1. The industry lacks regulation.
Did you know that the pet food industry is virtually unregulated? Think about how scary that is. There are some voluntary guidelines and regulation around using chemicals that are deemed “safe”, but nothing that forces pet food makers to actually use real food ingredients. Despite this, they all display real food, like chicken breasts, on their packaging in an attempt to pass off their “meat by-product” ingredients as whole foods.
What are “meat by-products” you ask? Keep reading, we’re getting there!
2. The people who fatten up livestock oversee pet food.
Pet food in the US must meet nutritional requirements set by a body called the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO’s primary responsibility is to regulate how farmers can feed livestock to get as fat as possible in the shortest time and for the least amount of money, while also ensuring that this feed does not negatively impact humans who eat that livestock once slaughtered.
It seems completely divergent from the interests of promoting healthy, happy and long living dogs and cats to have this organization be the pet nutrition regulator. Regardless, the pet companies agreed to AAFCO’s involvement because they don’t inspect for compliance and at least they can say that there is a “regulatory body” for pet food in the US.
3. The real reason pet food is sold in the cleaning supply aisle at the grocery store.
Ever wonder why pet food is either sold in the cleaning supply aisle of a grocery store or a separate pet store? No traditional pet food qualifies as real food and therefore needs to be at least 6 feet from anything that is human edible. Gross!
4. The inconvenient truth about the food at your Vet’s office.
Veterinarians get free pet food while in school, take their classes in auditoriums named after the big pet food company donors, and are paid special financial incentives to sell “vet versions” of sub-standard pet food only available through vets. The majority of vets are fantastic professionals with their hearts in the right place in providing health care to our beloved pets, but most know little about nutrition and are perhaps a bit too trusting of large pet food makers and the revenue it generates for their small business.
5. Inhumane trials performed on dogs and cats.
AAFCO endorses feeding trials done “inhumanely” on dogs and cats who are born in laboratories, and never leave their cages for their entire lives. They are subjected to new pet foods to see if certain chemical additives and preservatives will harm the animals.
We already know the pet nutrition needs for dogs and cats, so having recipes with real food ingredients and no dangerous chemicals takes away the need for such inhumane animal trials. We already know the full nutritional make-up of every real food ingredient, help end these needless trials by feeding your pet a real food diet, and specifically a brand that does not use AAFCO feeding trials.
6. Poor nutrition has made our pets sick. Sound familiar?
Over 60% of our family pets are sick, on medication or special medical diets. The poor nutrition in traditional pet food is the major contributor to the state of poor health in our pets. Imagine exercising every day (we walk our dogs regularly) and then eating the same meal that is of far poorer quality than fast food for every single meal of our lives. It’s no wonder they are in such poor health.
7. Even pet professionals have been fooled by pet food marketing fabrications.
Most pet owners have lived with deceptive pet food marketing for so long that we believe things that are simply wrong. Ever hear that your dog needs to eat hard food to clean it’s teeth? Completely fabricated by pet treat / bone marketing.
Watch how your dog eats, there may be one quick chew but for the most part they gulp their food down. Also, has your dentist ever asked you to eat something hard to clean your teeth?
8. There is a big difference between Surviving and Thriving.
Many of us see our pets living seemingly happy lives eating kibble every meal, but we are actually holding back their health and vitality. Our pets who eat kibble are in a constant state of malnutrition and dehydration. It’s unfortunate that our pets can’t talk to us, or else we would know that they dislike their food. They often feel sick, get very thirsty, and are always hungry feeling because there is so little real food in their pet food to satisfy them.
Our dogs scavenge while on walks, picking up garbage, and sometimes even poop, because they are still craving calories and nutrients. They eat dry kibble or freeze dried food that requires a lot of water to rehydrate in the body, but they never drink enough water to truly rehydrate their food (imagine eating a bowl of crackers every meal of your life).
As pet food has very few or no real ingredients, their bodies don’t absorb many nutrients and most of the food is pooped out. Watch how small the poo of a dog or cat eating real food is, as their bodies absorb so much more of the ingredients. Not to mention the improvements in their overall physical and mental health.
9. Stop feeding food by the “scoop.”
Pets should not be fed something that sits for seemingly an unlimited time out at room temperature and requires a “scoop” to feed. Boy have we humans gotten lazy and sucked into the convenience of feeding kibble.
Dogs and cats have gastro-intestinal tracts very similar to humans, and have the exact same energy system as humans where each pet has their own individual calorie requirements for the day, depending on how much they weigh, how active they are and their own metabolic rate.
I bet you never think about how many calories your pet needs, only that they get “a scoop” of food twice per day. Think about how disgusting that is. Your pet needs a variety of different proteins, carbohydrates, fibre sources and fats, and each source has its own caloric density, just like how humans eat. Yet, most people just feed a scoop of something from a bag.
10. Pet food labelling is completely deceptive.
Pet food is NOT human food. There is an incredible amount of regulation for human food, including the quality of a product, how it has been handled, how honest and clear labelling needs to be, and how stringent using certain terms like “organic” are in meeting inspection requirements. NONE of this exists for pet food. None of the human food terms has any meaning when it comes to pet food, and that utterly confuses pet parents.
For example, so many pet foods now market themselves as “human grade.” This is an absolutely meaningless term in the pet food world, used mostly by pet food companies that buy leftover scraps deemed unfit for human consumption from human food processing plants. In most cases “human grade” is used deceptively to make people think there is real meat/food in their pet food.
Just about every pet food has a picture of a chicken breast or salmon filet on the package, but there is absolutely no chicken breast or salmon filet in the food. Consumers don’t realize that this happens in effectively 100% of pet food marketing.
AAFCO defines terms like “chicken meat” or “chicken” to include “the heart, diaphragm, tongue, and esophagus, and the fat, gristle and other tissues attached to the muscle that is suitable for animal food”. Definitely not the breast or filet that you see on the packaging, and of no nutritional value!
Ingredients are listed by weight in raw form, so these chicken “products” that are listed as the first ingredient as “meat” should in reality be listed near the end of the list once cooked. Because of this, they need to add in chemical protein to their foods – it’s not coming from the “meat”. It gets worse from here. You add bone and other gross bits of the animal, and you get “meal” and “by-product meal” that are ground into a paste.
At least hot dogs need to use “human edible” ingredients, which is a defined FDA term in the US. Pet food is far, far worse. Real “meat” is too expensive for traditional pet food, and why would you waste real meat in creating the goo that needs to be heat extracted into pellets for kibble? Exactly…
11. BONUS QUESTION! What is the major source of insect infestation in grocery stores?
Pet food packages!! Kibble bags are heat sealed in primarily unsterilized plants and shipped without any refrigeration, so bugs tend to nest in the flaps of the bags requiring a rigorous protocol at grocery stores to both check to insect larvae and to spray with insecticides. This is a second reason why these bags are found in the cleaning supply aisle – to give some additional space to contain insect infestations in the grocery store. Totally gross!!!