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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Keeping Pets Healthy: What's in the Can?


Are you a label reader? Do you know the ins and outs of organics, GMOs, food additives, and allergens? Do you scan kids' snacks for artificial ingredients and avoid the drive thru in your quest for wellness?

You are not alone! Many of us begin our journey into holistic living through nutrition. Whether the result of chronic condition or just a desire to be healthier or more fit, we often begin to understand wellness through diet. We make the simple connection between food and health and slowly make positive changes for ourselves and our families. But what about for our pets? Yes, pets! How far do you take your holistic principles? Do you think about the kibble or treats you share with your four-legged family members?

The pet food industry is a multi-billion dollar market. Commercial pet foods, like many commercial food brands, are often owned by corporate conglomerates whose first priority is not on the nutritional value or wellness potential of the products they are selling. What's really in your pet food? According to the Born Free Foundation: a whole lot of stuff that ought to concern you. Most dry pet foods are extruded - a process that essentially uses high heat to process grains into small shapes and bits, leaving little by way of nutritional value according to Sally A. Fallon, author and co-founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Although these kibbles are later sprayed with animal fats and flavors to make them more palatable, like processed breakfast cereals, they are devoid of many of the vitamins and minerals found in whole foods.

Canned foods may not provide a much better option. Wet pet foods are largely made from animal by-products "heads, feet, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, ligaments, fat trimmings, unborn babies, and other parts not generally consumed by humans." To these parts many conventional pet foods add an extensive list of additives from colorings and flavorings to lubricants, leavening agents, and thickeners.

Chemical residues from pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), artificial flavorings and colorings, and a wide variety of preservatives (such as BHA and BHT) are frequently found in commercial pet food. The dangers? As with all junk foods and chemicals in our diets, increasing evidence links these ingredients to cancer, digestive problems, and heart disease among pets.

What to do? Take your own nutritional guidelines and carry them over to your pets! Become informed and learn how to read pet food labels. Learn how to find a better quality pet food, review the benefits of removing grains from your pet's diet, read up on raw foods, and consider organics and supplementation. Your pets can benefit from a healthy, holistic lifestyle change as well!

1 comment:

  1. If we had enough time to make our own pet foods why not. But if were busy, we can find time to read the labels of the best pet food in the market.


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