Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pet Food-What's In It?

Ingredients in pet food aren’t as harmless as they look. Let’s examine the words “by-product”. This can range from heads, hooves, contaminated blood, moldy grains, spoiled foods, and even floor sweepings to cancerous meats not fit for human consumption, feathers, beaks, and any part of the animal that is left over after the human grade parts are shipped off to the supermarkets. Of course none of this can be easily digested. In addition, there are preservatives like sodium benzoate, a poison known to kill cats, and artificial colors and flavors. Another preservative, known as ethyoxyquin, was originally developed for rubber production. John Heinerman, Ph. D., suggests that most pet food will satisfy an animal’s hunger, but won’t provide real nourishment. He says they weaken your pet’s immune system and leave him vulnerable to disease. Dyes that have extremely harmful effects are Red No. 40, a possible carcinogen, and Blue No. 2, shown in studies to increase dogs’ sensitivity to fatal viruses.
Some wholesome ingredients can also be allergens so be cautious of wheat, beef and even chicken. Corn can raise glycemic levels causing diabetes in healthy pets. Plus it can’t be digested and is typically used as filler.

Avoid feeding your pets onions. They have been linked to heinz-body hemolytic anemia due to a compound in the onion that contains sulfur. This can happen much faster in cats then dogs, but avoid for both to be safe. Also avoid raisins and grapes. Doctors have not been able to pinpoint exactly what part of the grape they are sensitive to but it causes seizures and even death. Of course all kinds of chocolate, dark, milk, and white, need to be completely avoided as well. The caffeine present can cause heart attacks and blood toxicity.
To sum up, the pet foods I recommend are Burns Brown Rice and Chicken or Brown Rice and Fish. Plus there is a feline formula as well I cannot stress enough the importance of reading labels. I’ve read “Natural” and found by-products and harmful preservatives. If you find a brand other then what I have mentioned that has holistic and human-grade ingredients and no canola oil, by all means buy it. There are many other great brands out there that I haven’t mentioned.

I see a wide range of symptoms in pets. They can be anywhere from an irritating ear infections to hot spots all over the body. Other symptoms include; bad breath, constant eye drainage, dandruff, nervousness, constant chewing or licking on paws, gas, bloating, dull/dry skin and coat, and un-seasonal shedding. One symptom that is less noticeable is impacted/infected anal glands, a sure sign of food sensitivity.
Most, if not all, of these symptoms can be linked to improper diet. If you have your pet on a whole food or holistic diet and you still have these problems, try a different brand. It could be as simple as one ingredient. Otherwise there are holistic supplements for most conditions. The most common is candida albicans, or yeast as it’s more commonly referred. That’s the same bimorphic (can change from yeast to fungus by rooting itself) yeast that humans have. Treatment is identical for pets and humans. Change the diet and take a probiotic to reduce the yeast. Once the yeast is under control you should see the symptoms disappear.

Keeping up with preventative maintanence of your pets health is critical for a long and happy life. Plus it will keep those vet bills down and make owning a pet less expensive and traumatic for both the pet and the owner.


Anonymous said...

I've been using the Kirkland brand of cat food as the last brand I was using gave my cats really bad gas and diarreah. I don't know if Kirkland is a good brand or not though - have you heard of it?

Jessi said...

Response to last comment. If anyone isn't sure of the brand they are using please google them and find out if they are on the recall list. Several of the major brands in the U.S. were recalled for a certain ingredient causing liver failure and death in many animals and Kirkland is on that list. You can also email me directly if you are not completely sure of the brand or ingredients of the food you are feeding.