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Animal House: Your Pet Is What It Eats

Laura Kennedy

We've gone far beyond just ordinary kibble when we feed our pets.  There's ample options out there, but could there be danger lurking within the list of ingredients?  Laura Kennedy has more in this edition of Animal House.

  • The pet food that we buy our furry friends has to conform to federal standards. However, it can be tough to decipher what's on an ingredient label.
  • An ingredient you should avoid is meat byproduct meal.  It could be anything, including road kill, zoo animals, or sick cattle.
  • Technically, meat byproduct has been cooked and therefore been rendered safe for animal consumption, but you have to ask yourself if you want to feed the mystery meat to your furry friend.
  • Ingredients in pet food are listed in order of appearance. So if deboned chicken is the first ingredient, that looks like you're getting a  lot of chicken meat.  Not so fast.  That could also include fat and skin, so the protein content can actually be low.
  • Chicken meal is a great protein option.
  • Grains like oatmeal or barley help provide needed fiber for pets.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements are often added to pet food.  That's a good thing, but food coloring is totally unnecessary. 

Reporter, content producer and former All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.