Whats the Best Natural Organic Pet Supplements ?
If you are already a convert to the organic food way of life then you will already know the major benefits of eating this way:
Meat, fruit and vegetables free of chemical pesticides which can number up to 20 different types in ordinary produce; Higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and fibre;
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A much improved taste experience making eating more enjoyable and you feeling more alive and healthy than before. If you are enjoying these benefits then is it not time you offered them to your pets? Just in the same way we can opt for organic food, now you can offer a range to your pets for their approval.
What Organic Pet Supplements Is Available?
Taking a look around the internet you will readily see offerings for organic dog food and also, maybe to a lesser extent, organic cat food. Several suppliers are very active in organic pet foods and typically this is what they have to offer: All organic pet food products are made with human grade organic ingredients which can include: chicken and other meats, organic cereals and organic rice as well as organic vegetables.
It is stated on one site that the ingredients are exactly the grade of food that you as a human would not hesitate in consuming. After some searching you will find that what you already buy for your pet will probably be available in an organic form of some description.
Typical products available are:
Tinned organic dog food, organic kibble organic dog treats, tinned organic cat food, there is even a company that is offering organic canine cookies.However, do not be tempted to get carried away with the treats just because they are organic, remember that moderation is advised and always read the product labels.
Many of these foods are also hypo-allergenic and gluten free, meaning that if your pet is suffering from allergy or digestive problems then there may just be an organic pet food solution out there that will help ease its suffering.
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The FDA's Dog Food Recall had families with dogs and cats on edge. The dog food recall spurred many of us to search for alternative ways to keep our animals safe from tainted foods. But while we went through the process, it changed some of our thinking about what to feed our animals. Is there a better, healthier alternative for our dogs than the grocery store kibble we fed them before the recall? How should we feed our dogs as we go forward, now that the recall "dust" has settled? At first, I believed that the safest solution to the problem during the dog food recall was to cook a 100% home-made diet for my dogs. I reviewed home made dog food recipes from the internet, library books, the local bookstores, and I spoke with our veterinarian about my ideas. My veterinarian suggested that there were serious nutritious considerations to take into account when making home made dog food in order to make sure that the dogs were fed a balanced diet. I totally agreed. But still, I felt desperate during the dog food recall. I was willing to make a few mistakes regarding nutrition if it kept my dogs completely safe from worrisome ingredients. My veterinarian's office assured me that the dog food that they sell in their office was safe from the recall and that it was nutritious and balanced. If the office is going to suggest something, and it is a reliable brand, I realize that they are going to suggest the one they sell. There is nothing wrong with that, but the dog food industry is a profitable one. I just wondered- is their food the very best solution for me and my dogs? I vowed to learn more.
I decided to keep on researching, and here are the answers I came up with:
1. Making your own dog food is a real possibility. Home made dog food recipes abound right now in books and on the internet, but there are some important caveats to remember. Certain foods that humans eat can be harmful to dogs, and can even kill them if enough of the ingredient is eaten. Most of us know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but did you also know that onions, large amounts of garlic, nutmeg, grapes, xylitol (an artificial sweetener) unripe tomatoes, fruit seeds and pits, and walnuts can all be fatal to dogs? Please research your ingredients and be aware before you begin cooking for your animals. Home made dog food and dog treats can be made nutritiously and safely, and they can avoid some of the lower quality by-products and chemicals that are in many of the mass-produced dog foods. Cooking for your dogs can be a very good thing.
2. There are many safe and healthful foods out there that you can purchase for your dogs. Here are the things to look for: First, check the Food and Drug Administration's Dog Food Recall List. If your food is not listed, to be doubly sure that there will not be a problem found later, there is a simple solution for the FDA 2007 recall: AVOID ANY FOODS WHICH LIST EITHER WHEAT GLUTEN OR RICE PROTEIN POWDER IN THEIR INGREDIENTS LIST! These are the two problem ingredients that were found in products coming from China. Learn to look at the labels for foods that use quality ingredients. Avoid chemical preservatives, as well as artificial flavoring and coloring.
3. Variety is not only the spice of life, it may help keep your pets safer. In reading articles, listening to news broadcasts, and keeping up with the issue by tuning in to syndicated radio forums on the subject, I heard something that echoed loud and clear: Many experts believe that one of the reasons that dogs and cats died from eating the tainted food, rather than become ill and recover, was that their diet consisted of only one food. In these cases the dogs and cats received the recalled food over and over again, which led to kidney failure in the case of the tainted products from China. Going forward, I decided that it is a good idea to supplement my trusted dog food with home made food that I cook myself. This gives my dogs the variety that now seems to be important. Sometimes I mix the home made food in with their dry kibble, and sometimes not. Other times I feed them the home cooked food by itself.
4. Treats - My dogs enjoy many fruits and vegetables, and I have a list of easy healthful snacks on my website that are safe for dogs, as well as additional dog treat recipes which do not contain any of the toxic ingredients listed above. I hope that we can learn some important things after living through the 2007 dog food recall. Hopefully we can lobby for more stringent regulations for pet foods. With more precautionary regulatory measures, and our own decisions to feed our animals differently, we can keep them safer for the future.
