Thursday, January 15, 2009

The most crucial ingredient to your pet’s health: A high quality diet

In my job, what I talk about the most is the importance of wholesome food being provided to your pet. Don’t worry, I am not going to promote our store here today. What I want to say has a lot to do not just the store but with healthy and the optimal nutrition for your pets. I believe that it is important that pet owners understand the importance of healthy pet food and I want to make sure that the food given to your pet is appropriate.
Our typical prospect or customer usually is seeking powerful but simple suggestions as to how they can enhance their pets’ health. Usually their very own way of living very often already reflects such a desire for their own lives. It is not uncommon that pet owners approach us by telling us that they, just for example, only eat organic food themselves and now are looking to bring the same advantages of such food to their pets. Or that they buy human food at the whole food store. Or that they are extremely knowledgeable about the food they eat and now are looking for the same kind of information about their pet food. There is however, still a great number of pet owners out there who are not looking for such enhancements in their pet foods. They in fact are satisfied with their pets looking just fine and normal on the current commercial, mass produced and marketed food. They make an assumption: Everything is fine with my cat or dog. For those I am here to say that I am not on a mission to tell you otherwise. If you believe that is the best you can and will do for your companion, then that is perfectly ok with me. After all, that is exactly what I am asking fro from everybody, do the best you can. In that case I just keep talking to the pet owners who are interested. I will continue to do my job as I do now by simply providing as much information as I possibly can on the subject of healthy pet nutrition. Just for the case that one day too, members of this second group are going to change their mind. A positive trend I see however tells me that there is a growing sense of and desire for greater wellness in our pets, which is another reason to provide the information I am talking about. I know that a small change like switching your pet to a more natural diet will in fact increase your cat’s or dog’s quality of life, health and happiness. And remember, happy pets live longer too. We have seen this time and time again.
So coming back to commercial mass produced and marketed pet food, what’s my problem here you may ask. Well, if you have been following my blog and site for a while you are familiar with those concerns and for readers and participants just joining our community of health conscious pet owners let me summarize it briefly:
The kind of pet foods I am talking about really have a lot to do with mythology. There is for instance the claim of a 100% and balanced myth. On of the in my opinion greatest experts in this field, Dr. R.L.Wysong, D.V.M, in his book “The Truth about Pet Foods” and many other of his publications opens our eyes: “A 100% complete processed diet requires a 100% complete knowledge of food and a 100% complete knowledge of nutrition. To have a 100% complete knowledge of food and nutrition requires a 100% complete knowledge of every science. Neither one of these 3 factors exist, therefore the “100% complete” processed diet is a myth.” You believe he is wrong? I don’t. Ask any doctor, physicist or professor. Did Einstein, Bohr, Pasteur, Aristotle or Plato make such claims? So how comes such a claim can be made about pet food? And, more astonishing to me, how comes so many pet owners take it and run with it? Did you ever see a wolf in the wild under a tree wondering “Am I going to starve here? There is nothing with a 100% complete label to eat around here.”?
The second myth is about is about approved ingredients. Approved by whom? By AAFCO or the FDA? Hmmm, how about if I tell you that these lists of approved ingredients includes dehydrated garbage, hydrolyzed poultry feathers, leather meal and hair, peanut skins and hulls, poultry, cow and pig feces and litter, countless chemicals? Do I need to go further? But, you may ask, if they are approved, how can such an approval be justified? Simple answer, it all comes down to their believe in percentages of protein, fat and fiber. And formulas to figure out those percentages can be applied to just about everything. But it remains just a simple fact that protein, fat, carbohydrate, and crude fiber are general food categories. These categories have no functional meaning in terms of nutritional source, quality, or digestibility.Already then, but did nobody learn from their mistakes in the past, you may ask. Sure they did, nobody can blame them for not to trying to fix problems. But that brings up another myth. How can something be fixed if the basic requirements are not in place? You see, now we are right back to the first myth.
The bottom line here is, and I agree with Dr. Wysong: “ that regulatory authority and approval do in no way guarantee optimal health. Health is best served by knowledge and self reliance.”
We could go on and on. Talk about digestibility feeding trials, analyses. All just to conclude that the (Dr. Wysong) “modern pet food pyramid is bloated with distracting elements, such as food fractions and additives, marketing and advertising, regulatory authority and approval nonsense, all having very little or nothing to do with health saving or improving optimal nutrition.”
Ok, by now you have probably taken a quick peak at our store and are saying: I see, you’re promoting Dr. Wysong, because you carry his products and are trying to sell them. And I will tell you: Wrong. Go on the Internet. Feel free to do your own research. Yes, every one of the manufacturers represented with their products at our store will make claims similar to the Doctor’s. But there are also plenty of others of them out there whom’s product we do not carry and sell and they will tell you exactly the same. Take for example Sissy McGill, founder, owner and President of Solid Gold Health. She in a product catalog got so frustrated with the regulatory nonsense that she talked about it in a comment titled “Where did the products go” “We are still doing our homework, researching and bringing you the best ingredients available. Unfortunately we cannot longer tell you about it.” This comment came after she apparently was told by the FDA to restrict herself in selling and promoting healthy, natural supplements because she was talking about their nutritional benefits. I commented on this incident back in September 2008, Where did the products go? Don’t get me wrong: I am all for our government to keep a watching eye on the pet food manufacturers. But the way it is currently done is in my opinion not working. Or how would you explain the many recalls going on in the pet food industry all the time? Go on the Internet and Google “Raw Food” or BARF (Biologically Appropriate Real or Raw Food), every company offering such products, every expert in this particular field will tell you the same story. Yes, you may say now, but they have an interest in promoting their product. And my answer is, while this may be true, it is definitely also a fact that there is by far way less mystery about raw or real food than there is about commercially, mass produced and marketed processed food.
