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Ask a Vet: Preservatives are not so bad for pet food

POSTED: February 23, 2014 1:30 a.m.

Weaver D’s is closing. If you’re not familiar with Athens, then you may not know what that means. It’s a soul food place, and the best I’ve ever had.

Its slogan was adopted by REM for its album Automatic For The People, which won multiple Grammy awards.

But, nothing gold can stay. And in nature, really, nothing non-gold can stay either.

Nature likes things to change. One process builds things up, and another breaks it down. So to keep things like they are, we have to practice preservation, especially for food.

Foods without any kind of preservatives must be kept at a certain temperature. If food items are not preserved, bacterial growth begins.

Keep this in mind for all foods claiming to be “preservative free,” for your dog, cat or yourself.

Think about a cup of soup. Now sit it on a window sill. Check back in a few days. Gross, right? But not so gross if you add salt, vitamin E or even sugar. Cooking and sealing the soup works much the same.

The same goes for pet food. If you buy a food completely preservative free, it will spoil rapidly unless you keep it cold. If it’s canned, it’s probably fine until you open it, then the clock starts ticking.

Much of food marketing is just that: marketing; not science.

And yes, when you look on a label and see the chemical name for a preservative, it can be overwhelming or even scary.

But the government, ever ready to act on your behalf to look like they’re doing something worth the pay, is stringent on regulations.

Preservatives which cause cancer are not allowed. Nor are preservatives known to cause any disease. Not in pet foods; not in human foods.

So the next time you’re tempted to dive into the Paleo diet — the diet from the cave men era — think about how long the cave men lived and how long they may have spent on the toilet.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at mattsisk2003@yahoo.com.


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