5 Essential Nutrients Your Dog Isn’t Getting from His Food

Diet is a huge component to ensuring your pet is healthy and stays in optimal condition. Unfortunately, many dog foods that are on the market today offer little to no real nutritional value. You must be very conscientious in making your selections, and choose feeds that offer real and balanced nutrition.

Some foods may be lacking in very important components, such as:

High Quality Protein

Protein is important in helping your dog build and maintain muscle mass, as well as feed and nourish your dog’s bones, organs, immune system, and more.

If your dog is deficient in quality protein, he could suffer from health problems like poor immune response, anemia, and a dry brittle coat, among other things.

The kibble should also be made with meat that is considered “fit for human consumption.” There are many dog foods created using 4D meat, which is extremely unhealthy and poses many contamination risks for your furry pal.

Healthy Fats

Most kibbles do not contain enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Instead, they contain large doses of its counterpart – Omega 6. This is critically important because these two competing Omega fatty acids regulate the body’s inflammatory response. Omega 6 causes the body to become more inflamed, Omega 3 does the opposite – it reduces inflammation. Now each serve a purpose – when we get a bump, our body protects us by swelling the area. The problem arises when there is too much Omega 6 in the system, and causes unneeded inflammation all over. As most of us know by now, excess inflammation makes many serious health issues in humans and animals worse, or causes them outright.

So how does all that Omega 6 get into your dog food? Grains are high in Omega 6. However, not many dog owners know the bigger dog food secret – the meat in dog food is a huge source of Omega 6 as well. Why? Because our livestock, unless it’s “grass fed”, eat grain and soy in large amounts. And so, Omega 6 gets concentrated in the protein your dog eats.

To correct your dog’s Omega 3 & 6 ratio, re-balance their food with a supplement rich in Omega 3, such as The Missing Link® Original Superfood Powders or Once Daily Superfood Dental Chews. Much of the skin-soothing, happy joint results The Missing Link® is famous for come from the awesome Omega 3 power of our patented-process flax seed base. And this goes for kitties too!

Healthy Carbs

Carbs are a good energy source for your dog when they aren’t taken overboard. Just like with people, too many carbs, especially unhealthy carbs, can be detrimental to your dog’s health.

Avoid pretty much any dog foods that list corn as the first ingredient, as they offer very little nutritional value and may cause obesity, among other health ailments. Also, keep in mind it’s often a very sub-par quality of corn called feed corn, or corn meal.

A better choice is to look for foods that contain alternate carbohydrates from starchy vegetables like peas and garbanzo beans. These at least can offer some nutrition. Just keep in mind that it’s harder for dogs to digest grains than fats and proteins. 

Natural Vitamins and Minerals

Unfortunately, your dog food could be so highly processed, and made with such high temperatures, that virtually all the natural vitamins and minerals it may have possessed have been leeched right out of it. It’s basically been “denatured.”

This forces manufacturers to add synthetic vitamins and minerals back in. This is challenging, because your dog may not be able to synthesize them, or your dog could even be given too much of something, and it could prove toxic. Dry dog foods offer very little in the way of “natural” nutrition, and are not the best choice for keeping your pet healthy over the long-term.

Enzymes

Enzymes are essential in many processes that support and sustain the life and health of your fur baby. Dogs are born with a certain number of enzymes at birth, and that’s all they will have during their lifetime. All other enzymes must to be gleaned from the food that they eat.

Unfortunately, in the process of manufacturing dog food, along with other essential nutrients, live enzymes are mostly destroyed. The lack of enzymes in his diet can cause a noted deficiency in your pooch.

Feed Your Dog The Nutrients They Need

One of the best ways to ensure your fur kiddo is being fed a healthy and nutritious diet (with all the live enzymes and natural vitamins and minerals they need to live long and happy) is to feed them high-quality food, plus a nutrient-dense superfood supplement like the The Missing Link®. Click here to select the right superfood supplement for your pet and find options to purchase some for your fur kiddos, then prepare for them to get Happier & Better!

 

10 Facts About Pet Food That Will Surprise You

Choosing a good pet food that is nutritious and healthy for your fur baby can be challenging to say the least. There are so many commercial pet foods that are (for want of a better term), nothing but dry kibble – lacking all of the essential nutrients your fur kid needs.

However, there are some pet food manufacturers that do value the health of your pet, and strive to create feed that is healthy and nutritious. It just becomes a matter of learning how to sift the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

With that said, here are 10 surprising facts about commercial pet food that just might surprise you. Take them to heart, and keep them in mind when choosing the best pet food for your four-legged companion.

Not All Pet Foods Are Created Equal

In fact, some may be seriously subpar. There are certain pet foods that are manufactured from what is known as 4D meat. Worse, this practice is perfectly legal. 4D meat comes from diseased and disabled animals who are dying or have died. Sound yummy?

Yeah, doesn’t sound too appetizing to us either. You wouldn’t eat meat like this, so don’t feed it to your pet. Instead, make sure that the pet food you are buying is “fit for human consumption.”

