We all want to feed our families healthy, nourishing foods, including our pets. Because our pets rely on us to choose their food for them, it’s our duty pay attention to what we give them. A diet of safe food is critical if we want healthy, happy pets!
Pet food companies know that it’s the humans that are calling the shots, so they target the advertisements and the writing on the bags to attract us. Companies that make food for humans do the same thing, but the statements companies can make about the source, quality, and freshness of human food are regulated pretty strictly.
The problem is, there aren’t a lot of regulations around what pet food makers can say about the products they make. And the regulations that are in place are full of loopholes, misleading people trying to choose safe foods, treats, and supplements for their pets.
Seeing Past the Label
When you look at the ingredients label of a bag of pet food, you probably take most things you see there at face value. The first step to making healthier choices for your pets is to get more skeptical about those labels.
For each ingredient, ask yourself:
What is that, really?
Where do they get it from?
Is it high quality and fresh?
Is that ingredient necessary?
To answer these questions, you need to know how much you can trust the brand. This is why I always advocate getting foods from local, small businesses if at all possible. They tend to be much more transparent and willing to share their processes, because they have pride in their product.
Why Regulation Matters
But we can’t buy everything locally, which is why this regulation problem is so serious. Labels like USDA organic are a way for brands to communicate that they’re trustworthy without having to have a direct one-to-one relationship with each consumer.
The problem is, many of the labels that brands give themselves are actually meaningless, and aren’t enforced by any kind of third party. This includes “natural,” which actually means nothing at all.
Common Unregulated Labels
So if we can’t trust the labels on pet food, how can we determine which options are actually safe and nutritious for our pets?
Commonly Concealed In Pet Food
Recently, the Cornucopia Institute released a report on ingredients in pet food, identifying many common issues. The main problems they found were quality issues (expired ingredients, contamination), cheap substitutes (excessive grains), reliance on GMO ingredients, and harmful additives & preservatives.
By returning to the label with a critical eye, you can identify a lot of ingredients that may be risky.
One of the most disturbing findings was that many products contain rendered ingredients that don’t even specify what species they’re from. These ingredients may contain animals that weren’t slaughtered. Indeed, trace amounts of sodium pentobarbital (used to euthanize animals) was found in at least 30 different pet foods.
Look For & Avoid:
Meat and Bone Meal
Just like their modern human caretakers, pets today eat far too many calories, with not enough nutrients. The culprit in both cases is simple starches. In fact, many pet foods contain mostly ingredients that are unnatural and therefore unnecessary for carnivorous cats and dogs.
First 3 Ingredients Shouldn’t Include:
Corn Gluten Meal
Most consumers have no idea how pervasive GMO ingredients are in the American supermarket — including the pet food section. For example, if an animal ingredient of pet food is labelled GMO-Free, that doesn’t mean that that animal’s diet was non-GMO. Only the USDA organic label guarantees that.
Check Your Label For:
“GMO-Free” or “non-GMO”
Animals that might have been fed GMO corn or soy
Images that look similar to the USDA organic seal
Human and pet foods alike contain far too many additives to improve shelf life and food consistency, including some that have been shown to be harmful.
Don’t Buy Products With:
Carrageenan (very harmful thickening agent)
Synthetic preservatives (propyl gallate, propylene glycol, and ethoxyquin)
Noni: Always Safe, Organic, Non-GMO, and Additive-Free
We’re committed to producing products for full and total health in both humans and pets. That means that we never ever add anything to our products that might be harmful in anyway. Our Noni Fruit Leather, which is sold for both humans and pets, is made of 100% pure organic noni pulp, and our lotions are all organic and water-based.
In fact, our pet and human noni formulas are exactly the same! We wouldn’t feed a pet anything that isn’t safe for a human, whether it’s “legal” or not. We package our animal formulas differently, just so you can tell whose is whose!