Seven Secrets To Choosing A Safe, Healthy Pet Food

Do you select canned food or dry food? What brand? You will find many brands, all shapes and sizes of pet food to choose from and pet owners are supplied with hardly any information to base your decisions on (other than advertising) – it will get so confusing! Well, buckle your seatbelt depending on what much you know of your pet food industry, this could be a bumpy ride! You are about to understand seven secrets – well kept secrets – of pet food. Sit back, brace yourself, and keep reading.

Beneful says it’s’Premium Dog Food for a Happy, Healthy Dog’and sells for around $18.00 for a 31 lb. bag, Science Diet “promises”‘precisely balanced nutrition through continuous research and the best quality food backed by your Vets endorsement’and sells for around $21.00 for only a 20 lb bag. Then there are many pet foods that make the same statements -‘Premium Dog Food, Highest Quality’- that sell for $30.00 or more for a 20 lb bag. And the same holds true for cat owners…Do you select Whiskas that states’Everything we do is all about making cats happy!’ or do you select one particular high end cat foods that make the same claim of a pleased, healthy cat but cost 3 times the maximum amount of?

Now with the on-going pet food recall pet owners have questions such as for instance’Has this food been recalled?’ or’Is this food the next someone to be recalled?’ …’ Is my pet safe?’ Wow this is confusing! And scary too! What precisely is a pet owner to complete? What about learning several secrets! Designed with the information of several secrets of pet food, it’s not nearly as confusing.

Secret #1…

All pet foods use descriptive words like choice and premium, though few of these actually use premium or choice ingredients inside their food. The’secret’is that per the guidelines of your pet food industry, no pet food can make any claims or references on their label or advertising regarding quality or grade of ingredients. You see, the word’premium’when it’s linked to pet food DOES NOT show that the ingredients in the meals are premium. With pet foods, premium does not (can not) describe the meals nor does it (can it) describe the quality of the food. It’s an advertising term and that is all. Per your pet food industries own rules and regulations, “You will find no references to ingredient quality or grade” (regulation PF5 d 3). So, words like premium, or choice, or quality are simply marketing or sales terms. They ought to not be interpreted as terms describing the quality of the food.

Now why wouldn’t a pet food label be allowed to tell a prospective customer the quality of their ingredients? Doesn’t a pet owner deserve to understand what they are buying? This leads me to another secret…


If I will compare’people’food to pet food for only a second, all of us know you will find different qualities of men and women food. There’s White Castle (I’m guilty here, I really like the little guys!) and there’s Outback Steak House (another favorite). Both restaurants serve meat and potatoes. At White Castle at under $3.00 you may get a few hamburgers and an order of fries. While at Outback you may get a steak and baked potato for around $16.00. Both serve beef and potato – yet you already realize there are huge nutritional differences between a junk food hamburger and a steak…right?

The situation in your pet food industry – is that a lot of pet owners don’t think in the same terms when it comes to pet food. They don’t think in terms there are junk food types of pet foods and you will find sit back restaurant more nutritious types of pet foods. Actually, several years ago a young man tried this very experiment with his own diet – eating just junk food for 30 days. In just 30 days of eating junk food three meals each day, he gained a great deal of weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels sky-rocketed. Now, imagine your pet eating this type of food its’entire lifetime.

OK, so back to our two meals…if a chemical analysis of one’s meal at White Castle was in comparison to a chemical analysis of one’s meal at Outback – both would analyze with a share of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Regardless whether you think about a steak at Outback a high quality of protein than the burger – it’d still analyze as protein. The analysis doesn’t measure quality of protein.

So here is the secret…All pet foods come with a Guaranteed Analysis stating the percentage of protein, fat, fiber and moisture in the food. The REAL secret is based on the quality of the percentages of protein, fat, and so on.

In a chemical analysis of a pet food – chicken feet would analyze as protein, although granted it provides hardly any nutrition. And as well, a cow that has been euthanized (put to sleep) as a result of disease that caused it to be unfit for human consumption – would analyze as protein although that would be considered dangerous for consumption. Both of those things – chicken feet and a euthanized cow – are allowable ingredients and commonly found in pet food. You see the secret within your pet food industry is manufacturers have a WIDE OPEN door to where they obtain their ingredients. The sole strict rule they should follow is an adult dog food must analyze with 18% protein and an adult cat food must analyze with 26% protein. Sources to obtain those particular percentages range from a’human grade’meat, to chicken feet, to euthanized animals, to grain proteins, to even manufactured chemical proteins and many variations in between.

