All pet foods say they are the best, and contain full nutrition for your cat or dog. Sadly what many pet owners do not know is that in some countries the guidelines for pet nutrition may not be particularly high, in fact in the USA some ingredients are allowed in pets food that are not allowed in other countries due to health concerns. Some countries have much higher standards and would never permit certain “Made in the USA” pet foods to be sold in their country, Japan being one country with higher standards. Even Canada has slightly higher standards when it comes to pet food than does the USA, but that is not saying much as some very low quality pet foods are also sold in Canada.
Also note that this information is more about dry food than canned/wet food.
Some pet foods use flavor to get the pets to eat the lower quality food. Fat adds flavor. These foods often use cheap flavorless filler and have to compensate to get the pet to eat something it would normally not eat. For example cats would normally not eat corn, they are carnivores, but some cat foods use a lot of corn.
By-Products and Ethoxyquin
By-products are non-meat left overs from the rendering process. Often said to be “Beaks, feet, and feathers”, by-products can also be ground up halters and collars, left on animals when they were rendered. The hidden danger with by-products is the preservative used; Ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin is a nasty chemical pesticide (banned from some other countries) and is often not labeled on the ingredient list of a pets food because it is considered part of the by-product.
Food Coloring and Dyes
Cats and dogs are colorblind to red, so why do so many pet food dye their food different colors? The reason is because owners think the foods with different colored pieces look better. Color dyes have been linked to behavioral problems in people and pets (hyper activity is the problem).
Some pet food does not tell you what kind of meat it contains. If the food lists “meatmeal” this is mystery meat and could be horse meat, goat meat, road kill, or even dog meat. It could be different from bag to bag, thus causing allergies in some pets.
Signs that Your Pet is NOT Eating Good Pet Food
The best indication that your pet is not eating good pet food is by reading the ingredient list, but sometimes other symptoms may suggest that a certain food is not right for that particular animal. Each pet can have allergies or sensitivities to ingredients in a pet food (even to good pet food). Note that pit bull dogs seem particularly sensitive to ingredients in dog food.
Cats tend to vomit when on poor quality cat food.
Dogs tend to get skin problems, more ear infections, and hot spots.
Both cats and dogs on low quality pet food tend to need to eat more food and poop more.
Poor quality pet food can make pets fat, thin, or can contribute to some health problems such as cancer.
Other Information on Pet Food
There is no “best brand of food for cats” or “best brand of food for dogs“, brands can change their ingredients at any time. Owners must be able to know what to look for on the ingredients list so they can pick a good food.
Keep in mind that your veterinarian may not be a pet nutritionist, they may be trying to sell you a particular food for the wrong reasons and do not always know much about pet food and ingredients.
Always look for a pet food containing human grade ingredients to help you be sure the pet food is top quality.
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