A Newsletter and Resource Guide

When We Know Better, We Do Better…

Undoubtedly, most of you are aware of the recent issues regarding commercial pet food recalls. Many animals die from toxic pet food each year. The questions that arise from the sacrifice of those animals are: “what in the world have we been feeding our animals?” and “what is actually in our pet ‘food?’” For the most part, I believe that the use of the word “food” is a flat out lie!

Let me explain. Over the years, we have been told again and again (via commercials and well-meaning vets) not to feed our animals “people food.” How many times have you heard that or thought that? Let me ask you this, if they aren’t eating “people food,” then what are they eating?

High quality pet foods will say “chicken,” “beef,” or “lamb” as their protein source. The meat is the first ingredient. Lesser quality foods will contain some type of meat “meal.” The poorest quality commercial foods (including ones you may get from your vet) contain meat by-products, animal by-products or animal digest as the protein source. This means your beloved animal is being fed meat that is not fit for human consumption. If it’s not fit for human consumption, is it fit for your animal? No! In a nutshell “by-products” means your animal is being fed one or more of the “4D’s.” That stands for “dead,” “diseased,” “disabled,” or “dying animals. These are animals that come to the slaughterhouse for processing. There is obviously something wrong with them and the FDA will not allow them to be used in the “human” food supply. It then goes into commercial pet food!

The other source of meat in pet food comes in the form of “rendered” animals. This term applies to road-kill, dead animals on the farm, zoo animals, dead large animals from individual homes and…brace yourself…dogs and cats that have died or been euthanized from our local vet hospitals and shelters. When your animal dies, you are given a few options in caring for the body. You are asked if you would like to bury the animal yourself, have your animal cremated or sent to a “general disposal.” General disposal sends your animals to a rendering plant where they are turned into meat by-products and it is this protein source that ends up in dog and cat food. It is now well known that euthanasia fluid survives “processing” and chemically remains in the protein source which is in turn, fed back to our animals. Unbelievably horrible but true!

Grains in general should not be found in dog or cat food. MOST commercial foods are high in grains and what is used for the most part is, again, “not fit for human consumption.” These are fillers and have no nutritional value and are harmful to the animal’s immune system.

“What can I do?” you might ask. My recommendation is to support your state’s legislation to change the fact that the pet food industry is “self-regulated.” Therefore, there are no regulations regarding what a company can and can’t put in pet food. Insist that the FDA regulate the industry and protect your companion.

Now for the good news! Remember, when you know better you do better. Spend the money “up front” on your animal companion by purchasing the highest quality food available or making it yourself.  If you do that, you will most likely spend less money later on in vet bills and long-term chronic illness caused by low quality pet food. The food should run you about $2+ a pound for high quality food. You always get what you pay for! Also, remember, “buyer beware!” There are some expensive, low quality foods out there, promoted by western veterinarians. Some of these are the WORST products on the market. (Like Hills Science Diet and Purina Pro Plan.) Check ALL labels before purchasing, no matter who recommends it!

If you do chose to feed commercially made food remember that it really isn’t designed to be an animal’s only food source. Supplement the commercial with fresh food such as small amounts of steamed broccoli, kale, cauliflower, squash, apple or occasional non-fatty meats.

I highly recommend making the food your self. This will cost about the same…but there is more time involved. You will need to get support about what the type of meat to feed, important vegetables to use and to avoid. Never forget you MUST add vitamin and mineral supplements that are species specific.

Change the diet slowly, over a 5-7 day period. On day 1 add 20% new food; day 2 add 40% new food and so on until you are at 100% new, high quality food. This will allow “picky” eaters to make the change slowly and there will be less of a chance for loose stool issues.

You will notice smaller stools (more digestible protein and less grain) and you want to watch for weight gain! You will most likely need to measure the food and feed your animal much less than a ‘lower quality’ pet food.

If you would like to chat about the food you are using or how to make your own food please feel free to contact me. If there are health issues to consider before changing the diet, I will be happy to recommend a local alternative vet.

Raven can be contacted at:

raven@paws4reflection.net or

530-926-4339 M-TH 12-5pm


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