10 Common Dog Food Myths Debunked A Veterinary Perspective

10 Common Dog Food Myths Debunked: A Veterinary Perspective

As a veterinary professional, I am happy to say that feeding your furry friend is not as complicated as many owners believe. Unfortunately, there are numerous myths and false information being spread to both new and experienced dog owners. In this post, I aim to debunk these misconceptions and provide accurate information on dog feeding.

My goal with this blog post is to provide pet owners with accurate information and help them understand that feeding their pets can be much simpler than they may have previously thought. By the end of this post, I hope that pet owners will feel more informed and confident in their ability to provide their furry friends with a healthy and balanced diet.

Common Dog Feeding Myths:


1. Dogs Should Only be Fed Meat Based Diets

Contrary to popular belief, dogs are in fact not carnivores but are omnivores. This means that they derive their nutrition not only from meat sources but also from plant sources, which is also seen in their evolutionary ancestors of wolves.

This therefore means when deciding what is an appropriate diet for your dog to not only consider providing them with a good quality meat source but also providing good quality plant sources.

The benefit of using a feed with a good mix of both plant and animal sources is that the meat will provide a health balanced diet. A good quality source of protein for your dog can be obtained from meat, such as white fish, salmon, beef, or chicken. For essential micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals, plant material is also important in your dog’s diet. Both protein and plant material are equally crucial for your dog’s overall health.

2. Home Made Diets are Better For Dogs

Common Dog Feeding Myths Home Made Diets are Better For Dogs

There has been a long-term debate into the pros and cons of home-made diets when compared to feeding dog feed with strong views on either side. As a veterinary professional I would always recommend feeding a veterinary approved tailor-made dog feed which is targeted to your dogs age and activity levels.

One benefit of feeding a specifically made dog feed over a home-made diet is that it has been tested by veterinary nutritionists and professionals. This ensures the feed contains all vital ingredients and nutrients to support your dog, something which may be missing in a home-made diet. In the long-term, home-made diets have a greater risk of leading to nutritional deficiencies, which can have negative impacts on your pets overall health.

Another issue of home-made diets is that they also require more time and effort from the owner and in the long term can work out more expensive than specifically tailor-made dog feed.


3. Dry Food is Better for Dogs Than Wet Feed

This statement can be controversial as both types of dog food have their own strengths and limitations. As a veterinary professional, I cannot say that one type of food is better than the other. The type of food that I would recommend would depend on the individual needs and requirements of the dog.

Generally, it is accepted that dry food is superior for preventing dental disease due to the hard grinding action helping to clean the teeth, preventing plaque and tartar accumulation, although wet feed is generally more palatable and also easier to digest, making it a superior choice if your dog already has dental disease and pain, due to the food being easier to chew.


4. Raw Diets are Healthier for Dogs

Whilst many dog owners suggest that raw feeds are a superior diet due to being closer to a dog’s ancestral diet, I personally believe that their risks outweigh the potential benefits. Raw feeds have been shown to contain higher levels of harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella which not only pose a threat to your dogs health but can also infect humans due to the bacteria ability to cross the animal-human barrier as a zoonotic disease. Raw feeds also contain higher number of harmful parasites which are not destroyed in the cooking process, again leading to digestion issues which in the long term can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and weight loss.



5. All Dogs Need the Same Amount of Food


Just like humans, not all dogs were created equCommon Dog Feeding Myths All Dogs Need the Same Amount of Foodal. There are many factors to consider when deciding how much to feed our dogs. Some main factors include bodyweight, activity levels, breed, and age. If your dog is more active or has a working function, they are going to be burning many more calories per day, this means they need a higher calorie intake and plane of nutrition to support their increased activity levels and energy requirements. If you do have a working dog then I would advise a specific working dog formula, which is a higher calorie feed.

As a Veterinary professional I would highly advice to regularly weight and monitor your dog’s bodyweight over a period. This will allow you to note trends in their weight and therefore adjust their feeding volume accordingly. This will help to keep them at an optimal weight and prevent both over and underfeeding, both which can have negative side effects.


6. It is Safe to Immediately Switch to a New Dog Food

Immediately changing your dogs feed abrupt is certainly not recommended as it can lead to a wide range of digestion and health complications. This is due to your dog’s intestinal tract not being adapted to the new feed, causing the beneficial bacteria (microflora) in the gut to become overwhelmed, commonly leading to diarrhoea. To prevent this from occurring it is important to slowly wean them off the old feed, by gradually reducing the volume whilst simultaneously increasing the volume of the new food. This will provide time for your dog’s gut to adapt and minimise the risk of digestion issues and upset.