Consider Feeding Your Pet “Fresh” Food

Or at least feed them fresh food part of the time. Unfortunately, whether you’re buying canned food or dry kibble, the process that makes them stable enough to sit on a shelf for months on end is so extreme that most of the time any natural nutrients that may have been present get eradicated.

This means that manufacturers are forced to add things back in, like synthetic minerals and vitamins and even artificial flavors, just to entice your pet to eat it.

Read the Ingredients. Really!

We bet you only thought you’d have to read ingredients for your own food. Unfortunately, no. Read the ingredients in your pet food of choice, and see how it measures up. Ideally you want the first ingredients to be proteins, not grains and starches.

In fact, you might consider going grain-free entirely. Often grains are corn or cornmeal based, which is highly fattening and offers very little nutritional value.

Sometimes veggies like garbanzo beans and peas may be added in as starches, and those are acceptable. Just make sure they aren’t the first ingredient listed.

Avoid “Meat Meal”

Yes, you want the first ingredients to be protein, but you don’t want that protein to be meat meal. Meat meal is basically an animal by-product, and you probably don’t want to know what goes into its production. Suffice to say, avoid, avoid, avoid.

Added Preservatives Are Unhealthy

Unfortunately, they are necessary for most commercial pet food brands, so that the food can store for indeterminate periods of time. There are some natural preservatives, but they increase production costs, which make them largely undesirable to pet food manufacturers.

Also, it’s worth noting that some preservatives are also used as pesticides, and some are even known to cause health risks, yet they are still used. Even if the preservative agent is illegal in other countries, it could still be legal here in the good old US of A.

Raw Food, Shmaw Food

There’s a belief that is being passed around that raw foods are bad for your pet and you shouldn’t feed them such nonsense. We call baloney.

Obviously, pet food manufacturers have a vested interest in making people believe kibble and canned food is better than raw or real food. It doesn’t make it true.

Just like we can thrive on a raw food diet, animals can as well. So even if you feed your pet commercial food a few times a week, then mix it up with fresh food the other days of the week, you could potentially offset nutritional deficiencies.

Protein Extenders = Bad

Protein extenders are used to save on costs. For instance, blood meal is considered a “protein extender.” However, it is essentially indigestible for your furry friend. What is blood meal, you might ask? It is blood that has been dried and powdered, and then used in various brands of pet food. The other problem with blood meal is that it has the potential to pass along mad cow disease to dogs.

Buyer Beware of Heavy Metals

Metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium have been found in commercial pet foods. Obviously, this is not desirable, nor healthy. 

Nutrient Poison

Another fun factoid: because the manufacturing process depletes nutrients, pet food manufacturers will add back in synthetic nutrients. Sometimes this can be overkill, and even toxic to your animal, such as too much vitamin A or vitamin D.

To Meat or Not to Meat…

Because too much meat can mess with a manufacturers machines, most dry kibbles are made up of about 50% of the good stuff. If it’s the good stuff. See point number 1.

Remember to research your options, and choose your pet food wisely.

Your Dog’s Kibble Isn’t Enough: The Truth About Commercial Pet Food

When it comes to your fur baby, (and obviously, the key word here is “baby”), you want to feed them as healthy a diet as possible. For most pet owners, their dog is like a member of the family, and you certainly wouldn’t feed other members of your family only unhealthy foods or an unbalanced diet.

Therefore, why would you sacrifice quality and nutrition when it comes to your four-legged friend? Unfortunately, most commercial dog food does just that… sacrifices quality and balanced nutrition, at the expense of you and your dog.

A healthy diet equals a healthy (and long) life. In a day and age where 40% of dogs have packed on more pounds than is optimal, and 46% of dogs today die from diseases like cancer, you should want to give your pet the best chance possible at a long and healthy life. Heart, liver, and kidney disease is on the rise, and it all boils down to being mindful of just what you are feeding your pet.

Much like humans, what you put into your dog is what comes out. If you feed them a poor diet every day, it can manifest itself into various illnesses and ailments. Not the goal when you go to pick up that bag of dog food, right?

So, let’s talk about a few truths when it comes to commercial dog food, so you can see how so many of them miss the mark when it comes to nourishing your furry little cuddle buddy.

Complete and Balanced is a Best Guess

Just because something says it, doesn’t make it true. While it would be nice to believe that one single brand of dog food can meet all the nutritional needs of your dog, the reality is that is most likely not the case.

There is no single brand of dog food that will meet all of your dog’s nutrient needs all the time. Therefore, food rotation and supplementation is encouraged. Which leads us to truth number two.

It’s Healthier to Mix It Up

It’s perfectly fine to mix your dog’s food up. As a matter of fact, it’s important to mix it up for your dog, to ensure that the diet they are being fed truly is “balanced and complete.”

If you think about it, would you like to eat the same thing day in and day out? Probably not. So, if you wouldn’t, why would your dog?

They need variety too, and the message that switching their feed could give them a bellyache, while potentially true in the short-run, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. An upset stomach can actually be a sign that your dog has nutritional deficiency somewhere, and needs a wider variety of food.

