Let me start by making a distinction between commercial dry dog and cat foods, so-called "premium" dry pet foods, and natural or holistic dry pet foods.
June 1, 2014 (Newswire) - Let me start by making a distinction between commercial dry dog and cat foods, so-called "premium" dry pet foods, and natural or holistic dry pet foods.
Well, actually, there is little difference between the commercial brands and the so-called "premium" brands. By "premium", just know that it's nicer packaging and a higher price than the grocery store brands and your vet may even carry it at their clinic. (You're going to want names and I'm going to try to avoid that so as not to get in any trouble!)
Read your pet food label. All of these commercial brands contain by-products and inferior grains such as corn, wheat, or soy. Sometimes, the premium brands tout that they do not use artificial colors or chemical preservatives. To most of us industry observers, they are "premium" only in price and advertising and perhaps because they may add some real meat.
Natural, also known as 'holistic' brands, vehemently oppose any use of by-products or the inferior grains. (Some grains are necessary to shape the kibble. In these cases, only US grown brown rice or other similar grains are used). Since holistic pet foods use meats, they don't need to flavor with sugars or meat-type flavors, and they use natural, rather than chemical, preservatives. Many also add probiotics or chelated, bio-available minerals.
Going back to something I said in the "canned cat food" article, what you want to avoid are the "high carb, commercial dry food diets" as they contribute to obesity and all of the related health problems.
Focus on the term, "high carb". "Dry" is not the bad guy. "Carb" is. What are carbs? Grains and sugars. Dogs and cats don't eat them in nature. So while your pet may like the taste of a typical dry pet food (because it's highly sugared and flavored), and they may even live to what most people think of as a ripe old age, they will do much better on the high protein, low carb holistic diets.
It took us until the 21st century to start to "get" the connection between diet and health, for both people and animals. It's been hammered into us by the gurus but most of us didn't really listen until something up close and personal made us pay attention. In my case, it was the death of two beloved cats within three weeks of switching them to a so-called "premium", albeit corn-based, brand. This was years ago, long before the 2007 pet food recall.
What is it that is making you pay closer attention?
There was a very interesting Q&A section in the Washington Post by veterinarian Michael W. Fox. One reader commented on changing a dog from Beneful to a homemade diet, and another reader switched from canned Alpo to cottage cheese, chicken, and ground beef. In each case, the switch away from that original food created great health results.
The take home message is: Diet Counts. It does make a difference. Those grains, almost always inferior product grown in other countries who do not follow our strict safety rules in pesticides and fertilizers, and those preservatives — Would YOU want them in YOUR breakfast? No wonder our pets get sick, get allergies, throw up and get diarrhea. Even epilepsy is often attributed to grains in pet foods.
I have associated with holistic pet parents for years. Trust me, NONE of us would ever go back to a food that contains certain ingredients. We simply have our own unbiased testimonials from our pets.
Dry food is good for your pets. Canned food is good for your pets. AS LONG AS it's high quality and follows "the rules" for certain types of ingredients. We can't all feed our pets the way they would eat in nature. We need the dry foods for cost and convenience and they're perfectly fine for our pets.
Just continue to educate yourself on what will be the best cat food for your pet and for your circumstances, and enjoy your fur family. Loving them, that's what it's all about, isn't it?