I found this online I thought I would share it here... Sorry it's kind-of long
10 Secrets Pet Food Companies Don't Want You to Know
1. Pet food is NEVER mostly meat.
Many ads suggest that it is... In order to list a meat source
first on the bag label pet food companies resort to a variety of
gimmicks. Here are a few to get you thinking. 1st Listing a "wet"
ingredient in what ends up being an essentially dry finished product.
Wet meat gets a lot lighter when the moisture is cooked out. This
labeling loophole is blatantly deceptive to the general public. All
ingredients should be weighed and listed in dry weight equivalents
for you to know truly how much of each makes up the ration. If the
label lists, "chicken" it means chicken weighed when wet. Drop 75%
of the value. If, on the other hand, it says, "chicken meal" they
play fairly. If it says, "meat (any type) by-product meal" or "meat
(any type) by-products" it was never meat to begin with. Find another
food. Another gimmick is to "split carbohydrates" (grains) into
multiple parts to get the "meat" to list first. Label ingredients are
listed in descending order by weight. So, If you have 10 lbs. of
chicken meal and 25 lbs. of rice, which should appear first on the
label? Chicken of course! (if you want people to buy the stuff).
Here's how it's done...
1st- CHICKEN MEAL, 2nd- GROUND RICE, 3rd- RICE BRAN, 4th- RICE GLUTEN.
Pretty sneaky and obviously deceptive unless you know the trick. Rice
Flour, Brewer's Rice and Rice ala Ronny could also have been listed if
they really wanted to be fancy. A related tactic is to use a variety
of grains with different names to get meat listed first. This is
slightly more valid since they have different amino acid profiles and
are truly different ingredients. Grains cost a lot less than meat.
Meat "by-products" cost a lot less than meat. Both also have considerably
less food value. The last gimmick for now is the campaign to convince
the public that meat by-products and meat are just about the same thing.
Hmm... "Honey, I'm having a ribeye steak tonight and you're having a nice
pile of by-products, ok?" "Would you like the chicken breast or the
intestine-cartilage-beak medley with your rice, Bob?" "Well gee Dear,
doesn't really make any difference to me, they all sound equally delicious,
nutritious and healthy!" By definition, by-products may contain anything
from the specified animal except, (in the case of chicken), feathers and
feces and, (in the case of beef), hoof, hide and feces. Meat and fat are
separated out first because they are costlier and are therefore not
present in any appreciable quantity. What's left is the bones, tendons,
cartilage, beaks, feet and innards. Proudly displayed and masqueraded
as meat. A pet food bag is not a place for dumping stuff of unknown
nutritional value. Some foods even use the term , "SELECT by-products".
All these contortions serve one purpose; To make you think that you're
getting more meat than you really are in your bag of pet food. After all,
who'd pay $35 for a bushel of corn?! Well, keep reading!
2. The cooking process used in pet foods KILLS off a vital component: enzymes.
In order to eliminate bacteria and make cutesy shapes that pets care
nothing about, processing temperatures in excess of 160 degress F are used
to extrude or bake your pet's food. So what? Well, glad you asked. This
places the entire burden for digestion on your pet's pancreas to supply the
enzymes necessary for breaking down nutrients for absorption. In nature,
this is far from the case. Animals naturally follow the path of "least
digestive resistance" in the wild. Consider the fox who catches a rabbit.
First item on the menu is the contents of the gut. Let the rabbit do the
digesting and enjoy! The rabbit spent hours nibbling grasses and grains
readying them for the fox's easy absorption of carbohydrates. Quick and
cheap fuel. Next the fox buries or hides the rest to stew a spell. What
we call, "turning rancid" the fox calls, "just getting better". In a couple
days, the live enzymes in the rabbit meat have broken it down into easily
digested protein. Notice how no fire was used in this process? For dessert,
a little bone gnawing for the marrow, the calcium, and the teeth cleaning,
and it's naptime. Left for the lower animals in the hierarchy are most of
the by-products and the hide. Let's get back to your pet.
In puppies and kittens, the pancreas is usually robust and up to the task
of supplying sufficient digestive enzymes to make dead food somewhat useable and fulfill it's other vital functions. With age, however, pancreatic
function is weakened and often can't keep up with this undue burden. If the
pet food fed day in and day out is of low nutritional value to begin with,
the taxing effect on the system will be all the greater and the pancreas
will most likely give up that much sooner. The consequences to your pet's
health are too broad in scope to cover here.
