Ask any ten people what they consider the very best diet for their pets and you’re liable to get a variety of answers. Some swear by kibble while others feed only wet food. Some think grain-free is an absolute necessity while others have been feeding their pets dry food with grains for decades with no negative side effects. Some feed their pets raw meat-based diets while others have their pets on vegetarian or even vegan diets.
Needless to say, there are tons of options out there for feeding your pet, and many of the choices we make are based on our pet’s own dietary needs and restrictions as well as what we learn from our veterinarians and our peers at the dog park.
There are, however, some pet feeding guidelines that are absolutely indisputable no matter who you ask. No cooked bones, no chocolate, nothing that was produced in China or is not FDA approved. And then there are these five scary ingredients, which have been found in commercially manufactured pet foods and which should absolutely be avoided at all costs, says Robert J. Silver, DVM, CVA, who will be speaking on the relationship between consumer activists and the pet food industry at the upcoming PetFood 2.0 conference in Chicago.
According to Dr. Silver, these are the five commercial ingredients that should never show up in your pet’s food bowl:
1) Ethoxyquin: Ethoxyquin is a phenolic antioxidant and was originally developed by Monsanto to prevent rubber from cracking due to oxidation.
2) Carrageenan: Carrageenan has been shown in lab animals to potentially cause cancer and inflammation.
3) Canola Oil: The problem with canola oil is less about proven risks and more about a lack of data regarding whether it’s okay for pets to eat. While fats and oils can be a healthy part of a pet’s diet, the FDA doesn’t allow canola oil in infant formula which makes it of questionable safety for pets.
4) Low-Grade Meat Meal and Bone Meal: According to DogFoodAdvisor.com: “Low-grade meals come from anonymous materials like slaughterhouse waste and spoiled supermarket meats — even diseased or dying cattle — or dead zoo animals.”
5) Pentobarbital: The dog food, cat food, and pet treat ingredients “meat and bone meal” and generic “meat meal” are considered by FDA to be “high risk” and to contain pentobarbital from the euthanized bodies of dogs, cats and horses whose remains were rendered.
For more information on what you do want to see in your pet’s food, check out this infographic.