Provided by friend and fellow pet food safety advocate Dr. Michael W. Fox…
Aside from a host of various chemical additives, some of the highly processed ingredients in cat and dog foods can cause chronic health problems which have helped create a market for costly special prescription diets, along with various diagnostic tests and treatments. Many of these problems and simple solutions have been documented in my book, co-authored by two other veterinarians, Not Fit For a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat & Dog Foods. For instance, soy is used as a cheap source of protein which is linked to thyroid disease in dogs and possibly cats whose high iodine-content fish-byproduct food ingredients play a role in the virtual epidemic of thyroid disease in cats. Cereals such as corn and wheat which have no place in a cat’s diet and can harm dogs, in contrast to a meat-based diet, make the urine alkaline and may cause cystitis and struvite crystal formation, an all too common lower urinary tract issue for companion animals. They are also high in gluten which triggers the intestines to release the protein zonulin. This creates openings in the gut wall, which then becomes more permeable to large molecule proteins, the so called leaky gut syndrome, leading to ever more food-intolerance, malabsorption of nutrients, allergies and even autoimmune disease.
Reading the labels on some of the new cat and dog foods from main-stream pet food manufacturers (now proclaiming “grain free’ and “no soy”) it is clear that the industry is cognizant of these concerns but continues to deny scientific documentation and evidence-based veterinary medicine, and instead claims to be catering to public demand. While profiting from this, I do not endorse the products from these multinational companies who, for decades, have marketed pet foods that have caused much harm and expense to cat and dog owners and who are now jumping on the band wagon of more healthful pet foods in full denial of their past sins of omission and commission. Further market and consumer confusion is created, just as with the human prepared food industry, when these big companies incorporate smaller companies with good names and quality brands. So we must all read the ingredient labels, the content of which these companies would like limited as its lobbyists work the halls of government and oppose consumer initiatives, as with the labeling of GMO ingredients. The rights of consumers to make informed decisions in the market place for themselves and their companion animals is a right in any democratic society, and would be enlightened corporate interest for the human and subsidiary pet food industries to respect because more and more consumers are informed and they will ultimately vote with their dollars in the market place.
By Michael W. Fox BVetMed, PhD, DSc, MRCVS Veterinarian, bioethicist, syndicated columnist (Animal Doctor with Universal-UClick). Website www.DrFoxVet.com
Author of Supercat: How to Raise the Perfect Feline Companion: also Cat Body, Cat Mind, and Dog Body, Dog Mind with National Book Network; The Healing Touch for Dogs and The Healing Touch for Cats with Harper Collins & co-author of Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat & Dog Foods with Quill Driver Books