DRY PET FOOD FICTION AND EXTRUSION DELUSION

This blog show you that what dogs and cats eat is absolutely not dry pet food fiction
This blog shows you that what dogs and cats eat is absolutely not dry pet food fiction

What better way to introduce today’s topic of dry pet food fiction than show you the first of two videos. This is because I believe in setting the stage so that pet parents can decide for themselves. It’s not an attempt to persuade. There is no marketing agenda. 

All pet caregivers are faced with the same decisions when it comes to choosing what to give their dogs and cats to eat. Being informed helps you decide what is best and what is affordable. Each family has its own unique circumstances. Nevertheless, I’m sure you all want your pets to be happy and healthy, and lead the kind of life they deserve.

THE REALITY BEHIND PET KIBBLE

What Are The Ingredients?

Let’s take a look at what actually goes into making pet kibble. The following list shows the main ingredients.

  • meat
  • meat by-products (parts not generally for human consumption, by-product meal either named or unidentified)
  • grains (corn, wheat, rice)
  • pulses (chickpeas, beans, lentils, soybeans)
  • potatoes
  • vegetables
  • synthetic vitamins
  • synthetic minerals

Please take note that this type of dry food is high in calories. As a result, it’s very easy for a pet to become overweight. This usually occurs if it free feeds (grazes) and doesn’t get measured quantities at specific meal times.

Exactly How Is Kibble Made?

After studying the manufacturing process in considerable detail, I have been calling the marketing and sale of these products dry pet food fiction. That’s because they have really low nutritional value and frequently contain ingredients that cause harmful health effects, both long term and short term. 

As you may have already realized, dry food for both dogs and cats is highly processed. That translates into a diet that does little to provide the body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.

With the exception of a very small number of businesses that make commercial oven-baked dry food, around 95 percent of all kibble is manufactured by extrusion. Prepare yourself for what comes next! This is the reality behind pet kibble!

The Extrusion Delusion

In the extrusion process, the dry and wet ingredients are mixed together and pulverized to form a dough-like consistency. It is then fed into an expander for cooking and subjected to extreme pressure and high temperature.

In the next step, the dough is extruded (forced) through a specially shaped die, cut into pellets, and passed through a dryer. The pellets are then sprayed with fats, oils and synthetic additives such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. This step is aimed at replacing these natural substances which the food will have lost during the manufacturing process.

Finally, the finished product is packaged ready for shipping to stores. 

Why Is Dry Pet Food So Popular?

Despite the fact that kibble is not the best option out there, these are the main reasons why people choose to give it to their pets.

  • convenience…open the bag, scoop and serve
  • time-saving…no preparation required
  • relatively long shelf life before spoiling
  • can be used in automatic feeders
  • can usually be left out in the food bowl all day before it starts to go rancid
  • generally more economical than other food alternatives

To Sum Up

This article is just one of many more I intend to write on the topic of mealtime foods, snacks and treats. In a couple of weeks you’ll be able to read about a presentation I attended in Florida given by a nationally-respected advocate for pet food transparency. Her name…Susan Thixton. What she told us is life-changing!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

BEST BRUSHING COMBING PET TOOLS

You don’t always have to take your dog or cat to the groomer. If you have the best brushing and combing pet tools, you can definitely do most of the basic tasks yourself, at home.

A shedding blade is ideal for harsh types of coats Credit: Photo by Mickey Samuni-Blank
A shedding blade is ideal for harsh types of coats.
Photo by Mickey Samuni-Blank

The choice of brushes and combs is quite extensive so it’s necessary to know the best ones to pick depending on the type of coat your pet has. Each has a specific purpose and won’t disappoint if used correctly.

It’s Not Only About Esthetics

Did you know that grooming pets brings benefits of another kind?  In fact, in this blog we’re not just discussing an enhanced and visually pleasing exterior appearance. 

Regular brushing, combing, trimming and bathing will, of course,  keep your pet clean, matt-free, and help reduce the likelihood of external parasite infestation. On top of that, these actions assist in minimizing the amount of fur your dogs and cats can dump in your home, on floor surfaces and furniture.

Grooming pets brings benefits such as improved blood circulation Credit: Photo by Fluter
Grooming pets brings benefits such as improved blood circulation.
Photo by Fluter

Below The Surface Benefits

So, grooming has below the surface benefits, too. And by that I mean they can promote general well-being as well as detect health risks.

By passing your hand over the skin and doing a visual examination before brushing, you can notice things you may not otherwise. For example, scratches, skin issues, swelling and lumps that may require veterinary attention.

In addition, when you touch a limb from top to bottom, you may notice tenderness which could be an indication of arthritis or injury.

You may already know this but it’s worth highlighting here. The action of brushing actually stimulates blood circulation and helps the secretion and distribution of natural oils. As a result, your pet’s skin gets a health boost and a nice, shiny coat.

