The FDA’s Dog Food Recall had families with dogs and cats on edge. The dog food recall spurred many of us to search for alternative ways to keep our animals safe from tainted foods. But while we went through the process, it changed some of our thinking about what to feed our animals. Is there a better, healthier alternative for our dogs than the grocery store kibble we fed them before the recall? How should we feed our dogs as we go forward, now that the recall “dust” has settled? At first, I believed that the safest solution to the problem during the dog food recall was to cook a 100% home-made diet for my dogs. I reviewed home made dog food recipes from the internet, library books, the local bookstores, and I spoke with our veterinarian about my ideas. My veterinarian suggested that there were serious nutritious considerations to take into account when making home made dog food in order to make sure that the dogs were fed a balanced diet. I totally agreed. But still, I felt desperate during the dog food recall. I was willing to make a few mistakes regarding nutrition if it kept my dogs completely safe from worrisome ingredients. My veterinarian’s office assured me that the dog food that they sell in their office was safe from the recall and that it was nutritious and balanced. If the office is going to suggest something, and it is a reliable brand, I realize that they are going to suggest the one they sell. There is nothing wrong with that, but the dog food industry is a profitable one. I just wondered- is their food the very best solution for me and my dogs? I vowed to learn more.
I decided to keep on researching, and here are the answers I came up with:
1. Making your own dog food is a real possibility. Home made dog food recipes abound right now in books and on the internet, but there are some important caveats to remember. Certain foods that humans eat can be harmful to dogs, and can even kill them if enough of the ingredient is eaten. Most of us know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but did you also know that onions, large amounts of garlic dogfood-recipe, nutmeg, grapes, xylitol (an artificial sweetener) unripe tomatoes, fruit seeds and pits, and walnuts can all be fatal to dogs? Please research your ingredients and be aware before you begin cooking for your animals. Home made dog food and dog treats can be made nutritiously and safely, and they can avoid some of the lower quality by-products and chemicals that are in many of the mass-produced dog foods. Cooking for your dogs can be a very good thing.
2. There are many safe and healthful foods out there that you can purchase for your dogs. Here are the things to look for: First, check the Food and Drug Administration’s Dog Food Recall List. If your food is not listed, to be doubly sure that there will not be a problem found later, there is a simple solution for the FDA 2007 recall: AVOID ANY FOODS WHICH LIST EITHER WHEAT GLUTEN OR RICE PROTEIN POWDER IN THEIR INGREDIENTS LIST! These are the two problem ingredients that were found in products coming from China. Learn to look at the labels for foods that use quality ingredients. Avoid chemical preservatives, as well as artificial flavoring and coloring.
3. Variety is not only the spice of life, it may help keep your pets safer. In reading articles, listening to news broadcasts, and keeping up with the issue by tuning in to syndicated radio forums on the subject, I heard something that echoed loud and clear: Many experts believe that one of the reasons that dogs and cats died from eating the tainted food, rather than become ill and recover, was that their diet consisted of only one food. In these cases the dogs and cats received the recalled food over and over again, which led to kidney failure in the case of the tainted products from China. Going forward, I decided that it is a good idea to supplement my trusted dog food with home made food that I cook myself. This gives my dogs the variety that now seems to be important. Sometimes I mix the home made food in with their dry kibble, and sometimes not. Other times I feed them the home cooked food by itself.
4. Treats – My dogs enjoy many fruits and vegetables, and I have a list of easy healthful snacks on my website that are safe for dogs, as well as additional dog treat recipes which do not contain any of the toxic ingredients listed above. I hope that we can learn some important things after living through the 2007 dog food recall. Hopefully we can lobby for more stringent regulations for pet foods. With more precautionary regulatory measures, and our own decisions to feed our animals differently, we can keep them safer for the future.
Lori Krout is the webmaster for Dog-Paw-Print.com, a site devoted to helping people find the right dogs for their families.
Dog-Paw-Print’s objective is to help people learn about choosing & celebrating their family dog, with up-to-date articles, helpful quizzes [http://www.dog-paw-print.com/selection-quiz-for-choosing-a-dog.html], dog coloring pages, games, dog treat recipes [http://www.dog-paw-print.com/dog-treat-recipes.html] and more.
One of the primary goals of the Dog-Paw-Print [http://www.dog-paw-print.com/ezinearticles-recall.html] site is to help families, especially families with young children, find the perfect dog that will best fit their lifestyle.
Dog-Paw-Print also encourages families to search for dogs at their local shelters and rescues first. It is our hope that we can reduce the populations in shelters, while helping people find wonderful dogs that will be with them forever.
Please remember that animals are not disposable. Take the time to find your perfect dog, and love them for their whole lives.
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