The Truth About Dog Food

 


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These days, it's hard to know what decisions are the best ones for our beloved pets. So much information, so many conflicting theories and opinions! When it comes to dog food, is wetter better? Or should you give dry a try?

In this article, I'm not going to tell you what to feed your dog. That's something that should be decided on by you, and based on the recommendation of your vet. But it helps to know the facts before making a decision, and here are some things you may not have known about what's really in that can of mutt meal or bag of kibble.

1. Dog food was invented to make use of “food waste" that's deemed unfit for humans. Back in the old days, dogs ate the same things that humans ate: meat, vegetables and grains from the family meals. Then came food processing plants, and a set of FDA standards that had to be met for human consumption. When the government realized the amount of grain and meat that was being wasted in these processing plants, they decided to package it in cans and bags and market it as “Dog Food. " Advertising did a great job of telling the public, “This is the ideal diet for your dog!"

2. Dogs only live to about half of their life expectancy. Some experts claim that the real lifespan of a canine can be as much as 35 years, yet most dogs don't get past age 17. Dogs are developing the same diseases and ailments as humans: obesity, diabetes, heart trouble, arthritis, and even cancer. Why the failing health? One theory is that dogs who eat processed dog food suffer the same fate as people who subsist on junkfood. Their bodies never get the nutrition that's needed for optimal functioning, so they age prematurely and their bodies “crap out" on them.

3. Most dog food has no nutritional value. Whether you feed your dog wet food or dry food, both wet and dry formulas of “average-priced" brands are based on very low quality standards. If your dog eats meat from a can, he's consuming mostly rendered meat or meat meal, which has been treated in meat processing plants on extremely high heat. To “render" meat is to separate the moisture the solids as well as boil all of the vitamins and nutrients out of it. If he eats kibble, he's getting runoff from the country's biggest cereal mills, which may be slightly better nutritionally, but remember that your dog was born a carnivore. His body does not digest grain easily.

4. Moderately-priced dog food usually contains harmful additives and preservatives. To make up for the lack of taste that comes from overprocessing meat and grain meal, dog food companies added artificial “meat-like" color, flavor and a spray of fat to their secret recipe, not to mention harmful preservatives like BHA and BHT to extend the shelf life. It's these very additives that cause health complications in humans leading to heart disease, diabetes and cancer, not only for humans but for dogs as well.

Make an informed decision on behalf of your dog.

So what are we supposed to do, stop paying for our children's piano lessons so we can afford the added expense of Rover's weekly meat consumption?

Many dog owners choose to feed their furry friends whole foods like beef, chicken, rice and potatoes, in an effort to keep them healthier and around for many more years. Although whole food is always the smarter choice, this may not be a practical consideration for your budget. In which case, it's worth looking into one of the top brands of dog foods such as Iams, Eukaneuba or Hill's Science Diet, for their nutritionally formulated foods that contain the proper amounts of certain vitamins and minerals that are crucial in keeping a dog's body in balance and functioning at peak performance. These foods may be slightly higher priced than the standard economy pack of Ol’ Roy. . . but paying a little extra now can keep the vet bills down later.

Just like anything else in your life, you want to make choices that reflect your own beliefs, financial situation and personal philosophy. It's ultimately up to you to decide what to feed your dog. But it always helps to know the facts first.

Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

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