If you read the marketing copy of any leading brand of pet food-choice cuts of beef, plump, whole chickens, succulent pork, or delicious bacon and grains-it may sound good enough to be served as the family dinner. These wonderful sounding meals make it appear that these tasty pet foods include all the wholesome nutrition your dog or cat will ever require. And that is exactly the image desired by the 11 billion dollars per year u.s. pet food industry. But what is your pet really eating?
Taking a closer look at pet nutrition reveals some interesting things. Most consumers do not understand that the pet food industry is an extension of the human food industry. Pet food provides a profitable market for slaughterhouse offal, grains considered unfit for human consumption, and animal waste products.
Not long ago, many of the chronic diseases our pets now suffer from, like diabetes, were unheard of for animals. All of us have heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Pet owners are discovering that this phrase applies to their animals as well as themselves.
A zealous advocate for pet nutrition, Jennifer Cohen (a Young Living Gold), is writing a book on pet health care. She says, “In my book, I will cover the nutritional requirements of animals. Everyone loves their pets, but unfortunately, people are not feeding their animals well. The main pet food companies put far too much sugar, grains, and fillers in their food. Diabetes in animals is skyrocketing because our pets are living on sugarcoated cardboard.”
Jennifer believes that most commercial pet foods are seriously lacking in protein. It is a known fact that the amount of grain products used in pet food has risen over the last decade. Once considered filler by the pet food industry, cereal and grain products now replace a considerable portion of the meat that was used in the first commercial pet foods. Two of the top three ingredients in pet foods, particularly dry foods, are almost always some form of grain products. Cats are true carnivores; they must eat meat to fulfill certain physiological requirements. Why then are we feeding a corn-based product to them? Jennifer says, “The answer is that corn is a much cheaper ‘energy source' than meat.”
Even when there is protein in pet food, it can be questionable. When cattle, swine, chickens, lambs, or other animals are slaughtered, the choice cuts such as lean muscle tissue are trimmed away from the carcass for human consumption. However, about 50 percent of every food-producing animal does not get used in human foods. Whatever remains of the carcass-bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, and almost all the other parts not generally consumed by humans-is used in animal feed. Many of these remnants provide a questionable source of nourishment for our animals. What can the feeding of such products do to your companion animal? Jennifer believes that feeding slaughterhouse wastes and grain fillers to pets increases their risk of getting serious diseases.
Another problem with commercial pet food is that it is often flavored with animal fat, restaurant grease, or other oils too rancid or deemed inedible for humans. This grease, often held in fifty-gallon drums, may be kept outside for weeks, exposed to extreme temperatures with no regard for its future use. “Fat blenders,” or rendering companies, pick up this used grease and mix the different types of fat together and then sell the blended products to pet food companies and other end users. These fats are sprayed directly onto extruded pellets to make an otherwise bland or distasteful product palatable. Manufacturers are masters at getting a dog or a cat to eat something it would normally turn up its nose at.
Jennifer asks, “Did you know that most of the appetizing ingredient labels you read on the colorful packaging of your pet's food may not be anywhere close to what your pet is really eating? Pet owners are being duped into thinking the food is healthy, when in fact, your beloved pet may be subject to antibiotics and drug residues, coal-tar derivatives, molds, toxins, herbicides, heavy-metal contaminants, and various wastes especially from slaughterhouses.”
Commercially manufactured or rendered meat meals and by-product meals are often contaminated with bacteria. “Dead animals are classified as ‘4-D' in the industry, and that describes dead, dying, diseased, and down or disabled when they arrive at the slaughterhouse,” Jennifer says. Animals that have died because of disease, injury, or other causes are a source of meat for meat meal. The dead animal might not be rendered until days after its death. Therefore, the carcass is often contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Improper food storage and some feeding practices may result in the multiplication of bacteria. For example, adding water or milk to moisten pet food and then leaving it at room temperature causes bacteria to multiply. Yet this practice is suggested on the back of packages of some kitten and puppy foods. Also, many chemicals are added to commercial pet foods to improve the taste, stability, characteristic, or appearance of the food. These additives provide no nutritional value. Jennifer states that today's pets require variety in their diet. The idea of one pet food providing all the nutrition a companion animal will ever require for its entire life is wrong. Many people select one pet food and feed it to their dogs and cats for a prolonged period of time. Therefore, companion dogs and cats eat a primarily carbohydrate diet with little variety. Jennifer points out that today, the diets of cats and dogs are very different from the primarily protein diets with a lot of variety that their ancestors ate. She says, “The problems associated with a poor grade commercial diet are seen every day at veterinary clinics. Chronic digestive problems, such as chronic vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease are among the most frequent illnesses treated.”
“Today's lack of good nutrition in pet food is appalling,” says Jennifer. “I have found that the best nutritional supplement for animals available anywhere on the market today is Young Living's Power Meal™. This is truly an amazing product for animal nutrition. Science has discovered that a natural, nourishing diet high in protein is essential for healthy pets. This is why I believe that it is so important to supplement our pet's diet with Power Meal.” Jennifer adds, “I have found that my dog does extremely well with one teaspoon of Power Meal mixed in her food every day”
Jennifer continues, “I encourage everyone who owns a pet to be aware and read the ingredients on the packaging of all commercial pet foods before you choose the food for your beloved animals.”
Reprinted with permission of Young Living, Lehi, UT 84043