As most pet guardians now spend less time preparing food for themselves and their children it is not surprising that they are less likely to give their animals a varied, unprocessed diet. Many people buy commercial pet food because they honestly belief it is best for their pet, and because it is convenient and affordable. However processing requires several steps and it only requires a small error at any one stage to result in problems. Buying processed food takes control further from the consumer. An article in the Daily Mail stated that “few people are aware of the little publicised concerns about processed pet foods” (“Is the pet food you’re serving up killing your 4-legged friend?”). Some processed foods have been linked to poor behaviour in dogs, and even cancer. However people are now becoming more aware thanks to social media. There are pet-dedicated chatrooms where “increasing numbers of people have been sharing concerns about processed pet food” (ibid).
Many cases of urinary and kidney problems have been linked to dry food. This is one of the main causes of death in cats and is often caused because they are chronically dehydrated by just eating dry food. Manufacturers say that cats eating this food should always have plenty of fresh water available, but “even if they drink it is often not enough to ensure optimum urinary health” (Lisa Pierson, pet nutritionist).
One third of household pets is now overweight. Also, chronic conditions, such as diabetes, kidney and liver disease, heart disease and dental problems (all diet related) are on the increase. In addition there has been a rise in the number of cases of allergies (particularly skin problems) and digestive issues, despite veterinary advice on specialist foods for these conditions. Richard Allport, a vet of over 36 years’ experience, based in Hertfordshire, says: “my advice … is always this: switch your pet’s diet to fresh food and often it’s so successful that altering the diet is all that’s needed to ‘cure’ a pet’s health problem.”
In part 4 I’ll look at what an alternative diet for your pet might look like and why you might like to consider making this change.
If you are interested in nutrition for your pet and would like to explore this further, contact me for a no-obligation chat where we can discuss your situation and see what simple changes you might be able to make to enhance their wellbeing. My contact details are:
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