Did you ever wonder what’s really in your pet’s processed kibble or canned food? Most pet caregivers really do not want to know – but I’m going to spill the beans anyway. Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, there is no way to know what’s in pet food by reading the label. Here are the top 5 gross things that may be lurking in the food your pet eats every day.
- Preservatives – Any food that can sit on a store shelf for months without spoiling must be loaded with preservatives. Some companies use relatively “natural” antioxidants to preserve their foods but many others use nasty chemicals. These chemicals may or may not be listed on the pet food label. If the pet food company adds the preservative it must be on the label. But, if the company buys an ingredient that already has the preservative in it, then that chemical does not have to be listed on the label.
- Phyto-estrogens – Many dog and cat foods include soy. Soy contains phyto-estroges (plant compounds that mimic estrogen in the body). This study on dog food showed that foods containing soy can have biological effects. This study on cats showed that soy-containing foods may cause hyperthyroidism.
- BPA – Bisphenol A is a known disruptor of the endocrine system and has been found specifically in pull-top cat food. This study links BPA in cat food to hyperthyroidism.
- Carcinogens – Yes, processing meat-containing foods at high temperatures creates cancer-causing chemicals. Yum, yum!
- Food that’s unfit for human consumption – You may have noticed that large human food conglomerates have been buying up pet food companies. The reason for this is so they can dump the waste from human food production into pet foods. I’m talking about the garbage that even junk food junkies won’t go near.
- DEAD PETS – Yes, it is a dog-eat-dog world. These 2 studies (here and here) found traces of the euthanasia drug, pentobarbital, in pet foods. In a 1997 TV interview, the then president of AAFCO Hersch Pendell said, “If the ingredient says ‘meat and bone meal,’ you don’t know if it is cattle, or sheep, or horse, or Fluffy.”
You won’t find any of this yucky stuff listed on your pet’s food label but that does not mean it isn’t in there. Does your pet’s food contain “mystery meat?”