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Ferndale, WA: Recent internet searches reveal this question and it’s a very interesting one and in a funny sort of way rather relevant because so many people are talking about raw food diets and vegetables are edible and nutritious right? So bottom line strange is in the eye of the beholder. This article will examine the different nutritional needs of dogs, cats and humans.
The first thing that comes to mind about the safety of eating pet food is the scene from the Hollywood Blockbuster film, District 9, where the stranded aliens buy and eat cat food from food stalls scattered throughout their refugee camp. Villers, the main protagonist in the story, about one third of the way into the film, gets transformed into an alien and begins to crave cat food. Its awful as he takes great handfuls of tinned cat food and eats it. Is it possible for humans to eat cat food safely?
The answer is its not recommended, animal and human nutritional requirements are very different (which this article explores) especially those of an obligate carnivore like a cat. We’ll get to the safety thing in a minute.
An obligate carnivore is described as an animal that can only sustain itself buy eating the flesh of other animals. Your cat was built by Mother Nature to get her nutritional needs met by the consumption of a large amount of animal-based proteins (meat/organs) and derives much less nutritional support from plant-based proteins (grains/vegetables). It means that cats lack specific metabolic (enzymatic) pathways and cannot utilize plant proteins as efficiently as animal proteins. On the other hand, dogs and humans can get nutrition from plants and thus live on a vegetarian diet but cats cannot.
The safety question. The answer is it depends on the pet food. I can’t see it in my mind eating kibble nor tinned cat food, but if one did I believe a persons stomach would probably reject it but as far as I’ve been able to research, a person can’t die from ingesting dog kibble or wet pet food. One reason is that most foods are made from scraps and leftover foods that humans wont eat and also, many dry and wet dog foods also contain rice, wheat and other plants, not to mention added vitamins and minerals.
What’s rather unsavory about this whole discussion from the 50,000 foot level looking down, is that what goes into pet food falls between the regulatory cracks between the FDA and AFFCOAÃ¯Â¿Â½ (Association Of American Feed Control Officials), so even though its commercial grade pet food you buy from a store, the labels (and the ingredients) are less stringent so anything can be used. If you look carefully or test commercial foods you find they contain high percentages of cooked starches and things like re-processed human made restaurant waste, slaughterhouse scraps and other fun stuff. Yuck!
What about the Recall?
One important point to make lest we forget is the major U.S. pet food recall in March of 2006, in which the FDA issued a recall on some “cuts and gravy” style of canned pet food that evidently caused rapid kidney failure and death in hundreds of animals. The FDA later recalled more animal edibles, tracing the problem back to wheat gluten, a component used to thicken. The scientists who tested the pet meals in question say an ingredient called melamine (a fire retardant and plastic-producing chemical) was to blame for the deaths, and further investigation found that the melamine came from a Chinese manufacturer of wheat gluten. Because melamine “looks” like protein when tested, adding it to pet food could deceptively boost protein levels-a major selling point for consumers. This, some allege, may be why it ended up in pet food.
Is Pet Food Safe?
So coming full circle, if people do eat pet food these days, is it really safe? The jury is out in light of the pet food crisis, but sticking to food intended for humans would be a wise choice.AÃ¯Â¿Â½
On the other hand, there are bright manufacturers out there and some of the modern pet foods these days do have food grade ingredients and are probably very nutritious. Some people do eat some of the food grade rawAÃ¯Â¿Â½ (usually they do cook them for human consumption which we would definitely recommend) and cooked dog foods that are available and claim to enjoy them greatly!
I think in this article we’ve covered a lot of ground but I think the take away for everyone is two-fold. Yes its possible for something quite toxic to happen if you eat pet food since the ingredients are not known and perhaps something strange has been included. But for the most part the jury seems to suggest that eating pet food …
It really doesn’t matter whether your cat eats dry food, wet food, or both – the truth is that your cat is not getting the correct nutrition. No matter what the major cat food manufacturers tell you, unless you are feeding your cat natural pet foods and using supplements on top of that, you are denying your cat the ability to live a long and healthy life.
Natural pet foods are the key to keeping your cat healthy. Because there are no federal standards for the diets of cats, like there are for humans, each pet food manufacturer leaves it up to themselves to tell you what they think your cat needs. This is not only unhealthy, it is dangerous. Your cat needs a lot more than what they are providing, and even if your cat enjoys both dry and wet food, he or she is still going without proper nutrition.
Natural pet foods, on the other hand, are designed in a different way. Of course, like all pet food, tastiness is key, because if your cat doesn’t like it, he or she won’t eat it. But, there is more to how tasty it is that determines whether it is good or not for your cat. Most natural pet foods include vitamins, minerals, and other things like antioxidants that help your animal live longer.
These natural, herbal supplements to his or her food will boost their energy and appetite, and you will see an almost immediate turnaround in their behavior. In some cases, cats who are constant problems – aggressive, destructive, anti-social – turn around completely. This is because they were lacking certain nutritional factors that would have kept their psychology in balance.
