Treating Pets Right
Treating Pets Right
Can you fathom a time when pet treats didn’t exist? In this day in age, what would we do without treats? They’re communication tools, training tools, nutritional supplements and not to mention great for the human-animal bond.
Treats are communication tools, training tools, nutritional supplements and not to mention great for the human-animal bond.The first commercial dog food was a biscuit product produced in 1860. A lightning rod seller named James Pratt was visiting London from Ohio and saw dogs surviving off of left-over biscuits from ships. He then decided to prepare a dog biscuit of wheat meal, vegetable, beetroot and meat, and started selling them exclusively to English country gentlemen who had sporting dogs. The rest became history. Much has changed since the 1860’s; as our ideas of nutrition have evolved, so have our pets’ foods. The introduction of dry kibble, canned foods, and soft moist products have broadened our choices tremendously.
For many of us, the food we give to our pets means everything, and the treats we bestow onto them in between meals, just an afterthought. Even the most health-conscious of us who buy the costly-but-worth-it pet food end up going to the supermarket and plucking the cheapest treats off the shelves. Why do many of us have a tendency to feed our pets top shelf foods packed with healthy meats and grains only to feed them artificially colored and flavored treats with the nutritional value of cardboard?
Do we have some perception that treats don’t matter as much? This cannot be further from the truth. Everything that we sink into our pets’ mouths should enhance their daily nutrition. We ask a lot of our pets’ foods. Even the healthiest pet food doesn’t provide everything. Every animal is different and has different needs.
Because we only feed our pets about twice a day, treats are a great extension to the diet. Even two or three treats a day add up. If we are going to add calories, shouldn’t they be healthy ones? So why not find a treat that is yummy yet augments the diet in some way? We at HealthyPetNet are going to give you the lowdown on the junky ingredients in treats that you should stay away from. Let us help you to treat your pet right.
Taking the Junk Out of Your Trunk
The aisles of your local grocery store are laden with treats full of bad ingredients. We’re surprised the shelves don’t collapse under the weight of the junk that they contain. Here are some things you want to look out for:
Poor Sources of Protein
Soybean meal, wheat, wheat middlings, wheat meal, corn gluten meal, corn meal, whole or crushed corn, and maize are often used for their protein content. They cost much less to include in a treat than the better quality carbohydrates or real meat protein such as chicken. Soybean meal as well as ground corn and wheat are common pet allergens.
It’s not uncommon for biscuits to be dyed red or yellow or maybe even a majestic green in an attempt to make them resemble the fresh meat from the hunt or fresh veggies from the earth. This wouldn’t be so bad if it were the 1950’s when food dyes were based on plant and vegetable based compounds, green was extracted from chlorophyll, red from beets and yellows and oranges from other plants and spices. In an effort for food manufacturers to save money and ensure longevity, they began to make food colorings mostly from chemicals. There are many studies that demonstrate that chemical food coloring makes hyperactive children even worse. Many dog trainers believe that the same applies to hyperactive dogs or those that just refuse to be trained.
Artificial food coloring is still commonly used today despite the fact that they are totally unnecessary and have been linked to medical problems. It is believed by many in the medical field that if an ingredient is foreign to the body (like chemical coloring), the body reacts to it and can create myriad health problems. Pets care about taste, not color. Food dyes are more for us than for them.
By-products are a great way for companies to keep the cost of treats down. Instead of using whole meats, they use by-products as protein. Needless to say, these are the less desirable parts of animals such as necks, heads, undeveloped eggs, feet, intestines, lungs, spleen, tendons and ligaments. Another inexpensive way to add protein to a food is by using meat and bone meal. It is exactly what it sounds like: meat + bones. Basically, by-products are all of the things you wouldn’t knowingly feed your pet.
BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin are found in many treats and foods on the market. These chemicals preserve the fats in our pets’ foods to prevent the fats from turning rancid.
Scientific studies concur that these chemicals can be harmful to the liver and other parts of the body. The FDA lowered the amount of ethoxyquin allowed in pet food. Natural preservatives like tochopherols and rosemary are much preferred.
The Secrets Labels Never Tell
There are plenty other things that labels don’t reveal. For instance, condemned parts of animals not good enough for human consumption are often rerouted into commercial treats. These condemned parts can be the parts of animals who are dead, dying, diseased or decayed. We call it the 4 D’s. Some meats, grains and other ingredients can’t be sold for human use. They are damaged or the meat doesn’t have the look USDA officials want. Unfortunately, we can’t decipher this from the label.
Also, some manufacturers have lower standards regarding the freshness of the ingredients they use. Though there should be a “use by” date or code on most packages, that doesn’t mean that all of the ingredients were fresh when they were used to make the treat. We wouldn’t eat stale cookies so why would we want to give anything but fresh ingredients to our pets?
In the end, it’s important not only to learn to read the labels but it’s also important to buy foods and treats from a manufacturer you trust. If not, all of the aforementioned tragedies are the things you will be giving your pet as a reward. We are proud to inform you that ALL Life’s Abundance products are free from ALL of the above-mentioned poor, low quality and toxic ingredients. Our products are high quality, wholesome & effective, that help our pets live the healthiest, happiest & longest life possible.