Food for Thought
When it comes to pet foods, there are a LOT of choices out there. Here are our best recommendations from a medical standpoint.
If financially feasible, our doctors primarily recommend that pets are fed a “premium” diet. To simplify, most brands sold in pet food stores such as PetsMart, PETCO, Indigo Creek, and Lucia’s locally, fall into this category. Premium foods have higher quality ingredients and less waste providing superior nutritional care. As veterinary professionals, we are most in favor of the companies who have based their diet formulas on medical research such as:
- Hill’s Science Diet
- Royal Canin
- Purina Pro Plan
Our secondary recommendation is for the higher-quality “grocery store” brands of pet food . While not of the same caliber as the premium brands, if your pet does well on one of these foods, it is OK by us! These brands include:
- Purina ONE
Lesser quality “discount” diets avoided. Nutritionally, these diets can be considered “fast food” for pets. In addition to fewer nutritional components and more preservatives, low quality diets will produce excessive smelly bowel movements. Ultimately, we encourage our clients to find a food that is nutritionally balanced, palatable, easy to digest, and aids in the maintenance of your pet’s healthy weight, skin, and coat.
The Corn Controversy
By definition, dogs are considered omnivores meaning their natural diet contains both meats and plants. (Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores.) Corn is commonly used in dog foods as an inexpensive vegetable ingredient. Contrary to popular belief:
- Corn is a very low allergenic ingredient for dogs.
- A higher carbohydrate content in dog food is nutritionally appropriate.
- Medical research to date does not link corn with health concerns in pets.
When considering low-allergen diets for dogs, we first consider proteins and grains as the possible problem. By working with a veterinarian using prescription diets containing “novel” proteins and grains such as duck, venison, rabbit, and potato can successfully reduce or eliminate a pet’s food allergy related issues. Removing corn from a pet’s diet is rarely medically indicated. Clients who desire to feed organic or holistic diets due to personal convictions are encouraged to do so. However, thus far, common medical opinion and research do not consider these diets superior to other premium pet foods.
Daniel Island Animal Hospital is a small animal veterinary clinic located in Charleston, SC on Daniel Island. They focus on general medicine and wellness including surgery, dentistry, radiology, and emergency care for dogs, cats, and small mammals. Teri Macklin, of Island Dog Cuts, provides grooming for dogs and cats in the facility. Their team is dedicated to personalized patient care and friendly client service.