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What's in Your Pet's Food?

By Dr. Lisa S. Newman, Ph.D.

What is in your pet's diet... and why should you care?!

You have probably heard the scary stories of feathers and beaks and "things" commonly found in pet foods... you may have experienced the pain and expense of caring for a chronically ill animal or may simply be waking up to the nutritional benefits to your own health and are wondering how this could also effect your animals. What ever your reasons, hopefully you will get out the ingredient list of what you are now feeding and compare these notes. In the last few years, holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists have concluded that many of today's health problems from allergies to cancer, even behavioral problems, can stem from poor nutrition... and not the "table scraps", but the very prescription diets and premium foods highly recommended. It's a shame that you may be unknowingly creating the very problems that your animal has been suffering from. A good diet is fundamental...

"Since I have graduated from veterinary school in 1965, I've noticed a general deterioration in pet health. I believe that the chemical additives in pet food play a major part in that decline."
Richard Pitcairn, DVM

"When the moist foods came out, we figured they must have a very strong preservative because they needed no refrigeration. Many of them do have a very strong preservative - formalin. Formalin is such a good preservative, in fact, that undertakers use quite a lot of it."
Thomas A. Newland, DVM

"Every time a pet eats another bowl of high-sugar pet food, he is being brought that much closer to diabetes, hypoglycemia, overweight, nervousness, cataracts, allergy - and death"
R. Geoffrey Broderick, DVM

"Do you know what is in meat meal, the major constituent of dry dog food?... Urine, fecal matter, hair, pus, meat [from animals, afflicted] with cancer and T.B., etc."
Wendall O. Belfield, DVM

"What you feed your animals should be the most important consideration you make."
Dr. Lisa S. Newman, N.D., Ph.D.

What's in your pet's food?????

It is common that the pet food industry is built on cleaning up the remnants of our own meat packing process, for those scraps which are not fit for human consumption. Common practice is to heavily preserve already rancid fats, with such chemicals as BHT/BHA and ETHOXYQUIN, to prevent further deterioration. These fats are a staple of the dry and canned food products, and it is what you smell (YUK) when you serve up your friend's meals. This smell has even led some people to use paper plates and plastic forks to feed their pets, in fear of contaminating their own dishes! Animal fats are used to provide essential oils for good skin and coat conditions... is it any wonder why there is such a dramatic health problem in this area today? Rancid, heavily preserved fats are extremely difficult to digest and can lead to a host of other health problems in your pet. Digestive upsets, especially throwing up bile or food, diarrhea, gas and bad breath are all linked to this. When fed to the newly developing digestive tract of puppies and kittens, it can permanently effect this sensitive lining, leading to a lifetime of digestion and assimilation problems. Fat can continue the allergy (sensitivities) responses, especially in the lamb and rice formulas.

These popular preservatives are heavily used in the pet food industry, not only to preserve fats but to stabilize the whole product as well. We have certainly been educated as to the dangerous side-effects of BHT/BHA in our own diets, as a serious carcinogen, but little truth has been shared about ETHOXYQUIN. This preservative was developed in the 1950's as a rubber stabilizer and herbicide, very similar to Agent Orange! It was either never approved by the FDA or recalled after three years of human use (I researched both accounts) but one thing is for certain - the documented cases of serious side-effects, resulting from exposure to ingestion of this chemical. Humans who were working with it in the rubber industry, reported a dramatic rise in such diseases as liver/kidney damage, cancerous skin lesions, loss of hair, blindness, leukemia, fetal abnormalities and chronic diarrhea. In animals it has been linked to immune deficiency syndrome, spleen, stomach and liver cancer, as well as the above mentioned diseases. The steady increase in animal cancer and serious diseases has paralled the increased use of chemical preservatives in the pet food industry during the last 25 years!

