The famous saying, “You are what you eat,” is just as true for your pets as it is for humans. If your pet asked you, “What’s for dinner?” do you really know? It is time to become educated on what you are putting into your beloved pets’ body. While some of the ingredients in most pet foods are not dangerous, some can lead to major issues such as diabetes, obesity and reoccurring infections. Spend a moment to take a closer look at what your pets are consuming. Your “good food” may not be so good. Here are some guidelines:


  • Ensure your pet food is not sourced from China or Mexico; the lack of regulations in production, sourcing and general factory environments makes for a questionable product.


  • The Association of American Feed Control Officials (which sets laws on pet food labeling) defines Meat by-products as lungs, bone, blood, intestines and any part other than actual meat. If it lists “poultry by-product” at least you know it’s a bird, but what if they only list “meat by-product?” You then have no idea if it is from a chicken, pig, or even farmer John’s milk cow. Poultry by-product can include chicken heads, feet, undeveloped eggs and feathers that get mixed in. Be aware that by-products can also contain the “Four D’s” – Dead, Dying, Diseased and Disabled.


  • It is exactly what it sounds like, but from what kind of animal? Calling it animal digest is not as repulsive as calling what it truly is, animal bile. Either way, it is still whatever the animal ate as its last supper.


  • Fillers are exactly that, they fill the belly with little to no nutritional value. Corn, wheat, soybean meal, midlings, hulls, mill runs, and flours have little nutritional values for dogs and cats, yet they make up the bulk of most commercial pet foods ingredients. Midlings and mill runs are the products swept off the floor at the end of the processing day at the wheat factory. What else gets mixed in if it has been on the floor? Fillers are a real issue for pets; they provide no real nutritional benefit, so the body will not absorb and digest it leading to you picking up more pet waste. Fillers are in essence watered down foods, they must eat more to get the nutrients they need, as well as, to feel full.


  • Gluten is used in many pet foods usually one of the first ingredients. It is added to food to slow down the transition of animal fats which hold toxic waste in. The kidneys and liver must work overtime to process this waste. Gluten is one of the most common allergens in pet food because it is so widely and overused; Gluten counts as most of the protein content in the food – yet it is not a digestible protein.


  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene is among the most common preservatives in pet foods. They have been linked to ailments from anemia to cancer, but there is no clear ruling on their long-term medical effects.


  • Ethoxyquin is another preservative usually found in cat foods. It is a chemical used in the production of car tires to make the rubber harder. If the meat is purchased pre-treated with Ethoxyquin, the company does not have to disclose that information on their label.


  • Propylene Glycol is a sweet tasting preservative. It also happens to be the same chemical used in some types of automotive antifreeze. So now that you know, grab your pet’s bag of food and read the label. Millions of dollars are spent each year in clever marketing to convince you that their food is a good, healthy option for your pet. The truth is if you don’t know your pet’s food, you have no control over their health.

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