Newspapers, television, the internet and other information channels frequently report on the danger of giving human food to your pets. From chocolate to raisins to onions, experts cite the potential health threats various human foods pose to dogs and cats. To be clear, there is sound science behind why some human foods are not a good idea for pets. But why do these food threats warrant all this attention from veterinarians and other pet health experts, while those same experts continue to endorse or sell pet foods containing potentially harmful chemicals? While a few pets every year sadly do become ill from eating grapes, macadamia nuts, or another inappropriate human food, an overwhelming number of dogs and cats routinely eat pet foods with synthetic vitamins, minerals and other man-made ingredients.
Added Vitamins & Minerals Not Natural
The definition of “Natural” for pet foods, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), includes that a natural food cannot contain any synthetic ingredients. AAFCO makes an exception to the rule when adding synthetic vitamins and minerals, as long as the manufacturer includes a disclaimer that the added synthetic vitamins and minerals are not natural. This statement, commonly found on commercial pet foods, allows pet food manufacturers to call their foods “natural” when they actually include up to 26 chemically-synthesized vitamins and minerals.
All added vitamins, those not coming from the food itself, contain processing aids and carriers, and many also contain chemical preservatives. Corn oil, starch, sucrose, mineral oil, and gelatin are all used in processing synthetic vitamins. Many fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, often contain the chemical preservative BHT. Similarly, added minerals bring with them heavy metal contaminants such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. These hidden ingredients are allowed in mineral supplements added to animal feed and pet foods. There are hundreds of examples and variations of these man-made mineral supplements, including sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, calcium carbonate, zinc oxide or zinc amino acid complex, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, iron oxide or iron proteinate, magnesium amino acid complex, potassium amino acid complex, and manganese amino acid complex.
Synthetic Nutrients Common Reason for Pet Food Recalls
While reports of dogs eating Halloween candy or other harmful human foods happens and must be taken seriously, why do pet health experts not also warn about the much greater risk of that same dog getting a dangerous level of synthetic vitamins or minerals from his pet food? There are plenty of recent examples of pet deaths and pet food recalls due to these chemicals, yet foods containing them are still widely fed to our animal companions. Blue Buffalo’s October 2010 dog food recall is just one of many in recent years and was due to excessive Vitamin D. In 2006, Royal Canin recalled several of their foods because they also contained too much added Vitamin D. In 2009, Nutro recalled cat foods, citing the formulas contained “excessive levels of zinc.” At about the same time, 21 horses at the U.S. Open Polo Championship in Florida died from a supplement overdose of the mineral selenium. The common factor in all of these events was the use of added man-made vitamins or minerals. The same vets that often warn you not to let your dog have a sip of your alcohol actually recommend and often sell pet foods with chemically-synthesized vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. This seems like a contradiction.
100% Truly Natural Pet Food Has No Man-made Nutrients
If pet health experts are truly concerned about a dog or cat’s health and longevity, they might consider recommending pet diets that are 100% natural. The safest and most natural source of all nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, is food. If a pet food is marketed as “natural,” yet states it contains “added vitamins and minerals,” this tells pet parents that the food contains synthetic nutrients and ingredients that may contain these potentially harmful chemicals. Nature’s Logic is the only full-line, commercial pet food with no chemically-synthesized nutrients. More information about pet food ingredients may be found at www.natureslogic.com.
Have you read the ingredient label on your pet’s food?