Grains and by-products are trending topics in both human and pet nutrition that often carry a negative connotation, while raw diets raise questions and often incite debates, all of which create confusion over what’s good vs. what’s bad. Here, Purina experts dispel the myths to bring clarity to your bird dog’s nutrition. Knowledge is power, and knowing the facts about these “myths” can help you make well-informed feeding decisions for your hardworking dog.
1. MYTH: Dogs are carnivores and should be fed a raw, meat-based diet, as cooking destroys nutrients in dog food and thus raw meat provides better nutrition.
FACT: Dogs aren’t wolves, they’re omnivores. Although raw food diet proponents claim health benefits such as improved digestion, firmer stool, healthier skin and coats, and nutrition more akin to the “wild diet,” very few are supported by published research. Raw food diets can actually pose serious health risks, including foodborne illness for both humans and dogs caused by bacterial contamination of uncooked meat, physical injury caused by bones, and potential nutrient imbalances or deficiencies. Certain cooking processes in the manufacture of dog food can increase the digestibility of protein by gelatinizing the collagen, as well as the digestibility of grains and starchy foods by altering the cellular structure of the starch granules.
2. MYTH: Grains are unnecessary fillers in dog food — not only are dogs allergic, they also cannot digest grains to use as energy.
FACT: Grains are a nutritionally valuable ingredient in dog food, as they are an important source of many nutrients such as protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, B-vitamins and minerals. Grains can also provide a source of readily digestible carbohydrates, helping to meet a crucial physiological need for glucose, the most important energy source for all cells in the body. What’s more, true food allergies are rare in dogs, and the offending substances usually aren’t grains. However, Purina respects and accommodates those dog owners who are selective about particular ingredients and choose to feed an appropriate grain-free diet, offering a range of grain-fee formulas that are nutritionally complete and balanced.
3. MYTH: By-products are just cheap, low-quality fillers used in dog food.
FACT: By-products are a common ingredient in dog foods and can provide a highly digestible and nutritious source of protein and essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. By-products actually can deliver more essential nutrients than regular muscle meat. Purina only uses safe and clean, high-quality by-products, including nutrient-rich organ meats (livers, kidneys, lungs and spleens), corn gluten meal and tallow. Foods made with by-products also are more sustainable, allowing the use, rather than the waste, of nutritious components of a whole-food ingredient.
Quality diet and nutrition are essential to helping your bird dog live a long, healthy life, so it’s important to make educated decisions about your dog’s health. For more information, please visit www.purina.com/nutrition.