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Commercial Processed Pet Foods – Good or Bad?

There are many benefits to feeding a balanced processed food to your pet. Controlled amounts of protein, fat and calcium can have a positive effect on overall growth, development, weight maintenance and other aspects of an animal’s health. Many experts, even veterinarians, advocate feeding a balanced processed formula exclusively.

However, for many pets, no processed food provides the nutrition required to maintain a healthy immune system and provide resistance to cancer, allergies, and other serious disease. At Animal Health Labs we believe that the rapid increase in these diseases in particular, results in large part from the feeding of processed food exclusively, or almost exclusively to the majority of companion animals.

There are some key nutrients that are vital to a healthy, robust immune system that simply cannot be provided in optimal amounts in any processed food – specifically, “EFA’s” or Essential Fatty Acids, including Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids, as well as antioxidant vitamins A and E. These are fragile nutrients that break down with the heat and oxidization that occur in commercial processing and storage. These crucial nutrients can only be provided in optimal amounts and potency in a supplement – one which has not been cooked, or heated, or exposed to the air.

Compare the amount of these nutrients in one tsp. of Dr. Maggie Skin & Coat Supplement -the recommended daily dose for a cat or a 20-lb. dog:

Nutrient Dr. Maggie™ Skin & Coat
Per Tsp.
Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid) 2,375 mg.
Omega 3 (Linolenic Acid) 345 mg.
Omega 9 (Oleic Acid) 315 mg.
Phosphatidyl Choline 650 mg.
Phosphatidyl Inositol 500 mg.
Vitamin A 1,400 IU
Vitamin D 120 IU
Vitamin E 12 IU

At 40, 60, or 80lb., a dog needs 2, 3, or 4 times this amount respectively, so the recommended daily dose of Dr. Maggie Skin & Coat is 1 tsp. per 20lbs. of body weight for a dog. Compare this to the amount of these nutrients in your pet’s commercial processed food. You’ll find that your pet is getting only a small fraction of the optimal dose of these key nutrients, even in the best quality premium foods. In some cases, they may not be getting any at all.

This deficiency can lead to problems such as excessive shedding, or dry itchy skin, flaking, dull or brittle coat, or hairballs in cats. These are signals that you should not ignore. For many animals they can lead to more serious diseases: allergies, hot spots, and other forms of inflammatory skin disease; and over the life of your pet, cancer and other life threatening conditions. The fact your pet has not exhibited any of these problems does not mean they are not affected. Many of these conditions take many years to develop.

There is no question that over the past twenty years, the quality of commercial pet foods has improved dramatically. Manufacturers are using better, more digestible forms of protein, controlled amounts of fat, and many beneficial nutritional additives such as calcium and other stable vitamins and minerals. However, it is important to recognize the limitations of all processed food – cooking, exposure to air, long storage, and other factors common to commercial food processing, do not permit the effective delivery of ideal amounts of fragile nutrients, including EFA’s and Vitamins A&E.

At Animal Health Labs we advocate that you pay attention to the advice of your vet, breeder, pet supply retailer, and other experts in your circle of reference with regard to the foods they may recommend. And then add a supplement that meets the optimal dose of the critical nutrients outlined above. You can enjoy the economy and convenience of processed food, and all the benefits they provide, and still ensure that you protect your pet’s good health for a lifetime.

Animal Health Laboratories Ltd.