Every now and then I will take a random bag of pet food off of a store shelf to just glance at the ingredients and see what other pet food companies are up to. A sample ingredient list often goes as follows: Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, digest of chicken by-products, poultry by-product meal, fish meal.
In my ongoing adventures as proprietor of Sojourner Farms, this is one question that I find myself asking people time and time again. Obviously the answer is ‘no,’ but that certainly doesn’t seem to make it an easy concept for most folks to understand. After all, it seems that most pets in this country eat cooked cat and dog food — and it’s my belief that this isn’t the way it was supposed to be.
In the grand scheme of things, making our Sojos natural pet food mixes is a relatively simple process. We source the ingredients (typically in 50 lb. sacks), carefully blend them together in the correct proportions, bag the mix, and it’s ready to go. After all, the whole point of fresh, raw pet food is to leave the ingredients in tact so that the naturally-occurring nutrients and enzymes are present. On the other hand, manufacturing kibble or extruded pellets is not quite as simple.
The following article, reprinted from the September/October 1999 issue of Pet Food Industry Magazine is a response to a letter from Dr. Sharon Machlik that deemed the feeding of raw foods risky in the May/June issue of the same magazine.
Years and years of marketing have perpetuated the greatest pet nutrition myth of all – the belief that it’s totally appropriate for a dog or cat to eat nothing but cooked, processed, preserved pellets day after day. But in reality, the first pet food was only created to profit from by-products and ingredients deemed not fit for human consumption. The resulting pellets are great for convenience sake, in that they require very little effort to feed.
To most people, the concept of prepared pet food makes perfect sense and they don’t question it for a second. Pets eat pet food and people eat people food. Well, that wasn’t always the case. In truth, extruded pet food pellets as we know them today aren’t quite 50 years old.
Cow brains. Sheep guts. Chicken heads. Road kill. Rancid grain. These are a few of the so-called nutritionally balanced ingredients found in the commercial pet food served to companion animals every day.