A metal comb is particularly useful in sensitive areas Credit: Photo by Bordercolliez
A metal comb is particularly useful in sensitive areas.
Photo by Bordercolliez

Some Of The Best Brushing Combing Pet Tools

The selection is extensive and what you’ll see at your local pet store are at-home grooming tools. They cater to the needs of all breed types and the diversity of coats they exhibit. Most online pet stores have helpful descriptions of the products they sell. Consequently, it’s a lot easier for pet parents to choose the best items for the job at hand.

To give you an idea of what these tools do, here’s a list for quick reference.

Cat being groomed with a long-handled rubber brush Credit: Photo by Jiaqian AirplaneFan
Cat being groomed with a long-handled rubber brush.
Photo by Jiaqian AirplaneFan

Bristle Brushes are widely used for all coat types. They remove surface debris and leave a nice shine on long-coated dogs.

The Slicker Brush has rows of thin wire pins which are good for dematting, detangling and removing loose fur. It’s ideal for long and curly coats.

Pin Brushes are similar to the slicker brush but have plastic or rubber tips on the wire pins for a gentler brushing experience. They are very practical for wavy and curly coats.

The Undercoat Rake has longer, fewer pins than a pin brush. This device is designed to untangle and remove dead hair from the lower layer of double-coated dogs.

Similar in style to the brush used for horse grooming, the Curry Brush is ideal for most short-haired dogs. When gently rubbed over the coat, its short rubber teeth loosen dirt and are able to remove large amounts of shedding hair.

More Useful Grooming Accessories

Grooming Gloves are currently getting a lot of publicity and pet parents find them very practical. They can be used on both dry and wet coats in long, firm strokes, typically to drag off loose hair from short-coated dogs.

Flea combs remove live and dead fleas as well as their eggs
Flea combs remove live and dead fleas as well as their eggs

The very basic Metal Comb helps manage tangles and is particularly useful in sensitive areas such as the ears, toes and tail. Some styles even have teeth with rounded tips for extra safety.

Flea Combs, used mostly for cats, feature narrowly spaced teeth for the effective removal of live and dead fleas as well as their eggs. Areas worthy of special attention are the face, neck and just in front of the tail.

The FURminator is a patented, highly effective de-shedding tool. It comprises a metal comb with a button to release the collected fur, and works on nearly all coat types.

The FURminator is an example of how brushing and combing pet tools have evolved
The FURminator is an example of how brushing and combing pet tools have evolved

A Shedding Blade is a curved metal strip where the two ends join together at the handle. The lower edge has zig zag teeth and as you drag it across the flat, short or combination harsh types of coats, it effectively removes loose hair.

To Sum Up

Now that you have a better idea of what’s out there, you are in a position to choose the best brushing and combing pet tools, that are perfect for grooming your dog and cat at home. And, not only that, think of the health benefits it provides and the enjoyment of bonding even more with your furry companions.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  




WALKING CATS PROVIDES ENRICHMENT

Indoor cats must always stay indoors! Not true. Many pet parents have found that walking cats provides enrichment that cannot be equalled. Sure, watching birds, squirrels and lizards through the window is okay but allowing them the opportunity to breath and smell the fresh air brings far greater joy. Plus, it’s an experience that feline and human can engage in together. It strengthens their bond, an unbreakable bond.

Walking cats provides enrichment which can be done safely by using a strap harness 
Credit: Photo by K B
Walking cats provides enrichment which can be done safely by using a strap harness
Credit: Photo by K B

Some Kitties Also Hike And Swim

Although it’s not very common that you’ll actually see a cat being walked, sometimes they participate in other “unusual” activities, too. There are kitties that go hiking. Others enjoy a little swim in the pool. 

It’s all up to the creativity of the cat guardian to experiment and find ways to stimulate their pet. The relatively effortless act of walking enriches feline lives. It’s worth remembering that both physical and mental exercise prevent boredom and help keep them in good health, as well. It allows them to thrive, not just be.

As you can see, walking enriches feline lives by allowing them to experience nature up close
As you can see, walking enriches feline lives by allowing them to experience nature up close

KITTING OUT YOUR KITTY

Kitty ID

Before your cat companion ventures beyond your front door, make sure you have everything it needs to be safe and comfortable.

As you know by now, I do not take chances. So, if Fluffy tolerates wearing a collar that displays her ID, make sure she is wearing it while on her trip into the big, wide world. Please ensure it is the breakaway type so that it will unfasten if she were to ever get caught up or tangled. That way, she can free herself and avoid further injury.

Made by hand and made to measure, a harness designer can offer unique detailing
Made by hand and made to measure, a harness designer can offer unique detailing

Harness And Leash

Since cats are far more delicate than dogs, it is never advisable to try walking her with the leash attached to a collar. There are special harnesses just for cats and the leash will clip onto the ring between the shoulders or a little further down the back.

There are two basic styles of harnesses for cats. 

Firstly, we have the fabric, vest-type design, that is usually made of soft mesh. It slips over the head, passes underneath the chest, behind the front legs and two side straps snap together between the shoulders.