In addition to the mental changes in your cat, by replacing traditional cat food with natural pet foods and supplements, you will find that your animal’s coat becomes silkier and shinier, their teeth look better, and even their breath improves. These are all signs of a healthy internal system, something that they didn’t have when they were eating commercial cat food.
We all want our animals to live long, healthy, and happy lives and if your cat is to be a fully functioning part of your family, he or she needs to have the proper nutrition. If you knew you were lacking in your own nutrition, you would do something about it – so take care of your cat and do the same for him or her.…
Joining the Fight Against Animal Cruelty
April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month. In recognition of this, we would like to shine some light on some of the many organizations dedicated to enhancing the lives of animals everywhere.
ASPCA – American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Founded on April 10th, 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is the oldest animal welfare organization in the United States. Founder, Henry Bergh had a vision of stopping the injustices that animals face across the country, primarily the inhumane treatment of animals at slaughterhouses, as well as cockfighting. At this time, the most common animals were horses and livestock, but by the turn of the century, cats and dogs had become a primary focus. By the time of Bergh’s death in 1888, 37 of 38 states has passed anti-cruelty legislation
In addition to animal-friendly legislature, the ASPCA has come to make some other serious improvements in the lives of America’s animals. Some of these changes include the creation of animal hospitals, spay/neuter clinics, loss support services, adoption facilities, disaster preparation services and an initiative to end the euthanasia of adoptable pets.
PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” or PETA was founded in March of 1980 and is the worlds largest animal rights organization. Armed with the slogan “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment”, PETA rose to prominence after the Silver Springs Monkeys case of 1981. Since then, PETA’s undercover investigations have helped put an end to several cockfighting, bullfighting, and dogfighting rings worldwide.
With worldwide celebrity endorsement coupled with aggressive marketing campaigns, PETA has stepped up against factory farming, fur farming and animal testing. Led by Ingrid Newkirk, this non-profit organization has received some criticism for pushing the line too far.
At one point, PETA released a comic book aimed directly at children entitled “Your Mommy Kills Animals”. The spread features a gruesome picture of a woman stabbing a bunny repeatedly with a butcher knife, while orange colored blood sprays about. Many PETA members are vegans, condemning all animal products, foods, and animal related forms of entertainment, such as fishing.
Other animal rights groups and animal welfare organizations include:
ALF – Animal Liberation Front
ELF – Earth Liberation Front
Animal Rights Party
WSPA – World Society for the Protection of Animals
VIVA! – Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
These are just the tip of the iceberg. New foundations are popping up all the time, with the ultimate goal of making sure our animals live better, happier, and healthier. If you have a chance, take a quick second to see what you can do in your area to further the cause.…
Rats may not be the most common pet but they can certainly be trained to do simple tricks like most other pets. With some patience and time you can teach your rat to come to the sound of his name, as well as, other things.
Using a clicker can immensely help in the training process. Clickers are designed for use in pet training and can be found in some pet stores or on pet supply websites. Because animals cannot understand our language, using a clicker eliminates some of the confusion that can come from our different vocal tones. Getting the clicker associated with positive reinforcement will help your rat understand what they are being asked to do. Just ignore the wrong behavior. Never use punishment during training.
There is a chance that your rate may be startled by the clicker at first. You will need to have some of your pet’s favorite treats, as well. Make sure they are small so your rat can eat them quickly. Once the rat starts to associate the clicking sound with treats everything else becomes much easier. You will, also, want to eliminate all distractions while trying to train your rat. Keep toys, other animals, people, and food away so you can keep your pet’s attention.
To begin the clicker training get some treats and go to a place that is a distance from your rat. Don’t vocalize anything and when your pet comes to you click the clicker and give him a treat – in that order. Move to the other side of the room and wait for him to move towards you again. When he shows up click your clicker and offer a treat. After doing this a few times you will want to give a longer wait between the click sound and the treat. Eventually, your rat will come to the sound of the clicker out of instinct.
After your rat has learned how to come on command, you can move onto begging. Training your pet rat to beg will be quite simple at this point. Make sure you have your clicker and some treats within reach. Take a snake and run it above his nose so he can smell it. Hold it above him and he should reach up to grab it without doing anything else. When he reaches for it, click the clicker. Do this several times and he will start to get the hang of it. Sometimes during training it is good to take a break. Even if you don’t get back to it for a day or two, it is better than trying to train a pet that has lost interest. Just like training your rat to come, once he starts to understand the beg for a click and a treat routine you will want to vary and lengthen the time between the click and the treat. Eventually you can move onto giving a treat every few times he begs but make sure you click every time.
