Many of us have been convinced that the healthy, natural, premium and recommended by labels on dog food and cat food must mean that the food inside the bag is good for our pets. Alongside these words are claims of 100% complete and balanced that leave us to assume we are providing the best we can for our pets, feeding the same dry cereal based diets day in and day out. Yet, most people do not fully appreciate what goes into these pet foods. The pet food companies place images of fresh cut chicken breast, fresh fruits and vegetables and wholesome grains on packages, however, that is rarely what is actually inside the bag.
Chances are you are feeding a pet food which contains more than one of the ingredients discussed below Bottled and jarred packaged goods. The pet food industry has a broad range of unsavory options when it comes to what substances may be used in pet food and freedom to print enticing pictures, however misleading, on their packaging. It is only when our pet’s health begins to degrade and eventually fail, that most people begin to question why. After all, a healthy body can only be as good as what is put into it.
To promote the best health you can in your companion, read and understand the uses of the common ingredients below and make sure to always read your labels!
Years ago pet food manufacturers discovered that pets adore the sweet taste of corn. Corn is one of the most heavily subsidized crops in agriculture, making its market price lower than the cost of producing the corn.
The gluten in corn is used as an inferior protein source in pet foods. Corn protein in itself is not a complete protein source and must be balanced with animal proteins to create a usable amino acid profile for pets.
Unfortunately corn is often abused as the single most abundant ingredient in many pet foods, contributing to the many diseases linked to high carbohydrate diets, including obesity, chronic inflammation, diabetes and cancer. The cob of the corn becomes filler with very little nutritional value. The quality of the corn is also a problem as many foods use low quality corn containing toxins such as mycotoxins and mold which cause damage to a pet’s liver and kidneys.
Carnivores were never designed to obtain the majority of their energy requirements from carbohydrates. In fact they have zero nutritional requirements for carbohydrates or grains. Yet the majority of products on the market regularly consist of up to 50% carbohydrates, with some even higher.
Eons of evolution have designed carnivores to obtain energy from amino acids (protein) and fatty acids, fat from prey animals through the process of gluconeogenesis. Other than simple economics there is no reason to challenge the eons of evolution nature has put into place when it comes to feeding carnivores like dogs, cats & ferrets. When we force such a dramatic change in metabolism and utilize least cost ingredients, adverse effects over the long term become much more likely. The same effects of junk food on humans can be seen in today’s companion animals.
Not too long ago, if you wanted to find a decent selection of organic products, you had to go to a specialty health food store. Now you can find organic produce, meats, dairy products and more at almost any grocery store. There is no question that organic foods have increased in popularity in recent years, but many people still have questions about these products. Perhaps the most common question is, are organic foods really better than regular foods?
This question has been debated a lot in recent years, with some people heavily promoting organic foods, while others claim they are no better than the regular foods you eat. Both sides have some evidence to support their opinion, but some of this evidence is a little misleading. The first important thing to note about this debate is nobody is saying that organic foods are less healthy or in any way inferior to regular foods. The people defending regular foods are just trying to say they have no additional benefits.
The main evidence against the need for organic foods comes from nutrient comparisons that have been made between organic and regular foods. Lab tests have found that organic foods may not contain significantly more nutrients than other foods and defenders of regular foods have taken this to mean that organic foods are not any better or healthier than other foods. If the amount of nutrients in a food was the only thing that mattered, then this would be a compelling argument against the need for organic foods, but the amount of nutrients is just one component of food.