3. Giving "real food" aka "table scraps" is the RIGHT thing to do!
Stepping on a lot of toes here to smash the myth that you should only
feed the stuff from the bag and nothing else ever, PERIOD. What is it
they are afraid of anyway? That your pet will learn to beg? Unlearn
that. That your pet won't eat the chaff they call "food" after tasting
the real deal? Probably. Or that it will throw the delicate balance of
their finely tuned "nutrition" out of whack somehow? He He Hoo, hardly.
Here's the scoop... Providing real food (not potato chips or other junk
food) in its raw form counteracts some of the deficit that can be caused
by only feeding commercially prepared pet food. It can provide the living
enzymes to make digestion an easy rather than burdensome process. But,
don't just go wild and throw everything in the feeding trough. Good bets
for pets are raw carrots, broccoli, yogurt, cheese, garlic and meats.
Cooked oatmeal, rice, corn, squash and the like are fine too. Don't feed
raw grains, legumes, potatoes, onions, celery or chocolate which are either
unusable or unhealthy. If you aren't comfortable with raw meat and fish,
don't do it. Keep in mind, they aren't people and have an entirely
different gastro-intestinal system than we do. Introduce new foods a
little at a time about three times a week to start and give your pet's
pancreas a much needed break.
4. Most "vet recommended" foods pay mightily for the "honor".
Does it matter that the majority of vets know very little about pet
nutrition? The public is told to, "Ask your vet". The vet is told by
the pet food companies, "we'll send you to Hawaii for a week of golf
if you sell and endorse XYZ brand pet food". In school, vets-to-be could
ELECT to take an overview course in animal nutrition. Or not. There have
been changes of late to make this required study. AS IT WELL SHOULD BE!
You are miles ahead if you understand the pet food label yourself and take
the time to learn some basic nutritional concepts. It's not that
complicated! Find out for yourself, trust your own judgement and ignore
what people say who are getting paid to say it.
5. The #1 vet recommended brand is probably the #1 worst pet food value.
Without mentioning any names, if it lists corn as the first ingredient on
the label and gets blasted by the competition for it, you know the company.
Read the label! Compare it to the cheapest stuff you can find. There
isn't a dimes worth of difference in most cases. How much does it cost
them to make a 40 lb. bag of this stuff you may wonder? Right? Sit down.
How about less than $3 including the cost of the bag? How much does the
duped public shell out for the bushel of corn and peanut shells most
recommended by vets? About $35. "Have a nice flight to Maui, Dr. Cutter
and thanks again for your support".
6. Feeding "Soft-Moist" diets will cut your pet's life expectancy in half.
Thankfully, these foods are on the steep decline but aren't gone yet.
Perhaps killing your customers isn't a good way to develop long term brand
loyalty. These toxic morsels are so loaded with chemicals to stay soft
and prevent molding and so laden with sugar to cover the harsh chemical
taste, they rip a pet's insides out. The sweetness is addictive and
you'll hear owners say, "Fifi just won't eat anything else". Well, then
better buy the small bag because who knows how long Fifi will be eating at
all? Anybody feeding this garbage should stop at once and the manufacturers of it should be faced with a class action.
7. Many companies have "slithered" away from using ETHOXYQUIN.
The once popular, and staunchly defended as safe, preservative (antioxidant) called "Ethoxyquin" has been mostly abandoned because of "hushed" litigation and settlements with professional breeders. It formerly was championed by pet food manufacturers (and others) as an advanced and healthy inclusion in pet food in an attempt to hide the fact that it was never intended to be eaten, much less on a daily basis. It was originally formulated as a rubber stabilizer and a color retention agent. Tires stayed pliable and spices stayed red. Despite efforts to get it approved as a food stabilizing agent
in people food, it is only allowed for extremely limited application with
colored spices. The people who know the devastating truth about this
ingredient when eaten daily by pets have been paid off and forced to never
tell their stories. There are innumerable instances of stillbirth, sudden
liver failure, kidney dysfunction, permanent pigment changes, tumors and
death thought to be caused by the addition of this wonder substance to pet
food starting in about 1987. Much of the talk about ethoxyquin has quieted
since the major pet food companies jumped off the bandwagon and switched
to safer (and less legally troublesome) preservatives like forms of vitamins
E and C. If they want the trust of the public, they should own up to their
mistakes and come clean. Fat chance. All you'll get is denial.
8. Nature didn't intend for pets to eat dry food devoid of enzymes.
Convenience is paid for in reduced pet health. Where is it written
that your pet's bowl has to be filled with chalk dry nuggets of
quasi-nutritious ground up brown stuff? We've been sold on a bad idea.
We bought it because it made life easier. Until the real bill comes,
that is. But doesn't kibbled food make their teeth shiny and their
breath fresh? Won't their teeth fall out if they eat soft stuff?