Soybean is used to increase protein content and bulk in pet foods. It is very difficult to digest and assimilate especially for dogs, who lack the proper amino acid needed. It is known to cause gas buildup in the digestive tract and has been linked to bloat, a major killer of dogs today.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, there is no mandatory inspection of ingredients used in pet food manufacturing. Accordingly, law allows the pet food industry to use what are called "4D"sources - that is, meat tissues, skin and insides of animals that are dead, dying, disabled, or diseased (AND NOT FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION)when they reach the slaughterhouse. From his experience as a veterinarian and federal meat inspector, Dr. P.F. McGragle concludes that feeding slaughterhouse wastes to animals increases their chance of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. Those wastes can include moldy, rancid or spoiled meats and salmonella contaminated poultry parts, as well as the tissues to severely riddled with cancer to be eaten by people. The heavy use of hormones, steroids and antibiotics, in farm animals, is also a concern. These continue to be active even in "dead" tissues.

A prime example of generic labeling is that of "artificial". By law, the manufacturer does not have to list any ingredients on the bag, and often does so in a manner which tells us little of what is actually in the products! Coloring often includes the following coal-tar derivative dyes: FD&C RED#40 (a possible carcinogen), RED#3, YELLOW#5 (not fully tested), YELLOW#6, BLUE#1 and #2 (increases dogs' sensitivities to fatal diseases such as parvo). SODIUM NITRATE, widely used as a red coloring and preservative, produces powerful caninogenic substances known as nitrosamines. People have died from accidental nitrate poisoning. Animals ingest much larger amounts of these carcinogens and other chemicals daily in their diets, than is ever allowed for humans!

Beet pulp sugar (not to be confused with beet pulp fiber), sucrose (table sugar), corn syrup (a derivative of corn starch), and molasses are the most widely used sweeteners in the pet food industry. Corn syrup is also known (and approved!) as an effective "humeotant and plasticizer", that is, an ingredient which gives the product dampness and flexibility. These ingredients cause chaos in your pets. They produce the same highs and lows as table sugar and a great deal of stress on the pancreas and adrenals, a condition that may result in diabetes. Corn syrup is hardly a healthy ingredient, especially when you consider how it dilutes other vital nutrients in the diet by providing empty calories devoid of vitamins, minerals, proteins or fats, and can also over stimulate the production of insulin and acidic digestive juices. These interfere with the animal's ability to absorb proteins, calcium and other minerals that are in the food! They also inhibit proper growth of useful intestinal bacteria for assimilation of these nutrients. Sweeteners have also been linked to behavioral problems such as aggression and hyperactivity. Cat food manufacturers rely on sweeteners to help "addict" cats to dry foods which naturally cats would avoid, preferring fresh kill.

This potentially harmful chemical is added to many products to maintain the right texture and moisture. Along with the use of Ethoxyquin, these humeotants tie up the water content and thus prohibit the growth of bacteria. These preservatives allow dry food to stay on the shelf for up to five years (!) and canned products indefinitely. As well as inhabiting bacteria growth in the product, they inhibit proper and necessary growth of friendly flora in the digestive tract, which aids in the assimilation of nutrients. They also decrease the amount of moisture in the digestive tract, which has led to intestinal blockage and a host of serious digestive tract problems such as cancerous intestinal lesions. This is what produces those "small, hard, dry stools" that certainly are easier to clean up, but you are also led to believe this means more product has been digested. It simply shows that more waste products (toxins) are not being properly eliminated; do you think your doctor would feel this was healthy for you, if you described having these types of stools?!

An ingredient heavily used to help increase palatability it has been believed to be the trigger of many diseases. Excessive salt intake (additional to that found naturally in most ingredients) can lead to hypertension, kidney stress, colon irritation, and a host of other ailments. A balance of sodium is vital for cellular health, but excessive amounts can damage these structures.

Long a common source of fiber, it is inexpensive and certainly bulk-producing, therefore very popular especially in the "reducing" diets. This incredibly harsh fiber can not only create chronic constipation, but damage the sensitive tissues of the colon.

Proper diet should be a fundamental concern when looking to prevent disease or rehabilitate.

This information is COPYRIGHT of DR. LISA NEWMAN, 1985-2003

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