For National Cook for Your Pets Day, I thought it would be a good time to talk about people food vs. pet food. Is there a difference?

People Food vs Pet Food on National Cook for Your Pets Day: Healthy Homemade Pet Food

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National Cook for Your Pets Day November 1, 2016

People Food vs Pet Food What You Need to Know. Do you know that "pet feed" can include meat from animals referred to as 4D – dead, dying, diseased and disabled? Learn more. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
REAL FOOD BABY!

 

I know, I missed it.  Dexter The Dog and I headed for Vermont the last week in October and I just was not able to get this post finished before our departure. I hope you can forgive me and enjoy a belated National Cook for Your Pets Day. 🙂

Finally, a national holiday I can really celebrate! For National Cook for Your Pets Day, I thought it would be a good time to talk about people food vs. pet food. Is there a difference? Well, there actually is, but it may not be what you think. Pet food is considered animal feed and not fit for human consumption. And you may think a named meat such as “chicken” means that meat was handled properly and your dog is getting a high-quality cut of meat, but that may not be the case. Most pet food manufacturers use leftovers from the human food industry, such as out-of-date meat and remainder parts such as beaks, feathers, and fat. Even meat from animals referred to as 4D – dead, dying, diseased and disabled – is fair game. And please don’t even consider food that says “meat” or “animal,” because this can include road kill, euthanized cats and dogs, and zoo animals. Now, that does not mean ALL pet food manufacturers are using awful waste materials like these, but most are, so do your research if you are feeding your beloved pet processed pet food.

So just how does a dedicated pet parent provide the best food for your cats or dogs? My first suggestion is to make your own home-cooked pet food or home-prepared raw diet. My second is to find one of the very few pet food companies that use human-grade ingredients that contain mostly meat (75% or more) and ideally organic ingredients, or at least free of antibiotics and hormones. Researching how to safely cook for your pet or how to find the best food company does take time, effort, and energy, but aren’t your pets worth it? I think so.

Need a little inspiration?  Check out the Pet Nutrition page for dog and cat recipes.


Do you feed your pets a fresh diet? Tell me in the comments.

People Food vs Pet Food What You Need to Know. Do you know that "pet feed" can include meat from animals referred to as 4D – dead, dying, diseased and disabled? Learn more. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

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Dexter's Delights: Fun and Healthy Treats for Dogs by Tonya Wilhelm
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The Quality of Ingredients Matter

Should you be concerned about antibiotics and hormones in your pet's food? Here's what you need to know. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Healthy Pet Food

 

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.

Should you be concerned about antibiotics and hormones in your pet's food? Here's what you need to know. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Healthy Pet Food Matters

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.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Home Cooking, Raw Diet For Pets

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Healthy Dog Food

If you are anything like me, you want what is best for your dog. You search for the best natural dog food ingredients before you dish up your dog’s food. But trying to buy the best healthy natural dog food can be confusing. Maybe you are considering buying organic dog food. Just what exactly is the best dog food for sensitive stomachs?This page is not going to be a review of organic dog food, or to try to get you to buy a specific dog food brand, but to point you in the right direction on what kind of questions you should be asking yourself, or your dog’s veterinarian, or better yet, your dog’s veterinarian and a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist.

For a review of some nice dog foods and dog food mixes, visit our Product Review Page.

What does Natural mean anyway? It may not be as good as you had once thought. Meats can be treated with artificial growth hormones or a solution to add flavor and still labeled as ‘natural.’ They can contain antibiotics and other similar chemicals. FYI, the term “All Natural” is treated the same way as natural.

Why Organic dog food is better: Organic foods do not use harmful insecticides, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, radiation, or other detrimental ingredients or practices. That said, you still need to be careful about labeling and read the ingredients carefully.

  • Organic: If an organic dog food is labeled “Organic” it only has to be 95% organic.
  • Made with organic ingredients: 70% organic ingredients
  • 100% Organic: 100%

So what do I feed my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? Why, I home cook for him using as much organic or wild-caught food as I can! How did I get started home-cooking healthy dog food for him?  Check out my book, What’s For Dinner, Dexter?


Do you cook for your dogs?  Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes