Future of Life Institute//

Here’s why you need to keep your dog healthy – and it’s not what you think.

From synthetic vitamin overdoses to hefty insurance fees, experts weigh in on what you need to do to ensure your dog's health is set up right, from the start.

Nutrition
Nutrition

In a world where commercial food product recalls have become the norm, we need to take a proactive approach to pet care. But this isn’t the only reason we need to keep out pets healthy.

Lack of transparency in ingredient doses, high vet bills, and the rising costs of pet care and insurance are just some of the reasons we need to focus more on our pets health.

All this is accompanied by claims from pet owners that large corporate pet food brands are killing their pets.

Just this week, numerous pet owners have told media outlets and stated on social media that their dogs’ deaths were connected to recalled Hill’s Pet Nutrition canned dog food, pushing consumers to make more informed choices when deciding what they’ll feed their beloved pet.

This consumer dissatisfaction is leading to a shift in preferences toward high quality and humanized foods for their pets. That is, they desire pet food options that address the same health concerns currently influencing human food production, such as unnatural preservatives and genetically modified ingredients—and they’re serious about these preferences.

According to The Journal of Nutrition, dietary interactions that reduce nutrient availability can result from errors in the formulation, prolonged storage or injudicious over supplementation of an otherwise balanced diet – like what we’ve seen in the overdose of Vitamin D in Hills products.

“Fresh diets for dogs have a variety of benefits,” says Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM, board-certified veterinary nutritionist and clinical associate professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, “It’s nutrition you can see. Going forward, we all need to be looking for ways to provide fresh diets to our pets.”

This shift toward humanized and nutrient-packed foods has led to a boom in business for human-grade pet food start-ups such as Lyka, who are aiming to redefine pet food by providing all natural, human grade pet food with whole foods – to avoid any possibility of pets overdosing on synthetic vitamins – all born out of the founders own dissatisfaction in the nutrient quality in traditional commercial foods.

After witnessing her 5 year old pets sudden decline in health, her pet losing fur, getting bald patches, itching with allergies, and tooth decay, Lyka Founder and CEO Anna Podolsky switched her dog’s diet from premium brands of commercial pet food to a real foods diet.

Within months, all of her issues subsided and her dog of the same name, Lyka, was back to her happy, healthy self. Anna believes all dogs have the right to a real food diet and founded Lyka in 2018 to provide just that – sourcing farm-fresh ingredients and including natural superfoods, essential fatty acids, and food prepared at a low temperature to ensure nutrients remain in the food.

The consequences of not taking proper care of your pet are multi-pronged, and with 95% of pet owners considering their pets part of the family, pet insurers have been quick to monetize the opportunity – charging fees ranging from $20-$80 per month.

The insurance plans have had a trickle on effect into the world of big business, with employers now offering pet insurance in employee benefits programs as the latest move to attract top-level employees. But if you’re not one of the lucky recruits to these forward-looking companies – you’re still having to pocket the bills yourself.

The best way to ensure the health of your pets? Like with humans, proper ingredients with high nutritional value, accompanied by the right amount of exercise is the best way forward.

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