Which brand do you prefer? Which brand do you prefer? There are many brands and varieties of pet food available. Pet owners don’t have much information. This could prove to be quite a ride, depending on your knowledge of the pet food industry. Here are seven secrets to pet food. Keep reading.
Beneful claims it is a ‘Premium Food for a Healthy, Happy Dog’ and costs around $18.00 per 31-pound bag. Science Diet, a bag that promises ‘precisely balanced nutrition through continuous research and high-quality food backed up by your Vets endorsement’, sells for $21.00 for a 20-lb bag. Many pet foods can make the same claims, such as ‘Premium dog food, the highest quality that retails for around $30.00 for a 20-lb bag. The same applies to cat owners. Do you choose Whiskas? It states that “Everything we do for cats is about making them happy!” Or do you go for high-end cat food that claims to be happy and healthy, but costs three times as much?
Pet owners are now asking questions like “Has this pet food been recalled?” Or ‘Is this the next food to be recalled ?’…? “Is my pet safe?” This is so confusing! It’s also scary! What should a pet owner do? Let’s learn a few secrets. It’s much easier to understand pet food if you have the right information.
Although pet foods often use words such as choice and premium to describe their products, very few actually use premium or chosen ingredients. The secret is that pet foods cannot make claims about the quality of their ingredients or refer to them on their labels or advertisements. When it comes to pet food, the term ‘premium” does not mean that the ingredients are of premium quality. Premium does not (cannot) refer to the food or the quality of pet food. It is simply a marketing term. According to the regulations of the pet food industry, there are no references or quality indicators for ingredient grade (regulation PF5d 3). Hence, terms like premium, choice, quality, and so on are purely marketing or sales terms. These terms should not be understood as describing the quality or quantity of food.
Why shouldn’t a pet food label allow prospective customers to know the quality of their ingredients? Isn’t it right for pet owners to know the ingredients they are purchasing? I now have the next secret…
We all know that pet food and ‘people food’ have different qualities. White Castle is my favorite (I know, I’m guilty of this, but I love these little guys! Outback Steak House is another favorite. Both restaurants offer meat and potatoes. White Castle offers a few burgers and fries for as low as $3.00. Outback offers a steak and baked potato at $16.00. Both offer beef and potatoes, but you’ll soon realize the nutritional differences between a hamburger and a steak.
The problem in the pet food industry is that pet owners are not able to see the same picture when it comes down to pet food. They don’t see the difference between fast food and healthier, more nutritious pet food options. A young man did this exact experiment several years back, eating only fast food for 30 consecutive days. He gained weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol in just one month. Imagine your pet eating this kind of food for the rest of his life.
Okay, back to the two meals. A chemical analysis of White Castle’s meal would be compared with Outback’s meal. Both would have a percentage of protein and carbohydrates. It doesn’t matter if you think Outback steak is better than burgers, it will still be protein. The quality of protein is not measured by the analysis.
Here’s the secret: All pet foods come with a Guaranteed Analyse that reveals the food’s percentage of protein and fat as well as fiber and moisture. The quality of the protein, fat, fiber and other nutrients is the real secret.
A chemical analysis of pet food would show that chicken feet are protein. However, it does not provide much nutrition. A cow that has been put to sleep due to a disease would also be analyzed as protein, although it could be dangerous for human consumption. Both chicken feet and euthanized cattle are allowed ingredients that can be used in pet food. The secret to the pet food industry’s success is that manufacturers have an open-door policy on where their ingredients are sourced. An adult cat food and dog food must have 18% protein, while an adult cat food must have 26%. These percentages can be obtained from many sources, including chicken feet, human-grade meats, grain proteins, man-made chemical proteins, and many other variations.
Pet food labels are not required to disclose – and are not permitted to reveal – where they obtained the 18% or 26% of their protein. To make things worse, pet food manufacturers who use only human-grade ingredients are not permitted to tell potential customers or customers about the quality of their products.
How can you tell if your pet’s food is made from chicken feet, euthanized cows, or contains human-grade ingredients?
Premium and choice are not a way to tell if pet owners know what their pets are eating.
The ingredient definitions are the key to this big secret. Pet food is very different from ‘people’ foods, where you can look at the food to judge its quality. All food that is considered ‘people’ must comply with certain USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and FDA (Food and Drug Administration), guidelines. Pet food is exempt from this requirement. People’s food is not allowed to contain chicken feet or euthanized cows. This is because they are either dangerous or have no nutritional value. Pet food is not exempt from this ban. You can only determine if your pet is eating chicken feet or euthanized cattle by knowing what ingredients can be used.
Common pet food ingredient, ‘Meat and Bone Meal,’ is essentially a mixture of various discarded leftovers from the human food sector. The components of meat & bone meal’ include cow heads, stomachs, and intestines as well as animals that have been euthanized from animal shelters and veterinarian offices. Pet food can also contain pentobarbital, which was used to kill the animal. “Meat and Bone Meal” can contain leftover restaurant grease and diseased (including lethal) meat tissue taken from animals that have been slaughtered. This is the common ingredient that contains a mixture of potentially hazardous and inferior ingredients from the human food industry.
