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Pet Food Myths and Facts

Myth no.1: Corn is a filler, is poorly digested and causes allergies.


FACT: Fillers are ingredients that serve no nutritional purpose, and corn does not fit that description. Corn is a nutritionally superior grain compared with others used in pet foods because it contains a balance of nutrients not found in other grains. Corn contains a highly available source of complex carbohydrates and substantial quantities of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid important for healthy skin. Corn also provides essential amino acids and fiber. In a survey of veterinary dermatologists, corn was not listed among the ingredients most often suspected to cause food allergies. A review of over 200 confirmed canine cases of food allergy in the veterinary literature revealed only three were caused by corn. The same number was reported for rice.


Myth no.2: Soybean meal causes bloat in dogs.


FACT: Bloat, or gastric dilatation/volvulus, is a condition usually seen in large, deep-chested dogs. Research has shown that gastric motility and emptying are not affected by food ingredients (moist meat-based vs. dry cereal-based food).


Myth no.3: Corn is highly allergenic.


FACT: There have been only six confirmed case allergy to corn in dogs reported in the veterinary literature out of 253 total cases. This equates to 2.4% incidence rate. Foods most often cited as causing canine food allergy are beef, dairy products and wheat.


Myth no.4: Chicken meal is superior to poultry by-product meal.


FACT: Both chicken meal and poultry by-product meal contain quality protein that is digestible and palatable. Chicken meal, however, contains mostly rendered chicken necks and backs, which means it provides more ash per unit protein than poultry by-product meal does. This may make it less desirable for use in formulations where controlling the mineral content of the product is indicated. Poultry by-product meal is a slightly more concentrated protein source.


Myth no.5: By-products are of lesser quality than meat.


FACT: Pet food ingredients including muscle meat are by nature by-products. Some of the by-products used in pet foods are ingredients that are considered human grade both domestically and internationally. Examples of these are pork and beef liver, tripe and spleen. Many by-products like liver offer superior palatability over muscle meats when used in dog and cat foods.


Myth no.6: There is one best fiber source.


FACT: Various fiber types can be used to provide distinct functions in pet foods. Though fiber does not serve as a major energy source for dogs and cats, it can help promote normal bowel function, maintain the health of the intestinal tract and aid in the nutritional management of certain diseases. No single fiber source or type can optimally deliver all the benefits fiber can provide in pet nutrition. Insoluble fiber is preferred in weight-loss regimens. Soluble fiber is more appropriate in the maintenance of intestinal tract health. It is important to use the fiber source of sources that achieve the nutritional goals of the product.


Myth no.7: Cellulose fiber binds minerals and decreases the digestibility of other nutrients.


FACT: As with other fibers, dry matter digestibility decreases with increasing cellulose levels. However, research have shown that fiber type does not affect protein digestibility in dogs. In addition, purified cellulose does not decrease protein digestibility in cats. Purified cellulose is inert when it comes to mineral binding and has no effect on calcium or zinc availability in chicks or iron in dogs. More soluble fibers such as beet pulp bind calcium and zinc in chicks and iron in growing puppies.


Source by Rich Masters




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