what the heck is your pet eating?
this is a pretty good article
AVOID PET FOODS CONTAINING:
Meat meal, meat by-products, fat, tallow, corn gluten meal, ground corn, wheat shorts, wheat middlings, brewer’s rice, beet pulp, powdered cellulose, and the preservatives BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin.
PURCHASE PET FOODS CONTAINING:
Natural chicken, turkey or beef; organic brown rice oats, rolled oats, millet, barley, whole wheat, and vegetables; dried kelp; cranberries; flaxseed; sunflower oil; and the preservatives mixed tocopherols, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
I have cooked for my pets for 15 years and have had very few vet bills. My 10-year-old German shepherd and my teenage cats have never eaten commercial foods. My Siamese, Ben, died last year at 28.
There are reputable companies that make human-grade pet food. Look beyond marketing hype and start studiously reading. (AM)
What the Heck Is Your Pet Eating?
by Ann Martin
It was about 15 years ago that I began to question what I was feeding my Saint Bernard, Louie, and my Newfoundland, Charlie, when they became ill after eating a well-known commercial food that I had been feeding them for five years. When I started to investigate, I was shocked at the appalling ingredients that went into pet food, as I had always assumed its quality was controlled. But in tracing my dogs’ illnesses, I learned that regulations for pet food apply to bare-bones labelling such as the name and address of the company, with scant regard to the quality of the food. There are no organizations in Canada that regulate pet-food ingredients, and since the majority of our pet food comes from the U.S., we are at the mercy of their regulations.
Among the groups associated with the pet-food industry, there’s no agency that regulates the sources of protein, fat, and grain. The Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), a branch of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, polices health and drug claims on pet-food labels (for example, statements like “improves skin and coat,” “prevents dry skin,” and “hypoallergenic”). The Association of American Feed Control Officials, a non-governmental agency, approves ingredients that can be used in animal foods. If the pet-food label guarantees eight per cent protein, it must contain that amount, but the source of the protein (or fat or fibre) can come from some very questionable sources, including hydrolyzed hair and dried poultry, swine, and ruminant waste.
The Pet Food Institute, a trade organization described as “the voice of U.S. pet-food manufacturers,” lobbies for its industry members, most of whom benefit from a liberal list of approved ingredients.
None of these organizations oversee or test the sources of what’s going into pet foods. Moreover, if your pet becomes ill or dies because of an ingredient in the food, it’s up to you to ascertain the toxic substance and provide documentation and lab tests in order for the CVM to take action.
QUALITY PROTEIN IS of prime importance to the well-being of our of animals, but the protein sources used in pet foods are most often the materials condemned for human consumption. This can include animal parts—feet, hooves, viscera, carpal and tarsal joints, and feathers. Additionally, other matter such as roadkill, the remains of zoo animals, garbage from grocery stores, and the body parts of euthanized companion animals can be included. All of this is sent to rendering plants and ends up as what’s described on pet food labels as “meat meal.”
Another ingredient listed on labels is “meat by-products.” These are materials from slaughterhouses that are sent directly to pet-food companies. Again, these are materials unfit for human consumption because the animals have died on their way to slaughter, including animals whose lungs are filled with pneumonia or who have worm-infested tissue or “stick marks” where drugs have been injected.
Grains, another common ingredient in pet foods, are usually shorts or mill ends, which come from the end of the milling process and are often sweepings from the mill floor. Grains contaminated with mycotoxins can also be used when mixed with non-contaminated grains.
In 1995, the FDA initiated a recall of dry dog and cat food produced by Nature’s Recipe, a California company, when it found that the food contained levels of mycotoxins that were making dogs sick. Mycotoxin contamination was blamed again in 1998 when 25 dogs died from ingesting foods produced by Texas-based Doane Products. More than 50 brands of the pet food it produces were recalled.
Many of the animals whose remains are used in pet food have been administered drugs prior to their deaths. Although little research has been done on the toxicity of these drugs, there are a couple of revealing studies that lead to nagging questions about drug residues in pet foods being passed on to our companion animals.
Sodium pentobarbital is a barbiturate used to euthanize dogs, cats, and to some extent, cattle and horses, many of which go into the making of pet food. According to a 1995 study by the University of Minnesota that looked at sodium pentobarbital in the bodies of dead animals, the drug “survived the rendering without undergoing degradation.” About the same time, the CVM began to receive reports from vets that pentobarbital appeared to be losing its efficacy in dogs being euthanized. A plausible theory was that the dogs had been exposed to pentobarbital through the foods they were ingesting, making them resistant to the drug’s effect.
In 1998, the CVM began testing various dry dog foods to ascertain levels of this drug in pet foods. Seventy-five foods were tested and approximately half of those contained levels of sodium pentobarbital. Some of the brands in which sodium pentobarbital was detected were America’s Choice, Dad’s, Heinz Pet Gold, Ken- L-Ration, Kibble Select, Ol’ Roy, ProPlan, Reward, Richfood, Super G, and Weis. However, the CVM stated, “[I]t is highly unlikely a dog consuming dry dog food will experience any adverse effects from exposures to low levels of pentobarbital.” While acknowledging that any amount found in human food would require the product to be removed from the shelves immediately, the agency said it had no plans to take steps to have this drug removed from commercial pet food.
If pet food is both devoid of nutrients and laced with drugs and/or pathogens, the assault on the systems of our pets can be profound. Much has been written on the correlation between diseases such as arthritis and diabetes in our animal friends and the food they eat. They are no different from us in their vital need for highly nutritious food to support their health.
Ann Martin is author of the revised and updated Food Pets Die For as well as Protect Your Pet (both New Sage Press).
"Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine"
Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
:love: ~Akitas Are Love~ :love:
I mostly agree except for "Whole Wheat". I would avoid that too as it tends to be a major culprit in allergies.
I also wish that these guys would study holistic foods more because they get lumped in the stereotype anyway...