An analysis of data from the Food and Drug Administration, which tracks the popularity of pet food, found that cats and dogs were the most commonly eaten animals.
“More than 60% of pet cats and dog owners in the US eat their pets at least once a week or every two weeks,” wrote the FDA in a 2016 report.
The study said that while cats and puppies had a lower caloric intake than their omnivorous counterparts, dogs had higher protein and fat intakes, which were in line with recommendations for cats.
Dogs had higher levels of omega-3 fats and lower levels of saturated fat than cats, and the highest amounts of omega 6 fats.
“Most of the pet food we buy in the U.S. is based on cat food,” said Lisa Haggerty, an FDA spokeswoman.
“There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation around what’s the best type of pet diet for your pet.”
Cats are known for their large paws, and some experts have suggested eating pet foods made with ground beef, chicken, pork or beef liver as the preferred diet for pets.
Animal welfare groups, however, say the idea that eating meat is healthier for your furry friends is a myth.
“It’s very dangerous to eat meat,” said Barbara O’Brien, a veterinarian at the Animal Welfare Institute in California.
“I’ve had patients die from liver failure from the lack of omega 3 fats in their diets.”
Many pet owners, however think that meat is a more nutritious source of omega 5 fats than chicken, beef or lamb.
In fact, O’Connor said, most of the animals in her clinic don’t have to be fed fish.
She said that in some cases, they just can’t get enough of the fish.
“In terms of health, it depends on the age of the animal,” O’Connors said.
“A small kitten, for example, might not have the same nutritional needs as a big cat.”
O’Briens veterinary nutritionist, Jessica Johnson, told CNN that while a kitten is a special case, she has seen the opposite happen to her patients.
“They are eating their kittens on a regular basis, they are eating fish, and they are taking in fish from the aquarium,” Johnson said.
O’Brian said it’s important for people to understand the difference between raw meat and cooked meat.
“Cooked meat is more complex than raw meat,” he said.
For example, in the case of cooked meat, it may be that the animal was killed whole, not just some of the bones and muscle removed.
“So the amount of meat in a dish is different, but it still has some of those nutrients,” OBrien said.
She added that some cats may be more sensitive to cooking and to the salt and spices used in cooking meat.
But she also said there are some things that can be done to make your dog or cat’s meal a healthier option.
“The key is not to overdo it with the amounts,” OBrien said.
Some pet owners are using frozen chicken and pork for their pets, while others are experimenting with fish or other seafood.
For a pet that needs more protein, you can use chicken or other fish protein sources such as salmon, shrimp, mackerel or trout.
OBrien added that she does recommend using a variety of animal proteins.
“You can’t just add just any protein,” she said.
You need to balance protein to carbohydrate.
“When you have a cat that’s getting all the protein, he’s not getting all of the carbs,” she explained.
“He needs some of them, and that means that he needs some carbohydrates.”