Carrageenan: a Controversial Pet Food Additive

Carrageenan is a seaweed derivative that is commonly used as a food additive in a wide variety of products. There has been a lot of controversy about this ingredient, so let’s take a look at it in more detail. Carragreenan is an  edible red seaweed. Sounds good, right? Many seaweeds contain lots of trace minerals and are very nutritious. “Carraigín” has been made from Irish Moss in kitchens for hundreds of years, to create the base for a pudding-like dessert. When cooked, carrageenan takes on a nice gelatinous texture. Today, it’s ...

2017-12-18T22:14:37-07:00

Choosing an Omega-3 Oil for Your Pet

You may already know how important Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is for dogs and cats. I consider it to be the #1 most important supplement you can give your pet. The anti-inflammatory effects of Omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have been thoroughly researched. Omega-3 supplementation has proven to be beneficial for dogs and cats for a wide variety of conditions, including chronic kidney disease(1), arthritis(2), allergies(3), and skin and coat problems(4). But do you know how to choose the best Omega-3 supplement? Let's look at the main sources ...

2019-01-30T04:41:50-07:00

Food Allergies in Cats

Cats often develop "food intolerances" or "food allergies" to ingredients found in commercial cat food. Currently, the most common allergies in cats are: chicken, dairy, fish, beef, lamb, and eggs. However, an allergy can develop to any protein to which the cat is repeatedly or constantly exposed. The symptoms of food allergy are typically skin-related and/or digestion-related. Skin symptoms include rashes (particularly around the face and ears), excessive licking (typically paws, legs or tummy), and red, itchy ears. Digestive symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. These are similar to the symptoms ...

2016-03-24T23:15:18-07:00

Homemade vs. Commercial Food for Cats and Dogs!

By Jean Hofve, DVM Preparing a home-made diet for one's pets is a bit of a challenge. However, it is no more difficult than feeding one's children a balanced and nutritious diet. Most human beings seem to be able to do that, since we have survived as a species. As any parent knows, it is not essential to balance all the nutrients in each individual meal, but over time the intake of nutrients in a varied, healthy diet will be balanced. What parent would ever consider feeding their children only ...

2017-03-21T18:26:13-07:00

Feline Obesity

By Jean Hofve, DVM Obesity is a serious problem for our feline friends; it affects more than half of American cats today. Many serious health problems can result from obesity, including arthritis, diabetes, liver disease, heart failure, inflammatory bowel disease, urinary tract problems, skin conditions, and many more. When possible, prevention is better than cure; don't allow your cat to become overweight in the first place. Pay attention to your kitten's growth to make sure he does not fill out "too much." The average weight gain for a kitten is approximately one pound ...

2017-02-21T18:12:06-07:00

Fiber Facts

By Dr. Jean Hofve Recently there has been renewed interest in fiber as a pet food ingredient. One pet food manufacturer published an article on the Internet condemning beet pulp in pet food as unhealthy if not downright dangerous, while others are touting the benefits of the latest fiber source, pecan shells. There is a lot of myth and misunderstanding concerning fiber, so let's take a closer look at this controversial ingredient. The term "fiber" (or "roughage") applies to complex carbohydrates that are resistant to mammalian digestive enzymes, although certain ...

2014-02-19T07:35:48-07:00

New Pet Food Standards – Finally?

The standards by which pet food are made are set by an organization called AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). AAFCO provides model rules and standards that most states have adopted, and that pet food companies abide by. You’ve undoubtedly seen statements on pet food labels referring to either AAFCO feeding tests or AAFCO Nutrient Profiles. In order to claim that they are “complete and balanced” for a given life stage (or all life stages), pet foods must meet one of those two standards. This is not a glamorous topic, ...

2018-09-17T09:44:39-07:00

PetMD claims soy is good for carnivores

On a PetMD.com blog,  Dr. Jennifer Coates discusses how nutrition impacts the immune system. No argument here, of course what you, your cat, your dog, or your pet elephant eats has multiple effects on the immune system and every other body system as well:  PetMD: Optimal Nutrition Gives the Immune System a Boost "Supplemental arginine (an amino acid) has been linked to increased T-cell immune function. T-cells direct and regulate the body’s immune responses and/or directly attack infections and cancers. Because arginine levels do not have to be disclosed on a pet ...

2017-03-23T14:04:04-07:00

Study Slams Raw Diets for Cats

A study in the Journal of Animal Sciences (J. Anim. Sci. 2013.91:225–237) claims that raw diets aren't quite the cat's meow. Researchers from the University of Illinois and an Omaha zoo fed raw diets to domestic cats as well as African wildcats, jaguars, and Malayan tigers. Let's see what happened: Our objective was to evaluate raw meat diets for captive exotic and domestic carnivores containing traditional and alternative raw meat sources, specifically, beef trimmings, bison trimmings, elk muscle meat, and horse trimmings. We aimed to examine diet composition and protein quality; apparent total ...

2017-03-23T14:29:47-07:00

Rice Bran – No Good for Cats!

You would think that cat food manufacturers would make sure that the ingredients they use are safe for cats. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Rice bran is what makes brown rice brown. It is the fibrous outer portion of the rice grain. Many cat foods incorporate brown rice and/or rice bran; these are allowed ingredient in pet foods. Unfortunately, a study done about 10 years ago found that rice bran depletes taurine when fed to cats...and because brown rice includes the bran, researchers speculated that it may also ...

2012-10-10T20:34:20-07:00

AAFCO August 2012 Report

Thanks to an amazing and heartwarming outpouring of support from so many wonderful people, last weekend I was able to attend the 103rd Annual Convention of AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), the organization that makes the rules about how pet food is made. These rules are embodied in a book called the "OP" (Official Publication) that is updated every year. AAFCO itself has no regulatory authority, but its members, the feed control officials (FCOs), do enforce the rules on animal feeds and pet foods in their own jurisdictions. ...

2017-03-23T14:56:13-07:00

AVMA vs Raw Food

The AVMA recently adopted a policy position against raw meat diets for pets. Their reasoning is wrong and their science is unfounded. Here is my reasoning on why AVMA (as well as the AAHA which adopted the same policy almost as soon as AVMA voted on theirs) is wrong. 1. AVMA has a financial Conflict of Interest According to the AVMA itself, this policy is the result of a suggestion by the Delta Society (now “Pet Partners”), which banned the feeding of raw-meat based diets to therapy dogs in its programs ...

2017-03-23T14:36:25-07:00

Tell FDA: Label Genetically Modified Foods!

Did you know that 85% of corn and more than 90% of soy in the US is genetically modified? GM foods may cause serious damage to your body, but the FDA does not want to give you a choice whether to eat them or not. According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption, including infertility, immune dysfunction (which can contribute to allergies, asthma, and inflammation), accelerated aging, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation. GM foods also directly damage ...

2015-06-02T13:51:08-07:00

Mad Cow Discovered in California

I'm in California this week (May 2012) visiting family...and there are so many interesting things happening here! But of course, the one that may most profoundly affect our pets is the discovery of a cow infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or "Mad Cow Disease"). The cow was, as usual, a dairy cow. Dairy cows are the only cattle that stay alive long enough for BSE to be an issue, as the disease takes several years to incubate and manifest. Beef cattle are typically slaughtered too young to show symptoms. ...

2017-03-23T14:46:34-07:00
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