A Disaster in the Making

 

Question:

In your Journal article on July 30th, you comment about people food for dogs. I have a friend who has a “handicap assistance dog.”  It came with a very specific diet that includes raw chicken backs, vegetables and vegetable oil.  They were told it would extend the life of the dog.  Do you have any comments about this type of diet?

 

Dr. Nichol:

Self anointed experts in pet nutrition are not new.  Many animal breeders, in the belief that their diet holds the key to health and longevity, require buyers of their puppies and kittens to feed their secret blend.

 

Dogs and cats can certainly digest raw meat but cooked is safer. Many will eat vegetables but they miss the nutritional value because their systems are meant for the partially digested vegetation found inside the intestines of their natural prey. Salad doesn’t work for cats and dogs.

 

So how can you make a complete and balanced pet food at home? You can’t. You could yield to the call of the wild and free your pets to hunt and kill on their own (a rather bad idea) or you can buy them a high quality commercial diet.  The best pet foods (never the cheap stuff) are formulated by experts with advanced college degrees in animal nutrition. It’s safe, easy, and healthy. My advice to kitchen sink canine nutritionists? Fuggedaboutit.