Just like people, when your dog is not nutritionally sound, his gut will not work optimally. Once your dog gets the complete nutrition he needs, and his gut heals and begins to work the way it’s designed to do, then he can eat different foods on a regular basis with no issues, just the way we as people do.

Dry Dog Food or Canned?

Dry dog food (also called kibble) can be quite dehydrating. It has been linked to bloat as well as other health problems in both dogs and cats. Dry dog food is exposed to extreme heat during the production phase. Extreme heat causes a loss of potency in the nutritional value, in some cases destroying up to 75% of nutrients and vitamins.

Canned food is a tad bit more “fresh”, and less heat is used to create it, increasing its nutritional value. However, there’s still nothing that beats real (fresh) food for your pet.

Whether it’s cooked or raw, dehydrated, freeze-dried, or frozen… these forms offer much higher nutrition options for your fuzzy pal, and should be weighed carefully against the kibble brands you choose if you want to feed your pet the healthiest diet available.

Filling Your Dog Up With Corn

If you read the ingredients on the back of the food bag, you’ll find that the first one is most often corn, or some derivative of corn. This is because it’s a cheap filler, and lowers the costs of production.

Dog’s bodies are not designed to properly process corn by-products. Corn has even been identified as a possible allergen for dogs. When the main ingredient in your dogs food is corn or a corn by-product, you are feeding your pet a food that will not be easily digested or absorbed in their gut.

You will typically find corn used as a filler in the cheaper, low cost dog foods. To ensure that your dog is receiving wholesome nutrition, and not being filled up with corn at every meal, be sure to do your research and check the label for nutrition information! Your furry four-legged family member will not receive complete, balanced nutrition on food with grain filler as the main ingredient!

Dog Food “Good”, People Food “Bad”- Not!

Obviously, there are some foods that a dog cannot and should not eat. Things like grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts, and garlic to name a few. Also, never give your dog any foods with Xylitol (it can be deadly), and stay away from allowing them chocolate as well. Other than those few no no’s, for the most part dogs can eat the same foods as humans do and be all the healthier for it.

Think of it like this… feeding your dog some commercial dog foods is similar to feeding your dog granola bars every day. Since we already know eating only processed food on a daily basis is not healthy for you, it stands to reason that a “processed food only” equivalent is also not healthy for your dog.

As more research is conducted on the proper diet for dogs, we are learning that a processed food only diet is no longer enough. Processed foods make for a longer shelf life and ease of feeding and convenience, but lack the complete proper nutrition necessary. We now understand that dog’s need whole food nutrition for optimal health and wellness!

Animal By-Product… What is It?

If you tend to feed your dog the cheaper brands, you can bet the cheaper the brand, the cheaper the ingredients will be. Corn and cornmeal will usually be the very first ingredient listed with “animal by-product” as the protein source. This kind of dog food is lacks proper, complete nutrition and can potentially lead to of health problems and diseases.

Keep in mind that the final rendered product that comes out of these many manufacturers of pet food is supposed to be labeled properly, and list its dominant animal source. However, it is hard to identify the main animal source when several different meats are used. As a result, food often gets labeled with terms like “meat by-product” or “animal by-product” as well as “animal fat”. Pretty ambiguous, right? It doesn’t tell you much.

Another unfortunate problem with this practice is that the meat sources can be contaminated. When companies chose to use ingredients such as “meat by-product” or “animal by-product”, these mix of animal species could have been on unknown drugs or antibiotics that can potentially be passed through the food to your pet!

Frankly, some commercial grade dog food is made of material that is considered “unfit for human consumption” … yet somehow it is deemed okay to feed to your dog. It is important to be aware of what you are feeding your dog!

What You Can – and Should Be Doing

This information may be startling, to say the least, but this is not to scare you away from feeding your furry four-legged friend his pet food! What you should take away from all of this information is how necessary it is to take the time to do research on what the best option is for your pet.

This is why you should always check the labels and ingredients of the dog food that you choose to buy, and try to find the brands that truly value animal life. They are out there, you just have to look for them. You also will probably pay a little more for them, but the health of your dog is worth it.

Do your due diligence! Research different dog food brands to compare what they have to offer. Select one that has high quality standards and creates their food recipes based on research and the help of nutritionists. Try to find brands of dog food that have wholesome nutrition and natural ingredients. Take the time to find options that are grain free and do not use any fillers. This can be time consuming, but well worth it for your fur friend’s health!

There are pet food companies that truly want to help you nourish your dog so that you can equip them to live a long and healthy life. Stay far away from the subpar cheaper brands that rely on fillers and by-product to keep costs low. Strive to make the health of your pet top priority and purchase the highest quality food that you can reasonably afford. And if you suspect the food you’re buying just isn’t cutting it, or if your pet’s health needs change, consider a supplement to help get them the extra nutrition they need. For example, if your dog suffers from arthritis or hip and joint problems, consider supporting healthy joints and flexibility with a glucosamine hip and joint supplement for dogs. Or if your fur kid suffers from dry skin, consider a supplement with balanced omegas to help maintain a healthy skin and coat.