The Truth Behind Pet Food Labels
If you are reading the labels on your pet’s foods, you are doing the right thing. However, labels don’t often tell the whole story. Frequently, they are superficial representations of a product.
When we cruise down the pet food aisles, labels are seldom able to adequately describe the product they represent. Though the fine print may contain ingredients, how educated are we when it comes to which ingredients are desirable and undesirable for our pets?
When it comes to the things our pets take into their bodies, we should pay attention…not only to the ingredients on the label, but also to what’s behind the ingredients. What aren’t pet food labels saying?
This articles will focus on label reading. Let’s start with some of the ingredients.
Our pets’ diets should contain high quantities of protein. Protein is the building block of the body. Every cell in the body requires protein. However, just like everything else, protein has rich sources and poor sources.
When you are reading labels, look out for the poor sources of protein such as soybean meal, wheat and corn.
Because they are cheaper, these ingredients are often used as protein content in many foods. They have some protein, though not enough. Nothing can replace meat, chicken, fish and eggs–the type of protein our dogs and cats require. While we can turn a tofu burger into a protein delight, dogs and cats have very different digestive systems then we do. Finding the better types of protein on the label does not justify a stamp of approval on that food.
The quality of the proteins and where they come from are vital. For example, chicken meal is the dry muscle of the chicken, containing some bone and skin. The higher the amount of bone and skin, the less muscle meat…thus the lower the quality of the chicken meal.
Included in your quality check is the type of chicken used in your pet’s food. Chickens given hormones and steroids certainly can’t be as healthy for your pet as those raised without these chemicals.
But that’s not your only protein concern. You need to know if that same chicken could have been sold to your supermarket for your meal. Pet food manufacturers often use animals that don’t pass for human consumption because they are far less expensive than higher-grade meats.
The problems with the animals that don’t pass inspection are plentiful. These rejects, often known as the four D’s (dead, dying, diseased or decayed) aren’t identified on the label. While the manufacturers that use these types of meat think cooking is going to render the meats safe for our pets to eat, you may ask yourself if you would want to cook these types of meats for yourself or your children. This is an atrocious practice in the commercial pet food industry that many of us aren’t aware of…after all, who would put that on their label?
Chemical Preservatives and Food Coloring…
Many pet foods contain the chemical preservatives BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin. Scientific studies have deemed these chemicals harmful. According to the National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens 10th Report, part of the National Institute of Health, BHA is listed as being “Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” While it may allow the food to stay fresh longer, why would we want our pets to injest it–even small amounts of it?
Ethoxyquin is another preservative your pets shouldn’t have to eat. Even though the allowable levels of ethoxyquin that can be included in the food have been decreased due to health concerns, it is still allowed. Why would we knowingly feed this obviously harmful chemical to our pets? There are other chemicals to be on the look out for. Food colorings are still very commonly used in the pet foods on the market today, despite the fact that they are completely unnecessary and medically unwise. Our dogs and cats can’t see color. Those chemical dyes are put in for our esthetic benefits.
Byproducts are the virtual opposite of whole foods. They are used by many manufacturers because once again, they are often much cheaper. They can contain the internal and less desirable parts of animals such as heads, necks, undeveloped eggs, feet, intestines, lungs, tendons and ligaments.
Life’s Abundance® Premium Foods…
What Our Labels Might Not Tell You
Dr. Jane Bicks formulated Life’s Abundance® Premium Health Foods for Dogs and Cats. They are natural, wholesome and packed with nutrients. Here are some things that our labels might not say.
High Quality Proteins…
Life’s Abundance® uses only the highest sources of protein. We use absolutely no protein byproducts. Also, we use only hormone and steroid free chicken meal as opposed to whole chicken, which tends to contain alot of water and fat. In addition, Life’s Abundance® uses only the best turkey meal and liver meal. We use farmed catfish, so they are free of ocean pollutants. The fish meal and fish oils contain omega 3 fatty acids. These nutrients are the subject of tremendous scientific interest. They have been scientifically proven to promote a healthier body, supporting all areas of the body including the nervous system, immune system, circulatory system and skin & coat.
Natural Preservatives and Freshness…
While you can read on the label to know that we add no artificial colors or chemical preservatives to our foods, they won’t be found in any of the ingredients we use. Our food is preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (vitamin E). Freshness is insured by using the ingredients as they arrive rather than stocking up on them so we can buy greater quantities at a savings. Our food is made in small batches to further insure freshness. Chances are if you buy any given bag of Life’s Abundance®, it was made no more than four weeks ago.
One of the current theories of aging is the “free radical” theory. We know that free radicals are formed every second of our lives. These dangerous active molecules attack the cells all over the body, eventually killing them.
Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals. They are so important to our health that they are now included in most daily supplements for us! Life’s Abundance food is packed with powerful antioxidants.
Other health essential nutrients…
No matter how good the formula and quality of ingredients, if the intestines are not healthy the nutrients can’t be absorbed. Probiotics, otherwise known as friendly bacteria, are added to Life’s Abundance®. We all know the virtues of yogurt with the live bacterial culture (probiotic) called Acidophillus. We use acidophillus as well as we combine it with four other types of friendly bacteria. That’s because the intestines require a healthy balance of bacteria. If unhealthy bacteria flourish, it can compromise your pet’s immune system and the ability to use nutrients in the food. Probiotics support a healthy intestinal system. Minerals are absorbed through the intestines and into the body. If minerals are tied to protein, they become even better absorbed, and that’s why we use chelated minerals.
Although you may have the best food formula in the world, if it is not made by a trusted manufacturer, all of that sound formulating can go to waste! Manufacturers ultimately determine the wholesomeness and the freshness of the food depending on the way ingredients are selected, how they are cooked and the quality control behind it all.
Our manufacturer is a third generation father son business and has very high standards of operation. Their expertise with their low temperature, fast cooking method ensures maximum nutritional value in the food. They have a special certification, which allows the sale of food to the European markets. Since Europe has higher standards of food safety than we do in the United States, the manufacturing plant and ingredients undergo rigid inspection under the APHIS program.
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