Thursday, February 28, 2013

Are We Jeopardizing Our Pet’s Health?

I watched The Doctors yesterday, February 27, 2013; the show was titled Guilty Pleasures Jeopardizing your Health.

I am sure most of us try to eat healthy and avoid the sugar trap. I found that many of the foods we think are healthy really aren’t. The most disturbing fact was that most of us consume 150 pounds of sugar a year. The recommended about is 34 pounds. That equals out to 6 tablespoons of sugar daily for women and men get to consume 9 tablespoons.

Most of us blow those amounts out of the water with our first can of soda or with our daily coffee intake. One can of soda has 10 tablespoons of sugar.

These facts got me thinking about our pets and how much sugar do we give them unknowingly? We know that sugar plays a role in obesity, diabetes, and it has also been suspected as part of heart disease.

Most of us know to read labels on the foods we eat and some of us have started reading the labels on our pet’s food as well. The problem is that our food is required to have a nutrition facts panel that must have specific things such as serving size, the amount servings per contain/package, and the amounts per serving and what the recommended daily value.

One of these facts is the amount of sugars. Example did you know that a serving of Cheez-It® has 0 grams of sugar.

But most pet food labels have what is called the Guaranteed Analysis.

“At minimum, many state regulations require a pet food to guarantee the minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat, and the maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture. The "crude" term refers to the specific method of testing the product, not to the quality of the nutrient itself.” Pet Food Labels – General

Typical Guaranteed Analysis for a Good Ferret Diet

Crude protein


Crude fat









It is normal to see the following ingredients in ferret food.

Chicken by-products, herring meal, corn, cod fish, animal liver, dried beet pulp, brewer's dried yeast, cane molasses, salt, sodium propionate, DL-methionine, L-lysine, taurine, vitamin A, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, riboflavin supplement, niacin, biotin, choline chloride, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, BHA, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (a source of vitamin K), D calcium pantothenate, manganese oxide, inositol, ascorbic acid, iron sulfate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, cobalt carbonate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite.

You can see there is no mention of the amount of sugar on the Guarantee Analysis. For ferrets that develop Insulinoma these ingredients can play a devastating role.

One of the ingredients Brewer’s Yeast is used to lower blood sugar which is something we don’t want to do in a ferret with insulinoma as his/her blood sugar is already low due to having too much insulin in his/her blood stream.

The other ingredient is cane molasses, which is a byproduct of white sugar, and the gram amount is 55-70 per 100 grams of molasses.

Just by having these two ingredients, we are causing a blood sugar drop only to have it spike again in our ferrets.

It would be interesting to know if these two ingredients could be causing the Insulinoma to show up in so many ferrets over the age of three.

Learning what goes into our pet’s food needs to become as high of a priority as knowing what is in our own food. By learning this we can better help our pets live longer and have happier lives.

What is your opinion? Of this list of ingredients do you know what they do or where they come from?

Have a Chittering Good Day,


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