You are what you eat applies to pets just as much as it does to people. After the pet food recall (you remember, the one that killed a bunch of pets and turned the pet food companies into damage control demons?), a lot of dog and cat folks morphed into DIY feeders. In fact, a friend of mine and great pet person and awesome journalist Arden Moore’s fun gift book REAL FOOD FOR DOGS became a best-seller when owners went looking for alternatives. Note: this is a fun book with recipes for treats and suchlike, not for a daily diet, so is great as an adjunct to your dog’s main food.
PROS & CONS OF HOME FEEDING
The veterinary community as well as the FDA cautions pet owners about home cooking food and especially raw diets for two reasons. First, it’s very difficult to create a nutritionally sound diet for your pet on a sustained basis.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have friends who have done this for YEARS with great success but it’s not for me–I don’t even cook nutritionally sound meals for myself, LOL! (Cheetohs and M&Ms are my friends…). But with a sound recipe from a vet nutritionist (www.petdiets.com is a good resource) it can be done very successfully, and is particularly helpful for pets with therapeutic dietary needs.
Second is the fear of food contamination, and salmonella is a real danger more for people (especially kids and immune compromised folks) than for pets. Safe handling of food is a must even with people food, though. The fear has been that widespread home cooking and/or raw feeding could result in an outbreak of salmonella.
PET FOOD RECALL–REDUX
Yes, it’s happened again and the culprit is salmonella. But it’s not home cooking folks or raw feeders, but commercial foods once again. BRAVO to Diamond Foods, the manufacturer/packager of a number of brands, that kicked off a VOLUNTARY RECALL as a precaution even though only small amounts of product actually was suspected to be a problem. Since that initial announcement, additional foods–dog, puppy, cat, kitten–and brands have been added to the recall list. Brands include:
- Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
- Country Value
- Diamond Naturals
- Premium Edge
- Taste of the Wild
- Apex Foods
- Solid Gold
You can find links to the various products along with batch codes and dates to ensure your pets’ foods are still safe or should be returned in this recall blog.
PET FOOD SELECTION
How do you know a pet food is the best for your furry wonder? Every pet is different, of course, but there are ways to figure things out. Reading labels gets you part of the way there–but the labels are a legal document and serve to satisfy the regulators more than they do to inform the public. There are terms that have legal definitions but can be misinterpreted by pet owners (ain’t that the way legalese works?), and even some ways the labels can mislead (accidentally on purpose, LOL!) to get you to open up your wallet. After all, dogs don’t have thumbs or bank accounts so it’s up to us to choose wisely.
Here are a few links to further information about pet foods–much of this applies to cats, too:
So what do you feed your furry wonder? What does your veterinarian recommend? Do you rely on other “expert” advice and if so, where do you get your information? Have you been affected by the pet food recall? How do you advise your pet-loving friends? Do tell!
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!