I write a lot about pet foods, probably because I am in the people health food business and I feel like what we feed our pets is just as important as what we feed ourselves. Many of you probably already know what “organic” foods are and are aware of what GMO’s, or Genetically Modified Organisms are. However, since this is a daily conversation that I have with people, I thought that I would explain it in laymen terms, since I am a “layman” and this is the only terminology I know:

A GMO, or Genetically Modified Organism is an organism that has been altered from it’s original state to appear as something else. For example; let’s take a tomato. A tomato grows on a tomato plant, correct? Anyone who has ever grown a garden knows how time consuming pulling weeds is. You even know how time consuming it is to spray the weeds because you have to be careful not to spray the actual tomato plant as it is a plant and will die, just like the weed, right? Unless, that is, a genetic strand of the tomato plants protein chain is modified to make the weed killer not recognize it as a plant, in which case, you can spray any weed killer you want on it and it won’t die. That’s great, right?! I mean, unless you want your body to actually recognize the tomato as food… See the problem? People want to argue that GMO’s are harmless and I’d like to say that they are not telling the whole truth; while the genetically modified plants may not be arsenic, per say, you can’t trick your body. If it is not recognized as a plant by the chemical do you really think it can be recognized by your body as food? This is why buying non-GMO foods are SO important and why staying away from certain ingredients in your diet, as well as your pets diet, is so important. The most commonly modified crops are soy, wheat, and corn. These crops are so modified that it is nearly impossible to find them that have not been genetically modified, so, I tend to stay away from them, completely. With that being said, there are more and more organic or non-GMO versions of these showing up every day, which is a GREAT thing!

Now for the “organic” side of the equation: organic means that whatever you are buying, apples, berries, celery, etc., has not been sprayed with any herbicides or pesticides. The farms that these products are grown in have to have soil testing done to make sure that there are no toxic chemicals in the soils as well as being sprayed on the plants. This also means that no cross contamination is allowed, meaning, if a neighboring farm sprays toxins and they blow over onto your crops, they they will not pass the organic certification requirements. It also means that the manufacturing facility has to be certified organic meaning there are no toxic chemicals or chemical residue in the manufacturing facility. This is a great thing but it is not a cheep thing to do. It is very expensive and time consuming to get these certifications so you best believe that the majority of these places do what they need to do to stay compliant. The best and safest foods to buy are organic, the second best is non-GMO.

There are a few dog, and cat, food companies out there that have organic ingredients in them. There are a few more that have non-GMO ingredients in them. I have recently been introduced to a “natural” food company that claims to have very clean ingredients and their prices are quite reasonable. I will be looking into them more and will let you know what I find out. Also, something to keep in mind is that the only good fish to feed your pets is “wild caught” fish, never farmed. Farmed fish are filled with antibiotics and growth hormones to make them grow faster. They are full of things that us nor our pets need to be putting in our bodies. However, “wild caught” fish cannot be certified organic as you can’t certify something that is “wild”; you have no idea what it has eaten or has been exposed to, although I can almost guarantee that it is better than what the farmed fish are being exposed to. Bottom line with fish is to look for “wild caught” in the ingredient list. These are generally better foods that are better digested by our pets.

I realize how frustrating food shopping can be but all we can do is the best we can do. A little on-line ingredient comparisons can save us hours in the floor of the feed store!

Many blessings to you and your four-legged-loves ~ Tammy