Organic Pet Food Waterville ME
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Organic Pet Foods, Unleashed
Cat and doggie dining is going all natural these days as people embrace the
By Susan Weiner
If you knew that your food was consistently laden with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and fillers, would you eat it, let alone enjoy it? Probably not. But many of us—as well the majority of pet food manufacturers—have expected our pets to love it. Is that any way to treat man’s best friends?
Lately, however, everything from pesticide-free grains and vegetables to free-range chicken and beef has been finding its way into pet food, and pet lovers are buying it up by the bagful. Since 2003, new pet products labeled “organic” or “natural” have more than doubled and the category will top $1 billion by 2009, double the 2004 market share, estimates industry journal Packaged Facts. That may be just a portion of the $14.5 billion owners spend annually on dog and cat food. But companies are chomping at the bit to persuade consumers that organic is worth the price, which can be more than double the cost of regular pet food. Organic food is an investment in the health of our animals and, like humans, they are living longer than ever.
Ready-made dog and cat food is relatively cheap and convenient, and it wasn’t until the 1930s that commercial pet foods were introduced in the US. Commercially prepared kibble has become the standard diet for pets, but it’s a far cry from a dog or cat’s natural diet. It’s easy to forget that playful Spot and cuddly Mittens are descendents of wild animals who evolved over thousands of years to thrive on a specific diet. Dogs have short intestinal tracts designed to quickly and efficiently digest meats, and cats are “obligate” carnivores intended by nature to hunt small rodents and birds.
Carbohydrates, in fact, are a cat’s worst enemy; her digestive tract is simply not designed to absorb them.
Conventional pet food manufacturers may brag that their foods are brimming with quality meats, vegetables and grains, but a close look at the ingredients used often tells a different story. In lieu of fresh meats, many manufacturers use meat meal or byproducts, which encompass everything rejected for human consumption, including beaks, feet, hooves, feathers, horns and entrails. Even worse, the pet food industry utilizes product ingredients from animals known as “4D”—dead, dying, diseased and disabled.
Fresh vegetables are rarely included in conventional pet foods, and fillers like ground yellow corn, gluten meal and wheat impart no nutritional value for dogs and cats—they even present potential health hazards, including constipation, diabetes, diarrhea and obesity. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that 25% of US dogs and cats are overweight. Many brands contain dubious ingredients, such as artificial colors and flavors, and chemical preservatives like BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin which have been lin...