This Popular Pet Food Trend Could Put Your Pet’s Life at Risk

By Dr. Becker

A recent issue of a pet food industry journal listed popular trends in the so-called “natural” pet food walk. For those who may not know, the term “natural” has become a meaningless marketing word in the food and feed industries. It appears all over the packaging and labels of processed foods, ignoring the fact that processed foods cannot be natural foods.

Definition of natural: “Existing in nature or derived from it; which is neither created nor caused by humanity. »1

Obviously, with rare exceptions, foods presented in cans, bags, or boxes were made or caused by humanity. That said, let’s get back to the topic of growing trends in the misnamed natural pet food market. These are:2

Human quality

Grass-fed or free-range

Limited Ingredient Diets

Plant proteins

Ancient cereals

Exotic proteins

In a recent article, I discussed the first three: human-grade, grass-fed or free-range, limited ingredient diets. Now let’s take a closer look at the other three.

Plant proteins

I guess the trends vegetable protein in dog and cat foods are the result of the pet food industry’s attempt to create equivalence between plant and animal proteins. There may also be some misguided pet owners who are determined to force a vegetarian or vegan diet on a carnivorous animal.

Plant proteins are biologically inappropriate for dogs and cats, which require 22 amino acids for good health. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Dogs’ bodies can synthesize (make) 12 of these 22; cats can synthesize 11. The remaining amino acids must come from the food they eat, which is why they are called essential amino acids.

The protein found in animal tissues has a complete amino acid profile. Plant proteins do not contain all of the amino acids essential for carnivore health, and unlike humans who have the physiological ability to process plant proteins into the missing elements necessary for a complete amino acid profile, dogs and cats do not. do not contain any.

They need to get preformed amino acids directly from their diet. For example, one of the missing amino acids in plants is taurine, found in the muscle meat of animals, including hearts and livers. Taurine deficiency causes serious health problems in cats, including cardiovascular disease and blindness. Some cat parents think they can follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and add a taurine supplement.

In my opinion, this is equivalent to eating only iceberg lettuce or rice and take a synthetic multivitamin. This vitamin cannot make up for all the nutrients missing from a diet consisting only of lettuce or rice. Additionally, your pet’s protein sources should provide a broad spectrum of amino acids.

Protein sources with broad-spectrum amino acid profiles include beef, bison, chicken, eggs, fish, lamb, turkey, duck, venison, elk and goat. Protein is an essential part of every cell in your pet’s body. Essential amino acids from high-quality animal proteins build healthy cells, organs, muscles, enzymes and hormones.

Ancient cereals

This is another example of a trend in human nutrition that unnecessarily extends to pet food, since dogs and cats have no biological need for even ancient grains. There is no official definition of “ancient grains”. They are generally defined as cereals and pseudo-cereals that have remained essentially unchanged through selective breeding over the past several hundred years. In contrast, modern wheat, which is constantly cultivated and modified, is not an ancient grain, any more than corn or rice.

Ancient grains, which include teff, amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, spelt, farro, kamut, freekeh, einkorn and others,3 are generally marketed in the human food industry as healthier than modern cereals. For a discussion of grains in your own diet, see Dr. Mercola’s recent video and article “How to safely add wheat back into your diet“.

As for your pet’s diet, I recommend eliminating all grains. The only grains that dogs and wild felines receive in their natural diet are predigested in the stomach contents of prey. Most grain-based pet foods contain large amounts of it because grains are plentiful and cheap. Grain-based pet foods are pro-inflammatory and generally detrimental to the health of dogs and cats because, as carnivores, they are not designed to process grain-containing foods.

Exotic proteins

I suspect this particular trend in pet foods is mainly due to the increase in digestive disorders and food sensitivity problems in dogs and cats, as well as the efforts of pet food manufacturers to innovate in order to remain competitive in the market. Exotic proteins are animal proteins that are not widely consumed in a specific region of the world. For example, kangaroo is an exotic protein in the United States; beef is not.

The terms “exotic protein” and “novel protein” are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinction between them. Exotic proteins are unusual or rare in a given area, while novel proteins may be common to the area but not widely consumed by the animal.

For example, for a dog who has only ever eaten chicken, beef is a new protein. Over the past several decades, traditional recommendations from the veterinary industry and pet food industry have called for dogs and cats to be fed the same commercially available processed foods twice a day, all days, year after year.

I believe this advice has created generations of dogs and cats suffering from intestinal issues, food sensitivities, and a host of chronic illnesses resulting from daily ingestion of poor quality foods containing the same protein sources, usually chicken, fish, beef or lamb. In response, pet food manufacturers began developing formulas containing exotic and novel proteins such as those from venison, kangaroo and rabbit.

And now that exotic proteins are trendy among consumers, pet food manufacturers are going one step further by including several types of new and exotic proteins in one formula. This has created a situation in which it will soon be difficult, if not impossible, to find a new protein to offer to animals who need an elimination diet to resolve a serious food intolerance problem.

For example, the new protein of choice was once lamb, but the inclusion of lamb in so many commercial pet foods has made it useless as a remedy for allergic pets. What pet food manufacturers are doing by including exotic proteins in mass-produced pet food formulas is a recipe for disaster.

If pet parents were advised to take turns feeding their animal companions a variety of common proteins like chicken, beef and lamb from high-quality sources, it is unlikely that we would We are witnessing the epidemic of food sensitivities that exists today. If your dog or cat has food sensitivities and you are considering an elimination diet, watch my detailed video and article on how to cure your pet’s food intolerance with a new protein diet.


Related Articles:

  Here’s a Protein Dog and Cat Owners Should Avoid

  Don’t touch this “innovative” new ingredient with a 10-foot pole

  The problem with allergen-free pet food

Comments (36)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *