Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Corn and Wheat and Soy...oh my!

Would you seriously feed your dog something like this?

This is an ingredient panel from a popular brand of dog food.  I don't need to say from whom...most of the mass-marekted brands have ingredients similar to this one.  But, do you really know what some of these ingredients mean?

Let's break down a few of these and see what you are actually letting your dog eat.

* Poultry by-product meal = beaks and feet
  Of if you prefer the Wikipedia definition:  "It is made from grinding clean, rendered parts of poultry carcasses and can contain bones, offal (internal organs) and undeveloped eggs, but only contains feathers that are unavoidable in the processing of the poultry parts."

So....beaks and feet...and apparently a few feathers too.

And by the way, rendered means (thanks to Merriam Webster) "to treat so as to convert into industrial fats and oils and fertilizer."  Here's some startling information on what rendering plants are:

"Carcasses of deal animals from livestock and confinement operations are the secondary contributors.  A rendering plant will also take dead horses, llamas and other farm and zoo animals.  Remains of dogs and cats, roadkill (deer, skunks, rats and raccoons) end up there as well.  Veterinary clinics and animal shelters also rely on rendering plants for their euthanized animals.  They also accept throwback or rejected meat from supermarkets."

Euthanized pets?  Seriously?

Here's a link to a first-hand account of what it's like inside a rendering plant:

(Trust me, this was one of the easier photos to post...I won't sicken you with all the photos on the internet of euthanized dogs and cats.)

* Animal digest = digest is produced by the chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean animal tissue that has not undergone decomposition (thanks once again, Wikipedia).  There have been arguments made by certain pet food companies that the word "digest" is a process, not a thing, but another expert has described animal digest as a "cooked-down broth which can be made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals."  Again, this stuff comes from the rendering plant, so you are getting the 4-D animals:  dead, diseased, disabled, or dying before slaughter.

Here's a link you should read on this subject:

* Corn gluten meal = while the phrasing isn't exactly correct, it is still nothing more than a meat substitute that dogs and cats can build an intolerance too over time.

Actual gluten is what's leftover from certain grains such as wheat, barley, rye and other wheat-type cereal grains.  All the starchy carbohydrates (the actual good stuff) has been washed out of it and you are left with gluten.  While corn isn't a grain, the word "gluten" best describes what's leftover.

Big-name companies add corn gluten as a protein substitute.  It's cheaper than meat and therefore cheaper to manufacture.  There is NO substitute for meat.  NONE!  Thanks to Dog Food Advisor ( for this:

* Corn germ meal = another plant protein masquerading as a good protein source

* Brewer's rice = processed rice made from the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have ben separated from the larger kernels of rice and is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground white or brown rice (Wikipedia)

One thing that isn't in this mess of a food is all the food coloring, but dig a little deeper into the product line and here's the gold we were looking for:

Does your dog care that his food is four different colors?  Certainly not.  Those colors are for you!  It's all about presentation.  But, buying a food with all that extra junk in it can harm your pet.  There are studies that have suggested that Blue 2 coloring has caused brain tumors in male mice.  Red 40 is one of the most commonly used dyes and showed some inconsistencies in testing, but nothing conclusive.  Yellow 5 can cause mild allergic reactions in persons, especially those with aspirin-sensitivities.  Yellow 6 has been known to contain small amounts of carcinogens.  In industry-sponsored animal testing, it caused tumors of the adrenal gland and kidneys.

And YES...they test pet food products on lab animals.  So, live animals get tested to see if pet food ingredients are cancerous and then we feed them the remains of euthanized animals.  Ugh.

This is how big business runs the show.  And, with tons of money to throw at marketing and advertising, consumers are romanced with visions of their happy pup, frolicking in the fields of grain with fresh ingredients falling from the sky.  In reality, that could not the further from the truth.

That's why we stick with family-owned companies who know where their ingredients come from.  We recommend raw food too.  If you don't want to worry about what's in your pet's food, feed raw or cook for your pet.  We can help you find the right vitamins and supplements to make that homemade diet perfect for your dog or cat.  

