Healthy Pet Food - The Best Way to
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Pets need the food they are biologically adapted to. It\'s a matter of context. Just as a fish needs to be in water to stay healthy, a pet needs its natural food milieu to be healthy.\n\n

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Pet food

Healthy Pet Food - The Best Way to

Choose From All

Just looking at the pet food ads on TV and in magazines, you'd get the impression that all

commercial pet foods are healthy. All those fresh ingredients could tempt you to try these pet

foods yourself! Unfortunately, the truth about most pet foods may be far from what artful ads

would have us believe. If you've ever opened a pet food can that was marketed as healthy, and

then found a glob of unrecognizable, grayish something-or-other, then you probably know what I


Now, if you're already aware that not all pet food commercials and ads live up to their promises,

you should ask yourself a simple question: how can I tell if a particular pet food is healthy? The

answer to this is often hidden in plain sight, on the pet food label, often in the midst of a bunch

of unfamiliar terms. To do well for your pet, you need to be able to interpret pet food labels


Pet food

First and foremost, healthy pet foods contain real food ingredients.

Healthy commercial pet foods are made from natural food ingredients that reflect the needs of

the pet for which the foods are intended. Remember that ingredients are listed in the order of

their relative quantity in the pet food. Healthy dog and cat foods should contain animal-derived

products as their first ingredients. The quality of these ingredients is absolutely essential to the

health of your pet. If you see terms like 'chicken meal', 'fish meal,' 'animal by-products,' or

'animal fat,' you should know that these ingredients are of extremely low quality. Better choices

are products that list terms that precisely describe the ingredient, such as chicken, cod, or animal

parts, such as chicken heart or beef liver. Finally, the addition of synthetic chemicals should be

kept to a minimum, as most of the available pet food supplements added routinely to pet foods

are of low or questionable quality and value.

Second, healthy pet foods are certified organic.

This is true quite simply because organic ingredients are both safer and healthier for your pet.

Organic ingredients are safer because their production and processing precludes by regulation the

use of toxic manufacturing and processing chemicals. These include agricultural pesticides,

fertilizers such as sewage sludge, hormones and antibiotics used to raise livestock, and toxic

chemicals used during manufacture, including among others, fumigants, pesticides, and corrosive

sanitizers. As well, organic ingredients can never include genetically engineered foods (some of

which have been implicated in a variety of health problems, such as allergies or reproductive

disorders). Increasingly, studies have shown that organic ingredients are healthier than their

conventional counterparts, not only because they are free of toxic residues and diligently

processed, but also because they contain more nutrients, including vitamins, antioxidants,

minerals, and critically important trace elements.

However, you should be aware that only USDA certified organic claims are regulated and

enforced by Federal law; other non-certified organic claims cannot be verified by an unbiased

third party.

Pet food

Third, healthy pet foods are made of human-grade quality ingredients.

Although it doesn't seem to make much sense, there are both USDA certified organic ingredients

for human consumption and USDA certified organic ingredients for animals (examples are eggs,

peas, etc). The latter are called 'feed-grade' ingredients, and are approved for the use solely in pet

foods. Feed-grade ingredients are certainly of lower quality than human-grade ingredients. So, if

you're searching for a healthy pet food, look out for the descriptive word 'human-grade' on the

pet food package! Never assume that pet food manufacturers are required to tell the consumer

whether they use human-grade or feed-grade ingredients; they aren't. But they most certainly will

indicate if they use human-grade ingredients because these are of higher quality (a major selling

point) and more expensive to produce (a justification for charging more for their product).

Fifth, healthy pet foods can be identified by the way they're processed.

Even certified organic pet foods, containing all of the appropriate ingredients for a particular

species of pet, are not necessarily healthy. Healthy pet foods must offer more than just organic

certification and species appropriateness. They must also be processed in a manner that preserves

the integrity and bio-availability of the nutrients in their ingredients. Heat-based processing, such

as canning, baking or extruding food into nicely shaped kibble or biscuits, ruins the quality of

many nutrients and can render even the best ingredients 'lifeless' and all but useless to your pet.

Dehydration is a better way to process foods-but keep in mind that cats in particular don't do well

on dry food alone and that certain problems can even be associated with re-hydrated pet foods

that were previously dehydrated. If fresh foods are unavailable, the best choices among

commercial pet foods are products that have been fresh-frozen. Of course, freezing is less

convenient and more expensive for the manufacturer to ship and store, and those costs get passed

down to you, the consumer. Nevertheless, keep in mind that this additional expense will almost

certainly ensure that your pet will stay healthy longer, and will also save you the pain and

financial burden of caring for a sick animal.

Pet food

Finally, a pet shouldn't live on one prepared pet food alone, even if it is healthy and


No plant or animal can thrive on just one combination of nutrients. Variety is a must for your

pet's health and well being, and you have the responsibility to provide this variety for your best

friend. Just as you and your family would not live happily ever after on even the best quality

'astronaut' food (freeze-dried ice cream-blecchh!), your pet needs different foods to stay both

healthy and happy! Since your pet has few choices of her own, it's up to you to provide her with

a variety of different safe and healthy USDA certified organic, human-grade, quality foods

where ingredients have been processed in ways that are designed to preserve the endogenous

nutrients. Your pet will thank you for your diligence and care!

For more information on quality pet food ingredients and applicable organic, manufacturing, and

processing regulations, pleases visit