As you already know, I don’t mince words here. I have, however, been forced to be less than honest in my professional capacity, which has always made me feel, well, crappy. There have always been a few key rules to working in pet food…the most common rule, don’t badmouth any brands or companies. I’ve done my best to follow this rule, as best I can, but honestly, I’m over it.
I had a customer tell me that she had a puppy and was feeding it Pedigree but was thinking about switching to Science Diet. She asked if Pedigree was a good food, I said “No”, then she said “so Science Diet is better?”, I said “Nope.” I would never have worded it this way before, I would have danced around the benefits of better food and gently steered her away from the junk. I’ve been taking this honest approach for the last 2 weeks and I have to say that customers seem to appreciate my brutal honesty over my typical “salesmanship”. As a consumer, I always appreciate honesty from salespeople and can always tell when they are bullshitting me.
So here’s the truth about pet food…at least what I’ve learned over 8 years of being in pet food. The majority of pet food companies are NOT interested in keeping your pets healthy! I know! It’s crazy but bear with me. If you feed a brand that has food for a thousand different problems and health issues, there’s a reason for that! If your cat DOESN’T have urinary tract problems, guess what? You won’t buy their urinary formula of food. If those companies were really interested in keeping your cat’s urinary tract healthy, they would only make food that KEPT your cat’s urinary tract healthy. Everyone who has any knowledge of cats and their biology knows that dry food of any sort is NOT good for our perpetually dehydrated feline friends, and yet, all of these supposed “expert nutritionists” create kibble that creates a problem with the urinary tract, then creates a different formula to help maintain the problem. I know I hinted at this with my last post, but this is when I get into it.
Everyone in nutrition knows that free-feeding your dog or cat kibble will cause them to get fat…no where on the bag does it read “Do not overfeed or allow your pet to free feed” or “If you free feed, measure out the recommended amount each day to prevent obesity, which can cause health problems.” Nope. Instead, they just create a new formula to help your fat animal lose weight and add the minimum amount of glucosamine and chondroitin to the formula to help with joint pain. They may even add MSM or Turmeric to help with inflammation, but if they really wanted your animal to be a healthy weight, there would have been the aforementioned suggestions, written on the bag of kibble, in large type, so everyone knew to do these things.
Sure, there are documentaries out there, like “Pet-Fooled” that spills the secrets of what goes into pet food, like all the disgusting by-products, euthanized animals, roadkill and other things, but it doesn’t really address what a money maker these different prescription foods and solution based kibble formulas actually are. This is something that has bothered me for a really long time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they made this documentary and I sat there, nodding my head through the entire movie, because I already knew all this information. I’ve spend almost a decade trying to convince other humans of these things, just to walk down the aisle of a big box store to see Beneful and Pedigree still on the shelves, not to mention SO many different prescription foods, for every possible health issue available with a paper prescription from a veterinarian. Did you know that Royal Canin makes a cat food that calms your cat??? Never mind what is causing the mental anxiety in the first place, just feed this plant based food with L-tryptophan in it and it will be fine. Are you freaking kidding me???
We have warning labels on almost everything that is bad for humans, including a warning not to consume toothpaste! Yet, somehow, we think that bags of biscuits with a label that assures us it will help our dog or cat with their diabetes, sensitive stomach or possible food allergies, is the solution to the problem? Come on, people. We have these amazing brains that are capable of SO many amazing things, yet we are so gullible when it comes to the opinion of an “expert”. Veterinarians are NOT nutrition experts! I’ve been doing some research on the subject and found that vets, while they DO know medicine, are just as confused as the rest of us on nutrition. Click here to read a very revealing article written by a vet. They do get some training, often sponsored by Royal Canin or Hill’s, but even those companies change up their food, all the time.
As you know, I feed raw meat to Bugsy and Ezmerelda, which has kept them pretty damn healthy. The two times Bugsy has gotten sick is when he gets into kibble…imagine that! I’m not saying that everyone needs to feed raw food, although I would love if everyone did, but I get it, it can get pricey. All I’m asking is for you and all pet owners to take a glance at what your brand offers. If you see the basic food, then fifty different formulas to solve health problems that WILL PROBABLY occur after feeding the other formulas for long enough, then find a better quality food that doesn’t have all of those solution formulas. Ask yourself WHY they make all of the urinary formulas, weight loss formulas, sensitive stomach formulas, etc. Our pets are in crisis because we are forcing them to eat things that their bodies are not equipped to eat. It’s simple biology. Our doctors are constantly trying to get us to eat what our bodies NEED, so why are we convinced that forcing our carnivores’ bodies to try to get their required nutrients from overcooked biscuits, is a logical thing? Even when we consume SlimFast for most of our meals, we are still instructed to eat a balanced dinner at the end of the day! Logic! Both our obligate carnivores, or cats, and omnivorous carnivores, or dogs, NEED real food.
So, if you HAVE to feed kibble, pick a brand that DOES NOT have so many options to solve health problems, and yes, there are a few out there. Here are some dog foods that I can stand by: Zignature, Orijen or Acana, Instinct, First Mate, Open Farm, Stella and Chewy’s, and finally, Only Natural Pet.
If you have to feed cats kibble, the list is about the same but smaller: Fussie Cat, Instinct, Orijen, and Only Natural Pet. However, PLEASE always include SOME wet food. Moisture is key to a healthy cat!
Okay, sorry for the super long post, but I just had to get that out to the world!
Let’s start a pet food revolution! Let me know if you have questions! You can comment here or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!