We want your pets to be happy, healthy, and safe.  Our goal is help educate pet owners on good nutrition and what can harm your family pet.  It's an ugly world out there, but trust us to help you find a safe and healthy food for your dog or cat.

Monday, July 6, 2015

KIBBLE - What is it and what to do with it

Kibble - we here at Busch Pet Products say that word many times throughout the day, but do you really know what kibble is, why we feed it, and how to properly store it?

Kibble is the blanket term for dry dog and cat food.  It's defined by as "coarse-ground meal or prepared dry dog food."  GAH!  I'll hop on my soap box about that definition later...

Here's a super-good history of dog food spanning back as far as ancient Roman times:

But to catch you up to the introduction of "kibble" rewind back to the mid 19th century.  The first "commercial" dog food was actually repurposed people food.  These calorie-dense "biscuits" were made specifically food created for sailors on long voyages.  To counteract the problem of scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), the flour, water, and salt recipe was supplemented with fats, meat, oatmeal, and vegetables  Shipyard dogs quickly realized how good these biscuits were, and an American man by the name of James Spratt did too!  Spratt didn't invent the biscuit, but he did see a money-making opportunity.  He patented his idea and his company was profitable for decades.  The modern day Milk-Bone is an example of his ingenuity.

The Industrial Revolution brought about more changes, including the addition of more meat and animal by-products, as well as the technology to preserve food.  Massive commercial slaughterhouses were the sources for these meats, including, but not limited to organs, bones, heads, hooves, etc.  The idea that using the entire animal was better for the dogs, better for the environment, and better for those making all the money.  With the preservation methods, came canning.  And with canning came some, by today's standards, unethical practices in regards to the manufacturing process.  (That's for another blog, but in the meantime, read this and be prepared for what you read:

Jump ahead to the 1950's and the process known as extrusion (kibbling) had been developed and is still used today.  Kibbling involves taking a combination of ingredients (the things you see on the ingredient panel), grinding them together, steaming that mixture at high temperatures, then pushing (extruding) the mixture through a die cut machine to create the little shapes we know as kibble...stars, squares, fish shapes, you name it...anything to make the kibble pieces appeal to HUMANS!  After the food dries in giant dryers (400 degrees in most cases), it is usually sprayed with a mixture of fats, flavors, and vitamins to make the product tastier and more nutritious.  Then the kibble dries again, and finally it is ready to be bagged.

*photo courtesy the Pet Food Institute

So, are you still willing to feed kibble?  For most pet owners, kibble is still the easiest way to feed their pets.  In today's busy world, kibble is convenient.  You open the bag and pour.  The other advantage is a relatively long shelf life, due to the high heat and preservatives that were applied during the manufacturing process.

But, in our opinion, the downsides far outweigh the advantages.  Kibble does not contain any naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.  They were all destroyed during the cooking process.  The synthetic nutrients that companies put back into the food are not as easily absorbed by the body and even these synthetic nutrients can be destroyed during storage or shipping.  Some of the artificial preservatives can cause health problems in dogs and cats as well.

Dogs and cats both live in a state of almost constant dehydration.  Dry pet food doesn't help.  Even if you see your pet drinking from the water bowl, or the sink, or the pond, or the probably isn't enough.

If you still choose to feed kibble, there are some things you can do to help it be easier to digest and healthier for your pet.  Simple...add water to the kibble.  Don't think for one minute that kibble helps to clean teeth.  That was some grand marketing idea from a dry food company to sell more food.  Have you ever watched your pet (most especially your dog) eat?  Most of the kibble is swallowed whole without a single crunch.  We chew and the enzymes in our mouth help to break down food.  Pets also make enzymes in their mouths, but the food passes through so quickly that the enzymes don't have room to work.  By adding water to the kibble, you are helping with the breakdown of the food so the body can process it more efficiently.  The pancreas and liver shouldn't have to work overtime to convert the food.

