Despite the appealing blandishments of pet food advertisements with their claims of providing "complete and balanced nutrition," if you're not exceedingly circumspect, you may end up feeding your pet chicken heads, road kills, spoiled or moldy grains, cancerous material cut from slaughterhouse animals, tissue high in hormone or pesticide residues, and even shredded styrofoam packaging, metal ID tags and minced flea collars.
The pet nutrition industry is a multi-billion dollar industry full of hype and false claims. Consumers are being duped into believing that they are feeding their pets healthy foods, when in actuality they are feeding nothing more than inferior meat meals, cheap grains (including corn and soy), fillers, by-products, pesticides, preservatives and toxins. Never before has the pet-food industry been rocked by widespread contamination and rampant recalls. In all, more than 5,600 products by dozens of pet food makers have been recalled, from chain supermarket brands to prescription-only foods. This is a staggering number of products, and is unprecedented in this business. Thousands of deaths are due to the contamination, and many thousands more have suffered illnesses. We shudder to think of the long-term impacts of the compromised liver and kidney function and how this will affect thousands of companion animals in America. Leading experts believe that the severe reactions experienced by some cats and dogs were the result of an interaction of chemicals, between the melamine and a list of other culprits, including cyuranic acid. Thousands of cats and dogs suffered kidney failure, and many died after eating the affected pet food.
To get the whole story on what's in your pet's food, clickhere.
The following practices are used by some pet food manufacturers:
POOR PROTEIN SOURCES
Soybean meal, wheat, corn glutens, corn meal, whole corn, crushed corn, and ground corn are commonly used for their protein content in many pet foods.
These ingredients are generally poor sources of protein when compared to real meat.
BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin are found in many pet foods. Scientific studies have proven that these chemicals can be harmful. In fact, they have been shown to promote liver disease and other medical problems.
Food colorings are still commonly used in pet foods today despite the fact that they are not necessary and some have been linked to medical problems.
By-products can vary; they can consist of the internal parts of animals such as necks, heads, undeveloped eggs, feet, intestines, lungs, spleen and liver.
WHAT LABELS DON'T REVEAL
Condemned parts and animals rejected for human consumption can be rerouted into commercial pet foods. These condemned parts are referred to as the 4 D's: dead, dying, diseased or decayed. We believe this is one of the most despicable practices in the pet food manufacturing industry.
Some manufacturers have a lower standard regarding the quality of ingredients they use to make pet food. A recent example of this practice is the discovery of Pentobarbital in major pet foods, including supermarket brands. Pentobarbital is a chemical used to euthanize animals. Many holistic veterinarians feel that daily ingestion of pentobarbital can be harmful.
Many manufacturers cut costs by using the cheapest ingredients available at the time a food is made. Since costs rise and fall, some manufacturers will vary ingredients from batch to batch, resulting in changed nutrient values for each batch and possible digestive illness.
Some manufacturers have lower standards regarding the freshness of ingredients they use to make pet food. You can not determine the freshness of ingredients by reading a label; you must trust the pet food manufacturer.
Click here to learn more about a brand of pet food that is considered to be the best of its class and avoided recalls. It is a great alternative to raw food.
Russell Swift, DVM, wrote the following on kidney disease and pet food, "Fortunately, since I have turned to a holistic approach to wellness, I have seen many dogs and cats outlive their death sentence by years. I believe there are three major reasons for kidneys to degenerate and eventually fail: 1) poor quality nutrition, 2) toxicity and 3) chronic disease. The kidneys also take a hard hit from many toxins to which the body is exposed. Many conventional medications, notably nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and certain antibiotics, are very damaging to the kidneys. Ultimately, there is not much known about the long-term effects of many food additives and preservatives; fluoride in the drinking water; and all the pesticides and herbicides used in, on and around our companion animals (and ourselves!). Item number three on the list above is a term used by homeopaths to describe a chronic disturbance in the body's function that results in symptoms.