What's the Pet Food Industry Up To Now?
It's a good thing pet food companies pay the big bucks to their marketers. These brilliant people have found some new "hooks" to get companion guardians to buy their processed foods.
There are some new phrases being used to entice us to think poor quality ingredients are not only good for our animals, but contribute to "sustainability," "eco-consciousness," "recycling" supporting a healthy planet as well as your animal!
When we hear this word, most of us think of tasty table scraps or even leftover meats and veggies we just didn't finish. Well, the pet food guys are now calling by-products ("recycled" waste of the human food industry) "leftovers" and "co-products" in order to euphemize or make them sound healthy and nutritious. Watch out for those words. Don't get sucked into believing that these are okay for dogs and cats.
This is the latest, greatest fiber additive to pet foods. They are going to tell us that dogs and cats love to eat grass, so we've added it as a wonderful source of fiber to our foods. (Aren't we awesome?) Well, this grass is indeed a cheap source of fiber and is starting to be used instead of cellulose (sawdust) to add indigestible fiber to pet foods. Neither of these are a good idea. Too much cellulose or grass fiber can rob the colon of critical fuel and interfere with nutrient absorption.
Wild felines and canines consume about 4% fiber/roughage from the stomach of their prey (pre-digested) or a bit of grass and berries, fallen fruits/veggies/roots canines scavenge.
Domestic dogs and cats need to get their fiber from low-glycemic fibrous veggies which also provide antioxidants, polyphenols and phytonutrients. We're talking pumpkin, sweet potato, chopped steamed veggies like broccoli, green beans, spinach and other greens. They don't require much. Dr. Becker recommends 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight.
In conclusion, don't be misled by claims that the processed dog and cat food with these "new" ingredients are healthier than the same old stuff. If you see claims that their foods are "eco-conscious," or "sustainable," take a good look and ask what that actually means.
And remember, a balanced, species appropriate diet of fresh (or frozen) real meat, organs, bones and a bit of veggies is FAR better than anything in a bag or can. A Finnish study concluded that even swapping out 20% of kibble for fresh meat and veggies improves metabolic markers in dogs. For input on how to create an ideal species appropriate meal plan for your dog and cat, call me.
For more details on the above info, see Dr. Karen Becker's articles, "Human Food Leftovers Aren't By-Products," and "The Problems with Dietary Fiber in Pet Foods."
With Love, Your Voice of Animals,