It goes without saying that we all love our pets, and we want to ensure that they live long and healthy lives. We take them to the vet for their checkups and vaccinations, we spay and neuter them to help reduce the animal population, and we open our hearts and our homes to them. We also are subjected to a steady stream of pet food commercials, each company trying to convince us that their pet food is superior to the others. The unfortunate truth, though, is that not all pet food companies have your beloved animal’s best interests at heart.
In fact, much of the dog/cat food on the market isn’t nutrient dense; instead, it relies in large part on fillers and animal byproducts. Look closely at the list of ingredients for the pet food you have on hand. Even so-called premium brand pet foods have ingredients that will take you aback.
The first five ingredients listed usually make up the lion’s share of the pet food. Leading cat food and dog food brands will include things like chicken by-product meal, corn grits, corn meal or corn gluten meal, and wheat flour or wheat gluten. An ideal diet for cats is one that’s human grade. For example, cat food should contain a concentrated, high-quality protein source like chicken meal, ground brown rice, rice flour, chicken fat, and dried beet pulp. Dog food should contain the same ingredients, with the exception of substituting oat groats for rice flour.
The list of ingredients in your dog/cat food may be surprising, but it’s also startling to see that even premium brands don’t typically include ingredients that will sustain your pet’s health and longevity.
What are some of these ingredients? For dogs and cats, nutritious food should include vegetables and fruits, which contain antioxidants, as well as fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients. It should also include direct-fed microbials – the kinds of microbials that are found in yogurt that help maintain good health. Similarly, omega-3 fatty acids should be incorporated into a nutritious pet food, both because they support health and because they keep your pet’s coat shiny.
When you contrast how we eat with how our pets eat, it becomes clear that the quality of their food is of paramount importance. After all, we eat a wide variety of foods, and can always supplement our diets with vitamins if we skip on the veggies or fruit. Our pets, on the other hand, eat the same food day in and day out for most of their lives, with a few added treats now and then; if there’s a vital nutrient missing, they don’t have the opportunity to consume it elsewhere.
Life’s abundance is meant to be shared. Our pets give us so much unconditional love that the least we can do in return is provide them with human grade, nutritious pet food that will ensure that they enrich our lives for years to come.