Importance of Pet Food & Overall Health
A few years ago my eldest cat Ziggy became ill and would sleep in the litter box, I knew he was aging and I got scared. We jumped in the car and went right to the emergency vet because he was just not acting like his normal cuddly self. About $1,000 and a few bags of prescription food later we were back at home. He had developed crystallization in his bladder which could have killed him if I let it continue and it was directly correlated to his diet. I thought I had been feeding him a healthy, dry-food option that was ideal for his sensitive stomach. At the time I did not realize that dry food was not the ideal choice for pets and I did not read labels - I assumed the advertising and claims were accurate and I nearly caused my kitty to meet an early end and I had no clue.
After I realized that his food had made him very ill, I decided to research the food that our veterinarian prescribed and I quickly realized it was no better. Ziggy improved slightly but started to have stinky and runny stools again - something I had been avoiding with the dry food option.
After a little bit of research on Google led to me read about species appropriate and raw diets. Ziggy and Marley gobbled down their new food in no time flat and the benefits were nearly instant. Ziggy no longer had potty issues and was not sleeping in the litter box anymore. Next we noticed that when our boys went to the bathroom there was little to no smell. As time went on their coats became more vibrant, they shed less, and they were happier.
Important of Pet Food & Overall Health
When you buy your pets food do you read the label? If you don't, you should; especially if your pet suffers from chronic ear infections, skin allergies, diarrhea, and discolored or dull fur. As a pet groomer I see countless dogs and cats that suffer from the ill effects of a poor diet, it is unfortunate and entirely avoidable. Many pet food brands claim to be healthy, premium, natural, or organic and they are not.
Have you ever looked into the parent companies of major dog and cat food brands? Purina brands like Meow Mix, Friskies, Beneful, Alpo and Dog Chow are owned by parent company Nestle. Pedigree, Whiskas, Cesar, and Temptations are owned by Mars Inc. These parent companies produce delicious albeit sugar laden goodies for human consumption. Not surprisingly, they don't really produce any healthy formulas for our pets either.
Pet food brands spend millions of dollars on marketing and advertising each year and while most packaging has appealing images and tantalizing keywords the recipes can be far from what you would expect. For example, when a dog or cat food package says 'with' it only needs to contain 3 percent of that product! Another word to be wary of is 'flavor'. If a bag of dog food features delicious lamb flavor it may not have any lamb in the recipe at all but contains various additives that taste like lamb. Blech!
Pet food companies essentially create and meet their own standards. They follow AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials); a private organization comprised of advisors and committee members from companies like Purina, Hills, and Nutro. AAFCO claims to protect the consumer but they never test pet foods or ingredients and they have no authority to enforce any such testing.
Poor diet has been linked to a myriad of health problems including but not limited to obesity, diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune disorders and chronic skin infections.
Is a raw diet for everyone? No. But I always recommend that you feed your pets the best food that you can afford. Food can get expensive but feeding a nutritionally sound and appropriate diet will increase the longevity, health, and happiness of your pet. Please, PLEASE read the labels on your pets food and don't believe what just anyone tells you..even your vet...even me! Do your own research like I did, your pets (and nose) will thank you.