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Choosing the right food for your dog is an important task, with both short and long term consequences. Your dog’s quality of life depends on your decisions: what you put in his bowl is of critical importance to your dog’s health and long-term well being. Television commercials and magazine advertisements for pet food would have us believe that the meats, grains, and fats used in these foods could grace our own dining tables. Pet food labels can be deceiving. they only provide half the story. The other half of the story is hidden behind obscure ingredients listed on the labels.
The truth about the $10 billion commercial pet food industry, which is unregulated by governmental bodies, is ugly and may cause you to give up some comfortable assumptions. In fact, some of the ingredients can make your pet more susceptible to joint problems and a host of other degenerative disorders. Even worse, they may be shortening your pet’s life. According to a 1999 press release from the Animal Protection Institute, most commercial pet food is made up of slaughterhouse waste and moldy, contaminated grains. Unfortunately, other dogs and cats are another source of meat you won’t find mentioned on pet food labels.They’ve been euthanized via drugs at our nation’s animal shelters and sent to rendering plants-a fact that has been substantiated by the American Veterinary Association. The sodium pentobarbital used to put pets to sleep survives the rendering process and ends up as a toxin in your pet’s food!
Rendering plants are melting pots for all types of refuse; no testing is conducted to detect drugs, pathogens, heavy metals, or pesticides. At the rendering plant, pets are mixed with other material from slaughterhouse facilities that have been condemned for human consumption, such as cancerous tissue or tumors, worm-infested organs, rotten meat, restaurant garbage, “4-D” (dead, diseased, dying, and disabled) animals. Even animals that have died and have begun to decompose are used. A machine slowly grinds the entire mess to become pet food. Does your best friend deserve this?
In addition, no matter what the commercials say, dog food does not contain “all the nutrients your dog will ever need.” Vitamins and minerals are as essential to the health of our companion animals as they are to human health. Commercial pet food manufactures add vitamins and minerals but they can be destroyed by the heat processing before your pet ever eats the food. Are the vitamins and minerals chelated or do they pass through the body unused if unchelated? Enzymes are essential for every biochemical bodily function; they occur only in raw foods. Get your dogs to eat as many vegetables and meat any way you can.
If you are concerned about your pet’s well -being, at a minimum, reject any dog food containing any of the following, each of which has been implicated in canine health disorders:
- Artificial color
- artificial preservatives like BHA, BHT, Potassium sorbate, Sodium nitrate, and especially Ethoxyquin; these are known to cause liver and kidney dysfunction.
- Propylene glycol (a first cousin to antifreeze) causes the fatal destruction of red blood cells.
- By-Products, this in reality is a deadly mixture of contaminated animal heads, toenails, bones, blood, pus, intestines, chicken feathers, hair, and lungs.
- Digest, the worst of all is a by-product which has been treated with heat and water to create a slurry.
- Sugars and sweeteners like corn syrup, sucrose, and ammoniated glycyrrhizin (added to attract dogs to otherwise unappealing fare).
- Anything with the term “flavor” in the ingredients list indicates the contents doesn’t have enough of its own good flavor- not the hallmark of quality ingredients.
- Foods with corn (one of the least expensive grains available to food makers) and or corn by products listed more than once in the first five ingredients.
Look for foods that have whole meat (listed simply as lamb, chicken, beef, etc.) in the top three ingredients are recommended. Look for whole foods like rice, wheat, and eggs, and foods that are kept fresh with natural preservatives like vitamin C and E (often listed as mixed-tocopherols), no additives. Also look for something called AAFCO approval; it’s not a very tough standard, but it’s the only one for dog food there is. If you were ever to find a dog food that offered certified organic meats, grains, and vegetables, we’d suggest you buy a lifetime supply and put it in a refrigerated vault. I want to give you a fish, but I want to teach you to fish for yourself too; understand the ingredients in the bag.
Many experts believe that since the advent of commercial pet foods about 40 years ago, great harm has been done to dogs as a species; arthritis, heart disease, and cancer rates among these pets have skyrocketed.
KIBBLES 'N BITS: Kibbles 'N Bits is the canine equivalent of Twinkies. The ingredients are led off with corn, each of the animal-protein ingredients are very low quality, and preserved with propylene glycol (a first cousin to an ingredient in antifreeze that causes the fatal destruction of red blood cells).
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