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Pet Food: The Good, the Bad, and the Healthy

Most dogs and cats in the U.S. eat food and treats manufactured specifically for their particular species. Holistic veterinarians focus on the quality of nutrients entering pets’ bodies and strive to get them on whole-food-based diets with the same grade of nutrients consumed by humans. By providing their pets with commercially available dry and moist foods and treats – and under a barrage of buzzwords highlighting their supposedly nutritious nature -- pet parents are lulled into a false sense that their pet’s best health is being served. That is not always the case. In fact, pet parents can inadvertently poison their furry family members.

Let’s consider why pet food may be a good or bad choice for your pet, starting with ‘the good.’

The Good

Automatic feeders can make feeding your pets even more convenient. Even with a busy schedule, you won't have to worry if your pet has had their breakfast or dinner.

Convenience

When feeding most commercial foods, pet owners benefit from the convenience of opening a bag of dry food or a can of wet food, or defrosting and serving frozen pet food. As our society has become more focused on convenience instead of health, processed foods requiring little to no preparation have become popular among pet owners.

Nutritionally Complete and Balanced

Commercially available pet food is required to be nutritionally complete and balanced for all life stages, which gives the pet owner a degree of certainty that their companion animal will consume a combination of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to meet their nutritional needs.

Labeled List of Ingredients and Recommended Feeding Guidelines

Commercial diets and treats are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the product’s label is legally required to include “proper listing of all the ingredients in the product in order from most to least, based on weight” along with Guaranteed Analysis (percentages of crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture).There is also a guideline for the daily quantity of food recommended to be fed based on pet body weight. Now let’s move onto ‘the bad.’

Propylene Glycol (PG) is a humectant (moistening agent) found in some soft dog foods and treats. It is chemically derived from ethylene glycol (EG), also known as antifreeze, which is extremely toxic to animals.PG is touted as non-toxic and non-absorbent for your pet, but consuming ‘pet-safe’ antifreeze’ will not improve your pet’s health. We also provide many other pet products.

Why some dry dog foods could be hazardous for your pet’s health

There’s very little oversight into what goes into pet feed, the authors write. A bag of dry dog food needs to contain only 25 percent of the meat listed, so long as the packaging contains a descriptor such as “dinner,” “formula,” or “platter.” If one of these descriptors is used and water is added for processing, as is the case with canned food, the food must only contain 10 percent of the specified protein. And, the authors write, diseased, or disabled animals — is allowable, as are additives like melamine, peanut shells and dehydrated chicken feces.

Wet vs. Dry Cat Food: Which is Better?

If you’ve wondered which is better when it comes to wet vs. dry cat food, they’re both excellent choices. Just make sure the food you select is 100 percent complete and balanced for your cat’s age and life stage. While some cats (and cat owners) prefer one over the other, the best option may be to feed your cat both.

Shop Wet Cat Food

If you’ve never tried feeding wet cat food, explore the wide variety of options Purina offers. You may need to try several brands until you find a couple your cat likes. Fortunately, Laflamme reminds, “there are hundreds—if not thousands—of good quality cat foods available at grocery stores, pet specialty stores, online and through veterinarians.”

A big issue for cats is the texture of the litter. If a cat litter is too rough or the granules are too big, a cat will reject it because it doesn’t feel good under their paws. Remember, they love to dig around in their litter before and after they go, and if the litter is too harsh, they’ll reject it in favor of something else… like your favorite blanket.

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