Healthy Chow for Your Pet

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Sometimes we eat healthy; sometimes we don’t. But pets can’t make decisions about their meals. They eat what we feed them, and often we feed them junk. A number of pet food companies include meat—products like feathers, moldy grains, and downer animals—by animals that are too weak or sick to walk in their products. Often table scraps aren’t much better. Susan Blake Davis, a holistic pet care expert and pet nutritionist, recently told that “scraps contain too much fat and other non-nutritious ingredients that can make pets sick and disagree with their physiology.”

Healthy Pet Foods
Blake recommends feeding animals lean meats, fresh vegetables, and brown rice—food you might eat but might not be used to making for your pet. Luckily, you don’t have to. A number of pet food companies offer products with those ingredients and more. Merrick Pet Foods, for example, includes human-grade meats and vegetables, like cucumbers, carrots, and salmon or crab in the “California Roll” can for cats. And Newman’s Own boasts a line that incorporates organic potatoes, organic barley, and Bell & Evans chicken. (Bell & Evans raises chickens without antibiotics; the overuse of antibiotics in livestock production may mean that those drugs may not work in the future—for us or for chickens.) Good-for-you supplements can also be found, with vitamin C and grape seed extract making the list of ingredients found in Wysong products.

Home-Cooking for Your Pet
Pet owners who make meals for their animals claim it’s good for the pocketbook, not just Fido. And homemade pet food is certainly better for the planet, since it reduces the amount of packaging that ultimately ends up in a landfill. Check out sites like Pet Food Recipes and Recipe Source for ideas, and if some of the suggestions seem too work-intensive, a raw food menu might be more to your (and your pet’s) liking. Raw food advocates point out that animals in the wild eat their food raw and argue that the physiognomy of domesticated animals supports such a diet. The diet doesn’t require you to hunt animals for your pet’s consumption, but it does mean that you don’t have to “cook” a thing. Adding nutritional supplements are recommended, and you can talk to a holistic veterinarian about what supplements would work best for your pet. Look to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association to find a holistic vet near you.

Learn More
Veterinary nutritionists provide informed opinions at

Cat and dog caregivers can find information on nutrition and a whole lot more at The Pet Center.

Related Story: FoodShed: Why Your Food Shouldn’t Have More Frequent Flyer Miles Than You

Originally published on SustainLane


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