What is Really in Pet Food?

     When you are shopping at the grocery store, getting the things your family needs, do you check the ingredients of the foods to insure the nutritional content and safety of them?  When you are walking down the pet food aisle, do you quickly grab what is on sale,.....or do you carefully run through the list of ingredients to insure the nutritional content of pet food?  Your pet deserves the quality of nutrition that you provide for your family, and nothing less.  You will be surprised at what some companies use for ingredients in your dogs food, it is at the very least .....scary.

     Where do pet food companies get the ingredients for their pet foods?  Depending on the brand of food you buy, and how much you pay, you may be disgusted with the answer to that question.  The price of a pet food is often the indicator of its quality,  It would be impossible for a company that sells a generic brand of food for $9.95 (for a 40 pound bag) to use quality ingredients.  The cost of purchasing quality ingredients would far exceed the selling price.  So the old saying "You get what you pay for" is definitely true in this case.

     The protein content in a food can come from a variety of sources.  Most of the rendered animals that have died or are dying from causes unknown, have been treated with a wide variety of drugs before their demise, or have been given a lethel injection of a potent drug to euthanize them.  The animals are then delivered to a receiving plant, where the hides, skin, fats, and meat are removed.  The meat from these animals can be sold to pet food companies only after it is completely covered in charcoal to prevent human injestion, and marked "unfit for human consumption".

     The cattle, swine, chickens, lamb or other animals that are slaughtered have the choice cuts trimmed away from the carcass for human consumption, and the rest also goes to pet food companies.  Roughly fifty percent of every food producing animal does not get used in human foods.  What remains of the carcass is the bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, and almost all other parts not consumed by humans.  These other parts are known as "by products" and "meat and bone meal" on pet food labels.  Many of these remnants provide a questionable nutritional source for our animals.  The quality of nutrition these ingredients provide can vary from batch to batch.

     In the U.S. and Canada, the pet food industry is self regulated.  The AAFCO (Association  of American Feed Control Officials) sets guidelines and definitions for animal feed ingredients.  It is up to each individual state to adopt their regulations and policies.  The AAFCO states that there are no restrictions on the types of animals which can be used in meals and digests.

     Analysis has been performed on pet foods to test the amount of drugs that remain through processing of the rendered animals.  The FDA has made this information available to the public at the website listed below. 

     The importance of knowing where your pet food comes from and knowing what is in pet food, has never been more important.  There are many options and alternatives to "grocery store" quality brands of dog food, and they are worth every penny.  Your pets health depends on the choices you make, and it is your responsibility as a pet owner, to make the right one.

     Concerned about what you are feeding your pet?  

Get informed: 



How to be a Responsible Pet Owner

    The pet population is on the rise, six hundred pets are euthanized each hour, fourteen thousand per day, and five hundred thousand every year. These are the victims of backyard breeders, puppy mills, and unaltered pets roaming the streets. Many pet owners who buy expensive

AKC registered pets choose not to alter their pets because they want to breed them. What they don't realize is that over forty percent of purebred dogs have some kind of genetic defect, and half of all

registered pets don't meet the standards set by the American Kennel Club. Many people breed their pets to make money from selling the offspring. Unfortunately, the cost of caring for the mother through out the pregnancy, caring for the babies until they are of age, and vaccinating them before they go to their new homes can exceed your profits. Breeders should also guarantee their puppies and kittens to be healthy, and also take responsibility for the ones that are not.

    Some people believe that sterilization is cruel, they project their own feelings about reproductive loss onto their pets. Some men find it difficult to neuter their male pets because they are afraid it will change his personality. Male pets make better pets if they are neutered-, they have less desire to roam, mark territory, and exert dominance over family members. Neutering your male pet also eliminates his chances of being

diagnosed with testicular cancer, which is not uncommon in unaltered male pets. Last but not least, sixty percent of pets hit by cars each year are intact males. The advantages of neutering your male pet far exceeds the disadvantages.

