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!  

DOGGY TREATS CUSTOMER SERVICE

Doggy treats customer service rep offers advice in dog speak with a nanny dog accent
Doggy treats customer service rep offers advice in dog speak with a nanny dog accent

How cool is that! A doggy treats customer service hotline! I bet the staff at this call center give advice on a whole bunch of stuff. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to tell everyone. You know, Chloe the Bichon, and Harley the Golden, and all my friends at the dog park. 

But wait. Where’s that number to call? Gotta search for it online. Then, you know what I’ll do? I’ll post it on my Facebook page. Everyone will see it. Woof! 

Then it’ll go viral. Woof! Woof! 

Our guardians won’t know if they’re coming or going! Woof! Woof! Woof!

I’m so, so excited, like, I can’t stop wagging my tail! 

To Sum Up

For my human readers who have difficulty understanding dog-speak, don’t forget what I wrote last week. Never underestimate doggy smarts. They are prewired!

PUPPY LEARNS TREATS SMARTS

And guess who’s teaching him?

This puppy learns treats smarts so that the training rewards keep flowing. So, who’s giving this valuable advice? Mom, or Dad, or someone else in the home? Well, that someone is not who you might think. It’s definitely not a human. After all, the whole idea is to outsmart the most intelligent beings on this planet. The ones who spend all this $$$ on rewards so their puppies get a really good education.

Lesson to be learned — don’t ever underestimate doggy smarts. It’s in their DNA!

Puppy learns treats smarts, but not from us!
Puppy learns treats smarts, but not from us!

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!  




RAWHIDE BONES SAFETY WARNING

A dramatic illustration like this shows why pet parents must heed this rawhide bones safety warning
These basic manufacturing steps illustrate why a rawhide bones safety warning is necessary. Courtesy of Rodney Habib

Dogs love them yet a rawhide bones safety warning is absolutely necessary. Why? Because nearly all the brands you see online and on the shelves of your favorite pet supply store are constructed with hide from dubious sources and full of toxic chemicals that are used in their manufacturing process. In fact, they have to be among the worst “entertainment” items ever created for dogs.

Rawhide Isn’t Really Raw

This kind of rawhide is more like leather because it goes through many of the same processing steps that are used to make shoes, handbags and a host of other items. 

How Rawhide Dog Bones And Chews Are Manufactured

Here is what happens.

* The hides are soaked in a highly concentrated salt solution to kill any protein-destroying organisms.

* Then they are treated with either an ash-lyme solution or sodium sulphide liming to strip off any hair or fat.

* Next, more chemicals are applied to separate the different layers, since only the inner most ones are used for the chews.

* The hide is then bleached white.

* A chemical preservative is applied so the hide doesn’t spoil.

* A coloring agent is applied.

* The leather is then cut, rolled and glued into the desired shape, packaged and shipped out.

What The Experts Tell Us

“Rawhide is the most dangerous pet chew ever. More dogs have died from rawhide treats than almost any other form of dog treats or food.” 

Rodney Habib, Canadian activist and founder of Planet Paws. 

“As the rawhide is chewed and turns soft and gooey, and the knots at each end get undone, it has become a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard.”

Dr. Karen Becker, holistic veterinarian.

To help prevent choking, intestinal obstruction and death, we need more rawhide bones safety warning posters like this.
A rawhide bones safety warning like this helps prevent choking, intestinal obstruction and death.
Courtesy of Mornington Peninsula Dog Lovers

Some Scary And Very Sad Stories

Like so many others, the people mentioned here hadn’t received a rawhide bones safety warning.

Teddy almost choked on one, it had completely unraveled and was down his throat.Thank God we were home and in the same room.” Tracey Schofield

Years ago, my Jack Russell was choking on a rawhide, but luckily I was able to put my finger down his throat and got it out. I don’t know why the stores keep selling rawhides.” Celine Ostendorf

After swallowing some pieces of rawhide, mine died in surgery, so sad.” Sylvie Haustete

“One of my ‘students’ had an obstruction. When I asked when the pup would be in for its 2nd level of training, I was told that, sadly, the little one had died due to blockage in the intestines.” Wendy Roberson (dog trainer)

I had a pedigree German Shepherd that ate some rawhide and died in my jeep before I could reach the vet! There was nothing I could do. His stomach was all swollen and twisted by the obstruction.” Mercedes López-Roberson

To Sum Up

These testimonials speak for themselves. Besides, there are other ways, much safer ways, to provide enrichment for your beloved pets.

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

DOG EXERCISE CONSISTENCY IS KEY

Whatever the exercise, consistency is key to keeping your dog active, healthy and happy
You will rarely meet a dog that doesn’t love the physical challenge of a good ball game

A daily exercise routine for your dog is necessary to safeguard his physical and emotional health
Another form of exercise, this dog proudly carries his big stick

Today’s blog is about physical activity with a focus on why dog exercise consistency is key. 

An appropriate range of physical activities, sometimes with the use of tools, provide the benefits required for your pets to be healthy and stay healthy. We tell humans this all the time, and the exact same principles apply to the dogs in our lives.

This may be stating the obvious but the whole point here is to give some of you a little nudge to actually do so. And, to be sensible about it. To factor in physical condition, the breed’s DNA, your surroundings, and climatic conditions.

Consistency Is A Major Factor

On average, 20 minutes of aerobic activity daily is considered necessary for your dog’s health. It is the recommended time a pet parent should put aside for this purpose. Not only is it vital for his overall physical well-being, it also helps alleviate boredom and destructive behaviors.

Here’s the next point to bear in mind. Regardless of what type of exercise it actually is, at least some activity must be done each and every day. Also, even though your intentions are good, it’s not wise to over-indulge. By that I mean, little or no physical activity during the typical work week, then “binge” at the weekend.

On top of that, more injuries occur when physical exertion is not increased gradually. As an example, what do amateur and professional athletes do? They warm up and cool down, by stretching and prepping. Consequently, precautionary measures like these will minimize the likelihood your pet will suffer strains and sprains.

Here are some ideas.

Activities: 
  • Walking briskly is basic good exercise that most pet parents can do.
  • Jogging is an ideal activity for more athletically inclined humans and canines.
  • Fetching a ball or catching a frisbee is easily done in the confines of a fenced-in back yard.
  • When dogs really enjoy the outdoors they often love to be their family’s hiking companion.
  • Swimming is a fabulous activity for a broad range of dogs that can choose how playfully or strenuously they want to participate.
  • Another outdoor option is having your dog trot alongside while you are bicycling. However, this does require thorough training and a high degree of caution for it to be safe for everyone involved.
  • Treadmill workouts are gaining popularity especially in areas that are prone to harsh weather conditions that can occur at any time of year. They also require training and extreme caution. And, if you didn’t already know, there are several treadmills designed specifically for canines. So go check them out.
Tools: 
  • Ball, frisbee, stick (inexpensive, exercise-promoting toys)
  • Hide and seek objects (be creative)
  • Set up an agility course (even a small, simple one for beginners and less energetic breeds can work wonders)
Benefits:
  • These include cardiovascular health, agility, reflex acuity, and muscle tone.
  • Exercise provides mental stimulation and is highly beneficial in the effort to control destructive behavior.

Find out what motivates your dog. Have fun. Enjoy your quality time together. Be creative but, above all, be sensible. And, please make an effort to be consistent. A health, active dog is a happy dog.

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