7 Secrets to Choosing a Safe, Healthy Pet Food
Do you choose canned food or dry food? What brand? There are so many different brands, all shapes and sizes of pet food to choose from and pet owners are provided with very little information to base your decisions on (other than advertising) – it can get so confusing! Well, buckle your seatbelt depending on how much you know about the pet food industry, this could be a bumpy ride! You are about to learn seven secrets – well-kept secrets – of pet food. Sit back, brace yourself, and keep reading.
Now with the on-going pet food recall pet owners have questions such as ‘Has this food been recalled?' or ‘Is this food the next one to be recalled?'…'Is my pet safe?' Wow, this is confusing! And scary too! What exactly is a pet owner to do? How about learning a few secrets! Equipped with the knowledge of a few secrets of pet food, it's not nearly as confusing.
All pet foods use descriptive words like choice and premium, though few of them actually use premium or choice ingredients in their food. The ‘secret' is that per the rules of the pet food industry, no pet food can make any claims or references on their label or advertising as to the quality or grade of ingredients. You see, the word ‘premium' when it's related to pet food DOES NOT mean that the ingredients in the food are premium.
If I can compare ‘people' food to pet food for just a second, we all know there are different qualities of people food. There is White Castle (I'm guilty here, I love the little guys!) and there is Outback Steak House (another favorite). Both restaurants serve meat and potatoes.
OK, so back to our two meals…if a chemical analysis of your meal at White Castle was compared to a chemical analysis of your meal at Outback – both would analyze with a percentage of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Regardless whether you consider a steak at Outback a higher quality of protein than the burger – it would still analyze as protein.
So here is the secret…All pet foods come with a Guaranteed Analysis stating the percentage of protein, fat, fiber and moisture in the food. The REAL secret lies in the quality of the percentages of protein, fat, and so on.
If the words premium and choice mean basically nothing with regards to the quality of pet food, and if some pet foods use chicken feet and euthanized animals in their food – how can a pet owner know what they are getting in their pets' food?
This big secret is found in ingredient definitions. Unlike ‘people' food where you can pretty much look at the food to determine the quality, pet food is far different. The same is not true for pet food. Chicken feet and euthanized cows are NOT allowed in people food for obvious reasons – they have no nutritional value or they could be dangerous to consume.
The pet food ingredient ‘Meat By-Product' or ‘Meat By-Product Meal' is pretty much the same thing as ‘meat and bone meal'. It is a highly inferior pet food ingredient containing literally who-knows-what.
Another similar ingredient to the above is ‘Animal Digest'.
So here is what you need to do…BEFORE you purchase any pet food, flip the bag over and closely examine the list of ingredients. The above-mentioned ingredients would be listed within the first five or ten ingredients. If you see ANY of those ingredients – it is my suggestion to NOT purchase that food. Remember – chicken feet and euthanized animals do analyze as protein.
The very best food to provide to your pet is a well-made food using human grade ingredients. That should be simple enough…How do you find that? You already know that pet food manufacturer is NOT allowed to make any statement as to quality or grade of ingredients, the only way you can find out the grade or quality of your pets' food is to call the manufacturer and ask them.
Now, let's say you call the ABC pet food company and ask the question “Is your Premium dog food and Premium cat food made using human grade ingredients?” It could be that you get the response yes, we use human grade ingredients – when actually only a couple of ingredients are human grade. Here's the trick to asking…ask them if they are APHIS European certified.
Minerals are a required ingredient in human diets as well as diets for our pets. Copper, Iron, and Zinc are common minerals found in pet foods. Just as they are – copper, iron, and zinc are basically rocks, very difficult for anyone or any pet to utilize. Science has developed several ways to introduce minerals into the body (human and pet) for better absorption thus benefiting the individual far more.
This secret is called ‘friendly bacteria'. Although ‘friendly bacteria' sounds a little scary, the reason for it lies in your pets' intestinal system. A large portion of your pets' immune system is found within the intestinal system. There are your seven very secrets to help you find the absolute healthiest and best pet food for your four-legged friend. Armed with those secrets – you now have the knowledge to find your pet the best food possible!
One last thing, as you is already aware dogs and cats have a far better sense of smell than humans. Their food bowl can be a wealth of smells – both good and bad. Sometimes a pet will refuse to eat simply because he or she smells a previous food in their bowl. Plastic food and water bowls retain odors the worst. And surprisingly so does stainless steel bowls. The best type of food and water bowl is a ceramic one. They retain odors the least.
Like humans, pets are vulnerable to a slew of injuries and illnesses. Some are simple, such as arthritis, sunburns and ear infections. Others are more complex, such as kidney disease and cancer. Most, though not all, are preventable!
“Grief is like a raging river. In order to get to the other side, you must swim through it!