Best Dog Food, Organic Dog Food, Natural Cat Food
The Quality of Ingredients Matter
One of my biggest soap boxes is for people to read the entire ingredient panel on products. It doesn’t matter what the product is: pet food, dog treats, pet shampoo, our shampoo, or even the menu from a fast food restaurant. Knowing all the ingredients inside a product is the first step in determining if that product is healthy or something you want to consume, feed your pet, or use on your pet or yourself. If the ingredient panel checks out, the next step is the quality of those ingredients, and they can vary greatly.
For an example, let’s look at a fictitious dog treat ingredient panel. Ingredients: Beef liver, apples and carrots. At first glance, this would be a treat I would feel comfortable giving Dexter. There are only three ingredients, those ingredients are named ie. BEEF liver, not ‘liver’ or ‘meat/animal.’ But I need to do a little more investigating to determine if this is going to be a healthy dog treat I would actually purchase. I will take my thought process one ingredient at a time.
Beef Liver. Again, it’s a named meat and part of the meat. It’s from a cow and it is the liver of a cow. This is good: no by-products or mystery meats. I know exactly what it is; I can visualize it. But I want to know HOW that cow was raised. Was this cow given growth hormones or antibiotics?
Did you know that it is estimated that 80 percent of all US cows are injected with growth hormones? Not to mention that large factory farm operations are injecting Monsanto’s genetically altered hormone rBGH or rBST. And the kicker? We are moving towards less and less required product labeling, which means as a consumer, we really have to get good at digging and finding the truth if we want to avoid hormones, antibiotics, or GMO ingredients.
Just say no to hormones. What makes growth hormones so bad? Added hormones have been linked to things such as developmental disabilities, reproductive issues, and breast and colon cancer, just to name a few. Not to mention that the hormone residue is leaking into our environment and contaminating our earth.
What about the use of antibiotics in the meat? Are you ready for this quote? “In 2011, drug manufacturers sold 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics for use on industrial farms, the highest amount ever reported and four times the amount sold to treat sick people.” One of the biggest concerns is that when an animal is given antibiotics, when we, or our pets, eat that animal, we are also ingesting those drugs. The more we have, the more we are developing resistance to that drug, and in turn, creating super bugs because a typical antibiotic will no longer “cure” us.
The other thing to consider when choosing a healthy meat is what that animal ate. Did that cow graze on pesticide or eat GMO corn? Or was he 100% free-range from start to finish? These are all things that I take into account when choosing a treat, food, or chew for Dexter The Dog and Nutter The Cat.
Now, what about those apples and carrots? I also want to know how they were grown. Were they genetically modified? Were they grown in a soil with pesticides or artificial fertilizers, and hit with radiation to kill bacteria? Once again, we are looking at an increase in cancer and birth defects with the use of pesticides and the like. Not to mention, that not using them increases the nutritional value of foods! For me, that means 100% organic fruits and vegetables are preferred for Dexter’s treats and necessary for Dexter’s food.
If a manufacturer is not required to label how their ingredients were raised or manufactured, how the heck can we know what we are feeding? I know, it’s tough. However, if a company is providing a product they know is superior, and those that are not using hormones, antibiotics or chemicals are making a conscious effort; they likely will promote it. Their label will probably say: hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic, etc. If the label does not say that, you can hop over to their website to look, call, or email. But, I would venture to guess, if they don’t say hormone-free, they probably are using hormones. If the ingredient doesn’t say “organic apples” they are probably not organic.
You may be thinking to yourself this is overkill, but I don’t agree. The health of my pets is a top priority and I take my job as their MOM seriously. When it comes time for me to give my pets a healthy pet treat, I look for organic and antibiotic- and hormone-free whenever possible. When I am feeding my pets and making a home-cooked meal, I always use antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, and get organic whenever possible. I am not going to risk their health by adding unnecessary and damaging meat that contains hormones or antibiotics. I want to provide them with the healthiest and safest food I possibly can. I try to eliminate as many unnecessary chemicals and preservatives as I possibly can. Their lives are too short as it is, and as the saying goes, you are what you eat.
By the way, I think it’s important for us to look at this for our own food products, too, not just the ones we are feeding our pets. We are what we eat, too!
Science News (January 2002) Hormones: Here’s The Beef
The Food Revolution Network (March 2014) Bovine Growth Hormone : Is rBST the same as rBGH?
Black, Jane: Prevention (February 2014) Why Are There Still So Many Antibiotics In America’s Meat?
Do you cook for your dogs? Tell me in the comments.
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