Pet Food Myths
Myth: Corn is a poorly digested “filler” that causes allergies.
Corn is an excellent source of many nutrients.
• “Fillers” may be defined as feed ingredients with little or no nutritional value. Based on this description, corn is certainly not a filler.
• Corn provides a good source of carbohydrates, protein and essential fatty acids in the diets of dogs and cats.
• Corn is a good source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid required by both dogs and cats and also contains abundant amounts of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene.
Myth: Wheat commonly cause allergies in dogs and cats
Wheat is a valuable pet food ingredient.
• Wheat is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates for energy, as well as a source of protein.
• Food allergies constitute only a small percentage of allergy problems in pets. While the exact incidence is unknown, it is estimated that only 10% of allergic skin conditions are caused by food.
• Flea bites and environmental allergens, such as pollens, mold and dust mites, are more common triggers of allergic symptoms than food.
Myth: Pet foods should be grain-free
Grains supply energy.
• Most cells in the body use carbohydrates as a primary source of energy.
• The nervous system (i.e., brain and nerves) requires the carbohydrate glucose to support normal functions.
• If carbohydrates, such as those from grains, aren’t available, dietary protein is diverted away from its most important function — protein synthesis —to make glucose. If carbohydrates are available, dietary protein is used to build and maintain muscle and tissue.
Myth: A raw food diet is the most natural and, therefore, the best diet for cats and dogs.
Raw diets may contain bacteria.
• Raw meat and poultry may be contaminated with harmful microorganisms, such as salmonella.
• Feeding raw meat to pets can expose them to bacteria, parasites and protozoa.
Preparing and feeding a raw diet can also expose your family to harmful organisms.
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Halloween Pet Safety
Candies, gums, mints, baked goods and chocolate containing the "sugar free" sweetener xylitol are especially poisonous, causing rapid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure in dogs and possibly other species (ferrets).
Chocolate is toxic to pets. Granted, a 50 pound dog would have to eat about 50 ounces of milk chocolate (but only 5 ounces of baking chocolate) for a toxic dose, but much smaller amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Signs of chocolate toxicity include tremors, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures and death. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, consult your veterinarian.
Other candies, such as lollipops and those with plastic components, pose a danger if ingested. Lollipop sticks and plastic parts can cause intestinal obstruction and potentially rupture the intestines, which is a life-threatening emergency.