Feeding Your Pets

on Wednesday, 08 June 2016.

I’m a veterinarian and I know how much our pets mean to us. I’ve always been particularly interested in what we feed our pets (and how much we feed our pets-which is often more than we should) so we are going to devote this week’s column to just that. What could this possibly have to do with protecting our environment?

We have all become familiar with the pet foods that advertise as “grain free”, “natural” or made with “human-grade” ingredients. For thousands of years our pets have thrived on foods made with grains and byproducts.  “Niche” diets have an increased environmental impact because we are putting more pressure on a global food system that’s already having trouble feeding today’s human population. You can pay a premium for a diet made with little FDA oversight by companies you have never heard of (i.e., you really don’t know what you are getting) or you can buy a premium brand made by a company you know. For about the same money you will be feeding the optimal balance of nutrients made with grains and highly nutritious (“human grade”) byproducts that many Americans prefer not to eat. Not only will your pet(s) thrive on these diets but they will be made from animal parts that might otherwise be dumped in landfills where they can emit tons of carbon dioxide and methane. One final note: don’t try comparing the labels on different pet foods. Dog food companies can and do use all kinds of tricks to make their ingredients look superior to a competing company.  

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