Choosing a food for your pet can be overwhelming. There are numerous brands, flavors and specialty diets on the market – each catering to a certain breed, ailment or niche. But turning over and reading the ingredients of these bags looks like a very complicated recipe, and sometimes can be a recipe for disaster to your pets health. Two main ingredients to look for and avoid in your pet food are as follows:
Corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal
Corn is more commonly found in the lower quality foods as well as many prescription diets. It is generally found as one of the main ingredients in these foods, which takes the place for animal protein, thus making it a sub-par food source for animals. Cats are obligate carnivores and need their protein from animal meat sources and they also lack the enzyme to digest carbohydrates. Dogs on the other hand are scavengers and thrive on a diet of animal meat and low amounts of carbohydrates from fruit and vegetable sources as well as some grains. Corn in an animal’s diet can lead to allergies, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease and inflammation in the body leading to arthritis and even cancer. When buying food, always look for animal meat sources as the first and top ingredients (chicken, beef, pork, etc).
Meat & Bone Meal and By-Products
Animal by-products are rendered parts of an animal left over after slaughtering. These can include beaks, feathers, brains, bones and even cancerous tumors. A source specified as meat and bone meal can come from roadkill, euthanized pets (containing phenobarbital drug), or 4D animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled) and even dirty restaurant grease to name a few. Foods that list meat by-products and meat & bone meal should be avoided as the consumer has no idea where the source is from. These by-products are a way to keep protein levels high and production cost low in pet food manufacturing. Feed your pet foods that contain whole meat sources like deboned turkey, fresh fish, chicken livers and beef heart.
Variety, diet rotation and knowing where their food comes from is key to healthy, happy pets!