There are many myths and misconceptions about pet nutrition and commercial pet foods that are commonly propagated online, in written marketing material for various pet food companies, and by third party "non-biased" sources such as pet lover magazines.
Renal disease is one of the medical conditions in veterinary medicine that is most amenable to dietary management. Research in both dogs and cats has demonstrated that specially formulated diets for renal disease help prevent uremic episodes, slow disease progression, and can double survival time.
Many clients whose pets are being treated for cancer are interested in potential benefits from nutritional modifications. Some owners blame a diet for causing the cancer while others want to home-cook so they can feel like they are actively contributing to their pet's care. Still another group has done "research" online and in various books and would like to modify or supplement their pet's diet in the hope that these changes will help cure their pet.
There remains much confusion when it comes to feeding growing puppies. Many traditional recommendations of breeders and veterinarians, such as switching growing large breed dogs to adult food or not using growth diets at all, are no longer appropriate and may be harmful.
Nutrition is often overlooked in patients that present for wellness visits and is often a low priority when it comes to the management of ill patients. However, it is important to collect a thorough nutrition history for all new and continuing patients, sick and well, and update this history regularly.
Pet food labels serve as marketing devices, as legal documents, and sources of limited nutritional information. Unfortunately, these purposes are often at odds as the current regulatory environment reflects the evolution of companion pet diets from livestock diets rather than from human foods.