By: Amber Kingsley.
July 24h, 2015
It seems we’re all on a tight budget these days and we all try to do our best to shave some higher priced items off our grocery list. But when it comes to pet food and care, it’s better to pay a little bit more now and save big money on vet bills in the long run.
Compare this to caring for your car, it might sound like a stretch, but please bear with me and hear me out. I remember a car parts commercial from when I was just a kid for Fram oil filters. The mechanic says, “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later,” in reference to their better, more expensive brand. The same is true for our beloved four-legged friends. You can pay up-front for higher-quality meals instead of paying the veterinarian later for complications that often result in purchasing cheaper foods.
What’s in it?
Part of the problem is, when we ask what’s really in dog food nowadays and even read the labels, the answers are pretty scary. For example, if we see the word chicken, we might think the food contains the only the meat from this feathered food source, but we could be greatly mistaken.
According to standards set by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), it can literally mean any part of the chicken, including bone and other parts derived from these carcasses as long as it is devoid of feathers, heads, feet and entrails. One common term you will see listed is byproduct meal.
Chicken Byproduct Meal: Parts that are ground up into a much smaller size, turned into a dry material and can contain skin and bone. It can also contain leftover slaughterhouse parts that are ground up into a meal and included in pet foods.
And speaking of byproducts, these meat-related ingredients are inedible by humans, yet are still being processed and added into pet foods. For example, poultry byproducts can include things like egg shells, chicken heads, feet and scales that are completely unfit for human consumption. You wouldn’t want to feed any of this to your child let alone your beloved pet.
What about corn?
Corn is a common ingredient listed first in many inexpensive brands of dog food and since it’s often considered a vegetable, grain and in some cases a fruit (it’s open for debate), it must be good for our pets, right? Another subject open for debate, but I’d have to say WRONG!
There are many myths about the benefits and detriments of corn in a dog’s diet and most of the positive arguments come from dog food manufacturers (big surprise). Here’s the truth about corn in our dog’s diet:
- Corn has a high glycemic index, which can cause dangerous blood sugar spikes, when compared to other common pet food ingredients
- Corn is not easily digestible as many producers claim that it is easy for pets to process
- Corn is allergenic for many animals and can cause serious reactions with their skin and problems with their coat and hair
- Corn is not a protein, it contains fat and is high in both calories and carbohydrates, therefore it is not a “great source of energy” as many pet food companies report
So what makes corn and other carbohydrates like potatoes and grains such a popular ingredient in pet foods? IT’S CHEAP!
Their high caloric values also make them an easy way to meet necessary “nutritional” values set forth by the government.
Since we treat our pets like family, along with holiday gifts for ourselves to show our devotion, as members of our clan, they deserve to be fed properly. The best gift that we can give them is to feed them a nutritious diet that will lead to a longer, happier and healthier life.
Shutterstock photo source links: