Do you know what's in your pets food?

It has been a taboo subject for quite sometime now but as with anything, the more research you do the more you realise just how brainwashed we can be as consumers. We are the only species to cook our food and with "commercial pet food" being first introduced to the consumer market in 1860 by James Spratt, it really does beg the question - what were we feeding our carnivores before then? Your grandmother tells you Chappie is best, your vet tells you whatever they sell in their practice is best and you're left to make a knowledgeable decision on giving your pet the best diet they deserve. That's why reading this blog may change your mind forevermore. 

COMMERCIAL PET FOOD

Usually cooked at high temperatures and far removed from its original state, "commercial pet food" is really bad in nutritional values but excels in convenience. It can be stored in the cupboard, not taking up much room and has an extended shelf life. Some brands costs a few pence per kilogram whilst others require a mortgage loan. "Commercial pet foods" are usually owned by larger companies such as Nestle and Mars and that's why we often see heavily campaigned TV and Internet adverts because these companies can afford the expense. They trick us into thinking that "higher in protein" and "delicious chicken flavour" is a quality affordable option for our pets. However, I hope that even whispering the above brands makes you question what you're feeding your treasured animal. Do you really think they have the best intentions for your pet or is it a case of what makes them the most profit?

Most foods produced have a very limited protein content and are often filled with a large amount of carbohydrates. They are cheaper and bulk out products. I encourage you to go and take a look at your pet foods ingredients list. The amount of product in the food descends in order from most to least. It will open your eyes! Even if chicken (or other protein) is listed as the biggest contributor to the ingredients list, it would change after being cooked. The protein source would loose its weight whilst the likes of rice and potatoes would increase in weight.  

JARGON BUSTERS 

Meat Meal or Crude Protein: low quality animal waste not fit for human consumption (can also be euthanised dog or cats!). If the protein is not actually listed as chicken, for example, then it is a whole bunch of animals meaning we do not know what is in the product. 

Cereals: such as maize, gluten, wheat or rice. As a carnivores digestive system is not adapt for them, our dogs and cats usually show intolerances and have symptoms such as itchy skin, yeasty ears, eye infections and bad dental health. 

Vegetable Derivatives: this is all of the products that can not be deemed as cereals. After high cooking processes, there is no nutritional value left and is often just another inexpensive filler. 

Sugars: this ingredient is usually the culprit for health and behavioural problems such as nervous, hyper or aggressive pets. It's no surprise as processed sugar is bad for human health and even more so for our carnivores. 

E-Numbers: these are very popular with most inexpensive brands. They are added to biscuits in particular to make them look recognisable to pet owners and some are linked to cancer. If you see biscuits that resemble carrots and peas then your pet is consuming e-numbers! Parents are very strict with their children's diet nowadays, tending to avoid such additives. Why not our pets also? 

Preservatives: "commercial pet food" may only hit the shop shelf after a year being processed in the factory which is why preservatives are used. It's not a legal requirement to list them on pet food labels and some have been linked to cancer. 

DETRIMENTAL TO HEALTH

Over the past few decades, it's become a lot more common for our dogs and cats to develop diseases and allergies. Most of these issues are diet related with only a handful being genetically inherited. As with humans, if we eat a relatively poor diet it effects our health condition. A carnivores digestive system was never built to eat a "commercial" high carbohydrate diet. Just like we are not adapt to eat highly processed and modified foods. Our bodies will cope for so long and then bam! We have a health problem that requires pills, potions and possibly surgery. As our pets have no choice what food is put in their bowls we must ask ourselves - are we the ones responsible for their health problems?

WHAT YOUR VET WILL RECOMMEND

Only a handful of vets would advocate giving your cat a dog a fresh or raw diet. This is mainly because most vets receive limited training on nutrition (which is funded by the likes of the big brands) and witness the horror stories of RAW fed pets. I have no veterinary qualifications but what I do have is common sense. If the diet is the main cause of your pussy or pooches health problems you subsequently visit the vet more often. Being a responsible owner, you probably also have a pet insurance policy that works very closely with veterinary associations. Do you not see how they all relate to each other? In the words of Abba... "money, money, money". 

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

So next time your strolling down the supermarket, how about you check out what's in your pets food? I hope that after reading this you will know what to look out for. I would personally recommend ditching the whole "commercial pet food" diet and find your nearest natural pet store. Your animal will thank you for it!