The pet food industry is riddled with false misleading advertising and terrible ingredients. It’s flat out confusing to the average consumer to distinguish between a good food and terrible food.
When you walk into a pet food store you see aisles filled with food. Many will feature beautiful artwork on them. Some have keywords like: healthy, all natural, prescription. It’s literally a jungle out there.
I’m encouraging you to flip over your pets food package and read the ingredient panel. If you come across any of these ingredients, return the food to the retailer.
1) Corn , wheat, soy: These are the most common dangerous ingredients I see in big box stores, discount shops, and AT THE VET. Yes, veterinary clinics are selling the crap out of foods that are supposedly prescription quality yet they feature tons of corn, wheat , and/or soy. Studies have PROVEN these are common allergens and pets absolutely do not need these much less digest them properly. Cats also are obligate carnivores are have zero business eating corn nor wheat. Feral cats eat rodents! We all know this, it’s not news! So why are food companies pushing corn and wheat into these foods, more importantly why are we still keeping them in business?
2) Carrageenan: Its used as thickening agent typically. What many people do not realize is this red seaweed is also lurking in many plant based milks and other human foods as well. This additive has zero nutritional benefits! Studies have shown carrageenan to cause gastric distress for pets and even lead to cancer. What does this mean? Major inflammation in the intestines, which will lead to leaky gut. Having a leaky gut is nothing to play around with! We do not want toxic waste leaking into our pets blood stream!
3) Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum: These are just as dangerous as carrageenan! Both are common in canned food as well. They are thickening and stabilizing agents. Both are also known to cause gastric distress and inflammation. Many companies are still using these; they claim it’s difficult to find better additive. However, companies such as KOHA and Nature’s Logic have been doing it all along. Good job guys!
3) Coloring aka Red #40, Yellow#5 ,Yellow #6: When you see a color # listed as an ingredient, just put it back down. These toxic additives are for the human eyes only. Pets do not care what color the food is. This is simply a marketing tool to catch YOUR attention. More importantly, these colors are ILLEGAL across the world in foods. Why? Because they cause cancer.
4) By- product meal: This is the scrap feet, lungs, brains, feathers, and more. These are portions not suitable for human consumption much less animal. Also keep an eye out for unidentified “meat meal”. These can include diseased animals, road kill, and EUTHANIZED animals. Gross.
5 A) Sourcing: Where are the ingredients being sourced? China? Gross. USA? Great. New Zealand? Even better! Did you know the European Union actually enforces regulations instead of letting companies slide by when they violate the rules? With this is mind, be careful about choosing USA products. The pet food industry is very losely regulated. Many corporations source from China frequently to save a few bucks. As a consumer, take pride in buying from companies with enough integrity to source from reputable farmers that truly care about their livestock and/or crops.
5 B) The manufacturer: Do you know who’s making the food? Have you searched for recent recalls/ why the recall happened? When you flip over your bag of kibble or treats- even it’s grain free, “all natural”, no added flavors… This could still be lurking in the background. There *could be* all kinds of bad things in your batch of food. Check out the manufacturer. Many are known to literally duck tape the problems instead of fixing them. Many do even worse , yet are still producing pet food on a massive scale.
So now what?
Look for small batch, 3rd party tested, family owned companies (not giant corporations)! Check out your local independently owned natural pet food stores.
Some of my favorite pet food companies include: Ziwipeak, Honest Kitchen, Nature’s Logic, OC RAW, Steve’s Real Food, Zignature, Orijen/Acana, KOHA, Lotus, and K9 Naturals. All of them have quality ingredients backed by awesome manufacturers.
Take a moment, if you haven’t already and watch on Netflix the documentary “Pet Fooled” directed by Kohl Harrington. This film highlights everything I just pointed out and even more! It’s definitely an eye opening film that ALL pet parents must watch.
I know this is alot to take in. Every small step you can take to better your pets health is an important step. We are all a part of this journey to learning more about pet nutrition. The goal is to keep moving in a positive direction.
Websites and further research sources I recommend: