Do you know what is in your pet's food and treats?

by guest blogger Chris Roberts from Barkwheats Dog Biscuits

It’s becoming all too often that we hear of (many under the radar of the mass media) product recalls in the pet industry. The most major one was in the spring of 2007 in which many lower cost pet foods were tainted with an ingredient used to make plastic dishware, melamine. Thousands of pets were sickened and many passed on because of this invasion into the food system. So one might ask, how important is ingredient security to you, your pets, and your family?

Now, many people are looking at the back of the boxes and bags of pet food (and our own food) to see the ingredient listing. Are there words we can’t pronounce? Maybe words we can pronounce, but just haven’t ever heard of before? I’ve seen some brands lately who are using a filler in their product that is used to make cement. CEMENT! I don’t know about you, but that is certainly not something I would want to feed my dog. Let’s take a look at why we should feed our dogs (and cats) great food, and then look at the importance of sourcing the ingredients.

The most major reason I have for feeding our dogs a wholesome diet is because I love them. I want my dogs to be around for as long as possible, and have them live an amazing life because of the love they constantly give to me. Sure, they may have crazy art projects that involve the kitchen trash, but they just want to give you a beautiful piece of art, right? For many people, “anipals” are the greatest sources of love they have in their lives. They commit 100% to loving you no matter what, and how great is that? I feel that we should commit 100% to giving them that same love, and it starts with their diet.

We all have been hearing the buzz words… grain-free, gluten-free, ancient grains, easily digestible grains, organic, etc. I believe that no matter how you feed your dog, it is critical to understand where these ingredients are coming from. Now, I’m not talking about what distributor or central processor is handling these bulk ingredients. I’m talking about the farmers who grow them. The land that the ingredients are grown in. It is more critical than ever to understand where our pets (and our own) food is coming from, in order to keep us safe.

Think about this. If you had a relationship with the dog food (or treat) manufacturer that you buy product from and held them accountable for their ingredient sourcing, would so many dogs be missing from their “parents” lives due to harmful food? If we all demanded that manufacturers do their part to serve the public as corporations were originally created to do, how great of a place in time would we be living?

Food security has never been a more important facet of our culture as it is right now, today. We can bring a sense of safety into our lives by developing better relationships with the manufacturers of goods we and our pets consume and having an understanding of where ingredients come from. Not only is it safer for us and our companions, but it’s safer for the Earth as well. Next time you’re in the pet supply store, ask the clerk if they know where the ingredients came from in that snack you’re thinking about buying your pup. If not, maybe you should find something else?

Interested in being a guest blogger? Email blog at bigpawdesigns dot com

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  1. I agree with much that is said in the article. However, if you want full ingredient traceability, you have to look into *certified* organic pet foods (non-certified organic claims aren’t regulated or enforced by the government).

    All organic certification agencies put their names behind the products they certify and they have to know from where each certified organic ingredient in a product they certify comes from, and who certifies these ingredients if its not the same agency.

    If you are dealing with a certified organic pet food product, the manufacturer is able to tell at all times to whom they sold what ingredient when.

    Another thing to consider about healthy commercial pet food products is that you have to know about how the product was processed.

    Was it heat treated? If yes, at what temperature? Only low temperature processing can provide your pet with nutrients that are still bio-active. If you bake or cook or can even the best ingredients, you will have live-less food with little nutrition, even if manufacturers add (mostly synthetic) nutrients.

    Another thing you want to know is that the included ingredients are not only species-appropriate but also that they aren’t overly processed such as in ‘refined’ flours.

    I personally prefer humangrade ingredients over feed-grade ones, because quality standards are higher for human-grade ingredients.

    Sorry this comment is so long, there would be more to say! I hope some of this is helpful.

  2. Certainly, things just seem to worsen day by day…can you imagine a food ingredient that’s used to manufacture cement as well??? that’s just nuts! You’re right, perhaps it’s better to make sure where the food came from. If we can just do much about it…..well anyway, speaking of dogs, a dog-lover like you should check out this cool FaceBook application, Save a Dog, which aims in tying up fun with some feel-good cause in helping save shelter dogs. It allows you to virtually foster real dogs and convert your points to actual donation. Visit

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