Like any science, pet nutrition is associated with folklore about the feeding of dogs and cats. Some of these ideas have their origins in science, but the facts have been exaggerated, obscured, or misapplied. Other feeding practices are ones that owners enjoy for emotional reasons but which have potential health risks for their pets. Let’s review a few common nutritional myths and separate fact from fiction!
The “red coat” problem refers to an unexpected change in coat color from almost any normal base color to a red or reddish brown. Reports of “red coat” have occurred for a number of years, but cases are infrequent and inconsistent, making the condition difficult to study. Diet, among other factors, has been identified by some owners as a potential underlying cause of “red coat.” Here are the facts:
Coprophagy (stool eating) is relatively common in dogs but rare in cats. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of dogs who coprophagize are not consuming a diet that is deficient in one or more essential nutrients, nor do they have gastrointestinal disease. Here are the facts:
The use of either brewer’s yeast or the B vitamin thiamine (one of the yeast’s components) as a repellent for external parasites has a long history as a nutritional myth. However, there is no evidence to indicate that feeding brewer’s yeast or any other supplement such as garlic or onion has a repellent effect on fleas or any other external parasite. Here are the facts: