This is a subject that is pretty scary. I wasn’t aware of the true ingredients list in the food I’d been feeding my pets until several years ago when I met an amazing trainer who enlightened me, and several vets confirmed. I do however, want to say that not all commercial pet food companies partake in this process. A good way to distinguish between the companies who do and don’t is: A) Price Point, and B) Ingredients list.
Our beliefs of what makes up that brown kibble in dog the food bag is the result of marketing campaigns. You know those pet food ads where the brightly colored healthy looking red meat, grains and vegetables are falling into a bag of dog food? Seeing that makes you feel so much better about the look of kibble as well as the smell, right? But the truth is, what’s falling into that bag in the commercial isn’t exactly reality. Also think about how much money Grade A beef, vegetables and grain would actually cost to fill a 50 pound bag. If you do the math you’ll find something wrong. There’s no way it’ll cost $22.00 retail for 50 pounds. It can’t – unless much of the products are low in-consumable ingredients that cost next to nothing, in other words, waste.
And sadly, consumers as with so many products available to us today have been duped into what we are truly buying. We’re talking bi-products. Brains, feet, organs, blood, bones, fur etc. That part is not actually so bad. I mean that’s what they’d consume in the wild, right? (Even though they haven’t been “wild” for thousands of years). What’s really disturbing is the grade level of “meat” (which as actually labeled as “meal” since it contains mostly by-products). It’s animals not fit for human consumption. That means diseased animals, often moldy and rotting as there is no cool storage for carcasses meant for animal consumption – they are often in piles in the open air waiting for processing.
Here is the worst: There was a rumor that went around that dog and cats were actually being used in pet food. Since that scandal, it is my hope that companies have straightened up their act since. (You can actually see this happening on YouTube as an undercover reporter filmed it. I warn you though, it is not an easy video to watch – discretion is advised). It is still rumored that road-kill is used in pet food, and several factory workers for pet food companies have confirmed this, as well as the dog and cat rumors, which the companies they worked for swiftly deny. A veterinarian I know asked a truck driver for a popular company about this rumor as well, and the truck driver also confirmed it and said he said saw it happening himself.
One more factor you may not be aware of (thanks to those clever feel good marketing campaigns made to give us warm fuzzies where our pet’s food is concerned) is the animal testing taking place. Many have been renamed “food trials” since the negative press associated with the words “animal testing”. Many large pet food companies test their food on their own animals, and the tests are pretty cruel as are the lives these animals lead. Check here for pet food companies who test on animals.
So after this onslaught of knowledge, what is a consumer to do? ALWAYS read the ingredients list. This article, “What’s Really In Pet Food” can guide you through this overwhelming process. I tend to stay away from the more popular and commercial food companies. Also – if the 1st listed ingredient is corn or any other grain, I steer clear (corn is the number one food allergy for pets, and is ironically the number one ingredient of most commercial pet foods). I also have supplemented my pets’ food with homemade food (you can get recipes from your vet, and also here). If you choose this, be aware many foods we consume as humans are toxic to our pets, here is a list of toxic foods you should never feed your pets. Also be aware that raw diets are dangerous for your pets (and here’s why).
If you have any questions concerning your pets, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll happily answer (or find the best answer I can) to your pet questions.