Pet food labels do not need to tell – are banned to tell – the sources they use to acquire that required 18% or 26% protein. And to produce matters worse…quality minded pet food manufacturers – the companies that use 100% human grade ingredients – are banned to tell customers or potential customers that their goods are quality, human grade ingredients.

So how can you know if your pet’s food uses chicken feet or euthanized cows or if it includes human grade ingredients?

Secret #3…

If what premium and choice mean basically nothing with regards to the quality of pet food, and if some pet foods use chicken feet and euthanized animals inside their food – how do a pet owner know very well what they are getting back in their pets’food?

This big secret is found in ingredient definitions. Unlike’people’food where you could virtually go through the food to ascertain the product quality, pet food is far different. All’people’food must meet particular USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) guidelines. The exact same is not true for pet food. Chicken feet and euthanized cows are NOT allowed in people food for obvious reasons – they have no nutritional value or they may be dangerous to consume. The exact same is NOT true for pet food. The only way to understand if those chicken feet or euthanized cows have been in your pet’s food is to understand what ingredients they can be utilized in.

The normal pet food ingredient’Meat and Bone Meal’is simply a variety of many different discarded left-overs from the human food industry. The different parts of’meat and bone meal’could be anything from cow heads, stomachs, and intestines, to (horrifying but true) euthanized animals including cows, horses and dogs and cats from veterinarian offices, animal shelters, and farms. And alongside those euthanized animals your pet food also offers the drug pentabarbitol that has been used to euthanize the animal.’Meat and bone meal’can also contain left-over restaurant grease, and diseased (including cancerous) meat tissues cut away from slaughtered animals. Quite simply, this commonly used ingredient is a mix of highly inferior and potentially dangerous left-overs from the human food industry.

Your pet food ingredient’Meat By-Product’or’Meat By-Product Meal’is pretty quite similar thing as’meat and bone meal ‘. It’s a highly inferior pet food ingredient containing literally who-knows-what.

Another similar ingredient to the above mentioned is’Animal Digest ‘.

Regarding chicken feet I mentioned earlier – this item can be found in the ingredients’Chicken By-Product’or’Poultry By-Product’or’Chicken By-Product Meal’or’Poultry By-Product Meal ‘. Any left-overs in the chicken or poultry division – including although not limited by chicken feet, skin including some feathers, chicken or poultry heads, and intestines are found in these ingredients. It does NOT matter regarding health of the bird – sick, healthy, dead, dying…all is contained in these ingredients.

So here is the thing you need to do…BEFORE you purchase any pet food, flip the bag over and closely examine the list of ingredients. The above mentioned ingredients would be listed within the initial five or ten ingredients. In the event that you see ANY of those ingredients – it is my suggestion to NOT purchase that food. Remember – chicken feet and euthanized animals do analyze as protein. That’s all that is required in pet food – just the right analysis.

Another little trick some pet food manufacturers use in this category is using grains and chemical additives to grain products to boost the protein percentages. Which can be exactly the reason for your pet food recall that began in March 2007 – chemical proteins. Two different chemical additives – which have NO nutritional value to pets, but that analyzed as protein – were added to a grain product (wheat gluten, corn gluten, or rice gluten) solely to provide a cheap protein. Tens of thousands of pets died and countless others became ill because no-one counted on the problem of the mixture of those two chemicals would cause kidney and urinary blockage. Again, their secret is the item needs to analyze as having a certain quantity of protein – no-one is needed to provide an excellent meat protein.

When you are taking a look at the ingredient listing – it’s also wise to take note of how many grains (corn, wheat, rice) and/or how many grain products (corn gluten, whole corn, ground corn, whole wheat, ground wheat, wheat gluten, rice, brown rice, brewers rice, soy, and on and on) are listed within the initial five approximately ingredients. If you learn more than one grain listed in the initial five ingredients – that is suggesting this pet food is acquiring some of its protein from grains.

