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OUR PETS: THEY ARE WHAT THEY EAT

Dogs on diets: what do you think?How Diet Can Change A Pet’s Quality Of Life

We hear it every day: You are what you eat. And, when it comes to our pets, things certainly are no different. Just like in humans, the proper diet plays a crucial role in the longevity and overall health of pets. That’s something Matt Gugliotti, Avon resident and owner of The Pet Route of Canton, LLC, takes very seriously.

“For a lot of people, including myself, our beloved furry ones are our kids and, like all parents, we want nothing but the best for them,” says Gugliotti. “While not as widely reported as children’s toys and human food recalls, the recent and ongoing pet food recalls are very frightening. If there is any way for us to turn these recalls into a positive, it’s by seizing this opportunity to educate pet owners about pet food products in general, as well as their pets’ nutritional needs.”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), since March of this year, pet food companies have voluntarily recalled more than 150 brands of pet food (for a full list  of recalled products, visit www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/petfoodrecall).

As a result, pet owners are looking for better food for their pets. They want trustworthy companies that make products with high standards and top quality ingredients. But, they’re confused and feel they have limited choices when it comes to feeding their pets. “For example, in the wake of the recalls, a lot of pet owners simply switched pet food flavors but continued purchasing food from the companies whose products were recalled,” says Gugliotti. “What so many pet owners don’t know is that there are dozens of alternatives.”

Gugliotti stresses the importance of reading pet food packaging, and encourages pet owners to consult with their veterinarians to determine what food can deliver the optimum nutrition for their pets. FDA regulations require that pet food products show a listing of all ingredients in order from most to least, based on weight. “To ensure proper nutrition, pets should eat foods that list a meat protein ingredient first,” says Gugliotti. “However, wheat gluten – one of the contaminated ingredients involved with the pet food recalls – is simply a less expensive way for pet food products to provide protein.”

Advertisement: Zooplus.com Online Pet ShopAccording to the FDA, wheat gluten is the principal protein component of wheat flour and may be used as a thickener in pet foods. It is obtained by hydrating wheat flour and mechanically separating the wheat gluten from the starch and other flour components. Instead of wheat gluten as the primary protein, Holistic pet foods are made with a meat protein. In addition, they include whole grains such as sweet potato or brown rice instead of starch, natural preservatives offered by canola oil or avocado oil, and other nutritious items such as fruits, herbs, vegetables, or oils.  A dog who suffers from symptoms such as itchy skin, inflamed ears, digestive upsets, hot spots, or rashes, for example, may be exhibiting an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the food he eats. Pets who consume Holistic foods may age more slowly and have a lower risk of diseases such as cancer, seizures, and diabetes; have fewer allergies and intestinal problems; and experience whiter teeth, a healthier coat, and less itching.

It’s also important to know how the food is made, where it is made, and where the ingredients come from. Lower quality foods may be fried and made from moldy vegetables, spoiled grains, and even animals that are dying, disabled, diseased, or dead.

About The Pet Route of Canton, LLC:

Since 2004, The Pet Route of Canton, LLC has been offering a wide range of Holistic foods, treats, and supplements for dogs, cats, and small animals. Today, as the largest Holistic pet food store in Hartford County, The Pet Route of Canton stocks a wide selection of products and proteins in order to tailor a healthy diet for each customer’s individual pet needs. It is the sister store of Thomaston Feed in Thomaston, Connecticut, the largest Holistic pet food retailer in New England. In its new location at 163 Albany Turnpike, The Pet Route of Canton is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and
Sunday by appointment by calling ahead during business hours. In the event of an emergency, customers may contact owner Matt Gugliotti at (860) 982-6680.

PET FOOD STORAGE & SAFETY:

Storing Pet Food
(Source: Shelf Life of Pet Food by Katharine Hillestad, DVM, PetEducation.com)The major sources of damage to pet food are oxygen, heat, humidity, and light. Exposure to oxygen and heat leads to oxidation of the fat in foods. Oxidation is a chemical process that makes food taste rancid, depletes vitamins and other nutrients, and can eventually lead to serious disease. Proper storage should limit the exposure of the food to these environmental factors.

Store foods at proper temperatures. Room temperature is ideal for both canned and dry foods, but neither should be stored above 90°F. Storing canned food at temperatures below 50°F for long periods of time may lead to some changes in appearance, texture, and palatability, but should not alter the nutritional value. Once canned food is opened, it should be covered with a tight-fitting lid, refrigerated, and used within three days. Avoid storing dry food in damp basements, bathrooms or laundry rooms, since moisture encourages the growth of mold. If possible, keep dry food in its original bag and place inside another clean, dry, container with a snug lid to keep out light, air, rodents, and insects.

Pet Food Safety:
(Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration Pet Food Recall Page http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html) FDA regulates pet food similar to the way it regulates other animal feeds. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic
Act requires that pet foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled. In addition, canned pet foods must be processed in conformance with low-acid canned food regulations to ensure safety from harmful bacteria or their toxins.

There is no requirement that pet food products be approved by FDA before they are marketed. However, FDA ensures that the ingredients used in pet food are safe and have an appropriate function in the pet food. Some ingredients, such as mineral and vitamin sources, colorings, flavorings, and preservatives, are generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Other ingredients must have approval as food additives.

For more information, see “FDA’s Regulation of Pet Food” at http://www.fda.gov/cvm/petfoodflier.html and “Information on Marketing a Pet Food Product” at http://www.fda.gov/cvm/market.htm.

FDA regulations require that pet food products show:

  • Proper identification of the product;
  • Net quantity statement;
  • Name and place of business of the manufacturer or distributor; and
  • Listing of all ingredients in order from most to least, based on weight.

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Are you feeding your pets healthy food, or do you think it’s all a load of tripe? Discuss with others HERE!

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