It is surprising how much of the kibble available on the pet food market often have very fancy names or titles that suggest you are buying a top quality food for your pets. A little research into these products and you find the truth is in fact, the opposite. It is misleading to the public to brand kibbles with names such as ‘supreme’ ‘complete’, ‘super science’ this or that, when in actuality, the ingredients used are by-products that are rendered unfit for human consumption. Animal by-products (ABPs) are entire animal bodies, parts of animals, products of animal origin or other products obtained from animals that are not fit or intended for human consumption’. Frankly, if a food doesn’t qualify to be suitable for humans, why would I want to feed it to my beloved animal friends? It’s not so much that I probably wouldn’t enjoy kibble when my animal friends might, it’s the fact that the ingredients going into these foods are of very poor quality in the first place. I always strive to feed a healthy wholesome diet to my furry companions as I believe the foundation of good health starts with optimum nutrition.
Do you read the labels? I have had the time to study many of the ingredients of quite of few of these ‘super’ brands to find that the ingredients are usually very basic. They are often nothing more than wheat, maize, soya oil, salt, yeast. If that’s the super version, I wouldn’t like to see the basic brand! A common manufacturers trick is to add just one or two interesting ‘natural’ ingredients, e.g. Echinacea, which we all know and recognize is good for our pets. It is usually last on the list, meaning it has only be added in minute trace amounts. Sometimes, it’s another herb or an added vitamin, but it’s enough for the consumer to think they are buying a quality feed. But on the whole, the base ingredients of the kibble mainly consists of extruded grains and meat that have been classified as unsuitable for human consumption. So, many of these (not all, there are some ethical companies out there!) processed foods are made from recycled ‘spoiled’ crops and meat salvage which our furry companion’s can end up paying for with their health and you end up paying for in vet bills!
Many veterinarians are well aware of the connection between processed pet food and disease. But sadly, they are also sponsored to promote certain brands through their practices. There are more common diseases now than there used to be 40 years ago when people were feeding table scraps to their pets, i.e. home-cooked food. There was very little that came in a packet back then.
Many of the meats that find their way into our pet kibble include hormones that are used on animals to increase meat or milk production, various antibiotics and other drugs that are given to the animals. Regardless of whether the foods are rendered, extruded or baked, these processes do not affect the potentially harmful ingredients. And whilst the animals classed as ‘dead, dying, diseased or disabled’ are considered unfit for human consumption, they are still considered suitable ‘ingredient’s’ for pet food! Not very pleasant is it? I don’t wish to be feeding the ‘energetic echo’ of animal suffering or disease to my pets, do you?
Apart from the basic ingredients that go into the kibble, another concern is that it is a highly processed food with production involving high temperatures. High temperatures disrupt protein molecules, damaging them, denaturing the proteins and preventing the protein from performing its function i.e. to build/repair cells
In the textbook “Essentials to Human Anatomy & Physiology”, Elaine N. Marieb writes:
“The fibrous structural proteins are exceptionally stable; the globular functional proteins are quite the opposite. Hydrogen bonds are critically important in maintaining their structure, but hydrogen bonds are fragile and are easily broken by heat and excesses of pH. When their three-dimensional structures are destroyed, the proteins are said to be denatured and can no longer perform their physiological roles.”
The protein in kibble is far from being ‘nature’s food’. Nearly all animals in the wild eat their food in the raw state and studies have shown that raw food is healthier and easily assimilated by the body. Plant-based protein is easily assimilated by the body, is enjoyed by rats and people alike and can be easily obtained without contributing to animal degradation.
Corn or maize is a common’ filler’ ingredient in generic dry mixes as its cheap and commonly available even though it can be difficult for animals to digest. Corn boosts the protein count of pet foods while providing a high amount of calories in a difficult-to-digest pellet. The other risk with corn is if it has been genetically modified. In a recent study in France, GM corn was shown to cause kidney damage among other issues in rats. The French study reported the following findings after rats were fed genetically modified corn.
*Scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.”
* Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.
* The study fed these rats NK603, the Monsanto variety of GM corn that’s grown across North America and widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that’s in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.
Wheat, another common ingredient, is often stored for long periods, is prone to mould and is a common allergenic food for pets and people alike. The gluten in the wheat can be problematic for many pets and people and it is another highly processed food. Refined salt is also not healthy but it is often added to kibble, whereas unrefined salt such as Himalayan salt contains many essential minerals necessary for health.
What about soybeans? It’s important to note that, while soybean meal is a common ingredient in vegetarian diets, many of our pets lack the amino acids that are needed to properly break down and digest soybean matter. Feeding your pet soybean-rich foods can actually lead to an increase in digestive problems, including the life-threatening condition known as Bloat. The other issue with soya is also the risk of it being genetically modified. If the label doesn’t say it’s non GM, then it probably is. Also, look out for where it says ‘modified’ anything on the label because that may mean it’s genetically modified. Many US brands/products don’t have to label GM content.
Nutritional Based Diseases
Many of the diseases and conditions that our pets suffer from may be the result of their current diets, especially if it is highly processed. While many of these conditions may be caused by other factors other than poor diet, they can all result from what we feed our pets as well. Here is a list of the most common nutritional-based diseases and conditions affecting animal companions:-
– Chronic Digestive Conditions (vomiting, constipation, diarrhea and Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
– Dental Disease
– Heart Disease
– Urinary Tract Disease (UTD)
– Kidney Disease and Renal Failure
– Contamination and/or Poisoning
So, how can we best ensure we are feeding our animal companions the best nutrition available to us? Do your research and go with the companies that care about what they produce as food for animals. Many people are starting to choose vegetarian options for their dogs and small animals where appropriate, or at least, include more ‘pure’ ingredients along with some fresh vegetable/fruits and other suitable foods relative to the species.
The safest alternative for those of us with small companions e.g rats, is to make your own museli-style mixes and supply plenty of organically sourced fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains.
For full details of the French GM study, see http://www.naturalnews.com/037249_GMO_study_cancer_tumors_organ_damage.html
copyright Anabrese Neuman