If you are surprised or shocked by the title of this article, read on. I have suspected this practice for a very long time and decided to read, research and write about this topic. The health and safety of my beloved pet family member is of the utmost importance and I think anyone who knows me and my relationship with my pet understands why I am so passionate about what my pets consume. I have a personal experience with processed pet food, so I know the effects that it has on their system. Through my articles, I compare the animal world to our world. There are similarities between us that we are now just discovering and so it goes for corporations and pet food manufacturing. The good the bad and the ugly of it all.
So, you’re out walking your pet, you noticed that your pet is doing a lot more business than they should. It’s a lot and you become concerned. Unless they are suffering from a specific health issue like my Coco Bean, don’t be too concerned. It has everything to do with their diet and their digestion.
What do you mean their digestion. Most people will respond with “My dog is perfectly healthy, the doctor said so at the last yearly exam”. That may be true, for now, but most conventional veterinarians will always recommend a brand that they know is universally recognized. Most likely they have an agreement with the company that they should carry it in their clinic. It is usually overprocessed and the vet will confidently tell you that the dog or cat is perfectly healthy on this diet, and most of the time someone can find this right on the clinic shelf, pay for it and bring it home with them. Not only is it very expensive, but it will also be highly processed full of fat, carbs, gluten, sugar, and grains. Most vets glaze over these ingredients and don’t really focus on the pros and cons of the food they are prescribing. And by the way, these “Prescription Diets” are nothing more than a typical brand that you can find at your local pet store but because it has the label “Prescription” the cost is considerably inflated and you are paying extra for that word. Your pet may not exhibit signs of problems, right now, but maybe years later, like my little girl. Some of the issues that are of concern are diabetes, pancreatitis, liver disease, kidney disease, skin problems, sort of like humans eating a highly processed diet. The same goes for our companions as well.
Knowing who owns what and the players involved will show you exactly how much they have invested in the health of your pet. I have always gone by the guidelines that the more a company is connected to a larger company the less attentive they are to the ingredients and the health of your companion.
It is my personal feeling it is similar to our culture that when we are not at our optimum health we rely on our doctors and pharmaceutical companies to make it better, to improve our lives. The same goes for the animal world. If we are all healthy, we would have no need for doctors or medication. They want us sick, so we rely on the pharmaceutical companies to fix the problem and over the years it has become a billion dollar industry. We call our typical diet the SAD diet, the acronym for Standard American Diet. Its true, we have a diet in this country that is very unhealthy, and yes, sometimes people don’t exhibit signs of problems right away, but given time, if a person has a weak and compromised system, they will eventually hit the brick wall as I like to say. It is no different in the animal world. Diet is just as important to them as it is to us, they could have a compromised system and we need to take a very serious look at how to treat the problem.
If you are confused, don’t be. It is very simple, dogs and cats are carnivorous or carnivores, meat eaters not vegetarians. This means they do not need grains, legumes such as soybeans nor do they need beet sugars. Animals are never to have sugar, their systems do not process these the same as we do, and in reality, we shouldn’t be eating excess amounts of sugar either. With regards to digestion, cornmeal, sugars, soy meal these are ingredients that a dog simply cannot digest. They are foreign to the dog’s system. It was never intended for humans to eat these things every day so why should it be different for dogs and cats. Why should we be treating them any differently?
Prescription food versus over the shelf food at your local store
Next time you visit your vet for that yearly appointment or seeing the doctor for something else, take a moment to look at the bag of food, or “Kibble”. What is the very first ingredient that you see?. Its probably some sort of meal such as cornmeal, chicken meal, barley, corn gluten meal, powdered cellulose, wheat gluten, tapioca, dried beet pulp, chicken fat, soy meal and have animal by-products as second or third ingredients. There are brands that are typically sold at every veterinarian office. Most clinics I have contacted carry the same company, which means that this particular company has cornered the market. Over the shelf food outside of the clinic carries a larger variety of kibble that is similar to what the vet carries, but they also carry more of a holistic line of food. I happen to like the raw kibble with little to no processing. One product freeze-dries their line as well. It preserves the integrity of the product. The ingredients I look for are Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Heart, Beef Tripe, Beef Bone, no sugars as well as the following, Organic Cranberries, Organic Spinach, Organic Broccoli, Organic Beets, Sodium Phosphate Monobasic, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash, Organic Apples, Organic Blueberries, etc.. These ingredients are a very excellent balance to the diet that dogs and cats need. When you have the organ meats as the main ingredients you will be delivering natural amino acids, specific building blocks for the protection of your pet eyes, joints and major organs such as the heart and liver.
Watch for big corporations owning smaller companies
Ask the question: Is the company where my money is going being subsidized by the larger corporations that are funding them. Did you know, big corporations own the smaller companies that produce food because they can’t make it on their own. It happens in the human world and it happens in the animal world as well. One company I researched has a blend for every type of breed available. Forty different types of breeds do not need forty different blends made just for them. In my opinion, the list is a little overkill. Become an expert in pet food labels as you are with your food labeling. It should be no different for them as it is for us. For instance, Royal Canin is not owned by Royal Canin, it is owned by Mars, Incorporated. Mars should not be in the pet food business. Knowing who owns what and the players involved will show you exactly how much they have invested in the health of your pet. I have always gone by the guidelines that the more a company is connected to a larger company the less attentive they are to the ingredients and the health of your companion.
Expensive or Cheap
We’ve touched on big corporations, kibble and health issues of processed foods and how it affects the longevity of your pet. Another way of looking at the quality of the food rests in the cost or value of the food given to your companion. Usually, the more expensive AAFCO approved food is the better it is. Good clean products have good clean ingredients and usually when you find a local company that produces it, you know you are getting something really good and nutritious for them.
Sustainability and balance within the food source
If the company in question produces candy bars, chips, cereal, etc. and then produces pet food, you should rethink where you are investing your money. The company I buy from is organic, sustainable, and produced locally. I didn’t always subscribe to this, I used to think that just because it didn’t have by-products it was alright. I was buying a local product, but for my little ones there was too much fat and not enough protein, for us it was a game changer because it became too much for the pancreas to handle and she developed Diabetes Mellitus and after meeting with my vet, she explained that weight plays a role in her health and survival. So, when you are looking at what food would be best for your pet, look for local and not owned by the big corporations. Make sure it is truly balanced, meaning the correct amounts of protein, carbs [yes, carbs are healthy] fruits, complex sugars [excellent for storing energy]
- Become a label expert. Research the company you are putting your trust in.
- Watch out for the big corporations. Some of them have no business being in the pet food business
- Price does matter. Your family members health depends on it