â€œDo You Know What is in Your Pets Food?
                                                All Pet Foods are NOT Created Equal!â€�

Most consumers have no idea of the actual ingredients contained within their pets’ commercial pet food.   In
addition, most consumers have little if any knowledge in regard to their pets’ nutritional needs.   The majority
of pet owners are under the assumption if the bag is labeled “dog� or “cat� food it is nutritionally
complete, balanced and suitable for their pets to eat.   They completely trust the pet food manufacturers
especially if the company making the food is well known.

It’s important to realize that pet food was first developed with little if any regard to nutritional value.  Pet
food was first developed as a source to use up foods not suitable for human consumption, such as spoiled,
expired, contaminated and diseased meat, fur, feathers, beaks or any part of a carcass that is normally discarded.  
Your pet would turn his nose up to these types of ingredients; therefore, they are sprayed with flavor and smell
enhancers to entice your pet to eat it.

Commercial pet foods have changed somewhat over the years; however, the minimum      standards set forth are
still extremely low.    These standards have been encouraged to remain low by a leading retailer in order to keep
prices down.  As a result, millions of pets are fed substandard commercial foods everyday and suffer the
consequences.   These foods contribute to and create many of the most common health issues suffered by pets
which include, but certainly not limited to, skin and food allergies and deficiencies along with poor organ function.

TV commercials and magazine advertisements can be very misleading.   As a responsible pet owner, it’s
crucial to understand how to interpret a pet food ingredients label.

Nationally known pet food brands show pictures of chicken, poultry, beef, salmon, etc. when advertising their
products; however, they don’t tell you what parts, if any of these meats are included in their food!    Don’t
be fooled or mislead.  All pet foods are NOT created equal!

The discount and grocery stores most popular brands of dog and cat foods list their primary ingredient as corn,
corn gluten or corn meal.  If you look long enough, you will even find water listed as a chief ingredient in some
brands!   Remember, your dog and cats are carnivores, (meat eaters); they are NOT vegetarians and cannot stay
healthy on any corn based cereal diet.  Corn is the ingredient we feed the animals that our carnivores feed upon!    
Some pets are able to tolerate corn better than others, but most will develop all sorts of food and skin allergies
after consuming this type of dieting.  Not to mention the strain placed on the vital organs due to the poor diet and
inability to easily digest vegetables and cereal.  It’s no secret that good health starts from the inside.

Another primary ingredient listed on discount and grocery store brand pet foods is “by-productsâ€�.    By-
products are just about anything that is normally discarded.  Almost anything that is not suitable or saleable for
human consumption such as diseased or spoiled meats; innards, beaks, feathers, fur, feet, hooves, etc.   The
animal from which the product derived is listed on the label as poultry by-products, beef by products, etc., but
one still doesn’t know the true identity of the ingredient since pet food companies are only required to name
the primary ingredient of the batch.

Some carefully chosen ingredients not suitable for human consumption such as enzymes, are necessary sources
of nutrition for our pets; nevertheless, should never be  the main ingredient in the food.  

Phenobarbital has been found in low quality pet foods indicating that euthanized “pets� have been
included as an ingredient.    Due to the time constraints, their collars, their own waste and the syringes used are
also included in the mixture.   Farm animals used for human consumption are NOT euthanized using
Phenobarbital; therefore would not be found in products containing human grade ingredients.

The first ingredient listed on the label is the primary ingredient contained within the food.  That first, (primary)
ingredient listed should be a meat such as chicken, turkey, lamb, duck or salmon.  Your dog and cats are
carnivores, (meat eaters); therefore, their main food source should be meat. The remaining ingredients should be
a balanced recipe consisting of antioxidants, herbs, fiber, probiotics, enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

Chicken and turkey (dark meat) are excellent choices as the primary ingredient.   These foods most closely
represent a dog and cats natural food source.   Most pets are not allergic to chicken and turkey and almost none
are allergic to lamb.    Just be sure it doesn’t have the word “by-productâ€� attached to it.

Beef is not a good food source since most pets are allergic to beef products.  Beef products contain properties that
lead to the development of allergies.  This seems to be very logical because in the wild, dogs’ and cats’
primary food sources consisted of small game such as rodents, squirrels, rabbits, birds and poultry.   In the wild,
it’s very unlikely that dogs and cats would have hunted cattle!   I’m sure you have never seen a dog or cat
raid a corn field either!

"Animal by-products (US) AAFCO define these as parts not used for human consumption e.g. kidney, lung and
tripe. By-products are secondary or incidental products of the meat industry e.g. feathers, hair. Poultry by-
products contains head, feet, underdeveloped eggs, intestines, feathers and blood. Fish by-products include
heads, tails, intestines and blood. Meat by-products can include hair, hooves, viscera and also blood soaked
sawdust.

Meat (US) The clean flesh of slaughtered cattle, pigs, sheep or goats. Does include muscle meat, tongue, some
organs, fat and skin of the animal. AAFCO define "meat" as the "clean flesh of slaughtered mammals as is limited
to the striate muscle with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew,
nerve and blood vessels, which normally accompany the flesh."

The premium pet foods are sold only by pet professionals which are authorized dealers of  the pet food products.  
These premium pet food companies prefer their products be sold by retailers and  pet specialists  who are
knowledgeable in regard to the care of your pets.  Something to keep in mind when purchasing your pets’
food and other necessary items is to buy from a retailer that truly cares about your pets  well being over selling
you the cheapest products on the market!

If you want the best nutrition for your pets through a commercial pet food, then look for a food comprised of
wholesome, hormone & antibiotic free human grade ingredients from naturally organic sources with the correct
balance of herbs, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, antioxidants to support a healthy cell and organ function along
with a healthy immune system.  These products will contain no corn, no by-products, no wheat gluten.   They will
more closely represent what mother nature intended for your pets diet to consist of.   They are made in the USA
and their ingredients derive from the USA as well.

Written by:   Pamela R. Martin of Pam’s Poodle Parlor
June 27, 2007
Small Breed Pet Grooming/Dog & Cat Supplies
Professional & Personable Service since 1988
Prosperity,   SC
803-364-2909

Resources:  Healthy Pet Net;  Canidae/Felidae and Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul, AAFCO (US),) Feline
Nutrition by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM,
Back to Index of Articles