Which is better -- canned or dry dog food -- or does it make any difference? (We deal with these questions in chapter 6.)
* We are well aware of concerns about the meaning of "owner" as applied to companion animals, and we struggled with how best to term the relationship. To us, ownership implies (or should imply) guardianship and stewardship. For simplicity, we use that term throughout this book.
Why are pet food labels so hard to understand? What do they mean? (chapters 7 and 10)
Are premium brands better? What does "all-natural" mean, and is it better? Should I give my pet organic foods? (chapter 12)
Do I have to do anything special for my puppy or kitten? For my older pet? (chapter 13)
Can I believe health claims on pet food labels? (chapter 14)
How can I tell how much my pet should be eating? (chapter 15)
Is it OK to give treats? What kind? What about tap water? (chapter 16)
Should I give my pet vitamins or other nutritional supplements? (chapters 17 and 18)
Is it OK to feed my pet a vegetarian diet? How about a vegan diet? What about grains? (chapter 19)
Are raw-food diets OK? Are they really superior? (chapter 20)
Is it okay to cook my own food for my pet? (chapter 21)
Should I believe my veterinarian's advice about what foods to buy? (chapter 24)
From such questions, it was obvious that the matter of what to feed pets was just as important and just as confusing to owners as what to feed themselves and their families. Indeed, as I soon discovered, the question of what to feed pets can be far more important to people than what they feed themselves. If you have a pet, you are likely to adore your animal. You love pleasing your pet and food is an easy and satisfying way to express your love. You and other pet owners want to feed your animals properly, but the pet food marketplace is just as complicated, misleading, and confusing as the human food marketplace -- and sometimes more so.
I thought it would be interesting and useful to answer such questions and to help clarify some of the choices involved in pet feeding and I convinced Malden Nesheim to join me in this project. The subsequent "we" represents both of us and reflects our joint perspective on the issues we cover in this book.
As we quickly learned, our particular perspective is unusual in this field. We approached this project out of genuine curiosity, with few preconceptions about what we might learn and without any specific goals in mind. Neither of us had any ties to the pet food industry, and we still do not. This book is the result of our attempt to bring as much objectivity as we could to examination of the pet food issues we discuss here.
WHO WE ARE