In recent times pet nutritionists have come to the conclusion that many of today’s health problems in animals, including physical and behavioral conditions have their roots in poor nutrition. Many of the leading manufacturers of so-called ‘quality’ pet food are responsible for this decline in your pet’s health. Veterinarians are noticing this deteriorating health in pets and believe that chemical additives and preservatives play a part. So, just what is in your dog or cats pet food? The fact that when you open up a can of dog food you turn your nose, is a sign that there are all sorts of gases and odors released that are unfit for human and animal consumption. The heavy use of preservatives such as BHT/BHA and Ethoxyquin are likely to be responsible as well as urine, faecal matter, hair, pus, meat from sick or adrenalin filled animals (most animals just prior to the kill in abattoirs release a rush of adrenalin into their bloodstream as they intuit they are about to die). Ethoxyquin is actually an herbicide and has had detrimental effects on humans who were working with it in the rubber industry. Reports of liver/kidney damage, cancerous skin lesions, hair loss, blindness, leukemia, fetal abnormalities and chronic diarrhea were noted and in animals it has been linked to immune deficiency syndrome, spleen, stomach and liver cancer, as well as the above mentioned diseases. It is no doubt that the increased use of chemical preservatives in pet food is linked to the rise in pet disease over the last 25 years. Rancid animal and poultry fat (by-products of the meat industry) that have escaped human consumption are the staples of most canned pet food. These unhealthy putrid fats are difficult to digest and are likely linked to stomach and liver disorders resulting in bloating, gas, diarrhea and the notorious bad breath our pets are known for. At present, the department of agriculture does not have mandatory inspection of the ingredients used in pet food. They are allowed to use "4D" classification sources such as meat, tissues, skin and insides of animals that are dead, dying, disabled, or diseased (AND UNFIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION). Some of the animal meat used will be loaded with heavy hormones, steroids and antibiotics from the farming industry that continue to be ‘active’ in dead tissue! Add to this a host of artificial colorants, preservatives and sweetening agents such as cornstarch and sucrose and you have a chemical concoction bound to cause disease in any animal that ingests it. Cat food manufacturers use corn syrup, which cause addiction and over stimulate the production of insulin and acidic digestive juices. These empty sugars put a great deal of stress on the pancreas and may result in diabetes. They also interfere with the animal’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins from their food. As with humans, artificial sweeteners can cause hyperactivity and behavioral problems in animals and destroy friendly bacteria that aid in digestion. The added sugar content could also be responsible for diseases such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, allergies, loss of vision and cancer. Another harmful chemical is propylene glycol, which is responsible for prolonging the shelf life of dry products. However, they also dehydrate the colon, causing constipation and the formation of small, dry,hard stools. These kinds of stools may be uncomfortable for your pet to pass as well as leading to diseases of the digestive tract in the long term. The addition of salt to canned pet food is also a health hazard. Too much refined salt can lead to hypertension, water retention, kidney damage, palpitations and other ailments. To add fiber, soybean meal is added to pet food, which hinders digestion in dogs. Peanut hulls are also used but can be an irritant to the colon and cause constipation. As you can see from the above, properly feeding your pet is an essential part of caring that you, the owner is responsible for. Just as there is a growing awareness today of what’s healthy for humans to eat, it is just as crucial to make sure your pet is also getting the proper healthy nutrition it needs for optimum health. A happy pet = a happy owner. Give YOUR pet the best chance of optimal health through proper nutrition today. May you both live long happy healthy lives together.