Monday, December 20, 2010


In the wake of a recent recall of pet food, we're reminded of the importance of premium pet food. The products have been recalled due to the possible presence of aflatoxin, a toxic by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus on corn and other crops. While premium pet foods do contain carbohydrates, they avoid corn, wheat and soy — the most common components of food allergies in pets. The following article details what a good pet food should and not include.

by Charlotte Biggs, CKO, Founder/Owner, Stay N Play Pet Ranch

One easy way any pet owner can influence the quality of life and longevity of their pet is by providing the highest quality of food possible. There are many premium pet foods available today because pet owners have an increased awareness of the affect of nutrition on their pets’ lives. Food quality makes a direct difference to your pet’s health. Feeding a premium diet results in fewer allergies, skin conditions and ear infections, less inflammatory bowel disease, better muscling and muscle tone, stronger bones, shinier coats, more energy and better temperaments. Better nutrition helps keep the immune system functioning normally, puts less stress on a pet’s organs and contributes to improved health over the long term. Pets feel better overall and are happier.

Your pet’s liver and kidneys work very hard, every day, to remove toxins from the bloodstream and eliminate them from the body. Pet foods that contain chemicals, preservatives, dyes and other non-digestible, non-supportive ingredients force these organs to unnecessarily work harder. At the same time, the body may be operating in a malnourished state because this same food is full of by-products and/or fillers that do not contribute to optimum nourishment. When a body is not healthy and functioning normally, the mind is distracted and the spirit of your pet can be compromised because it just doesn’t feel as well as it should or could.

Higher quality foods contain meat or meat meal as their first listed (most abundant) ingredient. There is also a source of carbohydrates, but minimal grains. They do NOT contain by-products, fillers, chemical preservatives, dyes or artificial flavors. They also avoid corn, wheat and soy—the most common components of food allergies in pets. The very best premium foods contain human-grade ingredients, all natural Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and probiotics. Meat based diets are more palatable to your pet because meat tastes good naturally. Inferior foods use sugar and artificial flavoring to increase their palatability.

Your pet receives better nutrition from premium pet foods because of better digestibility. Digestibilty means that every bite of food contains nutrients that the body can easily absorb and use and less filler that has no nutritional benefit and is excreted as waste (stool). This is especially important when talking about protein. Digestible proteins are meat and meat meal. Cereal grains also contain digestible protein, but dogs and cats are carnivores and their digestive systems are geared toward meat. Thus corn, wheat and soy are LESS digestible for your pet. Indigestible proteins are commonly known as by-products and can be anything from cow hooves to chicken feathers.

A highly digestible and palatable pet food requires less volume per feeding and generates less waste. A pet fed a premium food is healthier which results in lower veterinary costs and increased longevity. This offsets the higher price of premium foods. By reading labels and feeding the highest quality pet food you can afford, you can make your pets lives better and longer.

Charlotte co-owns and operates Stay N Play Pet Ranch, Inc., the all-natural, green, full service pet care facility that she and business partner, Betty Gale, built 12 years ago in Dripping Springs, Texas. They are dedicated to providing the best care possible for the pets who stay at their facility. With this same passion for the well-being of each individual pet, they are devoted to providing the pet’s owners with information and education on the most effective ways to keep their companion healthy and happy.