Is Feeding My Pet Organic Food Important?
Is it important to give your pet organic food? You may be wondering what the difference is between organic and regular pet food. It can be confusing for consumers as many dog and cat food brands claim they are “natural” or “wholesome.” But what does that really mean?
In order to be labeled organic, dog and cat food must be made without any hormones, steroids, or pesticides. The packaging must show a symbol that it is organically certified, or else it’s not.
So what’s so bad about normal pet foods anyway? The problem with processed dog and cat foods is that they contain minimal traces of healthy meats and are packed with fillers. The amount of meat in lesser quality dog foods is questionable, and when there is meat, it is listed as “meat byproducts,” which doesn’t really count as meat. With this dog food, you really have no idea what your pet is getting.
Cheaper dog and cat foods can contain just about everything but real meats and healthy fats and other proteins. They can basically be a can full or undecipherable ingredients and can leave you questioning the health benefits of ingredients you can’t even pronounce. The best case scenario is that your dog or cat is getting lesser cuts of meat. The worst case scenario is that your pet is getting ground up “meat and bone meal” as you may find listed in the ingredients. This could be anything from ground up bones to more unsavory parts of the animal unfit for humans to consume.
If you wouldn’t eat something yourself, why would you feed it to your pet? Did you know that the often rancid odor that has come to be associated with dog and cat food is actually just that, old or rancid fats and grease that cannot be sold for human consumption? Often, it comes from restaurant grease. Restaurants are paid to save their left over frying oil in huge drums and then companies will come pick it up for use in dog and cat food. Who knows what that barrel of grease has been exposed to during its time in the restaurant? It could have sat for months in the heat or attracted wild animals that leave their droppings in it.
If all this has turned your stomach sour, it’s no wonder. The pet food industry has come under much scrutiny over the past years. That’s where the organic marketers have made their entrance. Consumers are now aware of the disagreeable contents of other mass produced pet foods and want to go organic for their pets. Marketers such as Newman’s Own, started by Paul Newman, and Wellness Pet Food are changing the way pet foods are made.
Organic pet foods contain ingredients in their purest forms. Companies like Only Natural Pet Food sell pet patties that are freeze dried and contain organic ingredients. The format is dried and is never cooked or heated before preserving. This means it’s more rich in vitamins and minerals and is free from any fillers. In fact, it contains USDA chicken and beef, fresh vegetables, and is free of grain, which pets, like people, can be allergic to.
The consistency of the food also allows the pet owner to crumble it into the pet’s dish even when on the road. It’s light and travels well. Some people even feed them to their pets as pet treats in the crumbly chunk state. What does all this cost? About $2.50 per day. That may seem like a lot when you consider a 40-lb bag of filler pet food can run you just $10. But would you rather pay less for food that has no nutritional value, or go for a bit more pocket change and get the good stuff?
Often times it is the pet owner’s wish to buy their pet wholesome, organic foods, but the cost is prohibitive. If that’s the case, consider other ways you can save in your budget. Eat out less or buy one less coffee drink a week at the expensive coffee shop. You’ll see that you can sneak in a few cases of organic cat food and not even feel the pinch in your budget.
Of course, another way to do it is to make all your pet’s food yourself. This can be as simple as bringing a grinder or food processor to the table and when you’re finished with your meal, grinding up the leftovers including fruits and vegetables for your pet. There are ways you can do it very cost-effectively as well by buying a little extra steak or a lesser cut of organic beef or chicken intended for your pet. Cook up a few days’ worth ahead of time and you will have enough for several days. Freeze batches in doggie or kitty sized portions and you won’t have to cook as often. You’ll be so happy when you see your pet licking the bottom of his dish, and you’ll know that he’s healthier too.