Do you have a pet? Do you spend as much time in deciding on their food, as you spend deciding on your own diet? I’ve recently started to realise how neglected the food choices we make for our pets often is. Why are we less considerate when it comes to their diets?
As you might know, I am a huge fan of eating “clean”. That means cutting out processed foods and avoiding additives. It makes me feel great and keeps me happy and relaxed about food.
But what did I until recently feed my horse? Yup, you can probably guess. Processed pellets and supplements. Only last month did it suddenly dawn on me that it was really strange how I cared so much about eating clean myself, but didn’t apply those principles to my horse.
If we take care of eating healthy and mindful ourselves, why do we forget to involve our pets? They are completely dependent on us for their food, so it is up to us to keep them happy and healthy. And preferably in a mindful, sustainable way. We want them to feel their best, and, if possible, enjoy good food too. Sure, we give them some treats every now and then. But is that really all we can do?
Somehow it has become so normal to feed your pets the “standard” food, the processed pellets and pre-made canned meals. But does any pet owner actually know what is in those cans? Have you ever attentively read the list of ingredients of the food you give your rabbit/hamster/parakeet? Probably not, right? I hadn’t.
But when you do, suddenly, you start to wonder if all of those ingredients are really necessary.
When I read the label on the food I give my horse, I kept wondering why it couldn’t be more simple. Does my horse really need molasses in her food? No, it is just a convenient additive to keep the fibers together in the pellets. In fact, with her tendency to gain weight easily, things like molasses are not a good idea at all. And why are there four different forms of processed wheat in the food? Only raw, normal wheat would contain all the nutrients as well, right? Apart from that, there were some other, scientifically named added compounds that I was seriously doubting.
I remembered that when I worked at the stable in Norway, most of those horses got raw, whole grains as their dinner. And that were horses who worked really hard and who were outside in the snow for biggest part of the day! If they could look as healthy as they did on raw grains, why are we even bothering with all the processed pellets?
So I started thinking. And I came to the realisation that my horse’s diet deserves just as much consideration as my own. That’s when I went to look for alternatives. And honestly, there are plenty of other options!
You could make the big step to feeding organic food to your pet, for example. I know that my local organic grocery store sells organic food for cats and dogs, so it certainly does exist. Also for other animals, you will most probably be able to find something for them too. As for horse feed, I am thinking about ordering a bag of organic grains for my horse. If I do, I will let you know how that works out for us.
If going all the way organic is a step too far for you, consider simplifying the diet of your pet. I do not mean you should only feed one type of nutrient. Rather, make your own mix. Think of what your pet needs and what sources you could use for supplying that. Overall, you should try to understand what you feed your pet. Start with reading labels, make yourself familiar with the used terms and ingredients, and then start comparing products. Which has the least unnecessary additives, which has the most valuable ingredients. Make your own list of wishes and decide on feed that matches your own style.
If you are wondering about the changes I have made to my horse’s diet? I have abandoned the general pellet-feed altogether. Instead, I am now giving Emily an all-natural muesli mix to let her get used to the more “raw” food. Then, in a month or so, when that goes well, we will make the switch to a basic grain and herb mix. I am curious to see how that works out for her!
Are you conscious of what you feed your pets?