We all love our pets and treat them like family. And when it comes to buying them food, we want to buy the best. So we purchase bags of food from the local grocery store that has pictures of whole grains, prime cuts of meat and human grade vegetables nicely displayed on them. We pleasantly assume there is some nice chef in a pet food kitchen preparing wholesome meals for our beloved pets.
Wrong. While we would like to believe our pet’s food is made of whole chicken meat, choice cuts of beef and fresh grains, the truth is pet food is actually made from the absolute worst parts of chicken and beef. Some of which is high in hormones and even diseased and cancerous meat. And those whole grains, they’ve had the starch removed for cornstarch powder and the oil extracted for corn oil. The only true whole grains used in pet food has been deemed unfit for human consumption due to mold, contaminants, or poor quality.
Pet Food Industry is Unregulated
Sadly, the pet food industry is not regulated. As one of the world’s most synthetic edible products, pet food contains virtually NO whole ingredients. What’s worse is that the pet food industry makes approximately 11 billion dollars a year on products that should be in the garbage or better yet a landfill. Pet food manufacturers have become master manipulators when it comes to producing tasty food for our pets. Scientists have learned how to take a mixture of inedible ingredients, fortify it with artificial vitamins and minerals, and preserve it so it can sit on the grocery shelf for more than year (yuck). While the human eye may be deceived by the color and texture of our pet’s food, remember it’s made of leftover carcass and cheap fillers.
Look at the Ingredients
Carefully look at the top five ingredients on your pet food. These will be the most abundant ingredients according to weight in the food. For dogs and cats, a good portion of their diet needs to be from meat protein. Therefore, you want the first ingredient in your pet food to be a meat source (e.g. chicken, beef or lamb). You never want to purchase pet food with an unidentified “meat” or anything listed as a “by-product”. Also, it’s ok to see “chicken meal” before “chicken” because it contains less water content, more meat.
Holistic Options For Your Pet
There are holistic options out there for your pet. For starters, you could prepare your pet’s food yourself. Remember, dogs require protein, whole grains and vegetables in their diet. Cats on the other hand are pure carnivores; the majority of their diet should include protein with half the amount of whole grains and vegetables. However, before you cook anything be sure to consult with a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist about your recipes. Foods you should absolutely avoid are chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, and raw meat. You can also purchase pet foods from specialty pet stores. Make sure they are labeled “all natural” or “organic,” and read the ingredients carefully. It may cost you more money, but it is much healthier for your pet.
If you love your pet and value their heath as much as I do, I hope you will take this information to heart. Please do a little research of your own so you too can become aware of the truth about the pet food industry. My only wish is that pet owners will take the time to read the ingredients of the food they feed their pets, rather than fall victim to the misleading commercials or labels on pet food today.
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Jessica McNeal is a freelance writer and self-proclaimed animal lover. When she’s not spending time writing, she is out running with her wheaten terrier. She recently purchased rabies tags from Ketchum Mfg. Pet safety is her number one concern.