How much do we LOVE our pets on Valentine’s Day? We love them so much that many of us treat them just like human family, include them in holiday gift giving, and give them birthday parties! And shhh- you may not admit it but LOTS of you have dogs or cats in your bed every night! But besides enjoying a nice sloppy doggy kiss, or stroking your cats fur till they purr with delight, how can we REALLY show our love for our animals? Well, it turns out that the way to your best friend’s heart is through their stomach! Here are a few ways to use nutrition to give your animal companions the best gift of all- better health, longevity, and QUALITY of life.
Seven Smart Ways to Love Your Pet With Better Nutrition
NUTRITION is the foundation of all animal health, but it can be daunting to the busy pet guardian to sort through hundreds of pet foods. With such a wide range from the most basic “economy” foods to the high end natural pet foods, and huge price differences among them, it’s not easy to choose. So one of the best ways to love your pet is to do a “yearly nutrition checkup.” Re-examine the food and treats you are providing and see how they measure up against the following recommendations.
#1: CARBS DON’T LOVE PETS! Reduce carbohydrates in your carnivore’s diet. Dogs are “omnivorous carnivores,” and cats are true carnivores. Both species lack the ability to fully utilize high carbohydrate diets such as those based with wheat, corn, or rice. Look for pet foods that provide carbohydrate percentages on their labels, and try to keep to 40% or less carbs in your dog’s main food, and 30% or less in cat foods.
#2: We LOVE grain-free foods…IF they are low in carbs! The grain-free pet food “craze” IS based on good science- but now that so many foods are grain free, you must learn to tell the difference between “Grain-Free” and Low Carb/ high meat protein diets. Read the labels and if the info isn’t there, CALL THE MANUFACTURER and ask.
#3: HUNT down dog and cat foods with MEAT PROTEIN at the top of the ingredient list: This can come either in the form of whole muscle meats, usually labeled simply as “chicken,” “beef,” or “lamb,” etc., or concentrated meat proteins listed as “chicken meal, beef meal, lamb meal, etc. AVOID “by-product meals” or generic proteins labeled as “meat meal” or “meat and bone meal” without any source identified.
#4: DON’T FETCH any food or treat products with chemical preservatives: AVOID propylene glycol, all forms of glycerin including “vegetable glycerin,” BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, ethoxyquin, titanium dioxide, artificial colors, and other chemicals.
#5: BE A SWEETHEART, but not by giving pets SUGARY snacks! Your pet may be sweet, but their food should NOT be! Keep sugar out of your pooch or kitty’s food and treats. Be a “sweet tooth sleuth” and eliminate sugar, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, and other sugars from the diet. Sugar consumption often leads to obesity or diabetes. Treats should be high meat or meat and veggies with low carbs, just like a pet’s daily food. This healthy snacking program avoids adding “empty” calories to the pet’s diet when giving treats.
#6: Want your pets to really LOVE you at dinnertime? Give them healthy MOIST meals every day. HYDRATE dry dog food for optimum digestion and stomach health. Do this even if you are feeding a high quality dry food. Veterinarians report that strict dry food eaters are the pets they see most often with irritable bowel syndrome and other tummy troubles. Simply adding water to dry kibble is a start, but it doesn’t work very well since dry kibble is designed to resist water! Alternatively, add canned food for moisture, or use an all natural pet food topper such as Clear Conscience Pet® SuperGravy®
#7: Get to the heart of the matter- read those labels!
Do a treat label review, even if your brand says it’s “all natural.” It is a great phrase, but it doesn’t guarantee great products. Clear Conscience Pet® has taken a bold stance for transparency in the pet nutrition business with our “CLEAN LABEL” pledge. It’s a little known but sobering fact that the pet food and treats industry is under no uniform government or industry rules governing the use of the terms “Natural,” “All Natural,” or “Holistic” on a pet food or treat package.
We brought CleanLabel™ to our industry to set the bar higher. Clear Conscience Pet CleanLabel™ means that products have limited ingredient lists and that EVERY ingredient is PURE, PRONOUNCEABLE, and PURPOSEFUL. It’s a philosophy that respects the intelligence of consumers and puts animal health and JOY above all other goals. It’s a “new” way of looking at pet nutrition that’s not new at all- it’s a return to simpler times when food for people and pets was made from whole food ingredients, and cooked and prepared simply.
Today, too much of the food that we and our pets eat originates in the laboratory instead of the farm and kitchen. These “engineered foods” are marketed to us by multinational mega corporations and sold to us as convenient, safe, and healthy.
There is some truth there: highly processed and refined foods with unintelligible ingredients ARE convenient– for the manufacturer. They are safe—if one is concerned only about short term safety in the absence of pathogens rather than the long term effects of a chemical-laden diet. And they are healthy—healthy for PROFITS for the multibillion dollar engineered foods industry, not healthy for people and animals.
Use common sense. If one or several ingredients in a pet food or treat are things you don’t recognize, or can’t even pronounce, why would you want to feed them to your pets? That’s not Clean Label pet nutrition. All of our healthy treats, chews, and SuperGravy® follow the Clean Label philosophy. LOVE YOUR PET WITH THE GIFT OF BETTER HEALTH AND VITALITY, and have a great Valentine’s Day with your human and animal loved ones!