In the first part of this series I started to explore the commercial pet food market and why it can be so difficult to get reliable information on what constitutes a good diet for your cat or dog.
Supermarkets now have large sections devoted to selling pet food, but often these are the cheaper brands. It can be very difficult to trace the source of the ingredients but in order to keep the price low, these must be coming from the cheaper end of the market. Many pet foods contain what are known as ‘4-D ingredients’. An article entitled “Top Worst Dry Dog Food Brands” on the Holistic and Organix Pet Shoppe website states that:
“4-D chicken is meat and by-products that have been derived from chickens that were rejected by food inspectors who classified the chickens as not fit for human consumption because they were “Dead, Dying, Disabled or Diseased” at the time of inspection. Any chemicals that existed within that animal, would still be in it when dead. Meat by-products are nothing more than slaughterhouse waste; waste that’s been banned for use in human food and then sold to the pet food industry. It’s what’s left over after the slaughter and classified as inedible waste, unfit for human consumption.”
Holistic and Organix Pet Shoppe © 2012-2013
If you study the labels on, for example, dog food, you will see that the main ingredient is usually ‘cereal’ which is used as a bulking and binding agent. Cereal has little nutritional value for dogs and in fact many can develop allergic reactions to it, however it can help to keep the price down and make the food look more appealing — to the human buyer. If the cereal is not fully cooked it can be indigestible. Sometimes there are problems with a particular batch of kibble because it isn’t thoroughly cooked and animals eating it get diarrhoea, even though they might have eaten the same food before with no problems.
With dry foods, the ingredients are cooked twice. This results in the ‘ash’ often mentioned in the ingredients list. This is known to be carcinogenic. Other problems, too, are much more common than with canned or homemade foods. Altered proteins may contribute to food intolerances, food allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease. Some brands of dry food, particularly puppy food, recommend that it should be moistened before being given to the animal to eat, however “bacteria multiply rapidly on moistened dry food” so if the animal only eats a little and the rest is left for them to come back to later “it is a good way for them to get diarrhea”(Donald R Strombeck, ibid).
In part 3 I’ll look at why these processed pet foods have become so popular and some health concerns related to feeding this kind of diet.
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:
You can also read more about my work on my website:
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