What is Your Pet Eating? Part II

In Part I, I touched on a subject that is of great importance to me – the negative effects that processed pet food has on dogs and cats. In this segment I will go into more detail about processed pet food and a few of the risky ingredients that are used to make this popular “fast food.”
So, what exactly is considered “processed food”? Processed food can include both dry and wet varieties of pet food. The scary part is that the majority of pet food found on store shelves falls into this category of cheaply made, overly processed food.
Despite misleading packaging and ingredients lists filled with fancy words, many of the ingredients in processed pet food are just byproducts of human food processing and contain little to no nutrients. For example, you may find “apple pomace” listed as an ingredient. You figure an apple is a nutritious food and probably contains some vitamins and minerals that could be beneficial to your pet. Although it is true that an apple is a nutritious fruit, apple pomace is not an apple. Apple pomace is what is left over after making apple juice for human consumption. That’s the skin, seeds and core. Apple pomace does not contain the same nutrients as an apple.
Pomace is just one of many fancy words used in ingredients lists that can be misleading to pet owners. And while we’re on the topic of apples and misleading information, I should mention that packaging that boasts fruits and vegetables may be doing so for a reason. Let’s not forget that our pets are carnivores, which means that the number one most important ingredient in their diet is meat. Apple pomace aside, what your animal really needs is a hearty meat diet. Many pet foods today point a lot of attention to these “filler” ingredients like fruit and vegetables, to distract from the fact that they don’t include very much meat.
Is the first ingredient in your pet’s food meat? If not, that’s a problem. Is it the only meat ingredient among tens of others? That may also be a problem. Processed pet food tends to not have adequate amounts of meat to fulfill your pet’s dietary requirements. The quality of the meat used is also extremely questionable. For example, some brands list “poultry meal” or “meat meal” as an ingredient, without specifying which animal the meal comes from. This generalized term leaves a lot of opportunity to source from basically anywhere and does little to regulate quality or the possibilities of contamination.
I know this a lot of information to take in and I have only discussed the ingredients we thought we wanted to find in pet food. What about all the chemicals, preservatives, binders and “flavor enhancers” that are also in processed pet food? We’ll save that for next time. Join me next week for Part III of this series, What is Your Pet Eating?, where I will discuss other harmful ingredients found in processed pet food and what these not-so-good ingredients can mean for your pet’s health.

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