Some of the things to look out for in these commercially available products include
1) Vitamin D
According to the FDA (U.S.A Food and Drug Administration), if a dog consumes pet food that contains too much vitamin D, they develop Vitamin D toxicity.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps dogs regulate the balance and retention of calcium and phosphorus. However, when consumed in high quantity can lead to serious health problems.
Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it cannot be rapidly excreted through urine, unlike water-soluble vitamins. And it gets stored in fat tissue and the liver which can lead to kidney failure and even death.
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2) Toxins in the food
Most of the food available commercially contain feed-grade ingredients cooked at nutrient destroying temperature. Unfortunately, feed-grade ingredients are low in quality when compared to the human-grade quality and also contains toxins like mycotoxins.
According to the Natural Agricultural Law Center, meat meals, which are commonly fed to the pets come from the rendering process and contain dead animals from farms, ranches, marketing barns, animal shelter and fats, grease, and other food wastes from restaurants and stores. These dead animals also contain pentobarbital, an anesthetic used to euthanize animals (according to FDA testing of dog foods).
3) Food Dye
Some food dyes like Red 40, Blue 2, and Yellow 5 and 6 have triggered allergic-type reactions like hypersensitivity, behavior problems, and even cancer in humans. 4-MIE (4-methylimidazole) is used for caramel color in food and it is a known animal carcinogen. So, looking out for food coloring is important as the color only appeals to human eyes and not animals.
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4) Chemicals and Preservatives
Some of the common preservatives found in pet food and treats include BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin. But BHA and BHT have known carcinogens and cause kidney and liver damage.
Ethoxyquin is commonly found in fish meals. This chemical is illegal to use in human food but can be legally used in pet foods. It is best to go for foods without preservatives for your pets. Some of the other ingredients to look for are PG (Propylene Glycol) and EG (Ethylene glycol).
5) Rendered Fat
These are used as a flavor enhancer for kibble and it is a source for microorganisms like salmonella and heavy metal toxins. If the moisture from the food penetrated into the food bag then molds and bacteria can flourish.
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According to FDA Compliance policy CPG Sec. 675.100, the FDA “does not object to the diversion to animal feed of human food adulterated with rodent, roach, or bird excreta.” Hence, the pet food may contain such undesirable and disease-causing substances which are not permitted in human foods.
The best way to feed our pet is to offer a diet of human-grade with Whole food ingredients and minimize the consumption of dry and canned diets and treats since the latter can cause more harm than good.