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Ask a vet: Food is a four-letter word

POSTED: July 28, 2013 1:00 a.m.

The F word.

Four letters many people substitute for love.

Today I’m talking about: food.

This is the fuel for your pet. Every bit of nutrition your buddy will ever receive will be via food. If your pet photosynthesizes, please consider yourself an exception.

But what foods are good for your pet? Well, as a dog, he or she should have dog food. The companies that make foods have spent millions of dollars and hours of research to provide a well-balanced meal for your pet. If we had similar rations available for humans, we’d all be in much better shape, nutritionally speaking. Still, so many brands have claims that make it sound like they’re the one to pick, while their competitors may leave your dog in the lurch.

This is advertising. Not science.

Here in the United States, publicly sold dog and cat food must meet an established level of nutrition. Look on the packaging and you will see what’s called an AAFCO statement, saying the food is either formulated to meet requirements (based on research by scientists who don’t work for the feed companies), or the food is formulated, then tested via feeding to animals to confirm no deficiencies result.

Foods advertising they are more like what your dog ate as a wolf make me wonder ... how healthy was a wolf back then? And just how wolfish is a Yorkshire terrier?

Claims that nutrition based on dog physiology from 20,000 years ago are questionable. How can you test that?

Still, I bet your dog would prefer pot roast. Or hot dogs. Some clients have told me their dog would only settle for Boar’s Head, no off brand for that pooch.

Please don’t do that. Human foods are not dog food.

Will they provide energy? Yes, mainly via fat. Will they provide sodium? Yes. And decent protein. But everything else will be horribly imbalanced, especially vitamins and minerals, and these can affect health.

By far the most common disease I see in dogs and cats is obesity. It shortens lifespans and decreases the quality of the life as well. And usually, it’s because someone tried to show love with the F word. Please, find another way to love your pets.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at mattsisk2003@yahoo.com


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