Adding canned food is also a great option...with water.  Canned food is low in fat and often doesn't have the fillers or additives that the dry food does.  Canned food digests better than dry food and won't hurt the teeth (as commonly thought).  Just remember that canned food is FOOD and you should always subtract a bit of dry out of the equation or you'll be feeding too much.

Finally, if kibble is the best option for your family, here are some tips to make it last and stay fresher. Exposure to air, light, and moisture can wreak havoc on dry kibble, despite the preservatives.  To limit the effects, keep kibble in its original packaging.  High quality foods (like the ones we sell!) have bags that are designed to keep out the elements.  Store the bag off the floor in a cool, dry location.  Roll the bag closed and secure with a clip.  Some companies are now selling their food in resealable bags too.  You can store the bag in one of those rolling bins.  Once a bag is open, it's best to finish off a bag of food within 30-45 days for max freshness.  If you open a new bag and the look or smell of the food isn't right, DON'T FEED IT!  Return it immediately to your retailer.  And if you are one of those folks who lets their pets graze (leaves the dry food out in the bowl), make sure there's no more than what can be consumed within 24 hours.  It's also a good idea to wash the bowls once a week with warm, soapy water.

Safe and proper food storage will go a long way to keep your furry family member happy, healthy and safe!  Be sure to check out our website, and like our Facebook page for cool links and tips!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pet Safety Tips for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of coming together, celebrating with friends and family.  It can also be a time when you can’t resist slipping your dog a little bit of the goodies from the Thanksgiving table or even letting him lick a plate or two during cleanup.  There are so many opportunities for your dog to eat something that can make him sick or even cause even more serious problems. 
Here are some great tips to remember and share with your guests to help keep your dog and cat happy, healthy and safe during the upcoming holidays.   Follow these guidelines and you'll definitely have a great holiday with family and pets!
1. Turkey Skin – On its own, turkey skin can be fatty and hard to digest, but on Thanksgiving it’s particularly bad (just think of the butter, oils and spices rubbed into it).  If you must share the turkey with your dog, do peel the skin off and cut the meat up into bite-sized pieces.  Also, consider choosing the white meat over the dark for your pooch – it’s a bit little blander and easier to digest. 

2. Cooked Bones – No matter what kind of bird you serve, do not give the cooked poultry bones to your dog.  A cooked bone is often brittle and sharp pieces can get lodged in your dog’s intestine.  Bird bones are hollow and break easily.  Keep a raw beef bone or  bully stick on hand for your pooch.  He can be happily working on one of those while you are stuffing yourself full of tasty bird!

3. Gravy/Buttery Side Dishes – This one goes hand-in-hand with the turkey skin.  Fatty foods and trimmings can cause Pancreatitis in dogs at worst and diarrhea or vomiting at “best.”  Try substituting gravy with a little turkey broth if you really want to give your pup a treat.  Better yet, keep a bit of raw goat's milk on hand and let him sample the yummy goodness of that, minus any digestive upset.

4. Aluminum Foil and Plastic Wrap – Dispose of these immediately when you’re done with them.  There are two risks here:  one, your pet will be licking the fatty substances off the wrappings, and two, swallowing these can cause an intestinal obstruction.  Sitting at the emergency vet is not how you wanted to spend Thanksgiving evening.

5. Chocolate – Not that we think that you would intentionally feed your dog chocolate (which we all know can be toxic to our canine friends), but since candy is often left out on tables for guests during the holidays, it made the list.  Be sure to keep bowls filled with chocolate and other candies out of vision and out of reach of your dog. 

6. The Garbage Can – What dog hasn't been tempted by the trash can, especially after all those family members have emptied their plates in it.  Keep your dog happy with a long-lasting bone or bully and he'll forget all about the smells coming out of the trash can!

7. The Kitchen – Thanksgiving can be the busiest day of the year for the kitchen and you’ll want to keep your pup out of there.  With hot dishes being whisked from one counter to the next, there’s a chance a dog that’s under foot could be burned or cut if something were to shatter. 

8. Holiday Plants – Sure it’s Thanksgiving, but a good number of people have already decked the halls with holly by this time.  Know that Poinsettias, holly berries, mistletoe and Cedar Christmas trees are toxic to dogs.  When in doubt, don't purchase those items.  There's plenty of things to decorate with! 

