Pet Nutritional Myths


Your pet’s nutrition is an important and essential component of care. There are many myths, rumors and bad advice circulating about pet nutrition.  As a pet owner, the best thing you can do is to consult a professional veterinarian – someone who knows your pet’s condition and has the expertise to recommend a diet specific to your pet’s needs.  Below, we’ve separated fact from fiction.

Myth : A bowl of milk makes a great snack for my cat.

Truth: Cats do not get any extra nutrients from milk that are not already present in a high-quality pet food. Milk can be given as a treat very sparingly. Milk is high in calories and too many calories from such treats can dilute out essential nutrients from a cat’s regular diet. Standard cow’s milk has much more lactose and casein than most cats – especially older cats can digest. Lactose sugars can be hard to digest and can cause bloating and flatulence. In the end, some cats will tolerate milk without a problem, but the veterinarians at Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center of Brevard recommend offering treats like bite-sized bits of cooked meat or pre packaged cat treats as a reward instead.

Myth : Putting garlic on my pet’s food will get rid of worms.

Truth: This myth is false.  Not only will garlic not help your cat’s worm affliction, it could cause anemia.

Myth : Cats are carnivores so eating raw fish is no problem for them.

Truth : Be careful. Frequently giving your cat raw fish could cause thiamine deficiency. Thiamine deficiency could result in loss of appetite, abnormal posture, weakness, seizures and even death. Cooking fish prior to feeding it to your cat can eliminate this problem – watch out for bones too!

Myth : Dog food and cat food are interchangeable.

Truth : Dogs and cats each have special dietary needs and should be fed the appropriate pet food. Cats should not eat dog food because it does not provide all the essential nutrients a healthy cat needs. As their names suggest, dog food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of dogs and cat food is designed to meet the needs of cats. Pet food products are required under state law to identify the species they were designed for (cat or dog).

Myth : Dogs require more protein than cats.

Truth : Surprise! Cats actually require nearly 5 times more protein than dogs do. That’s in ratio to total food consumption.  The cat certainly does not need 5 times as many helpings of protein as the dog gets to eat.

Myth :  A diet free of grains is best for my pet.

Truth: While uncooked grains are not digestible, up to 90% of properly cooked grains can be easily digested. The gluten in grain provides quality protein to the pet diet. Only about 1% of dogs have true grain allergies.

We’ve  also provided this  printable Pet Food Checklist so you can make sure your pet’s food is providing quality nutrition.

About Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center of Brevard (AECC):

AECC is Brevard County’s most comprehensive group of emergency and specialty veterinary professionals.  We are located at 2281 W. Eau Gallie Blvd | Melbourne, FL 32935. You can reach us at 321-725-5365. A veterinarian is always on duty and we are open 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

Our Veterinary Specialties Include:

  • Surgery
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Chemotherapy
  • Advanced Diagnostic Imaging
  • Stem Cell Therapy
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
  • Acupuncture

We proudly serve those in Central Florida including:

  • Melbourne
  • Satellite Beach
  • Merritt Island
  • Palm Bay
  • Vero Beach
  • Titusville
  • Indialantic
  • Viera
  • Suntree
  • Kissimmee
  • and all other surrounding areas

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Gustafson