Our companion animals’ life expectancies are growing shorter every generation.
Google any specific health condition for a cat or dog. Every article you find out there will not just tell you in a scary manner that extremely high percentages of our pet population in pandemic dimensions is impacted by them, but also that the cause is most often to be found in the food being fed to these animals.
Dr. William Pollak, D.V.M. says in his article “Concerns About Commercial Pet Food”
“Nutritional issues receive little publicity because they are very technical in substance, thereby not just difficult to explain but also to understand. They also are subject to political considerations. Usually such writings lead to the criticizing of a product, brand or manufacturer. On the other hand, pet food advertising revenue is huge. Consequently, the advertisers are very powerful. Common editorial policy must balance news worthiness with business; this usually results in avoiding negative references to advertisers’ products.
This situation is neither political nor, by contemporary standards, even sensational. It is however, something we deal with everyday. It is lack of information. Food manufacturers are silent; they sell pet food in a highly competitive market at prices that haven’t changed in many years. Have you ever asked yourself, why not? The raw materials these food manufacturers mix together to produce typical pet foods you find along the supermarket aisles come from highly questionable, and in some cases, unbelievable sources unfit for either person or beast. Compounding this situation is the fact that pet food labels give only vague ideas of a pet food’s content. The listed items are essentially “catch-all terms” for more specific, and often less desirable, substances. The biggest concerns as consumers of the “bad” pet foods available on the market are that this food contains ingredients, chemicals, toxins, and poisons that should not be consumed. They lack ingredients that should be part of a pet’s daily diet. Package labeling is a necessary obligation the food manufacturers are required to provide by law. These laws however, perpetuate a classification system that has little to do with nutritional value. Manufacturers can and do use obscure and easily misunderstood terms. Why are these labels so obscure? The first and most important question to ask, for a better indication of the nutritional value of food we buy, is what percent of the food is digestible. A substance is a nutrient only when it is digestible, that is, absorbed and assimilated by an animal consuming the food product. Unassimilated food ingredients are at best, non digestible roughage, and, at worst, deadly toxins or poisons. Nowhere on the pet food label does it state how much of the food can be digested. It is a fact that animals on supermarket or convenience diets are usually chronically malnourished due to excessive use of fillers, stale food, and chemicals coming out of a food can or pouch. This empty nutrition, non vital state of health is the fertile ground for sub standard biological activity and receptivity.Pet foods are unlike any other products sold in a supermarket. Both items claim to be a complete, whole nutritional package for the consumer; all other foods in the supermarket are part of an overall, individually tailored diet. Deficiencies in one food product are balanced by another food product if variety and wholesomeness is valued. The possibility of choosing what one wants to eat is available to humans. Our pets however, are denied this choice when given only commercial pet food as the sole source of nutrition. A pet owner must be satisfied in the belief the pet food is all the animal really needs to insure minimum nutritional needs. Rarely can one find a pet diet that provides more than minimum daily nutritional requirements; that seeks to provide, in fact, greater wellness. It would be wise to seek out commercial pet foods that are, at best, acceptable supplements to a more natural, raw meat diet.The average pet owner feels satisfied upon leaving the store with a large bag of pet food purchased at a very affordable price. At home, the pet “attacks” the food in it’s food bowl further confirming its owner’s conviction that a smart purchase in both value and quality has been made. The pet loves the food! It eats it immediately with great vigor. This gusto though is usually a sign of a pet’s lack of proper nutrition. It is the voracious overeating observed everyday at feeding time that indicates a lack in balanced nutrition along with a hyperactivity usually unnoticed until the animal is put on a more nutritious and wholesome diet. Overeating quickly empties a food bag; non nutrient fillers and appetite stimulants like addictive agents such as sucrose, corn syrup, salt, and artificial flavoring exacerbate a pet’s already undernourished state. When a pet over eats a food of low nutritional value, it must digest additional calories, protein, carbohydrates, and waste products to derive a minimal benefit from the diet. Already low vital energy stores are further depleted. This borderline state of starvation, despite regular feedings, produces a responsive, though non alert, living, though non vital, animal. The end result is that you as a pet owner now only can observe an overweight, doughy, dull coated, undernourished pet that is marginally poisoned. This is the main reason life expectancies of our pets are growing shorter every year. Our companion animals just survive on convenience pet foods. From a holistic perspective, mere survival is not enough; organisms need to do more than just survive. By achieving a state of wellness, a transcendent growth is secured.”

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