Good pet food costs more but this is one place you should not scrimp. Many of the most common pet foods are made with the lowest quality ingredients, are often made overseas with little oversight and contain “meat fillers” and “meat by-products.” I do not even want to think about what a meat by-product is. As one of my daughters would say “Eeeeeewwwww.” Poor nutrition for your pets results in the same problems for humans: health problems and even death. Read the labels carefully and look for brands containing things like all-natural, whole foods, etc.

Also be aware that many of the other ingredients in poor quality pet food are grown using toxic pesticides or could contain potentially hazardous synthetic preservatives, or are made from foods that are unsafe for human consumption. Another caution: toxic levels of fluoride. No one knows its actual negative impact on pets but it’s worth your time to read the full article from my very favorite publication: The Daily Green. They tell it like it is: “According to the Environmental Working Group, the fluoride in dog foods originates in bone meal and animal by-products. EWG recommends choosing dog food brands free of bone meal and meat by product ingredients like chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, chicken meal and beef meal. As EWG puts it: “Any ingredient described as ‘animal meal’ is basically ground bones, cooked with steam, dried, and mashed to make a cheap dog food filler.” (I think I may be sick – seriously)

Daily Green’s helpful link for you: “For tips on what good ingredients to look for, and how to read a dog food label, see these tips at”

Now about those toys! Again, you love your pets, I know you do, so beware of what you are giving them to play with, chew on, shed on, slobber all over (oops! I still need some converting.) Buy healthy toys for them, making sure they are pesticide free and made from non-toxic materials. There are great websites with tons of good information: and Two fun ones I also found are and