I recently interviewed Dr. Karen Becker, who has been in charge of our Healthy Pets site for the past four years.
If you have a dog, cat, or some other type of furry or feathered companion, and you haven’t yet visited Dr. Becker’s site, be sure to sign up for the Healthy Pets newsletter. I think you’ll find it an invaluable resource to help you change your pet’s life for the better.
Just as we’re trying to improve health for humans here with the Mercola.com newsletter, Dr. Becker is doing the same for pets.
In our interview above, we talk about an important topic that’s every bit as vital for animals as it is for humans, and that is the food your pet eats.
And just as there’s massive deception, fraud, and misinformation in the human food industry, there’s an equal if not greater amount of misinformation and deception in the pet food industry.
90 Percent of Pet Foods May Cause Disease in Your Pet
As you might suspect, the driving force behind the pet food industry is not to create a nourishing, species-appropriate diet for your pets; the focus is on making a profit, unfortunately often at the expense of your dog’s or cat’s health.
Dr. Becker explains:
” … 90 percent of pet foods out there contain totally inappropriate ingredients that are not nourishing and actually create low-grade inflammatory processes, diabetes and obesity. All the same health issues occurring in the pet world are occurring in the human realm in terms of overall health. But additionally, these pet foods are rendered, [which means]… not approved for human consumption. On top of the inappropriate ingredients in pet food, if people really knew the quality of food they are feeding their pets, they would be totally appalled.”
For example, the scrap meat that is deemed unfit for human consumption (because it contains tumors, abscesses, diseased tissues, etc.) is often rendered and used as “protein” in pet food.
Bottom line – if you feed a mass marketed commercial pet food, your dog or cat is typically getting a low grade concoction of rendered, leftover animal parts (including not only diseased tissues but can often include beaks, feathers, snouts and feet) and other inappropriate ingredients like genetically modified (GM) corn or soy, as well as wheat and rice.
Your Dog or Cat Wasn’t Meant to Eat All Those Carbs
Another biologically inappropriate ingredient found in plentiful supply in the vast majority of commercial pet foods are grain-based carbohydrates.
“Dogs and cats are by nature carnivores. Kitties are obligate carnivores. Dogs are scavenging carnivores. These two carnivore species don’t even have a carbohydrate requirement. We are putting into their bodies a bunch of foods that are metabolically unnecessary, that are setting up the same degenerative processes that are occurring in human bodies,” Dr. Becker said.
If you’ve ever wondered why dog and cat foods contain so many grains if they’re not nutritionally necessary, it comes down to profits once again. Grains are cheap fillers, and this is why they’re added to most pet foods – not because they have any nutritional benefit for your dog or cat. To create a truly meat-based food costs more, and it is far less expensive, and easier, for pet food manufacturers to load their foods with corn, rice and wheat than it would be to figure out how to make a competitively priced food that would actually be species-appropriate.
“Grain-Free” Doesn’t Mean Carb-Free
Even many of the higher end pet foods marketed as “grain-free” contain carbohydrate fillers like potato or pea fiber. And adding to the problem is the fact that many veterinarians will tell you these and other carb fillers are “good sources of energy,” which could not be further from the truth.
Dr. Becker continued:
“It’s interesting that veterinarians have started marketing some of these carbohydrates as a good source of energy. But absolutely, we know that dogs and cats are not requiring any of these grains – they break down into sugar.
Sugar, of course, causes an insulin release. Insulin then causes blood sugar to drop. Cortisol is then released to rebalance blood sugar. So dogs and cats are dealing with this whole cycle of carbohydrate ingestion, insulin release, and cortisol release. The metabolic syndrome that’s occurring in people – leptin resistance – is absolutely occurring in pets as well. We’re seeing diabetes in dogs and cats, most certainly, and obesity that leads to musculoskeletal issues and secondary organ degeneration. The whole cycle is occurring in pets.”