What’s in Your Pet’s Food?

Most owners of dogs and cats consider their pets to be part of the family.  Long gone are the days when a dog was “just a dog” who was rarely even allowed inside the house.  We’ve seen this trend in many ways including the increasing number of hotels that welcome pets, the practice of dressing up pets in cute outfits, the meticulous process used to hire a dog-sitter, and the use of kinder, gentler training methods.  It’s no surprise that pet owners are also becoming more concerned with making sure that their “fur babies” are getting the proper nutrition. 

We know the health benefits to humans of consuming a variety of minimally processed foods that provide protein, carbohydrates and fats along with the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need.  Many are realizing the benefits of consuming organic foods.  We’ve learned to read labels so that we know what is really in our food and can avoid those ingredients – like added sugar or saturated fats – that we know can negatively impact our health.   The same is true for the food we feed our dogs and cats.

It may help to understand how most dry food (kibble) is made.  The raw ingredients get mixed up in a giant grinder. Many of the foods that are added, such as the grains or meat, have already been heated and processed before they’re added to the kibble. The entire batch is heated and steamed again, then pushed through an extruder, where it’s once again heated, and dried in an oven.  It is then coated with a spray of fat before it is packaged and sold.  You can see that the nutrients are literally baked out of most dry pet food.  To compensate for this, manufacturers will add vitamins and minerals back into the food.  But the problem with this is that they are synthetic vitamins, which simply do not work effectively the way real vitamins do.

According to Dana Scott, Editor of Dogs Naturally Magazine,  “The food our pets eat must contain the nutrients they need to not just survive, but to feed all the cells in their body so they don’t break down.  If the cells break down, your dog or cat will break down. Any nutritional deficiencies will suppress their immune function and their organs will start to fail because their cells can no longer support them. They may start to suffer from chronic inflammation, as well as liver, kidney, heart, thyroid and other diseases. It’s important to note that most of the ingredients in your dog’s kibble are heated and processed four times before they hit the bag. Why does this matter? Because heating and processing destroy the nutrients in the food.”

We are often feeding our pets inferior food with synthetic ingredients and then wonder why they have allergies, diabetes, and intestinal problems.  What’s a concerned pet parent to do?  Many experts believe that the best thing to feed your dog is a raw diet.  However, a whole food kibble with no added synthetic vitamins and minerals such as that made by Nature’s Logic is also a good choice. If the ingredients are good and the processing is minimal, which keeps the nutrients more intact, your pet will get the complete nutrition they need.