    Spayed females also make better pets because the estrus cycle twice per year is eliminated, which in turn also eliminates her chances for being diagnosed with uterine infections, and mammary tumors. Seventy-five percent of females that are not spayed will develop these conditions, which can be life threatening. Some believe that a spayed pet is a lazy, overweight pet. Weight gain that seems to follow a spay surgery is most likely a result of continuing to feed a high energy diet to a pet that is reducing her need for energy as she reaches her adult size. Excess energy in the food is stored as excess fat on the body.

    Another concern of pet owners contemplating the surgery is that your pet will feel like he or she is missing something. As far as we know, pets do not lament their lost capability to reproduce. They are of a different species than ours, they reproduce to ensure the survival of their kind, not to nurture a pup for eighteen years, watch it go off to college, marry, and produce grandchildren. Females nurse their young for a few weeks, teach them to behave, and go on. Most males know nothing of fatherhood and they don't recognize the babies as their own.

    Spaying and neutering your pet is just another way to be a responsible pet owner, it may be one of the most important responsibilities of pet ownership. Our pets depend on us to ensure their survival, and we should not let them down. Remember an altered pet is a happier and healthier pet.


What you should know when buying a puppy.

     Shopping for a new puppy is like shopping for a car. A lot of research should be done before a purchase is made.

The first step is to know what breed is best for your lifestyle.  A large, high energy dog would not be a good choice for an apartment unless a lots of exercise was provided.  Decide if a male or a female is best.  Females tend to be smaller than males, to wander less, and be less dominant.

     Decide if you want a purebred dog or a mixed breed.  Many mixed breed dogs make wonderful pets.

When you decide on a suitable breed, avoid pet shops, puppy mills, and "backyard" breeders.  Many of the above sell or produce inferior animals and have no interest on preventing diseases common to the breed.  They do not test their breeding stock for undesirable characteristics.  Puppy Mills breed for quantity and not quality.  They often sell their pups to brokers at five weeks of age, which does not allow the puppies to adequately build up their immune system.  Puppies weaned at this age do not receive the amount of natural antibodies from their mother, as needed to help protect them against common viruses, such as the Parvovirus.

     If a pup is weaned at five or six weeks, he has not had time to develop his personality under the guidance of a firm mother or understanding breeder.  A critical time in the puppy's life for socialization with it's littermates is at eight weeks.  Pups lacking in interaction with littermates or human contact and taken from their mother at less than  six to seven weeks of age, have a good chance of becoming fearful or aggressive. 

     Most pet shop puppies are packed into crates by the broker and shipped via air or truck to pet stores all over the United States.

     Often puppy mills will advertise their pups in the local newspaper and offer to meet a buyer half-way.  The price may be less than a reputable breeder is asking, but the quality may be as well. Most of these puppy mill breeders do not want you to come to their home.  You might be in for a rude surprise if you actually saw the environment these pups were raised in.

AKC papers mean nothing other than the sire and dam of the litter was registered with the American Kennel Club.  It does not mean you have a quality pet or one of sound body and temperament.  Be aware that many puppy mills and backyard breeders are no longer registering their litters with the American Kennel Club (AKC) now that they demand DNA testing on litters from kennels breeding a large amount of dogs.  DNA tests would prove that the puppies came from the parent dogs that the litter was registered under.  This would cost the puppy mills more money and it would also stop the practice of keeping two males in with a female in heat or combining litters and registering them as all from one female to save the cost of a litter registration per litter.

     Many now are registering their litters with the American Canine Association (ACA) since this association has no restrictions.  Beware that the registration certificate looks very much like that of the American Kennel Club (AKC).  If you want a puppy registered with the American Kennel Club, ask first before looking at the litter, study the papers closely and do not buy a pup if the breeder hasn't received the puppy registration papers and promises to mail them to you when they arrive.  A breeder should have registered the litter soon after they were born.  This gives them six to nine weeks to receive the individual registration form for each pup in the litter.

     If you decide to purchase from a pet store, you might want to ask these questions:

1)  Where did these puppies come from?

