Serious Food Issues that Could Affect Your Pet

May 13, 2015

There are several serious food issues that could potentially harm both dogs and cats today.  One of those likely involves China, and others affects grains in pet foods.

After the Chinese-made, tainted pet food scandal in 2007 and the more recent problems with potentially tainted jerky pet treats (also manufactured in China), most pet owners are paying attention to where their dog and cat foods are produced and choosing more carefully.  However, pets are still becoming ill from foods they eat.  Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and consider the possible causes.

We purchase pet foods with packages that clearly state the product is made in the U.S.A.  Maybe, maybe not.

The United States government passed a law in 2014 requiring chicken to be raised in the U.S. But then it can be sent to China for processing before being shipped back to this country to sell in retail stores.  This goes for human food, as well as pet food.

The crowning blow to this new law is that pet food manufacturers are not required to disclose this information on the product packaging.  Unless you contact the manufacturer and ask, you have no way of knowing that the chicken was actually processed in China under that country’s less-than-stellar food safety laws.

When dog and cat foods are made, the processing under extremely high heat causes the food to undergo dangerous changes.  Essentially, this processing “renders the food dead.” (www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/think-you-can-avoid-pet-foods-made-in-china#utm_sguid=145118,730116db-0993-a0f9-ac78-d2a60cd2035d)

When the food has been heated, irradiated and extruded, it will be missing some important ingredients.  In order to pass the requirements set by AAFCO, vitamins and minerals must be added back into the food.  Those vitamins and minerals very likely come from a premix that originated in either China or India.  Even high-end pet foods contain pre-mixes.  You, the consumer, have no way of knowing for sure where that premix came from.  Manufacturers are not required to list that on the label.  If you want to know this information, call the manufacturer and ask.  Their phone number will be on the package label.

It is virtually impossible to avoid the pre-mixes of vitamins in commercial pet food unless you choose to feed a raw diet to your dog or cat.  Many of those raw food companies use real meat vegetables to replace the missing vitamins and minerals.  But for those of us who feed commercial dry food to our pets, deal only with reputable, trusted companies.  Buy the best your budget allows to ensure the health of your pet.

Another problem for consumers to consider is the safety of grains in pet food.  Pet food manufacturers cannot control the storage and processing of grains before they obtain them.  Corn is stored outside, subject to all kinds of weather, for weeks at a time before it is moved to pet food companies.  Those mounds provide the perfect breeding ground for insects and molds and fungi.

When the grain leaves the outside storage facility, it will be stored again somewhere until it is processed into dog or cat food.  In recent years there have been numerous reports of pet deaths due to molds and aflatoxins in pet food.

Corn isn’t the only grain that can breed this fungus.  Wheat is also susceptible to molds and aflatoxins.

One big reason why I don’t feed corn to my pets is that approximately 80% of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.  Chances are if your pet eats commercial dog or cat food containing corn, he is consuming a GMO plant food.  The real problem with GMO corn is that many health conditions have been associated with consumption of GMO crops.  These include liver and kidney damage, reproductive failure, stomach inflammation and more.

GMO plants are designed to resist weed killers.  Scientists created a plant that can withstand spraying with chemicals without damage. The chemical weed killer can also kill any mites or bugs in the way of the plants’ growth.  You can be sure that the corn in pet food has withstood the required number of sprayings of Glyphosphate, or Round-UP.  We can thank Monsanto for this.

Potentially lethal mycotoxins are created by certain molds.  There is no way for the consumer to know if a pet food contains mycotoxins, but you can avoid them by buying only grain-free food for your pet.

Mycotoxins are a type of mold that can grow in corn meal and other kinds of foods.  If your pet should consume these toxins in his food, look for vomiting, lethargy, jaundice, heart palpitations, heavy breathing or panting while resting.  Should you observe such symptoms, call your vet at once.

The plant with the highest incidences of aflatoxin contamination is corn. (http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/10/09/aflatoxin-contaminated-pet-food.aspx).

According to petfoodindustry.com, “Pet foods with plant-derived proteins may also contain harmful toxins.  The plant with the highest incidence of aflatoxin contamination is corn…”

“An expert in mycotoxins at the University of Guelph in Canada cautions pet parents to minimize the risk of aflatoxins by avoiding inexpensive pet foods containing vegetable cereals, corn or wheat fillers, and rice bran.” (http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/10/09/aflatoxin-contaminated-pet-food.aspx).

Avoid all of these potentially lethal problems by choosing pet foods that contain no grains, especially no corn.  Choose foods with only healthy carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes or oats.

Between molds and fungi in grains, GMO-plants, and potential problems with vitamin pre-mixes from the Orient, we pet owners are faced with some serious issues in choosing food for our dogs and cats.  It pays to be vigilant.

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