Debunking pet food myths

A recent survey reported by David Sprinkle, publisher and research director at Packaged Facts, revealed three key factors in pet owners’ decisions to buy dry cat and dog food, instead of wet varieties.

Person preference and wrong assumptions help give dry pet food a strong customer preference advantage, which reflects the higher share of pet food sales. Sprinkle found evidence for these reasons in Packaged Facts survey data collected in February and March 2017.

1. Health

In the past, wet pet food has been marketed as a luxury rather than a main food source. According to the survey, over half of dog and cat owners think that dry pet foods tend to be healthier.

I find this to be disturbing, particularly when we look at the long term detrimental effects for dogs and cats fed dry diets low in moisture and protein and high in carbohydrates as well as the allowed use of 4-D meats in dry pet food. These detrimental effects may include long-term moisture deficiency, increased risk of lower urinary tract disease, obesity, and bloat.

2. Dental

"Similarly," Sprinkle wrote, "pet owners tended to believe kibble provides oral hygiene benefits to pets as they crunch on the hard pieces, reasoning that the abrasion may help clean pets’ teeth. Only ten percent disagreed, despite limited evidence that hard kibble alone provides significant dental benefits."

This is a myth that has been perpetuated for years. Dry kibble can actually increase the amount of periodontal disease due to the high carbohydrate load in the food, which breaks down to sugars that stick to the teeth. Many pets swallow kibble whole, which totally negates the theory of abrasive action.

3. Odor

People don't want to use pet food products that have overpowering odors, which may reinforce customer preference for dry cat and dog foods. I can understand this preference because I have a problem feeding stinky tripe and kidney to my pets. However, I do not succumb to convenience or my preferences. If it's good for my pets, they are going to get what they need.

The high quality frozen and freeze-dried raw foods that I feed my pets have minimal odor. In fact, some of them smell good enough that I would want to eat them (except for the tripe). Perhaps if we feed clean, high quality food, we don't really have to worry about overpowering odors. I find organ meats tend to have more odor - perhaps low quality canned pet foods are not using the highest quality ingredients, packed instead with discarded by-products and low quality, 4-D meats.

Please take a moment to peruse the highlighted blogs connected to this article for more information on the detrimental effects of long-term feeding of dry kibble products to your pets.