Are you reading ALL Pet Food ingredients?

Lately we’ve heard a lot about looking at what is in pet food with an emphasis on protein being the first ingredient. While it’s true that protein should make up a large portion of our pets’ diets, there are many more factors involved in providing optimal and species appropriate nutrition. There are different forms of protein and not all of them are easily metabolized. According to Dr. Karen Becker from, “By-products are what are left after all the good stuff is harvested for the human food industry. Beaks, feet, feathers, wattles and combs are chicken by-products. There could be something beneficial thrown in, like the heart or gizzard, but because there’s such potential for undesirable pieces and parts in ‘by-products,’ it’s better to avoid them altogether.”

Grains like corn, rice and wheat are often seen in pet food in large amounts. These carbohydrates come in different forms, gluten meal, whole grain, flour, etc… Rice often comes in the form of brewers rice. Grain in any form is not a species specific ingredient essential for carnivorous diets, additionally corn is highly allergenic. No grain should be the main ingredient in your pet food.  Dogs are somewhat omnivorous so a small amount of fruit and vegetables make up a part of their balanced diet. However cats are obligatory carnivores, high carbohydrate pet food diets lead to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, liver disease and irritable bowl syndrome. Grain free diets are much more appropriate for both cats and dogs, see more here for a comparison between a high quality and a low quality diet. Often a raw is recommended as the best pet food for dogs and cats but it is very important to feed a balanced raw diet. Research and consulting a holistic veterinarian will help you decide what is right for your pets.

Our pets are what we feed them, we have an obligation to educate ourselves and provide them with a high quality diet so they can live a long and happy life!

Next Topic: Dog DNA

Is Your Pet Part of the Obesity Epidemic?

The obesity epidemic in America has unfortunately passed on to our pets. According to Karen Becker, DVM,  between 30 to 40 percent of U.S. pets are too heavy, and 25 percent are obese. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) has created a list of ideal pet weight ranges based on breed as well as guidelines for caloric intake. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM offers 7 ways to tell of your pet is fat. Your veterinarian can also help you determine if your furry loved one is obese and may prescribe a weight reducing diet. Exercise is a beneficial part of a weight loss plan, walking your dog every other day or so will help you get in shape as well. Cat toys that allow kitty to jump and run are a good source of activity. Some cats will play fetch, and some will even walk outside on a leash!

For more information on pet obesity, Patty Khuly, DVM discusses giving your pet the gift of proper weight.


Next Topic: Summer Safety