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Important Information About What Your Pet Eats

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Old December 20th 07, 01:17 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc
jose clark
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Default Important Information About What Your Pet Eats

These are ancient but true words in light of recent developments
within the pet food industry. How did we get to this point? How do we
know who we can trust? What measures should we take in making sure the
products we feed our pets are nutritious and safe? These are the
questions millions of pet owners are asking. There are a few simple
items to gauge the difference between a food that is wholesome and one
that contains harmful ingredients. The top five ingredients listed
form the major portion of the food. Ingredients in dog food are
required to be listed in order of weight. The first ingredient on the
list is the one with the greatest volume in the food. The meat source
- Chicken, beef, or lamb should never include unidentified "meat" or a
"by-product". It is better to see "chicken meal" than "chicken" at the
top of the list. "Chicken" includes a high degree of water content,
"chicken meal" does not - so with "chicken" it is quite possible that
once the water content is removed, it may actually be the fourth or
fifth ingredient, not necessarily the first as suggested. Within the
first five ingredients at least two (preferably more) meat sources
should be listed, and as few grains as possible. Grains are almost
unavoidable in kibble, but they are not a natural source of food for
dogs, are often not digestible and are common allergens. Whole ground
grains are far better than grain fragments which typically have little
or no nutritional value. Brown rice (a whole grain) is better than
white rice, which has been stripped of about 75% of its nutritional
value. Whole fruits and vegetables are better nutritional sources.
Many dogs are allergic to corn. It is best not to see any corn
products in the food (corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal, corn syrup,
etc).Corn is very difficult to digest, of little nutritional value,
and a very common allergen in dogs. Same goes for wheat products/
fragments and for beet pulp or molasses (sugar). Never buy a food with
any form of corn or wheat in the top five ingredients. Do not purchase
any food which contains by-products, especially of un-specified
source. The AAFCO definition of "chicken by-products" is "ground,
rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as
necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers,
except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing
practice." Some of those body parts are acceptable - nothing wrong
with chicken necks, or feet. However, it is impossible to determine
the quality and most of the 'good parts' such as hearts, livers, and
kidneys don't go into by-products, they are useful elsewhere, unless
the quality is too low. By-products are really those parts that can't
be used anywhere else and a lot of it is not an acceptable food
source. Without any ability to determine quality avoid by-products. Do
not forget to look at the preservatives used. Some of these are
carcinogenic. Some common carcinogenic preservatives to look for and
avoid a BHT, ethoxyquin, BHA and propylene glycol (a less toxic
form of anti-freeze). Citric acid as a preservative can also be
problematic as it dramatically increases the risk of bloat if the food
is moistened before feeding (according to veterinary research). In the
opinion of many nutritional experts, it is better to purchase a food
using tocopherols, ascorbic acid (Vitamin E) or anti-oxidants such as
rosemary extract. Better yet, purchase a food that doesn't contain
preservatives at all. It is best if the food does not include
artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. In conclusion, how can you
know the food you purchase is safe? Study, read, educate yourself as
to the how foods are processed. Subscribe to a website that
specializes in nutrition such as www.dogaware.com or www.b-naturals.com.
Do not declare war on all food manufacturers and make your own without
educating yourself on nutrition. Nutrition is a delicate science, and
can make the difference between a long healthy life, or one filled
with sickness and pain. Never hesitate to ask questions, and demand
answers. No one has all the answers yet to the cause of recent pet
food dilemma. Research is still taking place. However, we can all
start today to become aware and educated in the area of feeding our
pets. Their very lives may depend on it. submitted by Heddie Leger...


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