Thursday, June 11, 2009 6:29 PM

Computers and Pet Food

Exactly what, you may well ask, do computers have to do with pet food? Well, usually nothing. Except in my world when, as I prepared to write here yesterday afternoon, I made the discovery that my computer had died! It was as if someone had unplugged it, except no one had. My pal Miss P. came to the rescue today, lending me her laptop. Hooray for Miss P.! Unfortunately, though, all my cute pet photos are being held hostage in my now deceased CPU, so I'll have to post those at a later date, as an edit. Here's hoping that the crazy thing can be fixed!

Anyway, back to our discussion of additives in pet food. What is a concerned pet owner to do to avoid all these nasties? Short of making your own pet food, you won't be able to avoid all of them. Even premium brands are going to contain some ingredients that you would rather not feed to your companion animal. You can, however, reduce dramatically the amounts consumed by your pet by altering the way you feed him.

First, if you are not already doing so, switch to a premium brand of food. When you read the ingredient label, make sure that the first two ingredients are real meat, not the dreaded "meat by-products" or "fish meal concentrate". Then you know that you are dealing with a product with a superior protein source than the cheap brands. Additionally, the cheaper brands tend to use more dyes and other additives. Have you ever opened a can of really cheap cat food? First of all, the smell is enough to make you gag. Secondly, they are often a really weird color. If it smells and looks bad to you, it is not good for your pet. You are, of course, his first line of defense in this war against additives! Also, try to buy "organic" brands. The labeling requirements aren't the same for pet as for human food, but I think they have to use at least 70% organic ingredients to label it "organic". It's a little pricier, but probably worth the cost to your pet's health.

Second, try a little dilution. Feed your pet about half to two-thirds of the suggested portion and substitute some real food for the remaining portion, instead. For cats, a little raw or lightly cooked (at low heat) ground meat or cooked whole egg (cats assimilate the nutrients in eggs better when they are cooked) will certainly be welcomed. A little bit of carbohydrates, (for energy) in the form of either cooked brown rice and/or some lightly cooked vegetables are a good idea, too. For dogs, whose protein requirements are not as high as that of cats, you can add any of these foods just mentioned as well as tofu, cooked pasta and cottage cheese. Actually, cottage cheese is a good addition to your cat's diet, as well. And we all know how cats feel about cheese! Also, chopped organ meats are fine, too, but only give liver once a week, as the levels of vitamins A and D can be toxic to both cats and dogs.

What about supplementation of vitamins and minerals? I'll tackle that issue tomorrow, as well as talk about some brands of pet foods you may want to try.

Just So You Know: Tomorrow is the last day of analog television transmission, so we won't be watching any TV for a while! I did order a coupon for a booster box, but it won't be here for a couple of weeks. I hear they don't work too well, anyway. I'm thinking I won't mind having not TV--we'll see what J. thinks, though!
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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