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5 Pet Health Myths

  • August 7, 2011
  • 6:01 pm
  • 1 of 5
5 Pet Health Myths

Pet health shouldn’t be measured by nose temperature, and despite the recent pet-food recall, avoid feeding your pets table scraps.

By Leah Zerbe,

As if last year’s massive egg recall wasn’t rotten enough, Salmonella may also be lurking in the treats of man’s best friend, prompting a recall of more than 75,000 packages of Hartz dog treats.

All this may have you thinking a bit more about not only what is on your plate, but what’s in your dog’s bowl, too. So invited Shelly Rubin, VMD, director emeritus of Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago, and past president of the Illinois State Veterinary Association, to debunk common pet myths so we can keep our furry friends safe. (Rubin also served as veterinarian to Oprah’s dogs for 15 years!)

Myth #1—Table scraps are good for dogs.

The reality: With the dog treat recall and past dog food scandals, such as the melamine-tainted food that killed thousands of pets in 2007, it might seem like people food could be a better choice for your animal companions. But Dr. Rubin warns of going there, because our animals’ health improves when they receive a consistent source of fat, protein, and carbohydrates—which isn’t how human diets generally work. He recommends a high-quality, natural food, such as the Wellness and Holistic Selectbrands. Organix is a high-quality pet-food line that’s certified organic.

Dr. Rubin also emphasizes feeding your dog appropriate portions of a high-quality food twice a day, as opposed to letting food sit out in a bowl all day. And forget doling out excess treats—the majority of America’s pets are already obese. “Show love with petting and attention rather than feeding them,” says Dr. Rubin. Healthy dog treats include baby carrots, cauliflower, cut-up apple pieces, lettuce, pear pieces and even watermelon (just don’t give them seeds, and avoid stringy produce that could cause digestive distress and get stuck in their teeth). And never feed dogs grapes and raisins because they often cause renal failure in dogs. (Avocado pits are also extremely toxic to dogs.)

10 Foods Poisonous to Pets

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, Safety, ,

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Rodale is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice.


+ add your own
8:48PM PDT on May 21, 2013

Thanks for sharing!

12:03AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

When I was in my teens we had a family cat that only drank water from the bathroom sink tap.
It was comical - He would sit in the sink and wait patiently until someone noticed him and to turn on the water.

12:11PM PDT on Sep 9, 2011

I didn't know about kisses. Thanks!

10:43AM PDT on Sep 9, 2011

The only people food one of my cats will eat is cheese. We give a piece the size of a pea once a day. He loves it.

3:50PM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

I have to thoroughly disagree with the first "myth". Granted, table scraps may be bad for your pet (if they contain a lot of fat, oils, condiments, etc.). However, "people food" is actually better for animals than the standard, dry kibble stuff. You have to be careful with those and read the label (and ingredients) thoroughly because even "natural" pet food can be guilty of greenwashing.

Aside from that, you don't hear about dogs and cats hunting for kibble in the wild. They go after birds, rodents, and even plants, because that is what they would naturally eat. Not processed food that contains additives, fillers, chemicals, and other unnecessary things.

I would suggest looking into organic, holistic, or raw diets for your pets. There are even recipes online and pet cookbooks, so you can plan their meals and always know what is exactly in their food (which is especially useful if they have food allergies or other health issues). Plus, real/organic food can boost their immune system and give them a healthier coat, unlike the processed stuff (which may actually lead to more trips to the vet).

And it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it can be as simple as some chicken and veggies. But if you decide to stick with the kibble route (high quality or not), please read the packaging thoroughly...

This site has some good info on raw diets:

11:11AM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

I knew about the carrots (and the grapes) - but cauliflower and apples - what great ideas! My mom's dog will do pretty much anything for carrots. It makes me laugh to watch how excited she gets.

9:32AM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

Thanks for the info!

12:56PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Thanks...I already know these but it is not always easy to do the right thing. My cats are always begging...

7:55AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

...thanks for the tips--never did like dogs or cats licking my face = /

2:08AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Worth sharing!b Thanks!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Good presentation. I did lousy on the quiz. I guess I really don't follow the subject that closely…

Cannot stop catalogs, I tried- recycle them.

This sounds just a bit too new agey for me, sorry.

All good. Thank you.


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