Yeah, right. Ever watch your dog eat? Does it look like some kind
of teeth cleaning exercise? How about the cat? Really getting the old
gum line clean huh? The truth about teeth cleaning is this...
sticks, rocks, yarn, bones, toys and saliva primarily accomplish this
task, not food. Commercial pet food has to be flavor enhanced with
digest and sprayed-on fat to be even remotely attractive to your
pet. Without these palatability modifications, the old dry kibble
would just sit there and get dusty. People get paid big money to
invent coatings to make your pet dive headfirst into the food bowl.
Because then you smile and feel like it must be healthy and that Fifi
loves the food and you too so you'll buy it again. Right? Remember,
the fox didn't go in search of a crunchy rabbit. It ate the soft
one and it has a dazzling smile and a fully charged pancreas.
9. Some companies sneak sugar into pet food to hook your pet.
Watch out for these guys! They call it other things of course...
(cane molasses, corn syrup) but it absolutely does not belong in
your pet's food bowl. Processed sugars are foreign to dogs and
cats and over the long term can result in obesity, tooth decay and
diabetes (along with other maladies). Until 2 years ago, propylene
glycol was being used as a sweet tasting preservative by those who
must have cared much more about shelf life than about pet health.
Thankfully, it has finally been banned. Pet food companies will
tell you that the industry is tightly regulated and that your pet's
health is being fastidiously protected. Do you buy that one? The
FDA can't even keep up with human food and didn't lift a finger on
behalf of the pet owners during the ethoxyquin debate. The regulating
body for pet food ingredients is AAFCO. The American Association
of Feed Control Officials. The rules and definitions they adopt are
made by those with vested interests and are enforced through
"voluntary compliance". The fox guards the rabbit hutch here.
10. Almost all manufacturers use stool hardening agents in pet food.
Convenience again triumphs over pet health. Stool modifiers make
clean up easier and mask the effects of nutrient malabsorption.
Who's going to buy a pet food if you've got to SCRAPE up after
your dog? It's easier to just stack those little bricks into a
pile or kick them elsewhere. Consider however the strain on your
pet's innards. Would you put concrete mix in your pancake batter?
How about sawdust? If you were dieting, would you mix ground peanut
shells into your breakfast cereal? Well, they do all that and more
for your beloved pet. See if any of these made it into your pet food
bag: sodium bentonite, powdered cellulose, beet pulp, tomato
(or any other) pomace, ground peanut shells? The explanation for
including these usually is that they are fiber sources for your pet's
well being. Maybe a little truth there but not the real reason they
are added. Whole grains provide great fiber content. A bit of bran
would do well too. The real goal is to make you buy the food again
because clean up time is so easy and enjoyable with brand XYZ's
designer stools. Before you do this to your pet, try it yourself
for a few days. One question to ask a company representative is
this, "Aren't there times when my pet needs to evacuate it's system
rapidly such as when a toxin is ingested or when the kitty or doggy
flu comes around? Is having a cork in there at all times really a
good idea? You'll then likely hear mumbling about "Our research..."
and "regulating intestinal transit time for optimal nutrient
absorption". Do you buy that one? If the food is good and fed
properly, stools will be fine without forcing your pet to work a brick
through their digestive and excretory systems.
First, the obligatory disclaimer. These are my opinions formed
over a period of 15 years inside the pet food industry. If there
are any errors in the above article, they are mine. Nobody paid
me a penny to express any of this. It was written because it
needed to be said to enlighten and alert the pet loving Public
and to act as a minute counterbalance to the daily barrage of
pet food hype foisted on us.
Your pets depend on you to make the right choice when it comes to
feeding them a nutritious diet. Their quality of life is at stake.
Become a label reader! Take the time to bone up on nutrition.
Call the Company if you have questions. Most have a toll free
number on their bag. Ask to speak to a Nutritionist or the person
who formulated the food you are using. Dig until you are satisfied
or until you know it's time to switch to another food (or manner of
feeding). You might look into the B.A.R.F. movement that is growing
rapidly. That's a rather graphic acronym for "Bones And Raw Food".
The next step in pet food (beyond "kibble") is already in the works.
For your pet's sake, don't be content with the miserable status quo.
Not all currently available pet foods are totally rotten and not all
companies engage in the above practices. Some are much better and
more ethical than others. It is far beyond the scope of this ditty
to list them or to make specific recommendations. You are the boss.
Now, you're the boss with the inside track on what to watch out for.
Please take your pet's diet seriously. It's the right thing to do.
Feel free to pass this article along to interested parties. An
informed public will generate changes.