Hickory Small Animal Hospital
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Pet Food Facts
  • Home prepared diets are not completely balanced.
  • Human-grade pet food has no legal definition, although the FDA has implied that such foods should voluntarily comply with human safety and sanitation standards.
  • Diets that say "Formulated for all Life Stages" means by law that food must provide for the most demanding life stage, which is the puppy/kitten life stage. This means the diet is high in protein, phosphorus, calcium and fat and is not ideal for adult, senior or geriatric animals.
  • Home cooked meals
    • A 2013 study conducted by a team of reasearchers at the Univ. of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine found that a vast majority of homemade recipes are lacking in nutrition. They analyzed 200 different recipes for home-prepared dog foods, using recipes from different websites and pet care books. The results showed that 95% of the recipes were deficient in at least one essential nutrient, and 84% were lacking in multiple required nutrients.
  • Grain free diets
    • Many pet foods rely on grains and grain products as a source of carbohydrate and protein. However, owners commonly regard these ingredients as fillers despite their nutritional composition.
    • Pet food digestability, regardless of ingredient source, is influenced by processing, the source of raw materials, and nutrient composition.
    • Fat content is high in many grain-free foods.
    • This may predispose pets to obesity and may also by inappropriate for dogs with chronic pancreatitis.
    • Cost per pound is likely higher due to increased reliance on animal ingredients, but an increased caloric density may decrease total daily cost compared to grain containing foods.
  • Raw pet foods
    • Raw meat-based diets are often promoted because they simulate the diets of pets' undomesticated ancestors, but previous studies have shown that modern pets' digestive systems have evolved and are no longer as well-equipped to handle RMBDs. According to researchers, RMBDs are more suited to wild wolves, which usually only live for a few years in comparison to long-lived companion animals. **SOURCE**
    • Raw pet food diets are NOT recommeneded by the AVMA
    • Raw diets are generally high-fat.
    • Raw diets can be a source of pathogens to both the animals and the humans preparing the diet. Multiple publications have cultured bacteria from samples of raw diets, and Salmonella isolates have been identified in 6% - 20% of sample diets in various studies, with some resistant to multiple antibiotics.
  • Bones - cooked or raw
    • Can result in tooth fractures
    • Bones may also penetrate the oral and esophageal mucosa causing mild or significant trauma.
    • Bones may become foreign bodies in the mouth, esophagus or digestive tract.
    • Bones dehydrate in the colon and can result in constipation.


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Hickory Small Animal Hospital, 40008 Hickory Lane, Ponchatoula, LA 70454
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