A Few Thoughts On Food!by PAC Staff on 07/10/14
Growing up as a kid, I liked watching “Eight is Enough” but as a veterinarian I don’t quite understand how Dick Van Patten is the go to guy for some people when they buy dog food. I tell my clients all the time the pet food industry is a billion dollar industry, so there’s a lot of time and money spent on creating perception. Terms like “all natural” and “holistic” drive me nuts---they’re meaningless when it comes to describing pet food, but create a perception like “green” might for a person searching for cleaning products or a pest control company. Organic is different—you actually have to meet criteria to use this label.
So be honest with yourself when you look at why you’ve chosen a food----are there objective criteria and science behind your choice? Or are you buying based on a perception created by the art on the bag or the vague terms referring to the wilderness, a harkening back to dog being distantly related to wolves? In reality wolves and dogs are genetically different— over time wolves became domesticated and evolved into modern day dogs that now do far better metabolizing carbohydrates. A dog is not a wolf and a modern day human is not a caveman. Or how about the “grain-free” craze? This is not a new discovery or even anything groundbreaking. These diets have been around longer than the 23 years I have been a doctor of veterinary medicine. It just means the carbohydrate in the diet is peas or potatoes rather than rice, grain, oats or barley. And don’t even get me started on raw diets—owners, as well as dogs are getting foodborne illness from these---there’s a reason we invented cooking, refrigeration, pasteurization and preservatives! People love to rag on corn, but how many people want to make an impassioned defense of potatoes? I once read a post where someone made fun of corn by asking if farmers ever complain about dogs raiding their corn fields. But how many dogs are fishing for salmon or raiding sweet potato or pea fields?
If you think a diet is “all that”, do two things: go to a search engine and type in that diet’s name and the word “recall”. Many many diets are recalled for various reasons; inadequate sanitary practices where the food is manufactured, harmful if not toxic ingredients, bacterial contamination and so on. Next, find out who makes this diet. I always get a kick out of doing this with clients when they find out that the same large company that makes Ol’ Roy (Diamond)makes Dick Van Patten and Taste of the Wild.
In summary, be informed. Look in to what you’re feeding your pet. Don’t be swayed by pretty packages or marketing fads!
Dr. Mike Lent