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Read Your Pet Food Labels, Part 1

Reading pet food labels

For a natural pet food retailer the biggest competition isn’t the another natural pet food retailer, it’s the grocery store!  For convenience this is where most people buy their cat food.  Most people think “one stop shop” and put cat food on their grocery list along with everything else they need to buy.  When I grew up we always bought our Purina Cat Chow at the grocery store, and our cats ate the same kibble diet everyday for their entire lives.  I shudder to think about that now that I’ve learned better.  The pet food labels are the first clue to the quality of the food you choose to feed your pets. 

You must read pet food labels!

I never even gave a thought to reading the labels on the cat food we bought.  Heck, I never even read the labels on anything I bought until about 11 years ago.  Why?  Because we TRUST the food manufacturers and believe all the marketing ads and gimmicks that we fall for.  Advertising is powerful.  The truth is, YOU MUST READ THE LABELS ON EVERYTHING YOU BUY.  

Major food manufacturers, including the major pet food companies, make large quantities of “food” at a time, and often times they source cheap, unhealthy ingredients all for the sake of profits.  It is not in their interests to make sure the food is truly healthy and safe to eat; it’s in their interests to make a profit.  I’m going to make a lot of food companies upset for saying this, but it’s the truth.


Ingredients on pet food labels

Three ingredients to look for and avoid on a pet food label

Today I want to highlight three ingredients commonly found in pet food made by major brands–you know, the ones who make all the TV commercials and ads you see in print media.   These ingredients truly have no place being in your cat’s food, and I urge you to go check the ingredient list after you read this.

Corn products

Corn products are linked to diseases including obesity, chronic inflammation, cancer and diabetes.  They often include mycotoxins and mold which damage cats’ kidneys and liver.   Most of the corn products used in processed foods are genetically modified, which is another reason to avoid it.  Cats’ bodies were never designed to process carbohydrates for energy but rather amino acids (proteins) and fats.  

“There is ample proof that today’s pet dogs and cats do not thrive on cheap, corn-based pet foods.  Dogs and cats are primarily meat eaters; to fill them up with grain-based processed dry foods that barely meet minimum daily nutrient requirements has proven to be a mistake,” Dr. T. J. Dunn, DVM


The second common carbohydrate ingredient in pet food that should be avoided is wheat.  Wheat and wheat gluten are commonly used to make kibble or as thickeners in cheaper pet food. Furthermore, they have been linked to allergies and wheat, wheat gluten intolerance and associated with pet food recalls causing kidney failure and death.


Thirdly, soy is another cheap protein source that carnivores were never meant to eat. Not only is it a plant protein, it’s a common allergen source.  Cats simply aren’t biologically able to digest plant proteins.  Most of the soy produced in the US (greater than 89%) is genetically modified, and furthermore, GMO foods are not natural nor safe for human or pet consumption.  It’s a common trend these days for pet owners to seek out GMO-free foods both for themselves and their pets.

Independent stores often care about pet food labels

As a cat lover I know you truly want the very best for your kitty, and this includes living a long, healthy, disease-free life.  Quality nutrition is the key.  If you find any of the above ingredients in your cat’s food the best thing you can do is throw it away and search for brands that do not include these items in their products.  With this in mind, avoid shopping at the grocery store for cat food.  Instead, you can find great brands with quality ingredients at small, independent natural pet stores.  Remember, no matter where you decide to shop please read the pet food labels!

To learn more about pet food labels check out other articles here and here.




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