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!  

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!

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!