2)  Was the seller a licensed USDA dealer? (usually meaning they came from a puppy mill).

3)  Does the kennel or broker insist on genetic clearances for breeding stock?

4)  Can I get a copy of the eye and hip certifications of the puppies parents?

5)  What health problems are common in this breed?

6)  How much socialization do they need?

7)  How much do they shed?

8)  How much exercise do they need?

9)  How often should this breed be groomed?

10) What happens to the puppies you don't sell?  Are they sent to rescue groups, euthanized or retuned to the breeder?

Responsible, reliable puppy producers have the answers to these questions.  If the pet store clerk or manager can't or won't answer these question, you would be wise to look elsewhere.

     The best bet for finding a healthy purebred dog is to go to a breeder that specializes in the breed you desire.  Many of these breeders show their dogs and are interested in breeding sound, quality animals.  These breeders will usually be careful to screen prospective buyers of their pups and, in most cases, will provide a buyer with a written guarantee stating the puppy is healthy.


Hot Weather Tips to keep your Pet safe.

    Provide plenty of fresh clean water.

Make sure that outdoor pets have a place to come in out of the heat or a shady area.

Keep flies and mosquitoes at bay by spraying your pet with Deep Woods Off. Pay particular attention to the ears and ear tips. Avoid spraying around your pet's eyes. Use a cotton ball or washcloth soaked in Deep Woods Off and apply to the face and ear area. Flea and tick control should be used monthly as well.

If you jog or walk with your dog it's best to do it in the early morning or in the evening after the temperature is cooler. Hot sidewalks can burn the pads of their feet and excessive exercise in the heat of the day can cause heat exhaustion and can be fatal especially to older pets.

    Keep your pet well groomed and free of sores that flies might irritate. Flies will lay their eggs in open sores which later could cause maggot infestation.

    A child's swimming pool filled with clean, water is a good way to help outside dogs keep cool. Most dogs, like children, love to play in water. Make sure to change the water daily.

    If you think your pet has collapsed from heat stroke, immerse the pet in tepid water to help raise it's temperature and get medical help as quickly as possible.

    Do not leave your pet in a closed automobile during warm weather even for a few

minutes. This is an invitation to tragedy.



Helpful Hints

    When storing your pets dry diet in plastic or tin containers, it's best to leave the food in its original bag. Chemicals from plastics can be absorbed into your pets food over time.

Avoid using plastic bowls for your pets food and water. Plastic can be absorbed into your pet's body. It is also proven the plastic can cause the loss of pigment on dogs noses from friction against the 

bowl while eating. Stainless steel bowls are safe to use and the best choice for your pet. They can also be washed in the dishwasher.

    To keep water from freezing solid outdoors during the winter, coat the inside of the bucket or bowl with margarine. Ice won't stick to the sides and the block of ice will lift right out.

Pig hooves and cow hooves can splinter and cause digestive upsets or worse. Splinters can lodge in the throat or stomach. Buy only rawhide chews made in the USA. Rawhide from other countries must be dipped in formaldehyde before coming into our country.

    For dogs and pups that chew on wood, you can make a paste of Alum and water. (Alum can be found in the spice department in most grocery stores). Put the paste on baseboards and any other wood surface that might be chewed on. Once applied, your pup or dog will not chew there anymore.

Live mint or basil planted a round outside kennels will help prevent flies. Flies are also repelled by Marigolds.

    To remove gum, tar and pine sap from a pets coat you can use peanut butter or a product called Goop. (Goop can be bought at most hardware stores).

Static Guard sprayed on your pets brushes will help keep the static out of their coat.


Did you know?

The top ten dog breeds according to registration with the American Kennel Club in the year 2000 are:

 1. Labrador Retrievers 2. Golden Retrievers 3. German Shepherds 4. Dachshunds 5. Beagles 6. Poodles 7. Yorkshire Terriers 8. Chihuahuas 9. Boxers IO. Shih Tzu

These breeds are followed by the Rottweiler, Pomeranian, Miniature Schnauzer, Cocker Spaniel, and the Pug.



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