About Pet Diets

By-Products provide valuable nutrients for your pet:
AAFCO* defines by-products as suitable for animal food; they are the clean internal organs including liver, lungs, heart as well as cartilage, bone and muscle tissues.  By-products are a valuable source of energy, vitamins and minerals for your pet.

  • Quality by-products are safe and used by pet food companies that follow strict guidelines and standards such as Royal Canin, Hill's Science Diet, Purina and Iams.

Grains provide valuable nutrients for your pet:

Grains such as corn and wheat are excellent sources of quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Many grains are more digestible sources of protein than meat.

  • There is no evidence to support claims that grains cause health problems excluding the rare dog with a true allergy. (1)
  • Many "grain free" diets substitute with potato or tapioca (for the grains), which contribute fewer nutrients than grains. (1)

Wheat gluten provides a valuable source of protein for your pet:
Wheat gluten is more than 80% protein, 99% digestible and has an amino acid profile similar to other proteins (meat).


Chicken Meal is an excellent source of protein for your pet:
Chicken meal is dehydrated and defatted chicken and provides a very digestible source of concentrated protein.


Flax does NOT contain omega-3 fatty acids for your pet:
Most veterinary research supporting benefits of omega-3 fatty acids including benefits in dermatitis, arthritis pain, kidney inflammation, and heart disease2, have been done evaluating EPA and DHA (found only in certain marine plants and fish).

  • Flax requires conversion by your pet to achieve EPA and DHA, a conversion which is "uniformly poor". (1)

Food allergies - not all pet foods are created equally:
Food elimination trials are the only way to diagnose food allergies in dogs.
One recent study showed that none of the over the counter (venison) diets tested were suitable for an elimination trial since they all were tainted with common pet food proteins. (3)

  • Your veterinarian is the most reliable source for accurate information and management of your pet's health.

Organic Diet:
No official rules govern labeling of organic pet foods but they must comply with USDA National Organic Program regulations.

  • There is no scientific data to back up the "claim" that organic is healthier for pets.
  • Organic diets frequently use flax seed as source of fatty acids Flax seeds do NOT contain EPA/DHA.
  • Is a description of process (under which plants/animals are grown/raised), that does NOT refer to quality of the raw material. __________________________________________________________________________

Raw Diet:
The FDA: does not advocate a raw meat, poultry, or seafood diet for pets.

  • There are no published, peer-reviewed articles support health "claims" for raw diets.
  • Published reports exist of gastroenteritis and death in animals eating contaminated raw meat foods.

Natural Diet:
Solely from plant, animal, or mined sources not having produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process; exceptions include artificially sythesized vitamins, minerals, or other trace nutrients.

Human-grade & Holistic: Is not defined by AFFCO and therefore cannot be accurately used to describe a pet food.

*American Association of Feed Control Officials establishes ingredient definitions and uniform guidelines as to what is appropriate for animal feeds.
1 Heinze, C.R., Pet Food 102: Myths and Misconceptions. Central Veterinary Conference, 2011
2  Kirk, Claudia, NAVC Proceedings, The Use of Long Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, January 2011,
3 Raditic, D, 2011, ELISA Testing for Common Food Antigens in Dry Dog Foods Used in Dietary Elimination Trial, MSPCA Angell Animal Medical Center, Boston, MA. Association of American Feed Control Officials. In: Noel RJ ed. Official Publication, 2011 . Stone GG, et al. Application of polymerase chain reaction for the correlation of Salmonella serovars recovered from greyhound feces with their diet. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostics and Investigation 5:378-385, 1993. Shaw M, et al. Streptococcus zooepidemicus in small carnivorous mammals fed uncooked horsemeat. Journal of Zoo Animal Medicine 15:161-164, 1984
ROYAL CANIN SAS 2011. All Rights Reserved