The recent sale of some of P&G’s pet food brands to Mars brought out the “experts.” In a news article, here’s what one pet food authority had to say:
“Ninety percent of pets live on the cheapest pet food and survive,” says Nestle, co-author of “Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat.”
Wow, doesn’t that sound like a great marketing slogan – Feed Brand X and your pet will survive! (Barely). Marion Nestle is a professor of nutrition. She made this comment after basically saying that it really doesn’t make sense to spend money on quality pet foods because there are no studies proving they are any healthier.
This attitude is what keeps us veterinarians in business treating pets with chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, recurrent infections, and cancer. This is what “survival” looks like. The myth that these diets are “complete and balanced” perpetuates the fantasy that they promote pet health. In reality, countless pet illnesses are related to poor nutrition.
Many of the major brands of pet foods are made with low quality ingredients and filled with cheap carbs in order to keep pet food prices low. In fact, pet food brands are being bought up by major players in the human food business as a way to make money off of the waste of their industry. The problem is that when it comes to pet nutrition the old saying holds true: Garbage in – Garbage out.
Speaking of garbage, later in the article there is another telling quote of Professor Nestle:
“The more disgusting it is to humans,” she says, “the more dogs like to eat it. They like rotten meat flavors. They like garbage.”
Yes, let’s feed them garbage. That is the attitude of nutrition experts and many pet food companies. How unfortunate for 90% of pets.
My aim is to help pets thrive, not survive. Proper nutrition, from puppy-hood to senior, is the way to do just that.
It is true that more expensive pet food is not necessarily better. There is also the over-use of catch words such as “Natural” and “Holistic” on pet food bags. You really have to carefully read the ingredient lists and know what tricks pet food companies like to play. I’ll have more on this in upcoming posts.
What do you feed your pet and why?
It depends on my financial situation. At a minimum it’s TOTW or Acana Regionals kibble. When possible it’s mixed with pre-made raw, Answers or Nature’s Variety. Big fan of the smaller poop when the pre-made raw is added in. 🙂
I would like to just feed my small poodle healthy people food, costs less, she can eat with us, but is it enough? Plain meats, veggies, eggs??? I sometimes can’t afford the ‘Healthy’ dog foods. Also, she eats cat poop any chance she can get, is that gonna hurt her?
The problem with your approach is that it is not balanced. It is really important to be sure the calcium to phosphorus ratio is correct. Dogs in the wild eat bones to get their calcium. Also, wild carnivores eat organs like liver and heart which are loaded with nutrients not found in other tissue. If you are going to make your pet’s food it is best to follow a well-formulated recipe. Here’s a book I would recommend http://www.amazon.com/Beckers-Real-Food-Healthy-Dogs/dp/098253311X
Good point. I hadn’t thugoht about it quite that way. 🙂
Raw, raw, raw!