Many of us have been convinced that the healthy, natural, premium and recommended by labels on dog food and cat food must mean that the food inside the bag is good for our pets. Alongside these words are claims of 100% complete and balanced that leave us to assume we are providing the best we can for our pets, feeding the same dry cereal based diets day in and day out. Yet, most natural pet food do not fully appreciate what goes into these pet foods. The pet food companies place images of fresh cut chicken breast, fresh fruits and vegetables and wholesome grains on packages, however, that is rarely what is actually inside the bag.
Chances are you are feeding a pet food which contains more than one of the ingredients discussed below. The pet food industry has a broad range of unsavory options when it comes to what substances may be used in pet food and freedom to print enticing pictures, however misleading, on their packaging. It is only when our pet’s health begins to degrade and eventually fail, that most people begin to question why. After all, a healthy body can only be as good as what is put into it.
To promote the best health you can in your companion, read and understand the uses of the common ingredients below and make sure to always read your labels!
Top 12 Pet Food Ingredients to Avoid
Corn, Corn Meal, or Corn Gluten Meal
Years ago pet food manufacturers discovered that pets adore the sweet taste of corn. Corn is one of the most heavily subsidized crops in agriculture, making its market price lower than the cost of producing the corn.
The gluten in corn is used as an inferior protein source in pet foods. Corn protein in itself is not a complete protein source and must be balanced with animal proteins to create a usable amino acid profile for pets.
Unfortunately corn is often abused as the single most abundant ingredient in many pet foods, contributing to the many diseases linked to high carbohydrate diets, including obesity, chronic inflammation, diabetes and cancer. The cob of the corn becomes filler with very little nutritional value. The quality of the corn is also a problem as many foods use low quality corn containing toxins such as mycotoxins and mold which cause damage to a pet’s liver and kidneys.
Carnivores were never designed to obtain the majority of their energy requirements from carbohydrates. In fact they have zero nutritional requirements for carbohydrates or grains. Yet the majority of products on the market regularly consist of up to 50% carbohydrates, with some even higher.
Eons of evolution have designed carnivores to obtain energy from amino acids (protein) and fatty acids, fat from prey animals through the process of gluconeogenesis. Other than simple economics there is no reason to challenge the eons of evolution nature has put into place when it comes to feeding carnivores like dogs, cats & ferrets. When we force such a dramatic change in metabolism and utilize least cost ingredients, adverse effects over the long term become much more likely. The same effects of junk food on humans can be seen in today’s companion animals.
Wheat is another ingredient found in abundance in many foods. The repetitive and persistent exposure of wheat to pet animals has resulted in allergies and intolerances to wheat and wheat gluten. This is another starchy crop that should be avoided.
Wheat gluten is also utilized as an inexpensive protein source. Wheat gluten contamination was the cause of the massive 2007 Menu Foods pet food recall, which caused a countless numbers of companion animals to suffer from kidney failure, debilitation and death. Menu Foods manufactured food for hundred’s of common brands. This ordeal would have been avoided if the pet food companies involved used quality ingredients such as human grade meat rather than lower cost cereal alternatives.
Along with corn and wheat, soy is one of the most common allergies in companion animals. Carnivores were never meant to eat soy, it is commonly used in pet food as an inexpensive substitute for meat protein. As an additional problem, is that it is estimated that some 89% of soy and 61% of corn crops are genetically engineered. Genetically modified foods are shown to adversely affect our pet’s health, just as it does with us.