In today’s world of advertising and marketing magic, we often end up confused with more questions than answers. This is truly the case with pet foods labeled as holistic, all-natural, vet tested and recommended… what does it all mean?
We have all seen commercials with pet food product labels showing all the chunks of meat and yummy veggies raining down, or the table setting with the fresh fish, perfectly roasted chicken and piles of fresh veggies. It all looks so good and, well, “healthy.” Now’s the time to ask yourself this, “is this really what’s in this pet food or is it just hype?”
First and foremost, read the label. If the label says anything other than fresh whole chicken, then it’s not! Chicken meal is not chicken, but rather rendered (cooked to death) chicken parts that can be unsuitable for human consumption. Dead, dying, diseased chickens are combined with everything from preservatives to artificial flavors and colors, and other unknown ingredients. Do you think they want to show you truckloads of dead chickens being dumped at their pet food plant?
The same is true with most of the other “meat meals” from fish and salmon to beef, venison, lamb, buffalo… I think you get the picture. Regarding all those veggies…. potato is usually the waste from the manufacturing of potato chips and French fries… all the skins, the eyes, the bruised and spoiled parts, all cooked down with the same chemicals as the meat meals.
In the case of kibble, all those ingredients are baked at high temperatures, usually around 450º for up to 5 hours. Now ask yourself, after this process, what could possibly be left nutritionally?
Because many of the ingredients originated in some form from a real natural food, the term “natural” is allowed to be used. The term holistic (meaning whole body) has no legal meaning for these foods.
Now if you truly want a truly holistic and natural pet food, one need only look to nature to see what the animals would eat naturally. Cats and dogs being carnivores primarily eat animal based foods such as meat and fish. Birds consume seeds, fruit, veggies, bugs, dead animals, fish and various greens. Most animals eat a wide variety of foods that allow their body to balance itself through cravings.
When we look at “natural,” it should not only mean that the product comes from whole, natural foods, free from chemicals and processing and we should also consider if the animal would make this a normal part of its’ natural diet Look at the holistic aspect, and ask yourself, “how will this food serve up in order to feed the whole natural body”?
In most marketing strategies, words are easily manipulated and then combined with eye catching photos in order to gain an advantage amongst the thousands of other products available.
In conclusion, next time you peruse the colorful bags on the store shelf, read the label thoroughly and ask yourself, “is there anything like this in nature?”