GMO in Pet food

Here is more reason to carefully check the ingredients on the food you are feeding your pets:  GMO.  What is GMO?  GMO stands for genetically modified organisms, and they are becoming more and more prevalent in our food supply every day.  Crops are modified to increase profit by increasing resistance to disease, or increasing production.  What is the problem with GMO?  Genetic engineering is done in such a way that the DNA of the plant is permanently altered.  The scary part is that very little testing is done to determine what effects the altered genetics will have on the person or animal ingesting the food.  The modified genes can be unstable and even incorporate into intestinal cells, modifying their DNA!

This can explain increases in diseases such as allergies, food sensitivities, autoimmune syndromes and cancer, even when supposedly ‘healthy’ foods are being consumed.   You can learn more details about the genetic modification of our food supply at:  http://responsibletechnology.org/

What does this mean for your pet and how can you feed foods that are GMO free?  The answer is to read labels and ask questions of food producers.  Anything labelled organic will be GMO free by definition.  Avoid soybeans, canola, cottonseed, corn, and sugar from sugar beets.  These are the crops with the highest prevalence of GMO.  Remember too that there are many byproducts of these crops, especially corn, such as syrup, starch additives.  Many companies are now labeling their products that are GMO free.  You can find a more comprehensive shopping guide at http://nongmoshoppingguide.com/.

In general, fresh organic ingredients will provide the best chance of avoiding genetically engineered foods.  Companies that do not use genetically modified ingredients will typically make that obvious on their packaging.  Remember – pay attention, read labels and ask questions if labels are unclear.  The time you spend will be worth the health benefits to you and your pets.

Beyond canned food – feeding your cat fresh and raw food

In my recent pet on feeding your cat I talked about the important essentials of feeding a diet that is 85% meat and 70% moisture.  You can provide added benefit to your cat by adding in fresh food, either lightly cooked or raw.

Fresh food comes with enzymes, co factors and digestive aids that are often destroyed during the processing of commercial foods.  Eating food in its natural state also provides natural protective and healing mechanisms found in nature.  Vitamins and minerals ingested in their natural state can provide more benefits than those in the chemical form.

You can start by finding out which fresh foods your cat will actually eat.  Cats are carnivores and it is rare that they will relish dining on fresh fruits and vegetables, but you can offer them and see how your cat responds.  Try different types of meat proteins to see which you cat favors.  Animals often know what is best for their constitution, so don’t worry about forcing any particular ingredient – feed your cat what it likes!

Always make diet changes slowly, so start by adding in about 10% fresh meat, either raw or lightly cooked to be sure there is no digestive upset.  If all is good after a few days, increase to 25%, then 50%, up to what ever proportion you will be feeding on a regular basis.  If you go beyond 50% fresh food in the diet, some supplementation will be needed to be sure the diet is not missing any nutrients.

It is not necessary to feed the same thing every day – you can vary the ingredients, the amount, and the number of days per week that you feed fresh food to your cat.  Good nutrition is a balance over time, and any amount of fresh food in the diet will help your cat.  Even a small amount of fresh meat 2-3 times per week will offer tremendous benefits to your cat.

Will a bit of experimenting with this, your cat will soon be enjoying the benefits of a healthy diet.