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INGREDIENTS: HOW TO KNOW A FOOD IS PREMIUM
The Myths and Truths
AFFCO: The U.S. government agency charged with overseeing and approving pet foods for market. This is the first myth that one must dispel. AFFCO's standards are to feed test foods (that's a scary thought right there) to animal volunteers (animal shelter?) and if they don't die after three months then the food is fed for three more months for a total of six before the food is approved. According to these standards just about anything will pass the test. If this doesn't set off alarms in your head then there is no hope.
Meat By-Products Prior to 1999 the red flag that one was told to look for in finding a good pet food was to make sure that meat by-products were not used as the first ingredient. This demonstrates the sorry state of pet food quality over the last decade. The thought that any pet food company would even be allowed by AFFCO to call their product pet food when it mostly contained beaks, hooves, bones and feathers mixed with a bit of corn meal and some heavy duty chemicals to preserve it, is simply disgusting. Animals rarely eat feathers but dogs do consume raw bone when they eat rodents or other small animals. Cats get taurine from the skull of their prey. Unfortunately raw bones are not used in the majority of pet foods, which are cooked to kill the rampant disease and bacteria in the sub-human grade meat scraps.
PERSERVATIVES. In 1999, one was able to spot what was currently the premium food by looking to see if the preservative Ethoxyquin was on the label. This deadly chemical in addition to BHA is allowed in pet foods by AFFCO today because according to their standards, it will not kill a dog in three months. However, it will kill or cause serious illness over the years leading to an early death. This does not concern AFFCO or the majority of veterinarians. Pet food companies (not AFFCO) wised up to the public's concern and recently began substituting this preservative with natural tocopherals, also known as Vitamin E. They did not however upgrade the other bad ingredients because people still demand cheap food.
CORN AND SORGHUM. By 2001, almost all mid-range pet food companies had eliminated Ethoxyquin. It still exists in foods sold by mega retailers such as Sam's and grocery stores. The general public's new red flag has become corn and sorghum. Corn causes intestinal irritation in the majority of dogs. This irritation produces gas, allergies, vomiting, hairballs, and other routinely ignored symptoms that pet owners think are normal. Corn is used because it is the cheapest filler available. There are a host of other allergenic ingredients that go along with corn that one isn't even aware of. A typical one is sorghum. In plain words, this is sugar. Sugar causes diabetes, tooth decay, obesity, hyperactivity, mood swings, lethargy and a host of other problems.
A comprehensive list is given below so that you may be able to chose a pet food according to your pet's symptoms. Remember that most symptoms such as illness will not appear until at least a decade of eating a certain ingredient so please take this into account. Humans can eat lard, butter and other natural but damaging ingredients for 20 to 30 years before vascular disease begins to set in and even then, one does not have strokes or heart attacks until it is too late to nutritionally reverse in one's senior years.
INGREDIENT-SYMPTOM LIST. THE GOOD, BAD AND THE UGLY.
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