The Truth About Food
What are you feeding your Best Friend???
It is very important to feed our pets the best food possible!!
-Ideally the best thing that we can feed our pets is raw meat. You can either go to a butcher to buy the meat but may need to add vitamin or mineral supplementation, or there are companies that sell raw meat for animals broken down into daily feeding portions. If you were looking to just buy your own meat from the butcher, you will want to do your research on how to go about this.
-Most people choose not to feed their pet a raw diet due to price and the special care of the food that is required. If this is the case, then you should at least make sure you are feeding your pet premium food. There are a couple of good ones out there, but unfortunately most of the ones that we see in the store, are not as good as they claim to be. In fact most of your large chain food companies are more interested in the marketing and making money than they are of your pet’s actual health care. For instance, did you know that corn wheat and soy are the 3 most known allergens for dogs and are major inferior sources of protein? Pretty much like poison to the dog and yet they are still the main ingredients in most dog foods out there!! The best food that we have found so far is called Life’s Abundance. It's the food of choice that we give to all of our dogs and what we suggest to all of our clients.
Here is some advice on how to read an ingredient label:
First, let me list items that you want to look out for:
1.) Corn (in any form): This is not a good ingredient to be in any dog food. It is one of the top 3 known allergens to dogs, is an inferior source of protein, and is not very digestible. The extra work involved in processing this inferior ingredient aids in the premature aging of many dogs. This is because the liver needs to work very hard to get to the useable protein and the break down of corn produces a lot of nitrates. The nitrates then put extra strain and aging on the kidneys which have to filter this toxin out. Poor nutrition and incomplete proteins have been linked to behavioral abnormalities in humans – can this also be true in dogs? Why do popular dog food manufacturers use it? Easy, because it is cheap, they can use it as the main ingredient, and break it down into multiple components on the label so it doesn’t look like that is the case. This is called ingredient splitting and should make the consumer angry when they think they are buying a chicken or beef based dog food and it is mostly made up of corn (then usually some by-products). The day we get the call from a farmer about the pack of wolves or wild dogs raiding his corn field is the day I believe corn should be part of our dogs’ diets.
2.) Wheat, soy (also produces gas), and white rice (almost no nutritional value): Same principal here, just not as badly abused. They are all cheap cereal fillers. A good test to do is soak your dog food in water for about 15 minutes. If it blows up and becomes spongy, that means the company is selling you mostly cereal. And you wonder why the dog seems to poop the same amount he ingests! A good dog food will produce small, firm, easy to clean up stool.
3.) By-Product: Whether it be beef by-product, chicken by-product or anything else. Pet food companies use this to up the protein source, but in reality, by-product is everything but the meat. (i.e. beaks, feathers, feet, bones, etc.) Now, why would pet food companies that we trust put this into the food? Cost and profit is their number one concern and not your pets well-being.
4.) Generalizations: examples are animal fat, poultry fat, meat & bone meal, etc. Let's look at animal fat.. what animal? Ask yourself...this can be anything (i.e. road kill, dead animals from the vet that have been taking medicine, rats, cats, dogs, etc.) If you called the food company they couldn't even tell you what is in it. This can lead to a lot of issues that are very hard to trouble shoot, like diarrhea, stomach issues, etc. This is because everytime you feed your pet, you are really giving them something different everytime.
5.) There are a number of other items that shouldn't be in our pets food, like beef tallow, preservatives, food coloring and a number of other items that are just too many to list. Look at what you are giving your best friend and ask yourself if you want them to live into their 20's and live a happy and healthy life.
6.) Not that it is an ingredient, but something else to look out for is puppy formulas, adult formula's, specific breed formula's, etc.. When a pack of wolves catch a prey, there are not certain pieces for pups and others for adults. A good healthy dog food should be for "ALL" life stages. Also, stay away from a lot of fillers. A good dog food may seem like it is more money, but the truth is that your pet will actually need about half the amount as the poor pet food. So when it comes to price per day, it will costs a lot less than what you are paying currently for the bad dog food.
Now, some things to know about reading the label:
1.) By law, the food company has to list items in order of weight within the food. Meaning the first thing listed contains the most of all the ingredients, then next is second and so on and so forth throughout the whole label.
2.) Ingredient splitting: This is where the food company will split the names, like corn-meal, corn-gluten meal, whole grain corn, etc. They do this so that they can put corn further down on the label, but in reality if you combined all of the them together it would be number one. This is the food companies thinking they are savvy and trying to deceive the pet owner.
3.) Another thing to look out for is, the word "meal" vs. not having. For example if the ingredients list just chicken first and not chicken meal this is another way of deceiving the customer, because just chicken means it is weighed before they dry out all of the water and blood, so once it gets dried out it really will be down to a lower level. You want to look for chicken-meal, as this means it is fully dried out before it is weighed, so if it is listed as number one, then it belongs there.
4.) When reading a food label, the main things you want to read are up to the fat source. The smallest amount of items up to the fat source, the better. More ingredients, doesn't mean you are getting more, it just means you are getting less of the good stuff!!