Our dogs should live as long as 20 years but instead most make their crossings much sooner than provided by their DNA. Much of this can be attributed to the food they eat. Providing a balanced meal for our beloved pets is essential to extending your dog’s life.
Many commercial dog food products have chemicals approved for pet consumption.
Some owners feeding homemade and raw food diets are well-intentioned yet sometimes important nutrients that dogs need get left out of the dog’s diet and foods that are toxic are included.
Here is a list of what to avoid in feeding dogs:
- Common ingredients in commercial pet foods include meat by-products which are not fit for human consumption and are not a digestible protein sources. By-products can include intestines, chicken heads, duck bills, fish heads, chicken and turkey feet, hides, feathers, bones, hair, and possible meat from diseased, disable, dying, drugged and dead animals.
- Soy, corn, and wheat are indigestible proteins that can stress dogs kidneys and causes allergies. To hide the fact that these are main ingredients in commercial foods, these are also called ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, ground whole wheat, or whole wheat flour, just to mention a few.
- Meat and bone meal can include dead pets and animals from road kill and vets offices. Animals that have been euthanized, treated with antibiotics or steroids sometimes are grounded up through rendering factories. These animals may have died from all sorts of diseases, trauma and natural causes. Unless you know the source of the meal has high quality, it should be avoided. If you don’t know, call the company and ask about their suppliers.
- BHA & BHT have been known to cause liver and kidney dysfunction and are known carcinogens and is used has a preservative to provide a 2 year shelf life or greater.
- Until recently, garlic was thought to be an inexpensive, natural, and safe way to fight parasites and improve the pet’s health. Here is the catch! Garlic is from the onion family and it can be harmful, if not deadly to our pets. Garlic can provide many great health benefits when fed regularly to our pets. It can stimulate white blood cells, prevent tumor formation, and decrease blood cholesterol. Some vets propose that it helps with treatments for allergies, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, infections, intestinal parasites, kidney disease. The effect it has as a natural flea and parasite repellent can be useful. Many manufactures include it in raw and other natural diets in their food formulas so many treats and vitamins contain garlic. But in the last 10 years, toxicity studies indicate garlic can pose a potential serious health risk when fed to cats and dogs if given in excessive quantities. The possible side affects are vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, tachycardia (irregular heart beat), weakness, liver damage, allergic reactions, asthmatic attacks, contact dermatitis, or gastrointestinal damage. The recommended use is one crushed clove of garlic per every 30 pounds but this is one of the chambers of the garlic and not the whole garlic bulb. A 60 pound dog could use no more then two clove (chambers) of garlic not the whole garlic bulb. A 15 pound dog would use 1/2 clove (chamber) of garlic.
- Baking Ingredients. A new trend is emerging in the popularity of homemade treats. Common ingredients include those that irritate dog’s digestion like whole wheat flour, baking soda/powder. These ingredients hold dough together but are not good for dogs. Baking soda makes the dough rise, but it also releases gases that react to moisture and heat in a dog’s stomach. This can lead to bloat or other stomach problems. It can be painful for the dog and cause the stomach and intestines to rupture and can lead to death.
- Bisphenol A (BPA) used to make hard, clear plastics flexible and to line canned dog food. It can contribute to a higher risk of mammary and prostrate cancers. BPA also affects the brain development, increased aggression in adulthood, abnormal play, and sexual behavior, and decrease maternal behaviors in both animals and humans. Avoid feeding dogs from plastic dishes or letting them chew plastic toys If you feed canned food, buy BPA-free canned food like Life’s Abundance.
- Artificial colors and flavor artificial preservatives like propylene glycol and ethoxyquin are among the worst ingredients found in commercial dog food. Ethoxyguin is approved for use as a preservative in commercial dog food. Ethoxyguin was first used as a rubber and is now considered a pesticide by the FDA. It is used to extend the shelf life of pet food for up to two years. According to the FDA’s website, pet owners have previously complained about ethoxyguin, charging its caused a variety of ailments in their dogs. Propylene glycol, on the other hand, is known to alter-red blood cells in felines. After conclusive tests were completed it was removed from cat food but remains in dog food. Certain artificial colorings are also known to cause health issues in humans and laboratory animals.
- Steer clear of commercially manufactured pet foods that contain ingredients- like monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrate and benzaldehyde. As some of these artificial flavorings have been associated with negative health consequences for both humans and animals. Benzaldehyde has been charged with causing everything from contact dermatitis and eye irritation to respiratory failure in humans. It has also been accused of causing incontinence, eye irritation, decreases in blood pressure and other health issues in laboratory animals.
- Sugar and corn syrup are the cheapest and simplest of sugars. Corn syrup is believed to be the main culprit for causing obesity in pets as well as humans. Dogs do not need sugar in any form. Sugar can cause diabetes and be a major cause of cataracts and chronic ear infections. Corn is also one of the ingredients that causes dogs to develop allergies. Another problem with corn is the amount of pesticides used to grow the corn. That pesticide is not washed off before processing. This also causes environmental problems as the runoff from corn fields seeps into ground water. Typical pet foods contain an alarming amount of pesticides. Chronically itchy or scaly skin, moist dermatitis, “hot spots,” and smelly skin and ears are some symptoms of a corn allergy. Most of this can be completely cured by a change in diet.
- Beef tallow and cooked animal fat can cause cancer in dogs, and trigger pancreatitis.
- Propylene Glycol used as automotive antifreeze and can cause destruction of red blood cells.
- Chocolate has alkaloid in it called theobromine and this comes from the same caffeine family that is a stimulant. It stimulates the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and can cause an increase in blood pressure. Pets cannot process this as quickly as human and the effects can be severe.
Providing fresh and untainted food is important for your dog’s health. Finding a food that is fresh and safe is a challenge. Life’s Abundance does not contain any of the above ingredients. The food is made from the high-grade ingredients and in small batches which significantly improves quality control.
Joyce Rheal is Emergency Planning Committee chairwoman of the National Association Professional Pet Sitters and with Pets-life. Joyce is also a federally certified for FEMA’s “Animals in Disasters” program, and a certified pet care consultant based in Southern Illinois.