Thursday, December 6, 2007
Compassionate Pet Food
I am not one of those people who, having decided to aim for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, wants to make all of their pets go vegetarian also. I recognize that both dogs and cats are designed to eat meat, and generally considered carnivores not omnivores, despite nibbling on some grass for upset tummies here and there. Although dogs can do well on a vegetarian diet, the veggie pet foods are very expensive, and let's face it, the dogs prefer meat. Research shows that cats actually do not do well on a vegetarian or vegan diet, and need meat for overall health.
So, is there a way to give the pets what they need and still not support factory farming and inhumane treatment of animals? After all, for me the big desire to go vegan is fueled by simply not wanting to kill animals. At least I can try to ensure that the animals were humanely raised and killed, and that they aren't pumped full of antibiotics or other bad stuff that I in turn would be feeding to the pets.
I have been using a brand of pet food called "Pet Promise" for nearly a year now. It's available at Fred Meyer, the Co-op, and theoretically Petco, though my Petco never has it. I'm very happy with it, and so are the cats and dogs. If you visit the company's website you can read about how the food is made, and does not contain any by-products. The meat comes from networks of small family farms, not big commercial factory farms. Much of it is organic. No growth hormones or anti-biotics are used. The animals are humane raised. The company is committed to environmental conservation and appears responsible in all the ways which are important to me.
Is it affordable? Well, it's more than Purina, but it's still manageable. It's cheaper than vegetarian foods I've found locally, and roughly the same price as Canidae, my old brand of choice for dog food. The nutritional composition is about identical as well. Overall it isn't bad, especially since it is calorie rich and your dog doesn't need much of it per day. The cats like both the wet and dry foods, and you can buy the wet food cans in 12 packs, always a convenience, and a savings.
I don't mean to imply that I am critical of people who do use vegetarian pet foods. In fact, if you can afford it and your pet remains in good health and gets the nutrients they need, great! I have a friend with only dogs, not cats, and they eat vegetarian diet and are extremely healthy with gorgeous coats. I don't know anyone who has done so with cats, and from what I have read that is much riskier. However, I personally prefer the middle ground of selecting a pet food company which shares my values and concern for animal welfare. Since I haven't seen them advertising, I wanted to share the news that there is a good company out there to consider when it comes time to feed the pets.