What Are We Feeding Our Pets?

The prevalence of pet food recalls in recent times has consumers, or shall we say “petsumers”, questioning what we are feeding our pets. Even some of the more expensive brands were involved in these recalls, causing grave concern among dog and cat owners.

As Americans, we have the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and US Department of Agriculture, but these agencies don’t make it a priority to question what is in the best interests of our fur kids. In fact, AAFCO standards allow even the poorest quality of ingredients to make it both into the food and onto the market. And, according to FDA compliance policies, pet food ingredients can include meat from diseased, dying, disabled, and dead animals, which often contain bacteria, carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. None of these things are required to appear on package labels. This knowledge alone should give us all pause. What are we feeding our pets?

Sadly, some of the most common and popular by-products and ingredients found in pet food have been linked to liver disease and kidney failure, and even death.

Meanwhile, our neighbors in Europe have the right idea, and they may be doing us all a huge favor. American pet food that is approved for sale domestically doesn’t guarantee its approval in Europe, quite possibly providing another layer of regulation stateside.

Pet foods that are manufactured and sold in the United States must pass stringent criterion to be classified as consumable in Europe. Enter European Union (EU) Certification, which was developed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). EU Certification requires that all animal ingredients used in pet food be derived from animals that have been declared fit for human consumption. It is this certification that a pet food manufacturer must have before its products can be shipped to Europe.

Unfortunately, some pet food companies have found their way around import/export laws, as well as additional costs incurred in guaranteeing that their products are human grade. Opening plants in Europe is more cost effective than improving products deemed worthy of our pets in the US. It is important to note that, whether you live in the US or Europe, a pet food that has APHIS EU certification provides a guarantee that meat ingredients are sourced from animals fit for human consumption, or human grade.

Whereas there are a number of pet food manufacturers that have APHIS EU certification, not all US companies have it. It would behoove us to do a little research about what we are feeding our pets. Some companies include EU Certification on their packaging, while others do not. Perhaps a phone call is in order. After all, our pets rely on good judgement on our part to ensure that what we are feeding them is safe. That is what we are about at Stately Pet Supply. We are here to answer any questions you might have about the best pet food options on the market today

What's a Good Dog Food?

Do you know what gives us a huge amount of pride? We have 100% control over which products we carry. 
As a start-up small business, it seems tempting at times to bring in the big name sellers. Customers are already sold on it, we just need to put it in their hands. Right?
That's not who we are. 
We exclusively stock only the foods we would feed our own pets. When everyone is throwing around the word "natural" on packaging and other buzz words, we dig so much deeper. 
Packaging and commercials mean absolutely and totally nothing, in fact, the ones that spend the $$ on national advertising are the ones who are almost certainly skimping in expense of ingredients.   
The good news for those guys? It all looks like brown crunchy kibble in the end so none of us can tell what it used to be.
Let's take a popluar protein as an example here. It's telling me chicken meal. Ok.. well, was this chicken healthy and then frozen/refrigerated after, or was it found dead from a respiratory infection?
Goof grief Charllie Brown, I never thought companies would be allowed to use the farmer's garbage.  
At Stately Pet Supply, every food needs to have been created with ingredients that we as humans could have enjoyed. That means we ask about grade of ingredient, handling of the ingredient, and manufacturing of the product.  But none of this information is on the bag!!
Our job is to be a resource, a guide through the very saturtated and confusing world of pet food. 
Our specialty? Understanding what's actually in that bag you're about to buy.  
Side note: below you'll find a picture of me when I see a company is EU Certified. Thank you for your time and see you soon!

Corn in Dog food

The ingredients you see below are those of a food from a big name company, easily found in big box stores. You'd know it if you heard it. What we'd like to focus on tonight is the first ingredient in the recipe.

Corn is becoming more commonly recognized as what's known as a "filler" but what does that really mean? What's the big deal with fillers? You have to fill the bag with something right?

Well, let's say we want a 23% protein formula for adult maintenance. This percentage can be achieved with any combination of plant and/or meat based proteins. In this case, they hit their goal with corn and by-product meals. This recipe intends to nourish your dog with corn.. and feathers. Good lord! That doesn't sound kidney-delicate does it?

So corn has protein, is it that bad of a protein source? In the matter of nutrition, it's a poor protein as it brings almost nothing good to pet diets.
Firstly, it's an incomplete protein and though some veggies can be complete, corn isn't one of them. Taking you all the way back to biology 101, the first chapters talk about amino acids and their role as the lego blocks of proteins. With some amino acids produced naturally in the body, essential amino acids need to come from a proper diet. Corn based diets don't provide these. Imagine the potential for long term health problems when your pet's diet is structured like a swaying Jenga tower.

I think next week we'll tap into the effects of this carb on normal intestinal flora and effects on live probiotic strains. Check us out on the 'ol facebook. We'd love to hear from you. 



Durable Dog Chews

So two MONTHS ago, my dogs started on some Tasman's center cut bison bones. With a pit bull, a Doberman, and a little terrier mix hard at work on them, I can easily attest to their durability but now the marrow has been consumed and they're losing interest.
The fix? Evanger's game meats to the rescue! Tonight we're trying rabbit. After an overnight in the freezer, they're good as new! Repurpose those bones and try it some with your dog's favorite pâté style meats, peanut butter, or even some plain pumpkin purée! 




Dog food and 4D meats

I have this conversation all day long. In different forms, the same question is mulled over daily. What kind of foods do you have here? Is my dog on the right food? I've been feeding  _BRAND X_ for 27 1/3 (and maybe a half more) years and every dog I've ever had did just fine.  

Popular websites often do a very good job of dissecting ingredient labels bit by bit and awarding stars on a point system. Take note though, where you find credit given for meals as the first ingredient in kibble, usually no distinction is made between fit for human consumption vs 4D sources of meals. Perhaps a 6th star category is in order.  

4D, that's interesting isn't it? As an industry term that references meat quality, it stands for "dead, diseased, dying, or down" animals. In other words, we're talking about meats that don't make it to a restaurant or grocery store. This quality standard is one of the biggest factors in determining the answer to the above questions. If I'm going to pay for a commercial dog food, my money is not to enable the big guys to cheap out and package the edible equivalent of fast food Play-Doh. My pets are to thrive, not just survive. 

There is much to be said for the ease at which proteins must be processed in order to promote long term kidney health and the health of internal organs in general. So, when we talk about 4D sources and especially the Goliath of kidney killers known as "by-product meals".. our goal is to steer you clear of these and help you do a ghostie right on into the world of clean, kidney pampering proteins.

Let's reference a 1-STAR food list as a starting point. If you find you're investing in any of these names as your pet's basis for nutrition, we'd like you to, well.. stop. There are better recipes, a whole world full of them in fact and they're not as expensive as you may fear. Stop paying for road kill, corn, feathers, and non-absorbable minerals. We didn't even touch on Chinese mineral sourcing did we? We'll save that one for a later time. Check us out on facebook too, in addition to more dog food related posts, I typically make a habit of taking ridiculous pictures of myself for all to see. https://www.facebook.com/statelypetsupply