Arghhh! A recent ‘educational’ article on Veterinary Practice News did nothing to forward our efforts to better pet food education. Though I rarely comment on such pieces of mis-information, this one I just had to.
The article is titled “Education Dispels Myths Around Nutrition’s Role in GI Disease“. The very last sentence gives you a hint to the motive of this article: “This Education Series article was underwritten by Hill’s Pet Nutrition of Topeka, Kan.” Excerpts…
“Gastrointestinal problems are the most common reasons owners bring their dogs to a veterinary hospital,” says Kara Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, a veterinary technician specialist at Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. in Topeka, Kan. “Owners fail to recognize that many GI disorders benefit from nutritional management.”
Some of these conditions include:
Pancreatitis, which can be acute or chronic, is often the result of a high-fat intake. Yves Tarte, VMD, remembers one early case when he was a practicing clinician. A young dog stole the Christmas ham and ate almost all of it before the owner discovered it. The dog was very sick, says Dr. Tarte, who is now a professional development veterinarian at Hill’s in Canada. Signs of pancreatitis include vomiting, lethargy, painful abdomen and diarrhea.”
My response…if ‘pancreatitis can often be the result of a high-fat intake’, why are there no maximum levels of fat provided on pet food labels? Don’t pet food consumers deserve to know the exact percentage of fat they are purchasing in that pet food (along with exact protein and carbohydrate percentage) – especially considering the risk of pancreatitis? Pet food regulations ONLY require the minimum amount of fat and protein to be provided to the petsumer. In fact, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has no established maximum of fat in pet food. Any pet food – including Science Diet – can state 6% or 12% fat on the label (stated as minimum), when in truth the pet food could contain 20% or 30% fat. I would suggest if Science Diet has such a concern for high fat content in some pet foods, they actively petition AAFCO to establish a maximum level of fat for pet foods and petition AAFCO to require all pet food labels to state the actual fat content amount – not minimum.
The article states it is a myth that “There is nothing wrong with giving table scraps to a dog.” Hill’s veterinarian Dr. Yves Tarte states “I am totally against table food, you never know what an owner will give the dog, and some foods are extremely dangerous. Table scraps can lead to obesity and if an animal is affected by a GI disease like pancreatitis, it can have a flare-up which is painful and can be life threatening.” Later under another ‘myth’ the article states “most people foods are inappropriate.”
My response…Of course a Hill’s veterinarian is against table food; this is nothing more than a scare tactic used to sell more commercial pet food. Yes some – emphasizing the word ‘some’ people foods are extremely dangerous. From the ASPCA Poison Control website, the following short list are human foods that should not be fed to your pet…
Chocolate, Coffee, Avocado, Macadamia Nuts, Grapes, Raisins, Yeast Dough, Onions, Garlic, Chives, Milk, Salt.
Clearly, this is NOT most foods. Table food such as chicken, beef, broccoli, cauliflower, apple, and hundreds more foods are excellent to give your dog or cat. It is frustrating when a pet food company downs people food in this manner, yet pitches their pet foods with human food marketing techniques.
A Science Diet pet food – “Science Diet Small & Toy Puppy Savory Stew with Chicken & Vegetables.” Dear Science Diet, it is acceptable for you to feed our dogs chicken and vegetables, but it’s not acceptable for us to feed our dogs chicken and vegetables? Seriously?
When will the majority of the veterinary community quit being bought and paid for by Big Pet Food? VeterinaryPracticeNews, you should be ashamed of yourself for pitching nothing more than Science Diet marketing as pet food education.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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