Pet Food Phobias
Why are we afraid of the dark? It’s because we don’t know what’s in it! The same can apply to our pets’ diets. Do we know what every single molecule is in any food item? No. Does it matter? Not for most of them, but we have tendency to focus on our fears or controversial items found in or added to the ingredients. We all have experienced the fear of the unknown, but the idea that if news is bad, that it must be true, is illogical. Here are some things to consider:
1. There are no evil pet food manufacturers trying to make your pet sick. Poor quality control is usually the culprit.
2. Marketers and other vested interests may choose to vilify ingredients found in their competitors foods. I am personally suspicious of any negative ad campaign as we should be buying what is in a companions offerings, not what is or isn’t in the competitors.
3. Often ingredients for example preservatives, are said to be toxic but those perceptions stem from toxicity testing at very high levels to see what amount is actually toxic. No pet (or human) is exposed to these levels an therefore they are considered “generally safe” by the FDA.
4. Only rely on scientific testing to discern risk and causation. While someone says something is bad, ask for scientific proof (the actual paper) and read it. Few people ever do this. Just read the summary/conclusion if it is too technical for your taste.
Expanding on items mentioned briefly in my previous article:
BHA + BHT and Ethoxyquin – These are preservatives that are safe at levels used but toxic at much higher levels. Similar to how salt and vitamin D are toxic at much higher levels.
By-products- I’ve mentioned this before. Some by-products (which means other than the main product) are high digestibility such as chicken livers or lower digestibility (too much gristle & bone, etc.). None of them are dangerous to eat.
Grains/grain free- Doesn’t matter.
No added hormones/antibiotics- Hollow claim that any pet food can boast.
No gluten – Irrelevant for cats and dogs as they have no genetic predisposition to react.
Propylene glycol- FDA research shows safe at levels found in pet food.
What is unsafe in pet food? What isn’t supposed to be in it in the first place!
As mentioned in a previous article:
- Bacteria, fungi, (mold & toxins), machine oil, grease, machine parts.
- Diets unbalanced by mistakes in production (too much or too little).
- Wrong ingredients (Recent recall of food with beef thyroid glands mistakenly added and then created temporary hyperthyroid conditions).
In conclusion, if someone says something that is normally found in pet food is bad or dangerous ask:
- How many pets were affected and what happened?
-Is there known (recorded) toxicities and are they caused by levels normally found in the food?
Usually none of these questions can be answered by the person telling you about the ingredient and you will have to go to the FDA site to find it www.fda.gov/
Lastly, realize that the dose determines the poison. Just last week a client told me she rushed her dog to the emergency because he ate a grape. In large doses (box of raisins) some dogs may suffer kidney damage. I asked about the bill and she just said that it was “A LOT”. Sadly, I informed her that one grape will never poison a dog.