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Is fish good for dogs and cats nutrition: 4 false myths

Despite cats and dogs loving fish, many owners are convinced fish is bad. But is it really dangerous to feed them with fish? ...

Is fish good for dogs and cats?

Despite cats and dogs loving fish, many owners are convinced fish is bad. But is it really dangerous to feed them with fish? Let's debunk 4 false myths.

#1 Fish contains bones and has a high content of phosphorus and magnesium, which can provoke urinary tract disorders and kidney stone development.

In practical terms, dry food does not even contain traces of bones, thanks to the production process. In fact, fish meal is used, whose bone proportion is much lower than with meat. It’s pretty easy to understand that the proportional weight and amount of bone in an animal living on land is much greater than that needed to support an animal that lives suspended in water. Regarding phosphorus and magnesium levels, a finished food sample is sent to an external laboratory to confirm that microelement, mineral and vitamin levels strictly correspond to the parameters established by European legislation concerning pet food. The finished product offers balanced phosphorus and magnesium quantities and doesn’t represent any risk to the urinary tract.

For the production of wet food in pâté, whole boned fish is generally used. The quality of the raw materials is fundamental in ensuring a successful finished product. The sealed packaging is placed in autoclaves and steam sterilized at high temperature to destroy any micro-organisms present in the food and can. The cans are then washed and cooled with water. This process generally degrades the most dangerous bones.

#2 There are many animals which are sensitive or allergic to fish; this food is a top 3 in the list of leading dog and cat allergens. Fish-based food contains a lot of histamine, which causes allergic reactions.

Although many bibliographic sources list fish as a highly allergic ingredient, reality paints a differing picture. The real danger is represented by the histamine. Histamine is part of the so-called "biogenic amines" that may be present in various food types due to microorganic actions. Histamine derives from the decarboxylation of the amino acid L-histidine, which is naturally present in the various marine fish families’ musculature. The formation of histamine is only minimally due to autolytic phenomena of tissue origin. It is in fact predominantly of bacterial origin, deriving from the action of enzymes (above all histidine-decarboxylase), processed mainly by Gram-negative germs (classes: Morganella morganii, Klebsiella, Proteus, Hafnia, Enterobacter, Citrobacter, Vibrio, Photobacterium) which have contaminated the meat of dead fish. Histamine is highly thermostable and is not denatured by cooking and canning treatments, with a 90-minute treatment at 241°F required for complete inactivation. Precisely for this reason SANYpet, in order to always guarantee an attentive control of all its references, actions sampling plans to monitor the histamine level; all the values ​​obtained from the analyses carried out by accredited external laboratories are well below the limits defined for products for human consumption.

#3 Predatory fish (eg. tuna and salmon) are at the top of the food chain list as containing many heavy metals.

It’s true that the larger the fish and the longer its life, the more heavy metals it accumulates. But in today's world many fish are raised in farms where the risk of heavy metals does not exist. Fish from the sea are subjected to strict controls concerning the presence of heavy metals. In addition, heavy metals accumulate over time, and the industry’s level of intensiveness and high consumption levels don’t allow fish a lengthy life, as a result they don’t accumulate high levels of heavy metals.

#4 Fish transmit diseases and pests.

The parasites present in fish are numerous, but they are dangerous only if the fish is eaten raw.

Low (freezing) or high (cooking) temperatures kill the parasites. Within the feed preparation process the fish undergoes heat treatment that excludes the survival not only of parasites, but also the bacteria, eventually becoming totally safe for animal health.

We have just seen that all myths concerning fish have a clear and simple explanation. However, the doubt remains, why choose ocean fish meal in dog food and not meat?

Using fish represents, from a nutritional point of view, a food of high biological value indicated not only for intolerant subjects, but also for puppies and convalescent and / or debilitated animals.

Please consult our article on fish in the feeding of dogs and cats to learn more.

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