Rats are very intelligent animals and can be trained with some basic techniques. They may not be the most popular pet today but they are great pets for the right people.…
Is Pet Assurance Better Than Pet Insurance? How to Choose the Best One For Your Pet
Even though insurance for pets has been in existence for more than two decades, most pet owners still do not understand the concept of pet health insurance. While it is encouraging that pet owners are presented with numerous coverage plans, the availability of such varied choice also makes the pet owners wonder whether these plans are capable of minimizing their pet care expenses. Recent studies on pet insurance show that most pet owners find it very hard to choose an insurance plan that is both economical and right for their needs. Lets take a brief look at pet assurance and insurance plans.
When compared to pet insurance, assurance plans offer a number of attractive features that include coverage for any pet, irrespective of its age or any pre-existing medical conditions. With assurance plans there is no necessity to fill any claim forms and the waiting period is usually very minimal. The best part of assurance plans is that it does not have any deductibles at all and it does not specify any limit for getting maximum coverage.
Assurance plans also offer a wide coverage for routine medical expenses including spays or neuter care. Pet assurance plans even cover specialty treatments for conditions like cancer. It also covers expenses for hospitalization without any additional charges. The major drawback of assurance plans is that the veterinarian you choose should be within the network area specified by the assurance company of your choice.
On the other hand, pet insurance plans are relatively expensive with several features like benefits, deductibles and claims that can vary significantly depending on your choice of coverage plan. With most insurance plans, the waiting period is about two weeks and about 80% of the eligible expenses have to be incurred by the pet owner only after filing a claim form. Generally, most insurances plans have deductibles, which is about $50 per incident.
As far as medical expenses are concerned, pet owners can claim their expenses only if they meet the eligibility criteria. Coverage for specialty cases like cancers is extremely limited in most insurance plans and most often an additional deposit of about $99 has to be made annually even for routine treatments. In case of spay or neuter routine, pet owners can claim reimbursement for about 65%, depending on their coverage plan. The maximum coverage limit varies depending on whether it is for lifetime, annual or per incident category. With most insurance plans you can choose any registered veterinarian.
How to Choose the Right Plan
When you compare pet health insurance plans with assurance plans, the latter will definitely look more favorable and a better choice of the two. However, if you take a closer look you will find that in general, no particular plan can be the right choice for all pet owners as the requirements of each pet and pet owner is unique. The best way to make the right choice is to compare various features of different coverage plans like benefits and actual cost. Comparison charts are available in most pet insurance websites for your convenience.
Whether your choice is insurance or an assurance plan, keep in mind that the right choice is the one that suits your particular needs.…
When You Own More Than One Cat
How many cats is ideal for a home? For your house, you alone know the answer, but in most homes, the answer is more than one.
According to the American Humane Association*, most cat lovers choose to live with more than one cat. The average cat-loving family lives with 2.1 cats. What’s right for you? Are you considering introducing another cat to your resident cat? Is it possible for them to be the new BFF’s on the block?
The first thing to consider is that cats are territorial creatures. In the wild, submissive cats simply avoid dominant cats, but if two such cats live in your home and are confined to indoors, the submissive one doesn’t have too far to run. There’s no magic formula for combining more than one cat and making a happy home since cat personalities vary greatly, but here are a few pointers to ease the way:
1. Neutral Territory. The earlier you spay and neuter your pet, the better. You’re not guaranteed that your neutered tom cat will never spray urine on a freshly painted wall, but the odds are much better. A neutered cat isn’t likely to fight for a potential mate’s affections either.
2. Less Stress for Tess… or Chester… or Charlamaine. Since cats are territorial, separate feeding areas allow timid cats to eat too. While the more dominant cat is occupied, the submissive cat may surreptitiously slip away to the second food bowl, located in a nice quiet place. Separate litter boxes are recommended for similar reasoning. Always be sure your cat has an escape route from the litter box and does not feel trapped. Some cats don’t prefer a litter box with a cover for just that reason.
3. Gradual introductions. Keep the cats in separate areas in the beginning to get them used to the idea of a new roommate. Their keen senses of smell will alert them that some other kitty is on the other side of that door. Swap bedding around so that they can get used to the scent of the other. When you introduce them formally (Mr. Bojangles, may I please present you to his majesty, Maximillian.) short initial times of togetherness are good. 30 minutes is fine for a first time together.
4. Play every day. “Cats do not have to be shown how to have a good time, for they are unfailing ingenious in that respect.” James Mason. Truer words were never spoken, but you may want to coach a little, for your own sanity and for the preservation of things you like. Cat trees and perches by windows are great to give your cat an opportunity to climb and enjoy the view from her new vantage point. Separate happy spots make for separate happy cats. Cat-nip infused tiny stuffed mice are popular for hiding, chasing and chewing on.
5. Acceptance is enough. It will take time – you can expect a bit of hissing and arched backs from time to time. Transition may be from 2 weeks to 2 months, and some personalities may simply come to a begrudging acceptance of others.
* American Human Society…