IS THE PET FOOD SAFE THAT YOU ARE FEEDING TO YOUR PET?
Is your pet food safe? Did you know that road kill, animals euthanized in shelters and veterinary clinics, floor sweepings, refuse, almost anything from the food industry considered not for human consumption make it every day into fancy packaged pet food bags or cans? Also when looking at if the pet food is safe, take into account the amount of preservatives, artificial food coloring and flavorings that often are considered allergy inducing or carcinogenic that make their way into the food.
The first thing I tell a client that has an ill animal is to change the food! Why? Because no pre-packaged food, no matter how ‘good’ it looks and how many apparent healthy ingredients it may list, will ever come close to whole nutritious food specific to your animals species.
Commercial cat and dog foods (and this includes any pelleted animal feed for that matter whether for horses or hamster food) are never going to compare to real food, period. Now some are slightly better than others and this is something that we are going to be discussing, however I don’t want to lose sight of the most important message here. That message is, the more we stray from what our pets would get in the wild if they had to hunt or gather on their own, the more problems we are creating.
You may not be able to see the potential problem right away. In fact it usually takes years to develop, however it almost always does. As the saying goes, “you are what you eat”. And if your pet is a carnivore yet mainly eats a grain based diet filled with unhealthy ingredients, synthetic vitamins and minerals… then this will spell trouble sooner or later.
What are some things to look out for to ensure your pet food is safe?
Firstly, look at the ingredients to see if your pet food is safe. Food companies list ingredients from highest to lowest in terms of content. However, to avoid possibly having to put an unfavorable ingredient at the top of the list, that ingredient will be broken down into its constituents so it doesn’t appear high on the list. There can be a huge amount of manipulation in this area so it is good to be aware.
Avoid cheap fillers or cheap ingredients to make sure your pet food is safe. Ingredients such as corn, wheat middling’s, soy hulls are mostly a by-product from human food processing. How is this healthy? Most of the time all the nutritional content is used up for human consumption already, so these ingredients have very little to offer nutritionally to your pet.
Another scary ingredient that is starting to show up in more and more pet foods and treats is SUGAR. Sugar has many names so read labels carefully. It will sometimes be ‘fructose, lactose, glucose, maltose’ etc… Basically if it’s a word ending in ‘ose’ you can be pretty confident it is a sugar.
Is Sugar dangerous for pets?
Our pets would never get to eat unrefined sugar in the wild, so does this mean it makes our pet food safe? Why is it used in pet foods? Because, sugar is very addictive. Just like we as humans get sugar cravings from eating sweet foods, so do our pets. It creates a plethora of health problems as well. Anything from obesity, arthritis, tooth decay, allergies, thyroid dysfunction and diabetes, however the list goes on. In my professional opinion sugar is one of the most dangerous things we can see being put into our pet’s food. And it makes it double dangerous because our pets will not only crave it and beg for it, but will now reject anything else being offered. Some pet owners find it difficult to switch their pets from poor quality feeds to whole nutritious foods because pet food manufacturers put in ingredients, such as sugar, excess salt and “junk food” to keep your pet coming back for more.
What is in pet food?
Many of the diseases that our pets have today, were not even around a few decades ago. The main reason for this is the food, so is the pet food safe? We feed more processed foods to our pets now more than ever. Essentially we feed them what we ourselves eat, and sadly it is killing us all.
Next check the protein sources in the food to see if your pet food is safe. Did you know that the meat used in dog or cat food is unfit for human consumption? It may consist of carcasses from diseased animals or meat containing high levels of drugs, heavy metals and pesticides.
Even if something looks like a good ingredient, it may just be good advertising. For example, things like cellulose are actually the pulp from fibrous plants and have been also described assawdust. Brewers rice is pieces of polished (already nutritional content is lost because it’s no longer from a whole food source)rice that have zero nutritional value. Corn especially yellow corn is considered to have very little nutritional value but is used as one of the major ingredients (usually the main ingredient) in many pet foods.
The pet food industry is in the billions of dollars! Do not take good marketing, for good nutrition! So what about Veterinarian endorsed pet food is that pet food safe? Sadly, some of these are foods that are even worse than some of the supermarket counterparts. Some foods, especially the ones given for specific ailments such as an obesity formula or ones for kidney or gastric control can be the worst culprits, especially when given for long periods of time. Often, this could mean the life of the animal coming to an end very early. If you look at the label you will soon find things like corn and beet pulp and pork fat to be one of the main ingredients with little else. No vegetables or fruits, or fresh human grade proteins or carbohydrates for that matter. No variety! The rest is made up of a handful of synthetic vitamins and minerals often in imbalanced proportions. So why would Veterinarians prescribe such foods, and is this pet food safe? The main reason is many Veterinarians are unaware, and rely upon the information of the manufacturer to do the research and present the ‘health benefits’ and studies of the foods they sell to them. Unless a Veterinarian takes special extended Nutrition courses not included in becoming a veterinarian they may not know the foods they are selling can cause nutritional imbalances and deficiencies.
How to make sure your pet food is safe
The best way to know if your pet food is safe is to choose real foods and to remind ourselves that kibbled or canned pet foods are supposed to come from good quality ingredients, however for the most part they don’t! Once heated to high temperatures, mixed with artificial food coloring and flavorings for palatability, we have now created a food that over time can cause health problems.
If you decide to go more natural with your pets feeding program be sure to get help from a qualified holistic veterinarian or someone that specializes in animal nutrition. Giving your companion animal good whole food isn’t difficult, knowing what and how much to feed is the important part. It is equally important to know that nowadays many of our own foods are lacking the vitamin and mineral content they once had, so knowing what natural supplements to add to your pet food is equally critical to promote good health and long life! Should you have any questions regarding your pets specific needs for food, vitamin and mineral supplements, please do not hesitate to contact me for further information. Also, consider having your pets’ current level of health assessed to see where they are on the health meter to ensure a long healthy life. By ensuring your pet food is safe, mixed with good nutritional balance, you can enjoy your pets’ companionship for many many years to come.