Is pet food bad for pets?
From the Chronicle Herald - Halifax
Is pet food bad for pets?
Commercial products in spotlight after tainted food scandal erupts
By MARY ELLEN MacINTYRE Truro Bureau
TRURO — Evidence of rat poison in an Ontario company’s wet food products for cats and dogs has focused attention on the multibillion-dollar pet food industry.
Menu Foods of Mississauga, Ont., expanded its recall of cat and dog food over the weekend to include all wet food items the company makes after an estimated 16 cats and at least one dog died across North America.
Pet owners are beginning to wonder about the health benefits of packaged and prepared foods.
"The best advice I ever got was to feed as close to the organic source as you can because the more we process food, the more essential ingredients we cook out or leave out," Dr. David Evans, a Chester Basin veterinarian who practises holistic medicine, said Monday.
"What we must do for cats and dogs is to mimic what they would eat in the wild."
Before the 1930s and ’40s, few people would have spent a plugged nickel on special food for their pets, Dr. Davis said.
"But the feed industry began looking around for new markets and they recognized the emergence of the pet industry," he said.
Indulgent pet owners looking for convenient packaging and prepared dishes that "looked" delicious became more and more interested in buying processed food for their dogs and cats.
"We have been so conditioned by the feed industry to believe these foods are best for our pets and it’s just not so," Dr. Evans said.
"Dogs are built for raw food," he said.
As for cats, Dr. Evans said he has seen more than his share of overweight, diabetic cats who are addicted to one brand of cat food.
He is among a growing group of veterinarians interested in a more holistic approach to animal medicine but the vast majority of vets continue to believe that pet food manufacturers have science on their side.
"I can’t say I would vouch for the pet food industry, but you pretty much have to go by faith," said Dr. Adva Barkai-Ronayoe, a Truro veterinarian.
"The companies we deal with here have much higher quality control," she said. Their products "are like medication and are only sold through vets."
"At the end of the day, the manufactured food is probably safer than to go with a raw food diet. There is a lot of research that goes into pet food."
Nonetheless, those who believe raw food is best for their dogs appear to be growing in numbers, and at least one Nova Scotia company is benefiting.
Totally Raw Natural Dog Food of North River, Colchester County, has found a niche market.
"We got into this because one of our dogs was having one physical problem after another, including a cancerous growth," said co-owner Karen Campbell.
Seven years later, Daisy is the picture of health and Ms. Campbell said it’s because the dog eats only raw food.
The company packages meals consisting of fish, chicken, lamb, beef and vegetables, bones and tripe.
"They’re individually packaged and fresh frozen — good, healthy food with no preservatives," Ms. Campbell said, adding that the company delivers right to customers’ doors.
She and many proponents of raw food for pets say dogs that eat raw meat have better coats, better breath and fewer health problems.
Dr. Barkai-Ronayoe said pet owners should not panic.
"Ensure the pet gets a good quality diet from a company with a good name," she said. "Try not to overreact, and read the science behind it."
’We have been so conditioned by the feed industry to believe these foods are best for our pets and it’s just not so.’
"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats" Albert Schweitzer
This article makes it seem like there are commercial diets or raw, and that's just not the case... There are so many different levels of quality in kibbles...