Most of us love our furry friends as members of our own family. These innocent, unconditionally loving animals bring much to our lives. They are there for us, always happy to see us (no matter how tattered and torn we may be,) and full of love and devotion. This comes in the form of cats, dogs, bunnies, horses, and many more adorable creatures God has given us.
Pet Nutrition 101
Usually at your local grocery store there’s at least one aisle entirely devoted to pets. You’ll find treats, litter, toys, and of course foods. The food selection in the grocery stores range from store brand super cheap to more expensive, recognizable names. But are any of these the best choice to promote your pet’s health?
Many of these pet foods are loaded with fillers, additives, preservatives, and more nasty ingredients you simply don’t want to put into your beloved pet’s body. Most of these foods are similar to the foods we find at the grocery store for ourselves; laden with ingredients bound to make us sick and far from being healthy for us.
Let’s take a look at the most common ingredients in pet foods you find at the local grocery store according to veterinarian Dr. Jan Becker’s website, PetNutritionInfo.com.
8 Common Pet Food Ingredients and What They Really Are
- Lamb and Lamb Meal
- Poultry Meal and Poultry By-products Meal
- Meat and Bone
- Animal Fat
- Poultry Tallow
- BHA, BHT
Let’s look at what each of these ingredients really is and how it impacts the animal you’re feeding.
Lamb and Lamb Meal
We all know what lamb is but did you know that lamb meal is fresh, dehydrated lamb that when found in this form is really up to seven times more lamb meat than you may think?
Poultry Meal and Poultry By-products
If you see poultry by products listed on the ingredients of your pet’s food you should know what it really means. Poultry by-products include beaks, heads, necks, bones, feet, innards and feathers of poultry. This is meat not fit for human consumption. Poultry meal is the better of the two choices.
Soybean is a common ingredient in many pet foods. This is something that causes gas in most animals that are carnivorous.
Meat and Bone
This is really just a nice way of saying bone. There is very little meat in the meat and bone combination. But that’s not all the bone you’ll be feeding your precious pet is from an unknown source and that source can change at any time without notification to consumers.
Usually the cheapest and therefore lowest quality fat on the market. Also from an unknown source and is inconsistent.
Another name for poultry fat. This is more expensive and better for the animals you’re taking care of.
Chemical preservatives that are abundant in pet foods. These toxins accumulate in the animals system and unlike humans who eat a diverse diet the animals eat them on a daily basis.
The most common fillers for pet foods are corn and wheat. Carnivorous animals are not meant to chow down on either of these grains. They enable the pet food manufacturers to produce cheaper pet foods and the animals don’t fill up so they have to consume more.
So now you know a bit more about what not to feed your pet, then what should you feed your pet?
Giving Your Pet the Right Nutrition
When it comes to your pet’s diet and health it’s important to know that their diets have evolved the same way as humans have. Although our bodies were built for and need certain nutrition, today’s typical diets are devoid of many of the nutrients we need. Therefore, it’s important to make an effort to not just feed your pet the right foods but to also supplement your pet when needed.
Let’s begin with Omega-3’s and DHA.
2 Nutrients Your Pet Must Have
Omega-3’s and DHA
Back in the days when dogs ran wild they were able to obtain their own omega-3’s and thus DHA from the foods they ate and were meant to eat – naturally. These wild canines would eat reptiles, organ meats, bone marrow and fish and get their needed supply.
Of course today with the processed dog foods, this doesn’t happen. For that reason you should consider the best ways to get your pet, particularly dog, a regular dose of omega-3’s. The DHA in omega-3’s are found to be very important in the following for dogs:
- Retina support
You can supplement with one to two tablespoons of cod liver oil or fish oil or serve them fresh, wild salmon a few times per week.
Probiotics or ‘for life’ products are the best way to increase the good bacteria in the body while decreasing the bad bacteria. This is particularly important if your pet has been on medications especially antibiotics. Just like humans we need to have the good bacteria outweigh the bad or the body will suffer.
Probiotics are essential for a number of health concerns, here are just a few:
- Help to manufacture B vitamins especially biotin and folic acid
- Help balance blood cholesterol levels
- Improve anti-oxidant activity
- Increase energy levels
- Remove toxins
- Reduce inflammation
- Increase digestion
Consider live bacteria supplementation for your pet to give them the needed probiotics. There are also freeze dried supplements and liquid supplements but the live is the very best.
Probiotic supplements can help to overcome the following in pets:
- Digestion problems
- Skin problems
- Food intolerances
- Chronic health problems
It’s vital to remember when it comes to your pets that they too need to have certain nutrients in order to live long, vibrant lives – just like humans. Providing them with real foods instead of fake foods and supplementing what they need is one of the best ways to love your pet.
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