For Cleo

Exactly what IS in your dog or cat’s commercial food?


Our kitty, Cleo loved to eat, especially Fancy Feast and tuna. We also would leave dry kibble type food out for her most of the time. We did what the veterinarians of that time suggested and at the last years of her life, we were told she “had” to be fed a special “science” diet food. If only I knew then what I know now. Have you ever said that?

My journey with animal communication and healing (Reiki) started in 1994, just before Cleo made her transition. Sometimes good things come out of deep sadness. My life was forever changed, but little did I know the extent. Cleo started me on a “mission.” First, I was led to learn about animal diet and nutrition, as well as, homeopathy.

The National Center for Homeopathy happens to be about 20 minutes away from where I live and in the summer, they offer courses for professionals as well as people like you and me. I signed up for homeopathy for animals taught by a wonderful veterinarian, Christina Chambreau. At least half of the class was made up of practicing veterinarians. I felt over my head, but something “told” me to attend anyway. At the beginning of the several day course, Dr. Chambreau shared with us that a major key to animal health is diet and nutrition.

Diet and nutrition seemed to be the foundation for good health and healing. Dr Chambreau was such a fun teacher and loved to tell stories and demonstrate her points in a dramatic way. She introduced us to the idea of feeding raw food. What? Keep in mind that this was 1994. Her reasoning was that food in its raw form is closest to what an animal would eat if they were living in the wild. That made sense to me.

Next, we learned about the ingredients that were in almost all commercial pet food from kibble to canned.  All of us were shocked! (Again keep in mind that it was 1994 and we did not have nearly the choices for our animal companions that we have now.) She talked about how the nutrients in our food in its raw form (fruit, vegetables, meats, dairy, etc.) is killed when it is cooked and the more processed any food is the less healthy or alive the nutrients are. That was interesting food for thought!

Next, she did a demonstration. She stood next to the window in the class room and said, “This is raw food.” She placed raw food at the top of her list as the healthiest thing you can give your animal companion.

Then she walked about half way across the room and said, “This is human food that has been lightly cooked.” (Another words, food that is home cooked by us for our animal companions to eat.)

Next, she walked just outside the classroom door and said, “This is canned food.”

Finally, she walked way down the hall and said, “This is kibble or dried food!!!” We all were amazed and kind of shocked.

Do you want to know what is actually in your animal companion’s food?

Back in the 90’s, there was not very much information available about more natural and healthy food alternatives for our animal companions. Most of us just blindly did what we thought was best and bought what the TV commercials so brilliantly “fed” us. But what really is in the food that comes out of a bag or a can? Do you know? Do you want to know? If you care even a little bit about your precious animal companions (and of course you do) you MUST learn, and then make an informed decision about what you place in their bowl or on their plate. Most of our animal companions depend on us for their food, nourishment and overall health and well being. It is up to us to know exactly what we are giving them.

If you choose to educate yourself about this very interesting topic, do not beat yourself up as I did, once you learn the truth. Remember that we each do the best that we can in the moment. I would never feed any animal what we fed our Cleo back in the 80’s or early 90’s, but at that time I thought we were doing the very best for her. After all, the TV commercials made it look so good. Who knows, maybe 10 years from now I might look back and think, “How could I possibly have done that or fed that to my fur baby?” We do the very best that we can in the moment and we hopefully continue to learn and remain open to new information.

My education on the topic of a more healthy diet actually began with a monthly holistic magazine by the name of Tiger Tribe and two books: The Natural Cat by Anitra Frazier and Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Dr. Richard Pitcairn. I highly recommend these books. Tiger Tribe (about cats) and Wolf Clan (about dogs) are no longer published, but you might enjoy and find informative, magazines like Animal Wellness & Equine Wellness.

Some of the “bad” ingredients

What is actually in many of the popular commercial canned and kibble pet food that is produced by the big pet food companies, including the science diet brands? You will never know unless you learn what each ingredient listed actually is. I suggest that you make a list of the really “bad” ingredients and read the labels when you go shopping for pet food.

Here is a short list of “bad” ingredients to get you going:

  • By-products
  • meat-and-bone meal
  • BHT & BHA
  • sodium benzoate

Here is a link to an article that you might find very helpful. It has a good explanation of these ingredients. Please click here to read an article by Celeste Yardnall. The title of the article is a bit dramatic to get attention, but the explanation of the actual ingredients that are found in many popular pet food brands is information that everyone should know.

The bottom line is, after what they would eat in the wild, the healthiest food that you can give your own animal companion is something that you would make yourself and something that you would eat yourself. (Don’t worry if you don’t have time to prepare this diet for your animals. These days there are lots of options.)

Raw meat, bones and veggies are the best for your animal companion followed by lightly cooked food. One must also make sure that the proper vitamins are minerals are added to the raw or cooked food for a true balanced diet. You must also make sure you know your food source as best as you can for the meat as well as vegetables. Never leave raw food sitting out. Certified organic is best, but even meat that is not organic is a million times better than what is in the “big pet food” companies kibble and canned food. If you feel that you don’t have time to prepare food for your animal companion there are many pre-made raw food brands available. They come frozen. All you do is thaw and serve. It is so easy now.

If you can’t bring yourself to feed raw food you can always buy a healthy canned food. There are so many wonderful brands available now. You most likely can not find them in your local grocery store but stores like Whole Foods and other health food stores carry large selections as do the many healthy pet stores that are opening in many towns and cities as well as in more rural areas. You can also have the healthy brands delivered to your home. We feed a combination of raw food and healthy canned food.

Educate yourself about what is actually in the product that you are feeding your animal companions. It will make all the difference in their health and well being not only now but in their future. As more and more people have become aware of what was actually in (and still is in many brands) our pets food, companies began to make changes because we demanded it. Don’t take someone else’s word for it. Educate yourself and make an informed choice no matter what it is.

Remember the “Mission”!

As the years went by since Cleo died (1994) I sometimes found myself becoming discouraged. During those times I would “hear” Cleo say, “Remember the mission!” Before Cleo’s mission for me, I did not feel that I had a purpose in this life or if I did, I did not have any idea what it was. Cleo gave me a mission and I choose to accept it! I did not know that I accepted it. Oh she was a tricky kitty. So wise. As I mentioned earlier “The Mission” began with my education about animal health and nutrition. Next I was pointed in the direction of animal communication and Reiki. I felt a kind of thumbs up (or paws up) from Cleo as I started down that interesting and amazing path. Finally, her mission for me was to share with others what I was learning. She would say “one human at a time”. I translated that to mean if one human at a time would begin to open their hearts, connect with animals and listen, this world would be a very different place. One human at a time. I am reminded of this every time I get in my car. My husband gave me the most wonderful present of a license plate that says: 4 CLEO because everything I do is because and for Cleo.

I would love to hear from you about your experiences and discoveries with healthy nutrition and diet with your own animal companions. And what mission does your animal companion and animal friends have for you?



Stay Connected and Share the Love:
Follow by Email
Recommended Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Joyce Cross

    Hi Janet –I have been down the same path with food and homeopathy with my horse and now cat. I hope your readers take this info seriously about food — it is so vital! Do you know Terri Grow and her wonderful store Pet Sage in Alexandria? She has a website, too. And — I LOVE your guided meditations! Cheers, Joyce

    • Janet Dobbs

      I do know Pet Sage. Pet Sage is a wonderful place and Terri has so much knowledge and experience. This article barley begins to scratch the surface of the topic but it is may helpful to someone.

Leave a Comment