Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Animal By-Product is What, Exactly?

When we got our first rescue, Hershey, a miniature Doxie back in 1996, she came with a bowl, leash, vet records and, even to our horror, those meat-like food products that kind of resembles hamburger, but has enough red dye in it to turn dog poop colors. I did my homework on pet food and chose a premium brand sold only in vet's offices. Eventually, all my dogs and cats got put on that food.
The thing I didn't realize is that I had to continue to do homework. Although this brand of pet food is still sold by vets - and pushed by most - I still should have been reading the label periodically. Somewhere over time, this brand's ingredients changed.
When reading a pet food label, it's a good idea to have some sort of pure meat as the first ingredient - "Beef," "Chicken," "Lamb" or "Whitefish" are the usual suspects.
Only this brand now lists "animal by products" as it's first ingredient and later, some sort of meat "meal." When I compared it to other brands found in a big box store last weekend, the ingredients weren't that much different than other, cheaper brands.
What are animal by-products, exactly?
Trust me, you really don't want to know. Let's just say it's not fit for human consumption.
Animals, including our dogs and cats, need protein, which is the meat, not animal organs, snouts, or other things we typically wouldn't make a staple in our own diets.
Since the big pet food recall two years ago, I've been really too scared to read what my dogs are eating. I've also been a bit concerned as the dogs coats don't seem as soft and shiny, nor have they been as spunky.
Now that I've read the ingredient list, I'm too scared not to pay attention to it.
I've already started investigating other brands of foods. Raw, home prepared diets are the best, but is cost and time prohibitive for most people.
I'll keep you updated as to the brand we choose and how it affects the Fearsome Four here.


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