First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their compassionate comments last week. We are touched and blessed to have friends like you.
Today, I am posting a long due guest post from Devika who's also a pet lover. I think it's important for us to understand what we feed our pets.
A couple of years ago, I would just have assumed that buying any pet food is better than feeding them rice and vegetables my family normally eats... Now that I see the amount of fillers that some pet food companies use and the amount inorganic stuff that go in to preserve it longer, I am more aware of what I feed the dogs.
The pet owners usually feel satisfied when they provide commercially manufactured pet foods to their adorable companions. They are convinced about the food being complete in every respect. A balanced diet would ensure a healthy and happy pet and that is what every pet owner wants.
They are guided by the smart marketing strategies that various pet food brands employ. Also it’s more convenient to feed the ready-made varieties of food to the pets.
The pet food market has increased drastically over the years. And as per some surveys, the increase is much more than the relative (estimated) increase in the number of pets. This shows that pet owners have become more and more dependent on them.
The blind trust doesn’t let people observe that the more mechanical stages a food item travels through, the more its quality gets affected.
Animal lovers, veterinary doctors and nutritionists have often pointed out the nutritional insufficiency of the popular pet foods.
It was only in 2007 that people were literally shaken out of their peaceful slumber. On March 16, 2007 the biggest manufacturer of wet cat and dog food recalled all its products from the markets. It was followed by further recalls by other pet food companies.
This happened because reports of pets having kidney failures surfaced from across the world. Upon testing it was found that an organic base chemical called Melamine was present in the wheat gluten. Melamine is not poisonous on its own, but its synthesis with another contaminant - cyanuric acid may lead to kidney failure.
World over, people were shocked and they started questioning the standards and processes of manufacturing pet food.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) failed to regulate the pet food segment properly.
There is an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) which sets the - standards of nutrition, rules for conducting feed-trials and label requirements. This non-governmental association too failed in performing its duties efficiently. Another fact which came to light was that some very prominent brands outsourced the manufacturing of their products. This made the entire operation more cost-effective as the individual brands didn’t have to invest in costly machines. Also, the raw materials and other supplies could be purchased in bulk and this further lead to more savings.
A stricter regulation and examination process need to be implemented by the FDA on the manufacturing of pet foods.
As a responsible pet parent how should one ensure the health of one’s pet? It is difficult for people to read the food labels on the packages of pet foods. Also, the label generally doesn’t mention the actual source of the ingredients. However the source determines the quality of the food.
What the pet food makers never want you to know: Find out
One may find words like meat meal, animal digest and meat by-product on the list. Meat by-product consists of the meat which is actually the trash of a slaughterhouse. In other words, it is the meat which is not considered fit enough for human consumption.
There is a category called ‘generic pet food’. The generic ‘meat meal’ comes from animals that have been killed in a road accident or euthanized..
A pet owner should be on the lookout for the best dog food available in the market. One can buy pet foods online in India as well as in most parts of the wo rld. But one should not completely depend on them. There are many home-made nutritious recipes which can be easily made to supplement the diet of your loyal companion. One’s little efforts will prove to be a blessing for one’s pet.