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Is this a joke?
I'm afraid not. America's top kibble brands are offering tips to help us keep our pets healthy in 2017. Why? Because our dogs and cats are fat!
“PFI has been the voice of the U.S. pet food makers for nearly 60 years and is committing to helping dogs and cats live long and healthy lives. Currently, PFI members make up 98 percent of the all the U.S. pet food and treat products.
We wanted to reach out to you today related to New Year’s resolutions and helping pets stick to a healthy diet in 2017. As you are probably aware, approximately 41 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions and approximately 32 percent of those resolutions focus on health. However, as Americans focus on improving their own healthy in 2017, many forget to set health goals for their four legged friends.
In the U.S. approximately 20 percent of dogs and 28 percent of cats are overweight, resulting in serious health issues including difficulty breathing, joint damage and an increased risk of cancer. PFI has several simple recommendations on ways you can keep your pet healthy in 2017, including providing them with a complete and balanced diet, treating responsibility and managing portion sizes. Sound nutrition is a critical component of your pet’s overall wellbeing.”
Source: Inspire PR Group
Pet Food Institute Members
- Ainsworth Pet Nutrition
- American Nutrition
- Bil-Jac Foods
- Blue Buffalo Company
- CJ Foods, Inc.
- Champion Pet Foods LP
- Central Garden and Pet
- Diamond Pet Foods
- Hill's Pet Nutrition
- The J.M. Smucker Company
- Mars Petcare, US
- Merrick Pet Care
- Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc.
- Nestle Purina PetCare
- Ohio Pet Foods, Inc.
- Royal Canin
- Simmons Pet Food, Inc.
- Sunshine Mills, Inc.
- Texas Farm Products Company
- Tuffy's Pet Foods, Inc.
- United Pet Group (Spectrum Brands)
PFI Advises Us How to Raise Healthier Pets
The following information is from PetFoodInstitute.org:
Provide a Complete and Balanced Diet
The National Academy of Sciences has identified more than 40 nutrients that are essential for dogs and cats. Most commercial pet food is designed to be complete and balanced, which means each serving provides these essential nutrients in the proper amounts for the life stage of the animal. These pet food recipes are developed by experts in companion animal nutrition and veterinary scientists, and PFI members use a range of available ingredients to provide total nutrition. However, not all pet food meets these nutritional profiles, and data indicates that many homemade recipes are nutritionally deficient.
- I'm curious to know what data indicates that many homemade recipes are nutritionally deficient. No one has come to my house to test the dog food that I make. Has anyone been to your house? I document the recipes I make for my dog over on my blog EasyRawDogFoodRecipes.com. However, it took me a while to become comfortable making my dogs' food. If you're not comfortable making your own dog food, we're lucky enough to live in a time where you can buy premade raw and homecooked food for your dogs that are nutritionally balanced and healthier for pets. Read my 2016 to raw brands list for ideas.
Pet treats can be fed along with a complete and balanced diet, but it’s critical to feed them in moderation and not to use treats in place of pet food to ensure proper nutrition. It is recommended that no more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake come from treats. Refer to the feeding guidelines on the package and always supervise your pet while the treat is being eaten.
- Or you can start treating with healthy, limited, and responsibly sourced ingredients. There are loads of brands out there that offer safe treats that won't put pounds on our dogs. And the ingredients list doesn't read like a periodic table or a list of What Not to Eat from Dieter's Anonymous. Read my 2016 list of healthy dog treats for ideas.
Manage Portion Sizes
Estimating pet food measurements may lead to overfeeding and weight gain. Carefully review the feeding guidelines on a pet food package to ensure your pet is receiving the right amount of food.
Age, lifestyle, activity level, breed and whether the animal is spayed or neutered can affect the number of calories needed to maintain a dog or cat’s healthy weight. An average 50-pound, adult neutered dog, typically needs around 1,000 calories a day. An average 10-pound, adult neutered cat, needs around 220 calories a day. If an animal begins to put on extra weight, then it may be time to reduce the amount of food they receive daily.
- When it comes to feeding my dogs, I don't count calories. Instead, I measure their food on a digital scale, and I periodically conduct a rib check using the Body Conditioning Score. I then adjust accordingly.
Drink Plenty of Water
Be sure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water. Water is important to every key body function for pets, such as aiding the digestion and absorption of the nutrients provided in pet food, moving nutrients in and out of cells, cushioning joints and internal organs, and helping with elimination. Dehydration, which occurs when your pet does not consume sufficient water, poses a serious threat to a pet’s health.
- One bonus of raw feeding is that our dogs get plenty of moisture in their diet. Kibble is dehydrating and needs to be soaked in water or bone broth (recommended) to make it easier to digest. Raw is species appropriate, easy for dogs to digest and absorb nutrients, and it has loads of moisture. Our dogs are never dehydrated, and I don't have any concern about urinary tract infections caused by a harsh kibble diet.
Stay Up-to-Date on Preventative Care
Regular veterinary exams and flea, tick and heartworm prevention are all important parts of keeping pets healthy year-round. Your veterinarian is the best source of information about your pet’s health, and visiting the vet is a key component of good preventive care. The veterinarian can help advise on your pet’s weight management, diet and exercise routine.
- Annual (or twice annually) wellness exams are important, especially when you're 100% responsible for your dog's diet and nutrition. Our dogs' annual exams include blood work, review of their history, and a physical exam and possible follow-up. This allows me to adjust their diet to meet their needs (my vet is pro-raw and very experienced in dog nutrition). Learn more about wellness exams for dogs.
Like humans, exercise is an important in ensuring your pet’s health and well-being. Having a pet can help your family fit, too—studies show children from dog owning households are more physically active.
- One bonus to feeding a raw food diet is the energy boost our dogs get from the protein and other fresh, healthy ingredients. Raw feeding helps dogs build lean muscle while reducing excess fat. Raw food gives their metabolism the boost it needs to keep them active and trim.
Here's Another Tip – Feed Your Dog Fresh Food
There is a growing number of people in the holistic veterinarian community who are warning us about feeding a diet of kibble to our pets. It compromises the immune system, it can lead to urinary tract issues, it can lead to obesity, and it's being tied to cancer.
My Questions for the Brands of PFI
At the end of the email I received, I was invited to speak with a representative of PFI about their tips to help us raise healthier pets. I sent the following questions…
I would love to speak with someone at PFI about keeping pets healthy in 2017. Below are my questions:
1) What are these brands doing to meet the growing demand for better quality pet food and fresh ingredients in pet food?
2) What are these brands doing to bridge the divide with raw feeders and people who home cook their food? Many of the members of PFI have made a point of publishing inaccurate information to discredit holistic veterinarians and raw feeders.
3) How do these brands respond to accusations that representatives from their companies have actively harassed people who don't believe that they make a quality or safe product for dogs and cats? Specifically Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food and dog nutrition blogger Rodney Habib.
4) How do brands that make prescription diets that vary little from their normal diets justify the high price markup of the prescription food?
5) How can these brands promote healthier diets while also promoting corn, sugar, food coloring, questionable sourcing, and synthetic vitamins?
Do you think they'll respond? Well, yes; sort of. They did respond and offered me an interview which they never followed through on so, ultimately, I didn't get a response.
Am I surprised?
Learn How to Make Better Choices for Your Pet