The truth about pet food and what your pets really should be eating 9



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Our pets are our companions, our friends, and we like to keep them as happy as can be, even if that means forgoing things for ourselves. Pet owners love to spoils their dogs and cats and give them the best. But is it really the best, because it says it is on the label? It seems there might be more than meets the eye when it comes to pet food.

According to veterinary experts, Australian dog and cat owners can save stacks of cash just by looking at the label of the pet food that they buy, and by being a bit more wary of what it is that goes into their pet’s bowl.

The fact of the matter is that pet food manufacturers will do anything to make you buy their food, by convincing you the product you’re purchasing is a partly or completely nutritious and necessary in your pet’s diet.

“There is so much mythology, crap and garbage out there on the subject of cat and dog nutrition, it’s amazing. In fact, I’d say there’s more rubbish than good stuff out there,” Pets Australia managing director Dr Joanne Sillince told The New Daily.

In an exposé by consumer affairs program The Checkout on the 4th of June, they found that Australians spend $3 billion per year on pet food.

They also discovered that PFIAA (Pet Food Industry Association of Australia) are quite relaxed when it comes to pet food guidelines. A few examples:

  • Dry food named after a meat product only needs to contain 20 per cent of that meat and only 25 per cent of that portion needs to be that particular meat, as long as there’s more of that meat than any other.
  • Wet food named after a meat product only needs that meat to be the main meat, with no minimum total meat. That means that if the wet food contain beef, it only needs to be 25 per cent of unknown percentage of overall meat.
  • Qualifying words such a “dinner”, “casserole”, “luncheon”, “meal”, and “feast” allow the products to have even less meat, so a ‘beef dinner’ could have more chicken than beef as beef doesn’t have to be the main meat in the product.
  • Another qualifying word is ‘with’ i.e. beef with pork – it allows the product to only have 5 per cent meat but doesn’t even have to contain any other meat at all
  • And the word ‘meat’ could mean any part of the animal protein, such as entrails.
  • The regulations also allow by-products which could be parts that don’t include protein – but manufacturers don’t have to state what they are.

The Checkout also found that anything that guarantees ’emotional balance’, ‘hairball control’, ‘development’ etc. is usually false. Pet nutritionist Dr Wendy Brown said pets simply need a balanced diet and plenty of exercise.

Note also that any pet food that says ‘treat’ is not a nutritionally complete diet and treats should be given to pets very rarely.

So how can you make sure the pet food you’re buying is going to be the best for your dog or cat? Look for the cheapest brand that says ‘balanced and complete’ or ‘meets AAFCO requirements’… it’s as easy as that.


Tell us, what do you feed your pets? Do you believe they have a balanced diet?

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. As a first time mother to kittens the info is overwhelming. I’ve had cats but never kittens. Different ball game. They seem to be thriving regardless of my fears etc. And I have been basically doing this buying the least expensive balanced meal. They eat better than me.

  2. Buy cans of dog food plus dog sausage. Dry food & fresh mince. They get table scraps also, which they love

  3. Our vet said to get the best quality (which we do) – have noticed the dog poo is less and not as runny. We also add some rice or pasta and other stuff that is left over to balance the meal. Even at puppy training we were told not to buy the cheap dried dog food as it has lots of fillers and salt.

  4. Throw away the can opener and feed dogs real food. We have two Samoyeds who get mashed veg with pet mince, from our local butcher, chicken frames and chicken legs. A piece of brisket bone and beef neck bone once a week. Sardines and whole eggs. Works out cheaper than so called premium foods and vet bill only once a year for vac. Plus they love it!

  5. I have bred dogs for 30 years and fed raw beef , I never had dietary problems.i worked in a pet shop for 2 years and couldn’t get over how many dogs had cancer and allergies, they just fed dry kibble.

  6. I now feed raw or cooked beef, I buy a cheap frozen chicken each week and boil it, also pasta, rice and egg. I believe the dried food must have preservatives and I truly believe that dry diet is the reason for so much cancer and allergies.who would want the same diet day in for life!

  7. After two and a half years of trying different diets to help my 7 year old Cavoodle who seemed constantly to have sensitive skin, was continuously scratching, chewing off her fur and in some instances had broken the skin surface, I changed her diet from processed dried food and chicken to the B.A.R.F. (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet. Her diet now no longer includes any processed foods that are filled with preservatives, hormones and/or additives and I source doggie treats that are naturally dried. In just under three months, she is no longer continuously scratching, her fur is growing back and she is a much happier dog. Another bonus is the money saved by no longer purchasing overpriced, preservative and additive processed wet or dry dog food and treats!

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