What is Your Pet Eating?

What effect does processed food have on your pets?
The negative effects of processed pet foods are not widely publicized, but that does not mean they are not concerning. Processed pet foods, both dry and wet, have been linked to diseases and illnesses in dogs and cats. Some veterinarians believe the onset of these illnesses, ranging from kidney failure to cancer, especially in younger animals, is due in large part to diet. I think of it like this; we know a human who consumes large amounts of fast food and junk will be in poor health, so why should we assume an animal is any different?
Processed food first and foremost, does not contain the same nutrients that can be found naturally in whole food. A dog that only eats processed foods will likely not receive the proper nutrients he or she needs and, unfortunately, signs of this malnutrition can sometimes take years to surface. The main ingredients in processed pet food are also a concern, since the majority of brands use cooked grains, which is not natural for dogs or cats to consume.
Additionally, many processed pet foods contain chemicals and additives that have already been deemed unsafe for human consumption, but are still allowed in food for pets. If these ingredients cause harm to humans, why should they be considered safe for animals?
Another related concern is that animals that eat predominantly dry food can potentially suffer from dehydration and related illnesses. With so many potential risks, it is important for pet owners to become educated. Although processed pet food is convenient, natural options are the better alternative – even if they require some extra effort from owners.
Since pet food manufacturers play such a large role in the veterinary world, from education to testing, it is difficult to be fully educated on the effects this food has on animals. Despite this restriction, there is still plenty of information available from veterinarians and scientists who have made it a point to bring attention to this issue.
Being that this is an extensive topic and of personal importance to me, I am going to be publishing a series of related posts in the upcoming weeks. I will go into further detail about the risks of processed foods, the benefits of a natural diet, and share my recommended alternatives to processed pet food.

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