9. Decorations – Glass ornaments and candles are just begging for trouble.  Like the chocolate, keep these out of reach of your dog.  Choking or poisoning isn't pretty.

10. Guests Who Mean Well – Educate your less pet-savvy visitors on pet safety during the holidays (and anytime!).  A child may accidentally feed a dog some chocolate and your great aunt might think she’s being nice by sharing her turkey skin.  

Remember....only the best for your pet!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween is a fun time for humans, but it can be SPOOKY for your pet!  
Here are some ways to keep it fun and safe for your furry friends!
Halloween is a fun tradition for humans, but it is important to remember a few Halloween safety tips to keep your pets happy, healthy and safe.  With just a bit of planning on your part, you and your pet can have a fun holiday!
Sweets are a No-No for Fido
While we are okay indulging in a little bit of chocolate therapy around the Halloween holiday, chocolate can be deadly for both dogs and cats.  The plastic and tin wrappers can also be very harmful if swallowed.  Make sure to keep all the sweets up and away from your pets and their highly-tuned noses.
Costumes can be Scary
While Halloween is a great time to take advantage of dressing up your pooch, make sure he is comfortable in costume.  Many pets love the attention, but for some it can cause more stress than necessary.  Choose a costume that won't inhibit his ability to breathe, walk, or see, and be cognizant of any signs of stress.  Stay away from costumes that have small parts or pieces that can be chewed off easily.  We can help you find the right type of costume for your little pumpkin.  Just ask.
Ding Dong
Even the most well-adjusted pets can become stressed out by a sudden increase in the number of people in and out of the house, not to mention the constant ringing of a doorbell.  By knowing your pet's limitations and providing them with a safe, quiet space for them to retreat to during this time, you'll keep the stress-induced bad behaviors to a minimum.
Deck the Halls
With Halloween comes fall, and with fall comes decorations...sometimes LOTS of them.  Be sure to keep decorations safely out of reach, especially jack-o’-lanterns lighted by candles or electrical cords.  Pumpkins, hay, cornstalks and gourds all make great decorations at this time of year but can produce massive tummy upset or even intestinal blockage if ingested by pets.  
I'm Going to Need to See Some ID
With the swinging door that you'll greeting trick-or-treaters have on Halloween, it can be easy for your dog or cat to make a break for it. It's a good time to check your pets' collars to make sure their ID and rabies tags are up-to-date and secured safely.  If you don't have a good identification tag, let us help you get one ordered from a super-cool company like Red Dingo or Boomerang.
It doesn't take much to ensure that your pets have a safe and happy we all should!
If you run into an emergency situation, immediately call your veterinarian, emergency vet clinic, or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tasty Treats for your dog or cat

As summer winds down, there's still a lot of heat and humidity here in southeast Missouri.  Just think about how hot it can be wearing a full coat of fur!  We have one super duper yummy end of summer treat that not only will cool down your pet, but help his or her digestive system!

Primal Pet Foods (, out of California, is one of the top makers or raw pet food diets.  We carry their entire line and love what we've seen it do for dogs and cats!  Along with their frozen raw, they also make a freeze-dried version that's been popular as of late.  Their newest offering is raw goat's milk, which has been proven to be highly digestible food full of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, proteins, and fatty acids.  Unlike cow's milk that has likely been pasteurized, in which both the good and the bad bacteria are killed off, raw goat's milk still contains beneficial enzymes, bacteria, and "live" foods that help with digestion, elimination of chronic conditions, and overall health.  Primal has taken their goat's milk one step further with the addition of cinnamon (antibacterial/antifungal), ginger (digestive aid), turmeric (anti-inflammatory) and extra probiotics that help with immune system building and digestive support.  Believe it or not, this stuff may help with IBS!

So, how does this all fit together?

We think adding a bit of raw and bit of goat's milk to your pet's diet will change many things about your pet's health...for the better!  An easy way to get your dog or cat started is to try out this great little treat.

