The ASPCA estimates that nearly 70-80 million dogs and upwards of 96 million cats live in American homes. With a canine population so large, it’s no wonder that the pet food industry is worth over $24 billion. Like humans, it seems that our furry companions are falling victim to improper nutrition, further contributing to the heart; kidney and liver disease are epidemic. In North America, obesity is the most common preventable disease in dogs. Approximately 25-30% of the general canine population is obese, with 40-45% of dogs aged 5-11 years old weighing in higher than normal. It’s time that we understood just how unhealthy the pet food industry can be and the long-term damage that comes with falling victim to its marketing campaigns. Save your dog a lot of suffering, and save yourself a fortune in vet bills, by learning the truth about your dog’s diet.
Animals, like humans, need a certain combination of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water every day in order to function normally. One definite way any pet owner can affect the longevity and quality of life for their pet is by providing the highest quality food they can. The quality of the food you feed makes a direct difference in your pet’s health. Better nutrition, provides an overall boost in the immune system and improved health over the long term with less stress on the pet’s organs. The kidneys and liver have to work very hard to remove toxins such as chemicals, preservatives, dyes and other non-supportive elements of the pet’s food out of their body. Without adequate nutrition, your dog would not be able to maintain muscle tone, build and repair muscles, teeth, and bone, perform normal daily activities with ease or fight-off infection.
Heavily-processed fast foods as a big diet component can cause major health problems in people and dogs. When animals are slaughtered for food production, the lean muscle is cut off for human consumption. The remaining carcass (bones, organs, blood, beaks, etc.) is what goes into pet food. Many of us have been convinced that the healthy, natural, premium and “recommended by” labels on pet food must mean that the food inside the bag is great for pets. Manufactures place images of fresh cut chicken breast, fresh fruit and vegetables on their packages, yet this is rarely what is actually inside of the bag. Dog food may legally contain “4-D” meat: meat from dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals. Add a little road kill, mill floor sweepings labeled as grain, and corn contaminated with high levels of pesticide and you have a recipe for ill health. Less expensive pet food contains cheap ingredients that add up inadequate nutrition.
Dogs are the masters of panhandling. The incredibly hard to resist puppy eyes will seduce even the toughest individual, sending them straight to the doggy treats section at the local pet store. Most Americas will do the bare minimum in terms of exercise for their pet, causing an imbalance between the energy intake and its usage, eating more than the dog can possibly expend. We make that critical mistake of catching the mistakes when it’s already too late and most refuse to say no to their pup in fears of hurting their feelings.
Veterinarians state that processed pet food (kibbled and canned food) is the number one cause of illness and premature death in modern dogs and cats. In one animal study, performed by Dr. Kollath of the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, young animals that were fed cooked and processed foods initially appeared to be healthy. But once they reached adulthood, they began aging quicker than normal and developed degenerative disease symptoms. A control group raised on raw foods aged less quickly and did not develop any degenerative diseases!
Now that we understand the dangers of an unhealthy diet, lets go over some of the “crap” that may be contributing to the problem. The pet store works just like our supermarkets. Companies spend millions of dollars on research and development to determine what colors and imagines trigger YOU! to buy. They later fight for the “perfect” shelf space that they know is the most likely place you will look. Unfortunately, millions of dollars also get funneled into researching the perfect treat, adding just the right amount of delicious to trigger as much dopamine as possible, as seen in the soda, cereals, cookies, and every other product designed for children. Our pets and children become addicted to the sugar high, forcing them to beg their parents/owners to get more. Sadly, we fall for the puppy eyes and extreme happiness without considering the long side effects.
Although you’re never going to find the “perfect” solution due to mass production, there are better alternatives on the market. When searching for dog food, it’s imperative that we look for companies that use real meat and vegetables and don’t use preservatives. Orijen features inclusions of fresh free-run poultry, whole nest-laid eggs, whole wild-caught fish and ranch raised meats farmed or fished in their region. Yes, you will spend a few extra dollars for the premium brands but you can sleep easy knowing that your pet is getting the best nutrition it can. Cut out the poisonous treats from the supermarket and stick with using real chicken at home. Rack up the savings and discover that paying an extra 20-30 dollars per bag will not set you back at all. Another benefit of getting high quality food is that it tames your pets munches. We found that high quality dog food actually lasts longer and keeps your pet in fantastic shape.
Obesity is a deadly yet preventable disease that destroys what life has to offer. Remember that you are your dog’s will power and are in control of his health. Allowing him to become obese is detrimental, and we know that you don’t want your pet leaving your side any sooner than he needs to. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to maintaining a long, healthy life. With time and effort on your pet, your pup will be healthier and happier than ever.
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