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|Feeding Your Pet Healthy Food : Columbia River edition : Sunday, 8 December 2013 02:03 PDT : a service of The Public Press|
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Feeding Your Pet Healthy Food
by Jill Breitner
The most recent pet-food recall has brought a very important subject to our attention. What is actually in our pets' food?
There have been recalls in the past, but none have come close to the seriousness of this past recall, which made many animals very sick and killed more than we may ever know. There is a lot to say on this subject regarding the pet-food industry and the standards -- well, the lack of standards -- for quality control within the industry and the FDA. But I am not going to go into that at the moment; I want to focus on how we can conveniently feed our beloved pets healthy foods without breaking our budget.
It's advertised as the best we can get for our pets. But remember that what you're seeing is big hype courtesy of agribusiness and the multibillion-dollar, unregulated pet-food industry. Since there are no regulations, it is up to us to continue to educate ourselves so that our pets can live happy and healthy lives.
How about homemade pet food? I'm not talking about cooking every night for your pets. Many of us don't have the time to do that for ourselves, let alone our pets. Rest assured, in one session, you can make enough pet food for a whole week or month. By preparing your own pet food, you will know the ingredients and where they came from. And if you are worried about cost, I can assure you that if you are currently feeding a premium pet food, then you will only be paying about $10 more per month for home-prepared food. If that still seems like a lot, think of the money you will be saving on vet bills, as your pets will be healthier than they have ever been!
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I feed my pets a raw diet. I know this can be a daunting idea at first, but it is actually very simple -- and your pets will love it and thrive on it. My German shepherd was suffering from a severe skin condition, and nothing I was doing for her helped until I started her on raw food. That was ten years ago, and she just crossed over at the age of 13. All of my animals love the raw diet. Hopi, a Labrador retriever I recently rescued, carried his food bowl around for the first week he was with me, as if to say, "More, please!"
I was a vegetarian when I started feeding all my pets raw food. At first, it was difficult for me to listen to them crunch on the bones, yet I knew that they were eating the way they naturally would, and this gave me peace of mind. Remember, only feed raw bones because cooked bones become brittle and can splinter and cause potential problems. Feeding home-cooked or raw is easy. After I've prepared it in advance, I just scoop it out of a container in the fridge -- just as convenient as scooping food out of a bag.
Still, you may be wondering, what is so wrong with commercial pet foods? For one thing, they are loaded with fillers, including soy, corn, and wheat, none of which are easily digested by our pets. Our pets' physiology is the same as that of wolves, coyotes, and exotic felines, and these animals don't eat corn, soy, or wheat. It is not good for their systems; hence, the illnesses that have developed over the years of feeding filler commercial pet foods, e.g., skin, thyroid, kidney, and auto-immune-deficiency problems; pancreatitis; and diarrhea. All of these are most likely related to feeding foods that are not compatible with animals' digestive systems. Further, commercial pet foods contain carcinogenic preservatives and ingredients the FDA has not approved for human consumption -- ingredients that have been approved for pets' consumption only because the FDA has too few regulations for pet food.
Don't be fooled by those who say that we shouldn't feed a home-cooked diet to our pets because we don't know the proper required ingredients to put in the food. Clearly by now, you know that what they are putting in the food is not good for pets. Yes, there are key required ingredients that help to meet nutritional needs -- and there is a plethora of information out there to guide you in making a healthy diet for your pets. It's not rocket science. (See the resources below.)
If you are not into doing it yourself, try one of the already-prepared raw-food diets on the market. To keep it even greener, choose a local maker of pet food in your area. For example, very near here, in Grants Pass, is Kristiís All Natural Pet Food, which is sold at some of our local pet stores. And if you still want to stick with commercial pet food, be sure to buy one of the better brands. I have contacted each manufacturer listed in the sidebar about their ingredients and found them to be satisfactory.
Jill Breitner, SheWhisperer, has a degree in Animal Science and has worked as a behavioral specialist/dog whisperer for 30 years. Learn more about Jill at her website.
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