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Old 10-04-2006
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tomahto tomahto is offline
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Default Choosing a food for your pet

This was written by my sister, who spends pretty much all her spare time researching pet food ingredients and educating people on them. I personally feed my cat Primal Brand raw food, which he loves:


CHOOSING A FOOD FOR YOUR PET:


keep in mind this is mainly about kibble/canned commercial diets and does not cover raw feeding, which is also a valid and very healthy diet choice(when done right). raw diets aren't really my area of "expertise."

specific brand recommendations are towards the bottom.

what i look for in a pet food:
grains- grains are the most common allergy in cats and dogs. grains are completely unnecessary for cats and dogs, as they are both carnivores. they are used as a filler, to bulk out the product and cut down costs, since they are cheaper than meat. the worst grain is corn, and you will find that most really bad foods (like kibbles and bits, etc) are composed primarily of corn. a grain free diet is the best kibble you can get, but you will want to look into high-protein diets as they are inappropriate for some animals (like those with kidney problems). ideally a food will have no grains, or at least they will not be in the top three ingredients. you also want to watch out for a technique called splitting- science diet is a a good example. what they will do is split an ingredient into different components, like "corn meal" and "corn gluten meal" to lower the weight of each component and therefore get them lower on the ingredient list. soybeans are also something you want to avoid usually- simply because of lot of bad foods use them to up the protein content of their food. soy protein cannot be utilized by carnivores. solid gold, nature's variety, and innova all make grain free varieties of kibble. or, you can feed raw food, either homemade or storebought.
by-products- some by-products are not bad! normally, a predator will eat most, if not all, of the prey animal. this includes all those yucky parts that you hear about like feet, intestines, etc. however, by-products should not be too high on the list, since they are basically a cheap form of protein, and don't contain all the nutrients a dog needs. i don't mind seeing them after the first 6-8 ingredients, but they should not be above that.
chemicals- BHA and BHT are preservatives commonly found in pet foods. so is ethoxyquin. BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin are approved in pet foods at far higher levels than they are for human foods. they have been found to cause certain types of cancer at high levels. yeah, everything causes cancer nowadays. but these preservatives should be avoided if at all possible.
meat- you never want to see something labelled "meat." you want to see specific meats- chicken, turkey, lamb, etc. ideally the food you choose will use only human grade meat, as pet grade meat is 4-D animals- dying, deceased, diseased, disabled. these are basically waste products from human grade meat slaughterhouses, and are therefore much cheaper to use than healthy animals. bad quality foods can also contain packaged expired grocery store meat, euthanized animals from shelters, biohazardous waste products (tumours, etc), and waste sludge/grease from grease traps. meats should always be the first, and hopefully first three, ingredients listed.

the benefits of good food:
animals fed high quality food will eat less, since they are able to get more nutrients from the food they are eating. their stools will be smaller, harder, and less smelly. their coats will be shiny and soft, their breath better, and they will have more energy. their teeth will be cleaner (though dental care is still important) and decay will happen at a slower rate. they will generally be healthier and less prone to being overweight.

recommended products:
wellness
solid gold
nature's variety (also makes raw food)
flint river ranch
wysong
merrick
natural balance
canidae (best if you are on a budget)
chicken soup for the dog lover's soul
innova (especially innova evo, their grain free food)
blue buffalo

foods that pretend to be good but really aren't too great:
royal canin (apparently human grade meat, but too many fillers)
science diet
nutro (nutro isn't awful, if nothing else was available i would feed it, but it's pricey for what it is and has lots of grains and other fillers)

foods that are just garbage:
anything you can buy in a grocery store
purina, eukanuba, iams, etc

where to buy:
most of these foods are only available at independent pet/feed stores. you can find some in your area using the store locators on most of their websites. you can also buy online. some petcos carry solid gold and natural balance. petsmart carries blue buffalo (it is a petsmart brand).
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Old 10-04-2006
carrie_cat carrie_cat is offline
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Default Good article!

Hi tomahto,

Nice work by your sister! Tell her so for me, please! I raw feed, but supplement with Cal Naturals, Wellness and Merritt Naturals. I don't make my own raw food, I use Aunt Jeni's Homemade (cat and ferret food) because I'm lazy . I need to go thaw some chicken thighs tonight; it's good for cats to be able to gnaw on raw poultry parts to help "floss" their teeth and the Aunt Jeni's is ground up so it's not good for exercising the jaws.

It's been astonishing seeing what raw feeding can do for animals that you already think are healthy and beautiful to start with!
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Old 10-05-2006
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Thank you so much for sharing your pet food tips. I will be making a visit to Petsmart again soon to buy my cat some more food and I think I will be making a switch based on what I have learned. The recommended products list will be helpful and I will try to find that canidae brand. I am certainly on a budget these days, but I am very committed to keeping my aging kitty happy and healthy.

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Old 10-11-2006
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I feed my cat T/D Science diet brand. She loves it and I can not tell you how clean/white her teeth are. She is five and she never has had a dental. She is also healthy. And of course her diet plays a huge role in her overall health. As all of you know, bad teeth and gums can lead to deminish a animal's health.

Sunny
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Old 10-16-2006
carrie_cat carrie_cat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny
I feed my cat T/D Science diet brand. She loves it and I can not tell you how clean/white her teeth are. She is five and she never has had a dental. She is also healthy. And of course her diet plays a huge role in her overall health. As all of you know, bad teeth and gums can lead to deminish a animal's health.

Sunny
That's great. Some cats do well no matter what their diet -- just as some humans can smoke, drink, practice unsafe sex and so on, and live to healthy old age! If your cat is doing fine on its current diet and care, there is probably no sense looking to change. If, on the other hand, you have seen cats develop multiple cancers, or die too young of some disease process, you do start to look at everything -- from the water, to the food you're feeding. I've fed grocery-store dry cat kibble, and I've fed raw and the no-grains and no-byproducts diet; the latter made the cats I've cared for enormously more healthy and beautiful. This is a multitude of cats I've cared for for over twenty years, so I am pretty confident about what works for me and my pets.
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Old 07-21-2007
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bumped because of recent interest in this subject.
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Old 09-24-2007
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Bump again for the (newer than me) newbies
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Old 09-25-2007
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I have actually changed my cat's diet. I used to feed her T/D. After reading what goes into it, I was appauled. It is mostly all by-products and corn. Plus it has preservaties BHA and something else. Sorry don't know it off hand. Which cause kidney failure, bowel diease and some cancers.

She is now on Wellness dry and canned.

Sunny
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"The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way it's animals are treated".

"Saving just one pet won't change the world, but, surely the world will change for that one pet." You might be the only love they know in their life.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly

You can either be the cure or the disease.
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Old 09-26-2007
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Default

just found a great related website!

http://www.dogfoodproject.com/
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