When it comes to pet foods and what we should feed our pets, we (myself included) have put our trust in those outside of ourselves, like the pet food manufacturers and veterinarians, to know what the best foods are to feed our pets because we think they are the experts on the subject. At least that's what we are led to believe. However, this is not the case.
We are bombarded with marketing and advertising on mass media, a form of brainwashing, which the pet food industry has very deep pockets to pay for. If you see certain words, pictures, phrases or jingles enough times, you will go for the familiar. They know this. They know all the tricks.
Pet food Manufacturers are in the business of making money from their products. The pet food industry violates U.S. federal food safety laws and are allowed to get away with it.
Unfortunately, the amount of pet nutrition that is taught in veterinary schools is very minute. Hopefully this will change for our future veterinarians, if it's not already. So unless they take additional years of college to get a degree in nutrition or pursue the subject of pet nutrition on their own, the only education they have in regards to pet foods is from the pet food manufacturers themselves -- the same ones whose foods they sell. And as I've written about in more detail before: this is a little biased, don't you think?
The hard reality is that we have to take responsibility and educate ourselves about what it is that we are feeding our pets. We must be proactive to protect our pet's health. I've written about some excellent books available on the subject here, here and here.
For starters, it helps to know which ingredients to avoid in pet foods and why. This means reading the ingredient list on all the foods and treats you buy. Become an educated pet food consumer. And remember: every dollar you spend speaks volumes.Wouldn't you rather support the businesses who create healthier foods and products with your animals' health more of a concern than just making a buck?
Here's a great list already provided by our pet food consumer advocate, Susan Thixton, of the "deal breaker" pet food ingredients to look out for:
I have also written in more detail about the subject of pet food ingredients here.