Junk Food for Pets Continued.

So, now you know which age stage your pet is in, what special needs he/she has, how much food you need to buy and how much you’re willing to spend. What’s next?

  • Next step: choosing the right brand.

 

There are a few (numbers are increasing) pet food brands in Kuwait, each claiming it is “the best”,  “holistic”,  “natural”, or even “100% complete”.It is up to YOU to know what is best for your pet. Do not rely on what the package says, it’s usually just marketing. Ask pet owners, especially those whose pets seem healthy. Ask your vet, even ask clients what they feed their pets next time you’re at the vet hospital. Ask professional breeders in your area. You can also read online reviews (but I wouldn’t depend on them). Read about the nutritional needs of your pet’s species. Try to gain as much information as possible so that all the marketing and schemes to just gain profits don’t fool you.
 There is no other way to put this or summarize it, Wysong wrote it as simple as it is. Here are a few tips from Wysong (I’m being kind of biased I guess but this is my personal choice and I wouldn’t have chose them if they didn’t convince me) on choosing the right pet food company:

My brand of choice
1. PET HEALTH PHILOSOPHY: Does the pet health philosophy expressed by the company make sense, have scientific backing, and clearly put health as the number one priority? Or do they make mere claims designed to generate sales?
 
2. RESPONSIBLE EDUCATION: The pet food arena swarms with misinformation, much of which can cause serious health consequences. A responsible company taking on the serious responsibility of health must make its primary product education, not simply product sales. Such education must include teaching consumers how not to use any processed commercial products at all.
 
3. LEADER CREDENTIALS: What are the credentials, experience and accomplishments of the people in charge? Most pet food companies are led by a marketing person, movie star, venture capitalist, or a board of directors concerned primarily about profits. Yes, all pet food companies have a story about how their leaders love pets, had health problems with all the brands of pet foods, and that their pet did not improve until they cooked something up in the kitchen or consulted with so and so nutrition guru. But supplying foods that have the best prospect for achieving health is not about lore. It is best served by competency in health, nutrition, food science, and processing technology.
 
4. MANUFACTURING CONTROL: Is the pet food company also the owner of the manufacturing facility or in close control of formulations and manufacturing parameters? That is the only way true innovation can take place. Consider that anyone off the street can go to any number of pet food manufacturers and have them make a “new” food. Such contract manufacturers have files full of ready-to-go formulas. Then the marketing company can add a “special” ingredient, or remove a “demon” one, create a beguiling label and then make unsubstantiated claims about the superiority of the “revolutionary new” product. But, in fact, all the different brands of foods coming off the same production line are essentially the same.
 
5. THE “100% COMPLETE & BALANCED PET FOOD” MYTHDoes the company promote the claim of “100% complete and balanced”? This claim is a myth and is directly responsible for far-reaching nutritional diseases. Promotion of the claim proves a manufacturer does not properly understand animal nutrition and pet health and is under the mistaken (but profitable, since it misleads consumers into thinking they should feed only their processed food) view that manufactured foods can be complete, in other words, perfect.
 
6. RAW: Does the company either supply or advocate the use of raw foods in the diet? There is no creature in existence, other than humans, that cooks their food. Rawness is as essential to health as is air, sunshine, and water. It is the stuff of nature. If the company does not understand this, then they should most certainly not be trusted in supplying foods they expect your pet to eat at every meal.
 
7. MEAT AND PROTEIN: Carnivores require meats and organs, and the high protein and quality fats(including omega 3, 6, 9) these foods provide. A small amount of vegetable material is also important. Carnivores receive this by incidental browsing and by consuming some of the ingesta in their prey. This does not mean finding one high protein, high meat food and feeding that continuously. Variety and rotation are critical. Companies that do not provide foods or education matching these principles, or, if they do, advocate feeding them exclusively, do not properly understand health or nutrition.
 
8. VARIETY AND ROTATIONGiven modern circumstances, pet health is best served by a variety of foods combined in various ways, rotated, and supplemented. This can include processed canned, dried, frozen, and TNT™ (True Non-Thermal™) dried, as well as fresh foods and supplements. This provides convenience, affordability, and optimizes nutrition, as well as minimizes the chances of toxicity.No it is not as simple as one product from one bag meal after meal. But health is not easy. It takes thought and effort. Companies that do not provide products to accomplish such a method of feeding, or teach how it can be accomplished, are not serving your pet’s health interests.
 
9. FOCUS ON ANALYSES: Although some general information about a food’s ability to maintain an animal can be gleaned from the analysis on the package, focusing on such is misleading. Pets should be fed a variety of foods, not one food with the supposed “correct” percentages or ingredients. If this is done using quality foods, the body will select what it needs for health. Animals in the wild do not eat by analysis and yet have robust health. Pet foods with the “proper” analysis have been (and are) responsible for terrible disease and countless deaths. A focus on analysis leads consumers to believe the lie that feeding one food meal after meal with “just the right analysis” is the key to health.
 
10. FADS OVER FACTS: Does the company follow fads or does it lead with solid responsible information? Fads include: high fiber, low cholesterol, low fat, natural, no preservatives, four food groups, high protein, human grade, grain free, and the like. Such singular focus on faddish pet food fallacies demonstrates either an incomplete understanding of nutrition or a motive to profit from misinformed and gullible consumers.


