Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Risks of Feeding Your Pet

Feeding your pet these days is a dangerous task. Never mind all the disgusting ingredients in their food but all the recalls and notices are making it very difficult to know what’s safe! The 2007 melamine pet food scare killed thousands upon thousands of pets. I can’t even be sure I didn’t feed some of it to my Alex when she was sick. I’m assuming if she did eat it, her organs would have shut down immediately and she would have died within hours. Oh wait…that’s exactly what happened! I don’t know that the food had anything to do with it in all honesty since I was at the point of feeding her ten different brands, just to make sure she ate. Her kidneys were not failing as was the case with so many of the pets that died. She was eating something grain free, but I can’t be sure there was no rice in it, which could have contained melamine. It was not one of the better brands, that’s for sure and she did go downhill extremely fast and out of the blue.

The truth is we’ll never know. I didn’t have the money for a necropsy, nor was I even given that option. I wasn’t told much of anything really and once I found out I could have done that, she had already been cremated. Also by the time I'd even heard of melamine, the food I'd fed her was gone. Thrown out or given away. I’ve always wondered if it had anything to do with the food she ate. In fact I do know a few people who have lost their kitties to possibly tainted food; one as recently as a few months ago. Come to find out in this recent instance that the food she was feeding could possibly have been mislabeled and counterfeited as the real thing. Again, this may not be the case and there’s no way to know for sure but it’s currently being investigated. It’s beyond devastating to think that something you think you’re doing right for your pet could actually harm or kill them. And although it’s not the pet parent's fault in any way, there isn’t a one of us that wouldn’t feel like it was indeed something we did wrong.

There was a time when it was mainly dry food that had recalls. Then it was wet food and in the past year it’s expanded to premade frozen raw food. Feeding a home prepared raw food diet is the healthiest for your cat but how can you be sure the food you’re getting at the grocery store is safe when there are plenty of recalls there as well? Admittedly it’s mostly prepackaged, ground meat that’s the problem but chicken is not far behind. And the U.S. government is debating importing chicken from China which I think is the most preposterous idea ever! China is where most of the problems stem from, although the U.S. does have issues of its own. But given all the food issues we have with them, the recent bird flu deaths and all the dogs dying from chicken jerky, I see this as nothing short of catastrophic.

So what are we supposed to do? What on earth do we feed our pets? Every time we think a brand of pet food is safe, there’s a problem or a recall. Not everyone has the time to make their own pet food but I think it’s coming to that. Even without all the hidden dangers I have been questioning some pet food ingredients for years now; carrageenan, spinach, avocados, corn, corn and wheat gluten, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention the chemicals found in them such as BPAs. The way I see it, pretty soon it will in fact come down to most of us making our own food. I see that as the only option if things continue this way and I see no end to the corruption in the industry. Cutting corners, using cheap fillers and raking in the money are what it’s all about. In pet food, as well as people food.

In any event, whatever way you are feeding a homemade diet, whether it’s a cooked meal or a raw food diet, the safest bet would be to go to a local or holistic market to get your ingredients. I do this for myself anyways so why wouldn’t I do it for my pets? There’s one here that I go to called Fresh Market that sells fresh, organic and locally obtained meats and other foods. I absolutely love this place! They cut the meat fresh right in front of you and you can tell the difference between that and the supermarket brands or prepackaged meats. Most everything there is locally and organically grown and obtained. This is what I prefer to do, it’s probably the safest available, and it’s only a few dollars more than the grocery brands. And of course there's always ordering from reputable companies that cater specifically to raw pet food. 

If you can’t feed a homemade diet for whatever reason I suggest researching pet food companies extensively and even calling them and talking to someone in charge to get a handle on what and where they manufacture, distribute, etc. A good company will not make excuses but will understand your concerns and work with you. Staying vigilant and taking as much control of what we feed them as much as possible is what it’s going to take to keep them healthy. 


kittyquartetmom said...

I was just at Petco yesterday, and I wandered around thinking - what do I feed them? Nobody seems to like the same food, and Maizy has to be on a LID. It is quite frustrating that is for sure. It would be great if, as any one of us checks, perhaps to list what we find out. The worst part is the foods that we thought were quality are now having problems.

Carol said...

I was in Petco on Sunday. I was thinking the very same thing as I was trying to remember which brands/foods had recent recalls. It's a real pity and a shame that this isn't better-regulated and enforced--both here and in China.

IBDKitties said...

You know you can always report to me anything you find out from a company and I'll be happy to send it out to everyone. said...

I just stopped feeding my Irene ANY cat food. I feed her the cooked white chicken breast meat I buy from SAM'S Club. She used to throw up her food once a week telling me she needed her Prednisolone which would last for a week, She has IBD but with the canned (for human consumption) chicken given in small doses, every two hours, she has been keeping it down. My only concern is if I should be giving her vitamins or supplements? My theory is that the chicken has trace amounts of antibiotics that's given to the live chickens to prevent sickness or disease. It seems to be working for my 8 year daughter. (She sleeps at my feet)

IBDKitties said...

if you cook a home cooked diet, you need to supplement, especially Taurine, otherwise you may face a whole host of other health issues. Here is a page on my site about homecooking: