Common feeding myths in dogs and cats

Diet is a cause of acute moist dermatitis
- Feeding a diet that is energy dense or high in protein has been blamed as a cause of acute moist dermatitis (hot spots). However, there is no evidence that a relationship exists between a diet's nutrient content and these skin lesions.

- The most common underlying causes of acute moist dermatitis appear to be flea-bite hypersensitivity and other allergic skin diseases. Improper grooming and self-trauma may also contribute.

Certain diets cause coat color to turn red in dogs
- The term "red coat" refers to a perceived change in coat color from from almost any normal base color to a red or reddish brown. A scientific connection between commercial diets and development of red coat has never been demonstrated.

- The few cases of red coat that have been investigated have been found to have an identifiable underlying cause. These included exposure to sun, staining porphyrin, the presence of old hairs that had not been shed, or a coexisting dermatological disease.

Diet causes gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
- Current studies indicate that development of GDV is not related to any specific component in pet food.

- Nutritional factors that can influence a dog's risk for GDV include consuming only one meal per day, having a fast rate of eating, and experiencing aerophagia while eating.

- GDV appears to be a disease with multiple risk factors including body type, gender, temperament, and environment.

High-fat pet foods cause hyperlipidemia
- Both hyperlipidemia and artherosclerosis are rare conditions in dogs and cats. When these conditions do occur, they are either of genetic origin or they develop secondary to other disease states.

- Unlike humans, dogs and cats are capable of consuming a wide range of dietary fat and still maintaining normal blood lipid levels. This is presumably because dogs and cats first evolve as carnivorous predators with a diet that normally contained a high proportion of animal fat.

Coprophagy (Stool Eating) is caused by a nutrient deficiency
- Most dogs will consume the feces of herbivorous species such as horses, cattle, deer, or rabbits. In addition, many dogs that live with cats will eat cat feces if given access to the litter box. Some dogs also consume canine feces, including their own.

- Eating feces is a manifestation of normal canid scavenging behavior and is observed both in pet dogs and in captive and wild wolves.