Exactly why is protein obtained from grains important for you to know? Several reasons – to start science proves that cats and dogs alike require and thrive on a meat protein. If a puppy food is obtaining protein from grain sources, the pet isn’t getting the meat so it needs to thrive. Second, if the grain products certainly are a corn gluten, wheat gluten, or rice gluten you take the danger of chemicals such as for instance melamime included with it used strictly to improve the protein analysis. By the way, melamime is one of the chemicals found to be the explanation for the March 2007 pet food recall. And there’s yet another concern with grains – aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a fatal mold that is common to corn, wheat, and soy and it’s responsible for many other pet food recalls you almost certainly never heard about. In December 2005, Diamond Pet Food contained moldy grains that killed over 100 pets before the merchandise was recalled – all due to aflatoxin.

It’s my recommendation to avoid any pet food which has corn, wheat, or soy in ANY variation. The risk is simply too high.

Secret #4…

I’ve got more ideas for you to consider in the ingredient listings…chemical preservatives. A very well kept secret of the pet food industry is their common utilization of chemical preservatives. BHA/BHT are highly popular chemical preservatives utilized in pet food and science has linked them to tumors and cancer. Another common preservative is ethoxyquin that has known risks to cancer. Ethoxyquin is ONLY allowed in human food in certain spices due to the very tiny proportions. However it is allowed in higher proportions in pet food.

If you scan the ingredient listings, you will be looking for BHA/BHT and ethoxyquin listed anywhere. Commonly BHA/BHT is used to preserve the fat in the meals which will is found higher on the list. And also try to find these chemicals towards the finish of the ingredient listing. Personally, I wouldn’t touch a puppy food that contained these chemical preservatives. You will want pet food that is preserved naturally – common natural preservatives are’natural mixed tocopherols’or’vitamin E ‘.

Secret #5…

The most effective food to provide to your pet is a well made food using human grade ingredients. That should be simple enough…How do you find that? You know that pet food manufacturers are NOT allowed to make any statement regarding quality or grade of ingredients, the only method you will find out the grade or quality of your pets’food is to call the maker and ask them.

Now, let’s say you call the ABC pet food company and ask the question “Is the Premium dog food and Premium cat food made using human grade ingredients?” Maybe it’s that you get the response yes, we use human grade ingredients – when actually a couple of ingredients are human grade. Here’s the key to asking…ask them if they are APHIS European certified.

Pet food manufacturers which can be APHIS European certified assures you that ALL ingredients in their pet food are human grade. APHIS – Animal Plant Health Inspection Services – is really a division of the USDA. APHIS European certification provides this pet food manufacturer with the opportunity to ship their foods/treats to Europe. When importing pet foods from the US, European countries demand that all ingredients are human grade and thus require this certification. Most pet food manufacturers which have APHIS European certification do not ship their products to Europe – they only use this as an effective way to assure their customers to the higher quality of their ingredients.

Again, you WON’T see this listed on the label – it’s not allowed. You need to call the maker and ask. Quite often the representative of the pet food won’t even know that which you are discussing when you enquire about APHIS certification – if that’s the case, you can assume they are not APHIS European certified. APHIS European certification is really a bonus to pet owners – it is not required or even suggested that any pet food manufacturer go through the extra steps to obtain this. This is a special effort some pet foods go through to share with their customers they REALLY CARE about the grade of their products. Personally, I would NOT buy a puppy food that doesn’t have it.

And by the way, in the event that you can’t reach the pet food manufacturer, or they don’t return your call within a short time frame, lose their number! Any business that does not place a priority on answering customers questions – doesn’t deserve your company!

Secret #6…

Minerals certainly are a required ingredient in human diets along with diets for the pets. Copper, Iron and Zinc are typical minerals present in pet foods. Just since they are – copper, iron, and zinc are basically rocks, very difficult for anyone or any pet to utilize. Science is rolling out several approaches to introduce minerals into the human body (human and pet) for better absorption thus benefiting the average person far more. This scientific development is named chelating or proteinating and it’s been around for years. Through the chelating or proteinating process minerals are absorbed about 60% better than just the minerals alone.

