Petrimental Pet Food: Understanding Pet Food Ingredients

Cats, Dogs, Pets — By on November 19, 2011

Your pet food may be endangering the health of your companion animals. Although your cats or dogs may eat like there’s no tomorrow, the ingredients in their chow may actually be bringing the sunset of their lives closer.

If you think that purchasing a popular brand is enough, you’re barking up the wrong tree. This industry’s products suffer from a lack of oversight resulting from self-deregulation.

by Laura Hoffman

Unfortunately, nutritional guidelines are less relevant in the world of companion animal food. In order to keep costs low and profit margins high, most manufacturers use ingredients deemed unfit for human consumption.

In fact, the wording on packaging is about the only thing really legislated. Nutty as it may seem, filler products like peanut shells are used to fill fiber quotas. Accordingly, the guaranteed analysis should only be considered after the caliber of the ingredients is taken into account. Although reading the ingredients is easy, understanding them can be a conundrum.

Don’t put much stock in a food that doesn’t list a quality meat source as its first ingredient. This especially goes for cats, true carnivores. Beware, some companies cheat by splitting a product. For example, they may list ground yellow corn as the second ingredient and corn gluten meal as the fourth in order to avoid listing corn as the main ingredient.

Byproducts are slaughterhouse discards such as intestines, feet, feathers, beaks, hides, duck bills, and bones. These low quality protein sources lack nutrient value. Truly, byproducts should be bygones.

Rendering plants make no bones about it, meat and bone meal can include roadkill, dead pets, and diseased animals. According to an FDA study, many common pet foods contain pentobarbital, a drug used to euthanize animals.

Many things go against the grain. For starters, mold is omnipresent. Corn and wheat are commonly used although they are highly indigestible and stress the kidneys. Wheat, corn, and soy are common allergens. On the other paw, carbohydrates from white rice can be almost completely absorbed by our canine friends.

The mixture of grain and meat products is often full of harmful bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. Most of the bacteria is killed by the high temperatures of the cooking process but endotoxins are left behind that can cause disease. Despite all this, restaurant waste oils and animal fat typically make the whole product as tempting as drive-thru French fries are to us.

Additionally, most recipes include chemical additives and preservatives to stabilize them and make them look and taste good. Many of these have not been approved for humans nor had their synergistic effects studied. Some are known carcinogens. Natural preservatives such as tocopherols (vitamin E), citric or ascorbic acid (vitamin C), or a combination of the two are the better choice.

High-quality foods are becoming more and more available. You may find these products to be considerably more expensive up front. But if you don’t pay now, you will likely pay in shortened longevity or vet bills later.

Better yet, consider preparing healthy meals that you and your pets may share. Consult your vet for dietary guidelines. Forget what your parents told you about feeding your pets table scraps. Bone apetit.

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  1. Great! thanks for the share!

  2. Emilie says:

    It is actually hard to find well-informed persons on this issue, but you be understood as you know exactly what you are dealing with! Thanks a lot