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The ingredients list on the label is where the pet owner makes up his or her mind about whether they like what they read. Those who do or do not want to feed a certain ingredient can look to make sure it is included or excluded.
Some prefer to say no to animal by-products, which may contain heads, feet, viscera and other animal parts not particularly appetizing, and from various species. But protein quality of by-products can actually be quite good, so that may not necessarily be the main bone of contention.
Meat and animal derivatives - sounds tasty, doesn't it? This tends to be seen as an ingredient at the cheaper end of the pet food market, and as a source of protein. In the UK Meat and animal derivatives are legally defined in the Feeding Stuffs Regulations 2005. They are sourced from animals which have been inspected and passed as fit for human consumption and are the parts of the animal which are surplus to the requirements of the human food industry in the UK eg. heart, lung, or muscle meat, which may not be traditionally eaten by people in this country.
Cereal by-products - Headlines such as 'May 4, 2007 -- Cereal Byproducts Company is announcing today that the FDA has determined that there are melamine and/or melamine derivatives in the rice protein concentrate produced by a single source Chinese supplier' do nothing to give confidence to consumers!
Cereal by-products, a cheap source of carbohydrate and vegetable protein by their name and definition are 'by-products' of the human food industry, not usable for human food and could come via bakery/breakfast cereal or similar production. They will possibly be mixed sources of cereal, and may be lower grade than the straight cereals used in premium brands.
Meat Meal is another ingredient that some pet owners don't like the sound of. By-products of the human food chain (carcases with some meat protein remaining) are rendered (heat processed), which removes the fat and water from the product. Meat or poultry meal can contain parts of animals not normally eaten by people. You probably don't want a detailed description (if you do try this one at Wikipedia!)
Suffice to say, this is a huge business converting waste animal tissue into stable, value-added materials for several industries as well as for pet food.
The article from Wikipedia interestingly points out that rendering is one of the oldest stablished recycling processes - taking what would otherwise be waste materials and makes useful products such as fuels, soaps, rubber, plastics, etc. At the same time, rendering solves what would otherwise be a major disposal problem. As an example, the US recycles more than 21 million metric tons annually of highly perishable and noxious organic matter. In 2004, the U.S. industry produced over 8 million metric tons of products, of which 1.6 million metric tons were exported.... food for thought, perhaps!
The UK Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) states that it uses those parts of the carcass which are either surplus to human requirements or which are not normally consumed by people in the UK. Companies which are members of the PFMA operate their own quality assurance policies including strict specifications for material supplies, routine testing of all incoming materials and the use of vendor assurance schemes (and audits) to monitor their suppliers. The British pet food industry also uses sources of meat and meal from the UK, USA Canada, Australasia and various European countries. All materials imported must comply with the strict British legislation.
UK manufacturers only use materials from animals which are generally accepted in the human food chain. They do not use horsemeat, whales or other sea mammals, kangaroos or a number of other species not eaten by humans. It does use beef, lamb, poultry, pork, fish, shellfish, rabbit and game. The PFMA practice of only using materials derived from animals passed as fit for human consumption is now incorporated into the Animal By-Products Order and PFMA member companies using animal material derived from the UK are recommended to only buy from and sell to companies registered under the Animal By-Products Order.
When looking at an ingredient list, a pet owner also has to decide whether or not their pet has an intolerance to a cereal or protein type -this seems to be a growing problem.
Some consumers try to avoid pet foods with synthetic preservatives, such asbutylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin, in particular, has been hotly debated. Current scientific data suggest that ethoxyquin is safe, but some pet owners avoid this additive because of a suspected link to liver damage and other health problems in dogs.
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Many products today are preserved with naturally occurring compounds, such as tocopherols (vitamin E) or vitamin C. However, these products generally have a shorter shelf life than those with synthetic preservatives, especially once a bag of food is opened.
Comparing foods with different ingredients is difficult. Take protein content for example. Let's say we have two foods which have the same percentages of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber and moisture. But one protein or carbohydrate type may be more digestible than another, so that complicates our comparison. For example:-
Food A contains 25% protein that is 60% digestible and food B contains 25% protein that is 85% digestible. That means of food A the body is able to utilize 15% of the protein content, but of food B 21.25%. Logically, to meet the body's requirement of protein, you'd have to feed more of food A than of food B, and the body of the dog eating food B will have to work less to utilize it.
Meats such as poultry, fish and pork all have a high digestibility, as do cereals such as rice and corn. Wheat, soya and oats are less digestible and logically therefore you would have to feed more to get the same nutritional benefits.
Although manufacturers are happy to tell you that the meat they use is human grade and comes from the human food chain, let's be clear that this is not the best fillet steak or free range chicken breast. Meat producers make as much as possible producing for the human market, because it is more profitable- what is left is what you would probably not want to buy if it was put for sale in the butchers or supermarket!
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