Dr. Robert Esplin and his Portuguese water dog Tressie.
What to feed your dog or cat is such a difficult subject.
There is just not a great deal of factual and useful information on a bag of food.
Going to the Internet is of limited value as most comments are from individuals with no nutritional training. We recommend food from companies that not only make food but invest in nutritional research. By necessity, these are large companies with enough profit to invest in improving the knowledge of what is the best way to feed.
All these nutrition companies employ professional nutritionists that work to constantly improve the product. Many small companies have no professional expertise on staff. Small companies may have paid to have a diet formula produced but have done nothing to change or improve the product since it was first produced.
Much advertising seems to concentrate on what the advertiser thinks is wrong with another diet. Most of us want to hear about the quality of the advertiser’s diet. Other companies use guilt to make their diet sound better.
The meat is the first ingredient ads have misinformation about. It is important to know that the government requires that ingredients be listed in the order of the amount of said ingredient in a food before it is processed. Therefore, when meat is first, it is because the whole meat was listed before processing.
When meat is processed, the amount of moisture is reduced from about 70 percent to about 10 percent. This would move meat way down the list of ingredients.
Meals and by-products are already processed, which means that they are where they belong in the list of ingredients.
There is nothing wrong or unhealthy about meals or by-products. A claim of meat first should be an alert that the claims are deceptive and lack credibility. Grain free is another ploy used by companies trying to make their diet sound great. This is a marketing statement and has nothing to do with animal nutrition.
Grains are not harmful to dogs. Cats should eat fewer grains (carbohydrates) as they are more like a carnivore than an omnivore like dogs and humans.
Allergies to grains are rare. Allergies to the protein portion of grains, gluten, are also rare.
We recommend that you buy food from well established companies with a reputation for quality. If thousands of dogs have been fed successfully on any diet, then it is worth considering.
SylvaniaVET has a great article from “Veterinary Practice News” that goes into great detail about Nutrition, just ask. There is a great deal of detail in the article all provided by board certified veterinary nutritionists that do not work for nutrition companies.
In a nut shell, buy from large nutrition companies that are constantly trying to improve their product. Do not buy food from companies that do not make their own diet or that us celebrities or a product produced by and sold by a local company.
Dr. Robert Esplin, a 1970 graduate of Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, owns SylvaniaVET hospital at 4801 N Holland-Sylvania Rd. He writes a periodic column for ourtownsylvania.com and accepts all pet-related questions for it through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.