The pet food ingredient Meat Byproduct’ or Meat ByProduct Meal’ is almost identical to meat & bone meal’. It is a very inferior pet food ingredient that contains literally everything.
Animal Digest is another similar ingredient.
The chicken feet that I mentioned earlier can be found under the ingredients Chicken Byproduct’ or ‘Poultry Byproduct’ or the Chicken Byproduct Meal’ or the ’Poultry Byproduct Meal’. These ingredients include any leftovers from the poultry or chicken division, including chicken feet, skin, some feathers, and chicken heads. These ingredients do not care about the bird’s health – whether it is healthy, sick, or dead, all are included.
Here’s what you should do: Before you buy any pet food, open the bag and carefully examine the ingredients. You will find the above-mentioned ingredients within the first five to ten ingredients. I would advise against purchasing any food containing any of these ingredients. Remember that chicken feet and euthanized pets can be analyzed as protein. This is all you need for pet food.
Pet food manufacturers also use this trick to increase the protein content. Chemical proteins are the reason for the pet food recall which began in March 2007. Two chemical additives that are not of nutritional value but which can be analyzed as proteins were added to a grain product (wheat, corn, or rice gluten). They were only there to give cheap protein. Because of this, thousands of pets died and many others fell ill. Their secret is that the product must be analyzed to determine if it contains a certain amount of protein. No one can guarantee that it is high-quality meat protein.
When you look at the ingredient list, you should also pay attention to how many grains (corn and wheat) and/or grain products (corn gluten (whole corn, whole corn), are included within the first five ingredients. You can tell if there is more than one ingredient in the pet food’s ingredients that it is getting some of its protein from grain.
What is the importance of protein from grains? There are many reasons. First, science has shown that both cats and dogs need and thrive on meat protein. A pet that isn’t getting enough protein from grains isn’t getting the nutrition it needs. You also have to be aware that grain products can contain chemicals like melamine, which is added only to increase protein analysis. Melamine was one of the chemicals that caused the March 2007 recall of pet food. Aflatoxin is another concern for grains. Aflatoxin, a deadly mold, is found in wheat, corn, and soy. It’s also responsible for many pet food recalls that you may not have heard of. Diamond Pet Food had moldy grains in December 2005 that caused the deaths of over 100 pets.
I recommend that you avoid pet foods that contain corn, wheat, soy, or any other form of gluten. The risk is too great.
Here are some more ideas for you to check out in the ingredient lists…chemical preservatives. The pet food industry’s use of chemical preservatives is a well-kept secret. BHA/BHT is a popular choice for chemical preservatives in pet food. Science has shown that they can cause cancer and tumors. Ethoxyquin, another common preservative, has been linked to cancer. Because of its small amount, ethoxyquin can only be used in certain spices in human food. It is however allowed in higher amounts in pet food.
You will find BHA/BHT or ethoxyquin in the ingredient lists. BHA/BHT is commonly used to preserve fat in food. It is usually found higher up on the ingredient list. Also, look out for these chemicals at the end of any ingredient list. These chemical preservatives are not something I would eat. Natural preservatives should be used to preserve pet food. Common natural preservatives include ‘natural mixed Tocopherols’ and ‘vitamin E.
A well-made food made with human-grade ingredients is the best food for your pet. It should be easy enough. But how do you find it? As you know, pet food manufacturers cannot make statements about the quality or grade of ingredients. The only way to find out the quality of your pet’s food is to contact the manufacturer and ask.
Let’s suppose you call ABC Pet Food Company and ask them the question, “Is your premium dog food and premium cat food made with human-grade ingredients?” You might get the answer yes, we use human-grade ingredients. However, only a few ingredients are human-grade. Ask them if they are APHIS European certified.
APHIS European certified pet food manufacturers will guarantee that all ingredients are human-grade. APHIS, Animal Plant Health Inspection Services, is a division within the USDA. This European certification allows pet food manufacturers to ship their treats/foods to Europe with APHIS European. The certification is required for pet food imports from the US. European countries require that all ingredients be human-grade. APHIS European certification is not required for pet food manufacturers. They simply use it to ensure their customers that their products are of higher quality.
This is why you won’t see it on the label. It’s illegal. Call the manufacturer to inquire. Sometimes, the representative of pet food won’t know what you’re talking about when you ask them about APHIS certification. If that happens, it’s safe to assume they’re not APHIS European certified. APHIS European certification is an added benefit for pet owners. It is not mandatory or recommended that pet food manufacturers go through additional steps to achieve this certification. Pet food manufacturers go to great lengths to show their customers that they care about the quality and safety of their products. It is something I value highly and would not buy pet food without it.
By the way, if the manufacturer of pet food is not available or does not return your calls within a reasonable time, they may be out of business! A company that doesn’t prioritize answering customer questions is not worthy of your business.
If you are interested in even more pet-related articles and information from us here at Magical Adventure, then we have a lot to choose from.