An example of how cats can enjoy the outdoors and bond with their guardian 
Credit: Photo by Birhanb
An example of how cats can enjoy the outdoors and bond with their guardian
Credit: Photo by Birhanb

Then there is the one that is all straps. It is actually two loops that are joined together by a strap that rests on the cat’s upper back. The straps that form the neck loop and the girth loop are positioned and then snapped in place.

Getting Accustomed

Now, if you strongly believe that walking cats provides enrichment and you want to give it a try, ideally you should start in kittenhood. To begin with, the youngster will need to learn to accept a harness, firstly indoors and then outside. Try it out for just a few minutes and then gradually build up to longer periods. 

Since cats are more delicate than dogs, a snug-fitting, fabric harness vest is ideal
Since cats are more delicate than dogs, a snug-fitting, fabric harness vest is ideal

Getting used to how the harness feels and walking at the end of a leash requires practice. This will help to minimize any possible stress and reluctance, and ensure it becomes an experience to look forward to. 

However, you need to realize that not all cats like wearing a harness. The older they are when they are first introduced to it, the greater the likelihood that your feline friend will refuse to wear one. You simply won’t know how she will react until you try.

In cooler weather, your kitty can still enjoy a walk wearing its harness over a sweater
In cooler weather, your kitty can still enjoy a walk wearing its harness over a sweater

To Sum Up

Most indoor cats never have the opportunity to go outdoors. They can only imagine what it’s like by staring at the outside through a window from the inside.

An indoor cat can benefit greatly from these walks. It is really great exercise. She will stay agile and in her optimum weight. It will stimulate her senses, serve as enrichment, and make her a very happy kitty indeed!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


HOW A CAT’S DNA AFFECTS BEHAVIOR

When it comes to the topic of how a cat’s DNA affects behavior, I don’t know a single person who is more knowledgeable. Who am I referring to? None other than the amazing Jackson Galaxy. 

You probably already know him from his enormously successful tv show “My Cat From Hell.” In addition to that, he has authored several best-selling books. And, you may have heard, too, about and his impactful advocacy work across the USA. 

Companion cat’s DNA affects behavior due to inherited wild cat ancestor instincts and skills. Play hunting and chasing provide important physical and mental benefits
Companion cat’s DNA affects behavior due to inherited wild cat ancestor instincts and skills. Enrichment through play hunting and chasing provides important physical and mental benefits

A Jackson Galaxy Term

Jackson Galaxy often uses the term “raw cat,” which describes what all felines are pre-programmed to do. If you haven’t already realized what it actually means, please take note. I can’t stress enough how important this is. After all, if you want to understand what your cat does and why, it really is fundamental. So, let’s take a look at a cat’s usual 24-hour behavior cycle.

First of all NAP

Then WAKE UP

  Next comes HUNT

 Followed by CATCH

Then KILL

And, of course EAT

 After all this is GROOM

Final full circle NAP

Wild And Not So Wild

I wonder if you’ve ever spent time observing wild cats, either in their natural habitat or at a sanctuary somewhere. And, if you’ve also noticed how all domesticated cats have a lot of characteristics in common. There are some striking similarities between the two, aren’t there? That’s because genetics determine how felines act, both in the wild, and in the home.

My point here is that in order to understand why our companion felines act the way they do, we need to look at their ancestors. And, this is the work that zoologists and other animal experts have done in the past and continue to do even today. As a result of their research, we are now able to provide a better quality of life for the animals we care for at home.

Let me give you a brief example. As we already know, wild cats, from the biggest species (Siberian Tiger) down to the smallest (Rusty-Spotted Cat), are hunters. They hunt for survival and spend many hours, every single day, doing precisely that. As for domesticated cats, when given the opportunity, they will behave in a similar fashion. They, too, love to hunt, kill and eat size-appropriate prey, such as lizards and mice. This is instinct. It’s in their DNA. That’s what cats do!

Play Hunting Activity For Indoor Cats

There are a number of ways you can get involved to enrich their life once you figure out how a cat’s DNA affects its behavior. Below are some suggestions and explanations so that your felines can satisfy their prewired hunting instincts and skills. Try to give them several play/workout sessions each day.

The Activities 

What cats love to do. They delight in running, pouncing, jumping,  chasing, searching and batting.

The Tools 

Mostly inexpensive, here are a few ideas to fulfill your cat’s activity needs. There are throw toys that make a noise, and wands with dangling objects. Plus, a laser beam never fails to give enjoyment. 

How about some interactive toys? For example, balls that spin and roll around on a track. Or a play station for pushing, poking and moving objects. Also, if your budget allows, a multi-level cat tower will give Felix and Fluffy multiple options to jump, bat, be on the look out, and even snooze. 

The Benefits

Finally, but most importantly, are the physical and mental benefits of keeping cats occupied and free from boredom. They result from the combination of activities and tools I already mentioned. In just a few words, they include cardiovascular health, agility, reflex acuity, muscle tone, and mental stimulation. 

To Sum Up

The message throughout my blog is that genetics determine how felines act. I now hope that pet parents who didn’t fully realize what all felines are pre-programmed to do, can make some meaningful changes. Love manifests itself in enrichment so that their companions can enjoy active and purposeful lives. 

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!