7. All Human Food Is Safe For Dogs

Many foods which are perfectly safe for humans can pose a high risk of toxicity in our furry friends. Some key foods to avoid include raisins, grapes, xylitol based artificial sweeteners and dark chocolate. Raisins and grapes are in fact nephrotoxic, meaning they cause kidney disease, whilst dark chocolate contains a toxin called theobromine, which cannot be digested.

Common signs of toxicity include rapid onset of gastrointestinal issues and neurological signs such as confusion, collapse and vomiting, so if you do see any of these signs and are suspicious your dog has ingested one of the following than it is important to consult your vet immediately.


Paws Off: A Quick Guide to Household Foods That Are Dangerous for Dogs

Below I have included a summary table of common household feeds which can be highly toxic to your dogs and therefore should always be avoided.

Food Toxicity
Dark Chocolate Theobromine (Toxin)
Raisins Nephrotoxicity (Kidney)
Grapes Nephrotoxicity (Kidney)
Artificial Sweeter Xylitol (Hypoglycaemia)
Nuts Pancreatitis


8. Dogs Need a Constant Food Supply

The myth that dogs need a constant supply of food is not entirely accurate. While it is true that dogs should not be left without food for extended periods, it is not necessary for them to have food available at all times. In fact, free-feeding dogs can lead to overeating and obesity, which can cause health problems such as joint pain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Instead, it is recommended to feed dogs at regular intervals throughout the day, usually 2-3 times a day for adult dogs. This allows the dog to digest their food properly and maintain a healthy body weight. Interval feeding also allows owners to monitor the volume of feed more closely, again preventing the likelihood of overfeeding which can contribute to excessive weight gain.


9. Expensive Dog Food is Always Better than Affordable Brands

Nature's Protection Superior Care

As a veterinary professional, I would never recommend a specific brand of dog food based solely on its premium price. Instead, I would recommend a dog food based on key factors such as nutritional information, digestibility, palatability, and a reliable source of complete protein. These factors have a greater impact on a dog’s overall gut health than the price of the food.


10. Feeding Dogs is Complex, and Requires lots of Additional Supplementation

If you opt to feed your dog a complete dry food, the myth that additional supplementation is necessary is not true. Complete feeds are formulated by veterinary nutritionists to be fed as the sole food source for dogs. This means that they contain all the essential nutrients required by dogs and do not require any additional supplementation. This not only ensures that your dog is receiving all the necessary nutrients in their diet but also provides convenience and peace of mind for pet owners.



Common Dog Feeding Myths Conclusion

In conclusion, feeding your furry friend doesn’t have to be a complicated process. By debunking common dog feeding myths and providing accurate information, pet owners can make informed decisions about their dog’s diet. It is important to remember that each dog has unique nutritional needs, and consulting with a Vet or animal nutritionist can help ensure that those needs are met.


What is the Best Dry Feed For Small White Dogs? 



Nature's Protection Superior Care White Dogs Dry Food Grain Free White Fish Adult Small and Mini Breeds No Tear Stain Suitable For Bichon Frise, Maltese And Others with White Fur, 1.5 kg
  • FOOD FOR LIGHT COLOUR COAT DOGS. Complete pet food for adult, small and mini breed dogs of body weight 1-10kg.
  • TEAR STAINS OFF. Carefully selected protein sources with white fish maintain right composition of tears and can help to remove brown stains around the eyes, mouth and paws.
  • HIGH QUALITY PROTEIN SOURCE: white fish is a main source of the highest quality proteins. Cod, whiting, and saithe are valued for their hypoallergenic features, also this fish has more vitamin A and D, than any other fish, which is vital for dogs.
  • SUPERB PALATABILITY AND DIGESTIBILITY. Complete, great palatable feed for dogs, created from precisely selected ingredients of the highest quality, processed in a professional way result in a highly digestible product and small, firm stools.
  • WEIGHT CONTROL. White fish is low calorie fish, so it helps to control adult dog’s weight.

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Veterinary Author at AblePaws.co.uk | Website | + posts

Being a 5th year Vet student and having a passion for improving the health and welfare of all animals, I am providing AblePaws.co.uk with a veterinary perspective / insight into the real word applications, including strengths and limitations of the products it reviews. This will allow you to make an informed decision as to the suitability of the pet products reviewed on the site to keep your pet mobile, comfortable and full of life!

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