This is an addition to my last post on the subject of nutrition and our pets. Poor nutrition is a leading cause of a shorter life span in our pets. The average life span of a mid-size dog in the USA is about 12.8 years (cats 12-14 years). Typically smaller dogs have somewhat longer life spans (averaging 14 1/2 years) while larger and giant breeds (Irish Wolfhounds, Great Danes) tend to have much shorter life spans, averaging about 7 1/2 years. Researchers say that dogs and cats, with the right kind of nutrition have the potential to live 25 years or more. The longest recorded dog life span was 29.5 years.
What’s the problem with our pets not living to their full potential? It’s the “poisons” and garbage that is used in today’s pet foods. In many supermarket brand cat and dog foods, two out of three of the top-listed ingredients are usually some form of grain or cereal, especially in the dry pet foods, and they will most likely be grains that were graded as unfit for human consumption. When cheap dog foods with low-quality vegetable proteins, too many carbohydrates, and the less nutritious ingredients like rendered byproducts and ground up chicken bones, feet and feathers are fed to your pet, it will tend to eat MORE of the food to try to get the proteins and other nutrition its body needs – but will also get EVEN MORE of the cereals and other carbohydrates that make your dog FAT! Obesity in dogs, like obesity in humans, increases risk of serious diseases and shortens life span considerably
Do not be fooled by an ingredient called “brewers rice”. It is made out of the sweepings from the floor of feed mills and consists of small bits of rice that have broken off during the milling of grains of whole rice. It is a waste product and has almost zero nutritional value. You should also avoid “rice gluten” and “rice protein concentrate”, two processed additives which have been another source of melamine poisoning. The GOOD rice is whole brown rice, so look for “brown rice” on the ingredient list. Whole brown rice is much better for humans, dogs, and cats than refined “white rice” because most of the healthy nutrients are in the outer shell of the grain of rice, which is stripped away when refining white rice. For dogs, the nutrients in brown rice are much better absorbed than those in other grains. You are strongly advised to avoid dog food that contains very much of any grain other than BROWN RICE.
When the product has a named meat (example: “Beef for Dogs”) in its name, without any other qualifying words other than “Dogs”, the dog food ingredients must be at least 95% of that named meat by weight, not counting the moisture content – or at least 70% of the product by weight must be that meat if it’s a dry product. So you know what you’re getting with a name like that.
If the name has a combination of meats with no other qualifier (example: “Beef and Liver” or “Beef and Liver for Dogs”) the two meats together must comprise the same 95% of the product by weight, with the first ingredient listed comprising the greater amount by weight. That’s pretty clear and reasonable, but watch out for those deceptive “qualifier” words like “dinner” or “formula”!
Under U.S. regulations, when a product is labelled as a “dinner” (such as “Chicken Dinner”) any named ingredient or a combination of named ingredients must comprise at least 25% of the weight of the product (excluding water used in processing), or at least 10% of the weight of dry matter. The product name is usually a named meat followed by the usual qualifier “dinner”. But other commonly added qualifiers are: platter, entree, formula, and nuggets. A combination of ingredients listed in the product name is allowed (example: “Chicken and Turkey Platter”) as long as the percentage of total weight is 25% as before, AND each ingredient comprises at least 3% of the product weight (excluding water for processing), and all ingredient names appear in descending order by weight. This is all a smokescreen to make you think you are doing right by your pet and giving them high quality food, when in fact, you are slowly killing them.
That’s not very much. What else comprises up to 75% of the pet food? When you pay for a “chicken dinner” product do you want to be paying for a can of food that might be 25% chicken meat plus 75% byproducts, rendered meals, cheap grains, and useless fillers? I would certainly hope you wouldn’t.
Don’t be fooled by any ingredient on the dog food ingredient list that includes the word “meal” – such as “animal meal” or “meat and bone meal” – UNLESS it also specifies the name of the actual source, such as “chicken meal” or “catfish meal”. It may sound like something good for your pet to eat, but if it is an unspecified kind of “meal” or “animal meal” it does not come from fresh meat and is more likely “byproducts” …in other words, waste products). Any type of animal “meal” is the end result of the rendering process which removes fats and water by boiling for several hours at a temperature of 270 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, then drying and grinding up the output.
If you know what species of animal went into the rendering vat (and nothing else with it) – such as a “chicken meal” or “beef meal” – this is not such a bad thing. But when the type of animal is NOT specified, you can expect the “animal meal” to be made from some really disgusting things.
The “meal” can be the dried and ground-up garbage produced by a rendering vat into which have been thrown the carcasses of one or more of what the U.S government and the pet food industry calls “4D” animals – “dead, dying, disabled, or diseased“. They should add a 5th “D” for “decomposing” because by the time the dead animals reach the rendering vat they are already decomposing (i.e. rotting).
Although it is happening less frequently in recent years, those 4D animals may include euthanized pets, euthanized stray dogs and cats from animal shelters and veterinarian offices, and any “road kill” or dead wild animals and birds picked up by humane society or municipal personnel.
Some humane society branches pay to incinerate their euthanized cats and dogs and dead wild animals – but not all. And just one city can produce many tons of animal and bird carcasses for delivery to rendering plants in just one year.
It was not long ago that the 4D animals were banned for human consumption in the USA, but the 4D animal carcasses are still permitted in pet foods in the USA. Your dog or cat has probably been eating them for some time now.
Note the word “diseased” in the definition of “4D” animals. It does not matter if the animal was riddled with cancer, or died of some infection, or died from a build-up of melamine or pesticides in its organs, or was poisoned to death with pentabarbitol – its entire body gets thrown into the rendering vat and goes into many pet foods as a generic “meal” or as “animal byproducts”.
It’s not cost-efficient for the renderers to take time to remove flea collars, pet I.D. tags (which may contain lead), or even the bags the dead animals are delivered in; so this all gets thrown into the rendering vat that will eventually produce a ground-up generic “meal” that finds its way into many commercial cat and dog foods that you find in many of your local supermarket brands.
Don’t just blindly believe the hype in the ads or be fooled by lovely but misleading images. Read the product labels and you will see the truth.
Is this the kind of dogfood you want your precious pet to be eating?
If not, avoid ANY pet food with “byproducts” or an unspecified “meal” in the ingredient list.