11. INGREDIENT BOOGEYMEN: Does the company fear monger about “boogeyman” ingredients? Current examples of such nutritional boogeymen include: soy, corn, wheat, grains, fat, by-products, 4-D meat, garlic, digests, seaweed, ash, meat meal, yeast, magnesium, and others. Popular misconceptions, dubious field reports, selective examination of the scientific and medical literature, and poorly conducted science lie at the base of such beliefs. If a pet food company uses such fallacies to promote their products, they either do not understand pet nutrition or desire to play on popular ignorance for financial gain.

12. TOXIN PARANOIA: There is a basic principle in toxicology that is essential to understand. It is: the dose makes the poison. Anything can be toxic in high enough dose, even oxygen and water. What may be toxic at one dose may be life saving at another. In the literature, somewhere, can be found a study proving that this or that ingredient fed to mice at levels that would choke a horse is toxic. Producers who champion such scare tactics in order to sell their products (without the “poisonous” ingredient) are either misinformed, naive, or purposely using fear to create sales. As a rule, ingredients that have been used for thousands of years by humans and animals are safe if fed in variety and in reasonable amounts. Yes, some things can be toxic. But that can only be determined by understanding the relationship between dosage and toxicity. Since these understandings are constantly changing, the only safe way to feed is by rotation and variety using quality products from competent producers who do not mislead.

13. NONALLERGENIC: Many pet foods are marketed using the claim that they do not contain this or that allergenic ingredient. However, practically anything can be allergenic, particularly if it is fed meal after meal. Also, there is no clinical or laboratory test that can determine the allergenicity of a mixed processed pet food regardless of its ingredients.  The only way to know is to test feed. So claiming the merit of a food because it does not have supposedly allergenic ingredients that have been used successfully for thousands of years (such as corn, soy, wheat, etc.), and instead has rice, potato, peas, buckwheat, tapioca, etc., is misleading. The key to immune health and food tolerance is variety and rotation, not finding the “one perfect food” without a supposed allergenic ingredient.

14. ORGANIC: Organic foods produced at sustainable farms are a step in the right direction. But no one thing is ever the answer to everything, especially with respect to the complexity of health. Merely being pesticide and herbicide free in order to garner the organic label does not mean the products are produced in a sustainable way using permaculture methods. That issue aside, promoting a pet food to be fed exclusively meal after meal just because it is organic, misses the point. It will increase susceptibility to toxicity since even organic foods can contain tens of thousands of natural toxins. Good nutrition cannot be obtained by feeding the same food meal after meal. Whether organic or not, foods need to be rotated to optimize nutrition and avoid toxicity.
15. HUMAN GRADEThe term “human grade” has more to do with language and aesthetics than nutrition and health. In the wild, eating the ideal diet, pets consume nothing that is human grade. They eat the dead, dying, diseased, and disabled (“4-D” meats) and thrive so long as there is sufficient food available. On the other hand, “human grade” white meat, white flour, white rice, white sugar, white salt, candy, pop, hydrogenated oils, and additives can starve pets and cause severe disease. Claiming that a pet food is human grade is a play on human ignorance.
 
16. ENVIRONMENTAL DISREGARD: Many nutritious parts of foods would be discarded if not used in pet foods. Animals do not have the aversion to names like “by-products” (and remember that is just a human invented word) that humans do. In fact, many of the parts of food animals considered distasteful to humans (such as viscera and organs) are the most nutritious part of the carcass. To discard such because of our human tastes—imposing those frivolous tastes on our pets—is to cause enormous waste. It diverts human grade products to pet foods that could go into the human food supply. It is also inhumane to slaughter animals and then discard healthful parts that could be used by pets to great benefit. It also wastes land, feed, shipping, and other resources by increasing the demand for just the “pleasing” parts of the food animal carcass.
 
17. MISLEADING PORTRAYALS: Everyone knows the cost of select cuts of meat at the grocer. They also know the cost of pet foods. Nevertheless, some pet food producers portray their products as containing prime steaks, barbecued chicken, grilled salmon, and the like. A half-pound grilled salmon dinner can easily cost $20 in a restaurant. So how can a grilled salmon pet food that is processed in a ten million dollar plant, spiked with vitamins, minerals, and other expensive ingredients, packaged expensively, shipped and marked up through salespeople, distributors, and retailers cost something like fifty cents for a half-pound? It can’t. Honesty and character matter. If you are being misled into believing you are receiving something you are not, then why should claims about the healthiness of the food be believed either? 
 
18. FOODS AS DRUGS: Just because a food is marketed by prescription is no reason to believe the food is either healthy or safe to be fed at every meal. Many such foods contain a variety of low quality ingredients—such as food fractions, additives, sugars, and starches—that are known to cause, not prevent or reverse disease. The best prescription for health is whole natural foods that mimic the genetic expectation of the animal. Any company theme other than this, even if presented as high tech medicine, is misleading.
 
19. COSMETICS OVER PET NUTRITION: Many pet food producers target food cosmetics rather than real nutrition. Flavors, shapes, packaging, bonuses, discounts, coupons, pricing, guarantees and the like are essentially unrelated to health and nutrition. Nutrition is serious business, not recreation to be promoted with balloons and raffles.
 
20. INNOVATION: Since nutritional science is a rapidly growing and expanding field of knowledge, a producer truly interested in pet health should be innovative. Adapting new knowledge to formulations, processing, packaging and education should be ongoing and these innovations should be clearly communicated to consumers. Most pet food companies don’t lead, they follow. Consumers would be wise to follow leaders, not followers.

For more information, please visit http://www.wysong.net/pet-health-and-nutrition/welcome.php or subscribe to their 100 Pet Health Truths (highly recommended).

2 thoughts on “Junk Food for Pets Continued.

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