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The Most Important Questions to Ask about your Pet Food

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  1. Jane Eagle

    I am using Honest Kitchen dehydrated pet food. Each box is clearly labeled “HUMAN GRADE FOOD”.
    tHIS IS A TERRIFIC ARTICLE; THANKS, sUSAN.

  2. Ellie

    All the questions you list are important but I would add that the key to why pet food companies are allowed to use low grade ingredients and get away with it is the very process they use to manufacture their pet “feed.”

    Both the animal products and vegetation produce are subjected to high heat processing that entails cooking the ingredients at very high heats at least 3 different times to kill all bacteria and to obtain the consistency of kibble. This high heat processing also rids the ingredients of most of the nutrition that may have once been in those products so these companies then add a large list of synthetic vitamins in order to make the “feed” comply with industry standards. A similar process is used to produce canned “feeds.”

    No where will you see a pet food company supplying the customer with information about the process they use to produce their “feed.” Most people do not even think about the processing since they have themselves become accustomed to eating highly processed foods that are filled with synthetic vitamins, and chemicals. Breakfast cereals and highly processed flour used to make a variety of processed human “food” are just a couple of the most prevalent human “food” offenders.

    While the ingredients and where they are sourced would be important for a real food product these factors become less significant in the manufacturing of highly processed products. Not much of the beginning ingredients remain at the end of processing. If you look into the process used to manufacturer most canned, boxed or bagged human “food” products you will find how human food companies also use lesser quality foods in their processing. Certainly not as poor as pet feed ingredients but poor just the same. The mass producing food companies (both human and pet) are a major factor in the American health crisis.

  3. Pacific Sun

    The irony of the answers to these questions (which are imperative to ask) is that for the manufacturer doing everything accordingly (and answering positively) they are probably not even in the business of kibble-making in the first place. Exactly because high heat processing invalidates the orignal value of premium ingredients. I mean why would “you” buy 100% Organic, Free Roaming Locally Ranch Raised Protein, and GMO Free, First Quality Fresh Produce, and then cook the life out of it till it forms into moosh, add fake vitamins & minerals, then mash it into tiny uniform shapes in order to be heat-dried, and sprayed/colored with a fake flavor, for an 18 month long shelf life?? In fact IF a manufacturer actually did all that, they’d be considered nuts. The only farily nobel kibble I came across that claimed to only bake their product, stopped making it, because they didn’t feel they could stay true to their self-imposed quality ingredient standards, at a price anyone could afford long term. At least they were honest enough about that much.

    The only manufacturers to meet all the above answers satisfactorily are companies minimally processing their foods, like THK (dehydrated ingredients) and designer whole food servings like (FreshFetch, JFFDs, etc.,) and Answers Raw. And this I say because of known “hands-on” oversight, production, and management of the companies. They’ve also been willing to return the Pledge. You can pick up the phone and talk to these owners or receive a call-back to answer any questions asked.

    1. Ellie

      After WWII the processing of food has become a fact of life. Most Americans have grown up on boxed breakfast cereal and hamburger helper along with the other boxed and bagged food items. This kind of mindset has led to the acceptance of highly processed pet food which also arrived in the US in the 1950’s.

      We have seen cases of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and obesity become commonplace afflictions in American society during this time frame. Now, our pets also suffer from the same food based illnesses as humans do. This was not the case before the 1950s.

      The food manufacturers cannot make millions of dollars selling locally. They need to find ways to process food that will have a long shelf life. Look at your local grocery store. A very small section compared to the rest of the area is dedicated to fresh produce and meat and most of those are GMO products.

      As long as the society has accepted this type of food as “safe” it will be difficult to convince them that what they are feeding their pets is a slow poison. Convenience has trumped food safety and health. It seems that as long as their is no immediate physical reaction to these altered “foods” that people will accept them as safe despite the health crisis this country is suffering.

  4. Monica

    I agree what you have written regarding whether to feed Non-GMO or GMO ingredients to our pet. It came as a shock to me today when I did some research on Okanagan Apples. We as consumers are so easily blinded into believing we are feeding the best food to our pets but upon further research might be putting them more at risk.

  5. Rick

    One other critical question would be WHO is the manufacturer of the pet food (company owned facility) Many so-called premium foods use manufacturers that make multiple small pet food brands. The span of control in these situations is very limited

  6. fran

    was this test done with the cat foo as well? i wish i had this before when i had a cat die and i’m still doing vet care om missie maxum cat food was not able to find someone to test it. who cares i do one dead one on pills off and on because of her kidney the other seem not to have hurt the others

  7. Jenn Holden

    You didn’t include the most important questions to ask:
    “Who formulates your diets?”
    “Is a board certified vet nutritionist on staff or consulted?”
    “Are they available/how do I reach them?”

    If “no” is the answer to any of those questions, then there’s no need to give further consideration to that brand.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Problem is – most board certified veterinary nutritionists feel it is perfectly fine to feed pets recycled waste. I’ve asked their association to stand out against illegal waste pet food ingredients – they did not.

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