This secret is spotting the minerals in your pet food to see if they are chelated or proteinated. Spot the minerals in your pet food label, way down on the listing of ingredients. You are seeking minerals that read’copper proteinate’or’chelated copper ‘. If you see just the mineral listed, your pet is sort of like Charlie Brown at Halloween saying’I acquired a stone ‘. If you would like your pet to really have the best, chelated or proteinated minerals are area of the best foods!

Secret #7…

This secret is named’friendly bacteria ‘. Although’friendly bacteria’sounds a little scary, the reason for it lies in your pets’intestinal system. A sizable portion of your pets’defense mechanisms is found within the intestinal system. Keeping the defense mechanisms healthy helps to keep the animal itself healthy. This friendly bacteria resembles what’s present in yogurt, however in pet food it is introduced in a manner so that the cooking process doesn’t destroy it. Looking at the fine print in your pet food label, this time around you are seeking lengthy, scientific words like Lactobacillus Acidophilus or Bifidobacterium Thermophilum. Should you choose NOT see these words or some virtually identical, that pet food isn’t addressing the care of your pets’immune system. And again, if you like your pet to really have the best, you want’friendly bacteria’in their food.

You can find your seven very secrets to help you discover the absolute healthiest and best pet food for your four-legged friend. Armed with those secrets – at this point you have the data to get your pet the most effective food possible! A dog food that can extend their life and prevent early aging and disease. If that you don’t desire to bother doing the homework involved, I urge you to donate to my monthly magazine Petsumer Report(TM). Through Petsumer Report(TM) I’ve done most of the homework for you personally – monthly I review and rate over 40 different pet foods, treats, toys, and several other pet supplies. Oahu is the ONLY publication of its’kind providing pet owners with the data they need to find out regarding their pet product purchases.

I want to share just a couple of more things…

It’s better to feed an adult dog or adult cat two meals a day. The nutrition they consume with two meals is better utilized than with only one meal a day. If you should be currently feeding your pet one meal a day, split that same amount into two meals and feed in the AM and PM.

You have to know that all canned or moist pet foods are anywhere between 70% to 85% moisture. This means that 70% to 85% of that can or pouch of food is useless nutrition – its water. Granted our pets need water, cats especially will not drink enough water. But because all canned or moist foods are mostly water, they don’t provide adequate nutrition to be fed strictly a canned or moist diet. Make use of a canned or moist product to supplement your pet’s diet – much less the only real food.

The most effective pet foods are preserved naturally (secret #4) – but there’s a problem with naturally preserved pet foods…freshness. Take notice of the expiration date in your pets food label – typically with naturally preserved dry pet foods (not just as much of a problem with soft foods as a result of canning – hardly any need of preservatives) the expiration date is one year to 18 months from the date it absolutely was manufactured. Let’s say the pet food you’re considering to purchase on July 1, 2007 features a’Best if Employed by’date of January 1, 2008. This might let you know that this particular bag of pet food is 6 months old. While it continues to be’good’a fresher food – a bag that is only 2 or 3 months old – is better. Naturally preserved pet foods lose nutritional potency with time. Always try to find an extremely fresh bag.

If you should be considering changing your pets food, ALWAYS consult together with your Veterinarian first. You must continue to keep your veterinarian advised of any changes you make together with your pet. Don’t take chances. And should you choose switch pet food, make the change over very slowly. I recommend to pet owners ¼ new food to ¾ old food for 4 to 7 days, ½ to ½ for another 4 to 7 days, and so on. Switching food quickly could cause intestinal disorder! Its short term, but we don’t want intestinal disorder!!!

One final thing, when you are already aware dogs and cats have a much better sense of smell than humans. Their food bowl can be quite a wealth of smells – both good and bad. Some times a puppy will refuse to consume mainly because he or she smells a previous food in their bowl. Plastic food and water bowls retain odors the worst. And surprisingly so does stainless steel bowls. The most effective kind of food and water bowl is really a ceramic one. They retain odors the least.

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” George Eliot.

I completely agree!

Holiday Pet Travel – Bring Your Pet With You

Plastic Dog Crates and Cat Crates Are Essential in a Pet Emergency Kit