestive tract for different species
(courtesy of Kenn Sakurai, Butch Pet Foods)

Dog can digest grains, but only to a certain extend ánd grains need to be pre-processed. Some dogs do better on this than others.

So saying that dogs are unable to digest grains is (only) partially true. Dpgs can digest starch grains that have been converted by the cooking process. Rice is a better option than wheat or corn, unless of course your canine is allergic to rice.

Learn about grain free dog food »

#6 All commercial dog foods are bad

Research has shown that the quality of commercial dog foods is more than able to meet a dog's nutritional needs.

#7 A diet must be specifically tailored to a dog's age or breed

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In most cases, the same diet throughout a dog's life will do.

However, puppies need more food than seniors and older dogs may need nutritional supplements.

Reasons to switch dog food »

When is your dog a senior? »

Read about breed specific dog food »

#8 A dog must be well fed

fat doggie A lot of dogs are overweight

Well, course a dog must be well fed but most people probably feed too much of the wrong foods to their four-legged friends. Lots of dogs are overweight and this not only results in health issues, but can also significantly reduce their life span.

And you want to stay friends for a long time, right? Maintaining ideal body weight during your dog's whole life is of the essence.

The study showed that a 25% restriction of food intake — or maintaining an ideal body condition throughout a dog's life — increased the median lifespan of a dog by 1.8 years and delayed the onset of chronic disease symptoms.


Calculate how much calories you need to feed your dog »

Learn about diet dog food »

Consult your vet for more information

veterinarian for your dog First find the right vet

“Knowing what to feed and how much to feed are equally important,” said Mike Grant, PA, the nutritional science director for SeniorPetProducts.com “Your veterinarian is always the best way to get the correct information. They are up to date on all the new science.”

In my opinion, veterinarians are like normal people: you have good ones and not so good ones, and logically bad ones or just overworked ones as well. So… assuming that your vet automatically is up-to-date on ALL new science articles that are published is a bit naieve.

You are your dog's guardian and you are responsible for his health and emotional well being. That's why it's also your task to find the best veterinarian for your pooch and do your due dilligence and research.

List of questions to help you find the right vet for your pet »

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Find the top 9 best dog food brands

Confidential Dog Food Report This ebook is part
of a package

The "Confidential Dog Food Report" is an e-book written by Andrew Lewis. Now for those of you who know him, you know that he doesn't think highly of commercial dog food. In fact he likes homemade dog food diets. But commercial dog food is not always bad of course.

You just need to find the best food for YOUR pet. Andrew has listed the top 9 dog food brands that are just better-than-good, which is a good starting place for you. After all homecooking can be nice on occasion, but commercial dog food is very convenient. Just find the right one!

Find out more about this list of ultra-healthy top dog food brands »

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