What we’re feeding our pets conjures up the argument for raw dog and cat food
What do you think about when you go grocery shopping for your family? For those of us with health as a main concern, we check out the ingredient list first and foremost: does the food contain ingredients not found in nature? Does it contain ingredients that humans were never intended to eat? Can we even consider it “food?”
Now take a peek at the back of your bag or can of pet food. What’s in that? Chances are it’s full of ingredients you can’t pronounce, and things like wheat and rice that your dog or cat would never even consider eating in the wild.
Ingredients in Your Pet Food
Unsurprisingly, the health problems that occur in humans who eat unnatural and inappropriate diets—including obesity, diabetes, liver and kidney failure—also occur in pets. Could this be because of their diets?
Think about the following questions as you check out the ingredient list on your pet’s food.
Also, pay special attention to the very first ingredient listed, because by weight it is the most important since there is more of that ingredient than any other.
Is the Pet Food Species Appropriate?
Remember that your dog or cat is, by nature, a carnivore. Their sharp teeth were built for ripping and tearing, not grinding down plant material. And their bodies were designed to run off of protein, not carbohydrates. Just think about it: how many times have you seen a dog or cat grazing in a field or digging up a potato for dinner?
And yet, most commercial pet food is full of grains and starches: wheat, corn, potatoes, oats, etc. What’s this stuff doing in pet food? Incidentally, it’s filling it. These ingredients—actually referred to as “filler”—are a way for the manufacturer to stuff your pet with cheap and nutritionally useless calories. Because these foods were never meant to be digested by cats and dogs, they do nothing for the animal’s health and often result in bloating and indigestion.
Are the Pet Food Ingredients of a High Quality?
Did you know that most commercial pet food manufacturers are owned by companies that also produce food for humans? For instance, Nestle owns Purina, and Procter and Gamble owns Iams and Eukanuba. It isn’t difficult to guess what happens to the food that goes through their factories that is deemed unfit for human consumption? That’s right, it goes into pet food.
Pet food isn’t regulated the way human food is, so meat from sick or deceased animals or mouldy grains are legally acceptable ingredients. Every couple of years, this lack of regulation results in an outbreak of food poisoning that results in recalls of pet food, but not before a number of animals get sick or die.
Does the Pet Food Contain Chemicals, Artificial Dyes & Preservatives?
Commercial kibbles are often intended to have a shelf-life of a year, therefore are pumped full of preservatives to make this happen.
In addition to keeping a long shelf-life, this type of pet food is often artificially colored and flavored to make it look and smell appealing to your cats and dogs.
None of the artificial dyes nor the preservatives and additional chemical additives contain any nutritional benefit, and while some may be harmless, there is simply no reason to be feeding these substances to our pets. In fact, one most often found ingredient that keeps the food moist is propylene glycol—which is also found in antifreeze.
Better Alternative to Commercial Pet Food
Fortunately, there is an alternative to processed pet food that is healthy, natural, affordable, and convenient: raw pet food.
Raw pet food diets are based on the philosophy that an ideal diet for a cat or dog is the diet they would be eating in nature. Doesn’t that seem reasonable? A typical raw food diet would be high in protein and made up mostly of raw meat, organs, and blood. A good rule of thumb is: 25% bone, 20% fat, 15% organs, 35% lean muscle meat, 5% fruits and vegetables for adult dogs, and a bit more veggies and variety of other foods for puppies. So there is a small percentage of raw fruits, vegetables, and eggs for balance (wild dogs are scavengers and will normally eat things like eat fallen fruit and eggs).
All of the ingredients will be immediately recognizable as food and, more importantly, food that your pet was built to digest. Raw dog and cat foods won’t contain any preservatives and will be made out of ingredients that are fit for human consumption.
You can make your own raw pet food at home: there are a number of recipes available on the internet. There are a number of companies that sell frozen or freeze-dried raw dog food, which eliminates the time and the mess involved in making your own.
Owners that switch their cats and dogs to raw food diets usually report noticeable differences in their animal’s health, appearance, and disposition. This isn’t much of a surprise when we consider the improvements a natural diet can make in our own lives!
Author bio: This article was written exclusively for Healthynewage.com by Whitney Cox. Whitney is a New Zealand-based blogger who often writes about the benefits of raw dog food.