Today, 96 per cent of pet owners around the globe feed their pets dry commercial pet foods. Of those 96 per cent, there is a large majority who believes that dried commercial pet food is really all their pet needs and who would never stop to consider the benefits of adding fresh “human food.” (By “human food” I mean clean sources of meat-based proteins and some organic plant matter, not beer and nachos.)
There are many reasons why some of these pet parents feel this way. However, the most popular reason today seems to be the 50-year-old rumour that is in existence and still spreading. You know the one: “Giving your animal table scraps is bad!” How or when did this terrible rumour start?
Well, if we go back in time, research shows that shortly after the invention of processed pet foods, manufacturers were having a hard time convincing pet parents to make the switch from foods in refrigerators to their commercial pet foods. So in 1964, the pet food industry, along with the Pet Food Institute, joined together with a whole bunch of marketing dollars and launched one of the most influential campaigns the pet world had ever seen: the “Ban All Table Scraps from Your Pets’ Bowls” campaign!
Through thousands of newspapers, magazines and news stations, the public was warned about the dangers of table food scraps, or “human food,” and the importance of feeding processed commercial pet food. From there, the giant smear campaign took off! Not only did this clever campaign work, but it was so impactful that now, 50 years later, folks are still fearful of offering anything that is not labelled “pet food.”
So is it a good thing to only offer your pet dried kibble? Not according to ongoing research, and especially considering that today’s cancer rate is one in two dogs!
In a 2005 study conducted at Purdue University on Scottish Terriers, the results showed that adding fresh vegetables to dry commercial kibble actually prevented and/or slowed down the development of transitional cell carcinoma (aka bladder cancer)! In the study, dogs ate a diet of dry commercial pet food, some getting an assortment of vegetables added to the mix at least three times per week. By the end of the study, researchers weren’t really shocked by the results. They found that dogs that ate any green leafy vegetables, like broccoli, had reduced the risk of developing bladder cancer by 90 per cent and that dogs that consumed any yellow-orange vegetables, like carrots, reduced the risk by 70 per cent! Seriously. A lousy carrot helped smash the potential for cancer.
Yes, of course cats are obligate carnivores (must have meat to survive) and our dogs are facultative carnivores (carnivores with omnivorous potential if circumstances demand), so offering clean, meat-based protein sources should always be top priority and essential. However, due to factory-farmed livestock being fed genetically-modified grains and our planet being contaminated with every type of pesticide, fungicide and larvicide, the importance of fresh, organic plant matter to help detox the body couldn’t be more crucial.
And if the cancer-reducing benefit doesn’t tickle your fancy enough to convince you to add any fresh “human foods” to your pet’s bowl, then maybe think of it this way: How bad would it suck if someone forced you to eat dry processed foods your whole life?
by Rodney Habib
Love, The PetsWell Team
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