I admit it I cringe at the pet store when people pick up a bag of death (most name brand foods) My husband refuses to stand by me or gives me the look. Everyone has their own ideas about feeding their pets. I am one of those people who has strong beliefs that the amount of health issues our pets have is directly proportionate to the food we give them.
I used to be part of the roaming herd of clueless. I bought into the cutsey commercials with the loving cat or dog and the happy life they lived. I fed my animals foods that was more than the normal cost with names that I inferred meant they were healthy. I figured if it cost more than it was good – I mean the bag and commercials told me so.
It all came crumbling down six years ago when my cat Slakk Michael was diagnosed with Feline Diabetes. He had been flooding his litter box and so I brought him in to the vet. Over the years he had been healthy for the most part. The usual dry skin, fleas etc. The vet did a blood test and sat me down and gave me the prognosis.
“He is about 9 years old. He will be dead in a few months. I recommend euthanasia.” When I mentioned perhaps trying insulin the vet was not hopeful and told me he would probably die but we could try it.
I went home and began researching. I learned that feline diabetes and cat obesity were on the rise and in researching it came down to one thing. Dry cat food. We had turned our hunter/predator meat eaters into free feeding grain addicts. Here me out – grain equals carbs, carbs turns into sugar.
Obviously I found a new vet – a vet that understood feline diabetes and even though I am terrified of needles I learned how to test Slakk’s glucose level and inject him with insulin twice a day. Luckily for me cats have pancreas’ that actually can heal and so after less than two months on insulin Slakk was insulin free. Take that Dr Death Vet!
And today at 15 years young still going strong. I test him once in a while and his levels are always good. So what did I change? I got him off of bags of death!
My cats now live on less calories and are healthier. I feed a high protein grain free canned food and supplement (because Slakk is a crunchy addict) with a grain free dry food. And honestly my bill is no more than when I fed the more commercial food. And my vet bills are way down too! When a wild animal is looking for something to eat in a corn field do they chase the rabbit or grab a husk of corn?
Since my cats were on a grain free existence of course that meant the dogs came too. Sam has had allergies most of his life so I moved to a limited ingredient food and he almost immediately stopped throwing up. Obviously Bummy has been moved onto it as well and her coat is always amazing. They get both canned and dry. Both are grain free and still very affordable. In fact Costco of all places has a wonderful grain free under their own label.
When I met with my vet for our pre-breeding health examination for my upcoming litter of Australian Shepherds, she asked what I fed. She agreed there was no need to change food as I was already feeding a well balanced food for my pregnant bitch as well as her puppies. No need to change foods – the food works for all. Again in the wild are their special meats depending on age? Of course not! So why is it we have not questioned different foods for our animals?
Do you sense a theme? No grains need apply! I am a label reader now. The first three ingredients need to be MEAT or something I know what it is. Not meat by product or meal (please do not ask what that is it is really gross). Yes there is raw, I tried it but my cats rebelled – especially my ex-feral, go figure.
What is funny is my mother and father laughed at me at first. On a whim they changed their cats to a high protein low carb food. Guess what? the cats looked and felt better. No more dry skin, less hairballs. And again really not a higher cost because there is no more free feeding. Why is it that people preach portion control for themselves but dump a bag of dry candy to their pets buffet style?
Again we have been desensitized to this. The commercial show this to us. It is convenient sure but it also is why so many animals end up at the vet all the time. You cannot go by cost, some expensive foods are as bad as the generic slaughter house floor scrap food. The label is the key to a healthier and happier pet.