Pet Food Advice That Can Save Your Pet’s Life
Do you have trouble deciding which pet food is best for your Sparky or Tiger? Do you really know what is in the pet food that you place in their bowl every day? Then you are not alone. According to a recent article on healthy eating for pets in the May issue of Experience Life magazine, many people put their trust in pet food companies - when they shouldn’t.
One fact that should be grabbing pet owners’ attention is that right now more than 52 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats are overweight or obese. The consequence of this obesity epidemic is that it also leads to an epidemic of joint problems, diabetes and cancer in pets.
The Pet Food Problem
The origin of this health threat began in the 1950s when pet food that came in a can or a bag began to outpace the amount of table scraps in the home that were typically fed to pets.
Part of the problem has to do with the commercial processing of pet food that can destroy nutrients, increase exposure to pathogens, and add unneeded and unhealthy preservatives, artificial flavors and colors that could be chemical carcinogens.
One example pointed out by writer Catherine Guthrie is that researchers have found that in comparison to wild animals, domesticated animals like cats and dogs have significantly higher levels of the cancer-causing chemical acrylamide—a byproduct of the pet food cooking process when a pet food contains certain toxins.
“If your pet eats kibble every day, there could be an exposure concern to these toxins,”—a quote attributed to nutritionist and integrative veterinarian Susan G. Wynn, DVM in the article.
Another part of the problem has more to do with the actual nutritional content found in pet foods. In particular—grain heavy pet foods.
The article points out that our pets evolved naturally through a diet that was high in meat and not of grain. However, pet foods often are stuffed with grain such as corn, rice, wheat and soy as cheap-filler that makes pet food not only easier to pack into kibble form, but is also much more profitable for the manufacturer over using meat or other animal byproducts. The health threat to having so much grain in pet food is that like in humans, it can lead to blood-sugar spikes and diabetes.
Furthermore, when animal byproducts are listed among the ingredients in a bag of pet food, there is no way for the consumer to know whether those byproducts are primarily nutritious organ meat or much less nutritious chicken feet sold by a poultry slaughter house.
The Pet Food Solution
While buying raw pet food is one alternative to dry pet food and has been found to result in reduced shedding, less gas and improved muscle tone, it is also more prone to contain Salmonella or other pathogens that can make your pet sick.
Making your own pet food is problematic as well because meeting all of the nutritional requirements is difficult and could wind up as becoming either “…the best food for your pet, or the worst food for your pet,” states the article.
So what’s the solution for pet owners when it comes to pet food? The take home message is that you can feed your pet healthier if you supplement the dry kibble with moist, meat-rich canned pet food as well as bits of scraps of meat, carrots, broccoli and green leafy veggies from the kitchen.
Pet Food Tips
To upgrade your pet’s diet, here are a few tips offered by Experience Life magazine:
1. Buy pet food that carries the nutritional adequacy statement on its label from the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
2. To ensure that your pet is benefitting from a wider range of nutrients, switch every few months (gradually) to pet foods with differing nutrient profiles.