Word has it that pets on processed food diet die three years earlier than those fed home made stuffs. A few days ago we found this article:
PARIS (AFP) - The junk food and poor eating habits affecting humans is also killing their four-legged pals, say veterinary surgeons and experts.
Allergies and obesity are reducing the life expectancy of Lassies and Mittens nourished worldwide on industrial foodstuffs, said Gerard Lippert, a Belgian acupuncturist for animals who has just completed a study on the diets of 600 dead dogs.
"Pets, like humans, are victims of junk food," he told AFP.
Of the 600 furry corpses he examined "those fed on processed foods died three years earlier than those fed on food made in the home."
Dogs, he added, "originally were omnivores who shared their food with humans."
Rippert said he was increasingly called on to heal skin, motor and digestive problems as acupuncture was an all-embracing method enabling work on practically all organs.
"Dry dog food and cat food croquettes are over-heated, which destroys vitamins, trace elements and other basic nutritional elements," he said.
"We don't know the origin of the proteins in the foods," he added. "And there's an excessive amount of cereal, often genetically modified, and very little vegetables."
"We're turning our dogs and cats into ruminants," he said.
Laurence Colliard, a veterinary surgeon and nutritionist located in the Paris suburbs, estimates that only five percent of French pet-owners cook food for their four-legged companions.
France is Europe's top pet nation -- with 7.8 million dogs and 10.7 million cats, according to a 2008 study by the Sofres/Facco polling institute.
"I'm seeing an increasing number of allergies, diarrhea, vomitting, skin dermatitis as well as cases of obesity, specially amid cats because of the excessively high energy content in industrially-produced cat foods," said Colliard.
Pet owners tend to favour processed foods because of the difficulty of preparing nutritionally balanced meals, which in an ideal world should contain some 50 nutrients as well as meat, vegetables, rice and pasta. An animal's age, weight and exercise routine also need to be taken into account.
The packs on offer on supermarket shelves also claim as a bonus to reduce nasty urine smells and modify the consistency of animal poop.
The pet food industry was born in England where James Spratt produced the world's first dog biscuits in 1860.
Some 150 years later, many Internet sites are calling for a return to natural foods for pets.
"BARF or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food is a type of pet diet that consists of raw meat, bones, and organs," says www.barf.com. "It is the practice of feeding domestic pets their evolutionary diet as a way of maximizing their health and longevity."
"Dogs should not eat cooked or processed food," it adds. "Instead, your pet should consume foods that are similar to a dog's wild ancestors. This includes bones, fat, meat, and vegetable materials."
Likewise, it offers tips for natural home-made meals.
"It's only in the last 100 years we have been led to believe that dogs cannot survive without packaged food. We are told it would be harmful if we were to give them the scraps from our own home cooked meals. This is pure poppycock!"
Now, should we believe the results of a study based on 600 dead canines? Dogs and cats are totally different in anatomy, habits and nature. The acupuncturist did not state the lifestyle of those 600 dead (and lamented) dogs. Were they healthy? As in, did the owners take them out for regular exercise? I wonder what's the basis of him applying the findings on cats too. I would say that this acupuncturist's story is poppycock too. (oops...pardon my language.)
There are many factors that can lead to the death of a pet. I've even heard stories of pets that die of heartbroken-ness due to death of partners or owners.
My Mama would occasionally give us treats like raw beef or chicken. Yummy but I don't think I'll like eating that all the time. Oh, we also get raw chicken wings once a while - that's our dental treatment and recommended by our vet. However, my Mama did say feeding us the raw meat will save her a lot of money. Is she hinting something? Hmmm....purrr....meow!
Surely, Mama won't deny us our rights to this delectable gourmet catfood, eh?