You will need:
- freeze-dried raw food (we prefer Primal, but any good quality formula from Orijen, Stella and Chewys, Vital Essentials, etc. will do)
- raw goat's milk (we carry both Primal and Answers formulas), thawed
- ice cube tray(s)
- bowl to mix it all together

After the goat's milk has thawed, pour some in a bowl.  Take a couple cubes (or medallions) of the freeze-dried raw food and crumble it up in the bowl.  Mix well.  Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

After freeing for a couple hours, remove cubes from trays and let your pets enjoy the yumminess!

Obviously, you might need to play around with the consistency and/or amount of the raw and the goat's milk until you find the right combination for your pet.  If you don't want to waste the time to freeze, pour some on your pet's daily meal or give it to him as a liquid treat!

Try it out and let us know what you think!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

More stuff arriving every day...where will we put it all?

Well, the floor is supposedly done and can be walked on...we'll see about that tomorrow. There is still a 15-day "curing" process, but as long as I don't drag anything heavy across it, they say, it will be fine. Trust me, this 5 1/2 month prego lady will be doing no such thing!

In the meantime, I decided it would be best to switch over from a sole proprietorship to an LLC (limited liability company...remember that for a future trivia question!). It will help to protect me and my business, on top of my actual business insurance. Of course, just as my bank was establishing a line of credit for me, changing to an LLC changes their paperwork. A learning experience for me, a hassle for them (sorry Lois!). I have a meeting with my insurance agent tomorrow, so I should have that paperwork in hand.

Can you imagine? Each thing hinges on the next. After the insurance, I get the key. After I get the key, I have to call the water folks and the electric folks and jump through their hoops. Then, I contact the cable company to come and set me up with internet and phone.

Oh, and did I mention I get to paint? I hope that happens early this week. The landlord has approved a color and as soon as the walls are painted, they will come and seal my work. Then...maybe...I can move my stuff in. WHEW! My dog food company, Tuffy's, which makes NutriSource, Pure Vita and Natural Planet Organics, has kindly offered to send me some heavy duty racks to hold their product, and I will GLADLY take them, but of course, my rep won't return my calls...I seriously hope he's on vacation and back tomorrow.

Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait. I'm not the most patient of people, but I am learning how to play the game. In the meantime, as we step over boxes of dog food and treats, I dream of the day I can hang the "open" sign on the door and get this party started! I will have to say, the household pets have been least affected by the chaos. Check out this picture of my husband's "other woman," Nala, who seems wholly unfazed by everything in the house. In fact, she will tear open any bag of dog food for fun. Call her our Quality Control Expert!

Monday, May 10, 2010

No news is good news?

So, I've been hoping to write almost every day about my new business...the highs, the lows, actually getting to move in...but, it seems that's the delay. My landlords graciously allowed me to pick the floor color of the new floor they will be installing for me, but it has not yet been installed. In fact, I am supposed to gain possession of the space May 15, but the floor takes 15 days to "cure" and they were supposed to begin today...(disgruntled sigh)...

In the meantime, our house and my SUV is full to the rim with pet supplies. I began a full inventory of all the items and as I boxed them up, I would move them into the living room. Coupled with another trip to pick up dog food in St. Louis, we officially look like a future episode of Hoarders.

I'm handling it pretty well. I'm anxious. I'm excited. I'm overwhelmed. I'm thrilled. I'm ready to get this party started. Seriously. The landlord says the floor should be dry within 48 hours and can be walked on, but I'm afraid to put heavy shelving on top of something that takes 15 days to set up. The landlord has also said I can paint the walls, so maybe I can at least get in there and paint and that will appease me in some way.

So, unless some major miracle emerges, my June 1 opening has been delayed by a week or even two. Such is the world of business. Such is life. I just know this is going to be the greatest experience of my life up to the point...I'm ready!

I've been trying to keep up with adding the new goodies I've gotten in on the website. You can see all the new stuff there. I'll also be updating a bit more on my BPP Facebook page so fans can get a better idea of the exact opening day.