Conscientious pet owners read the ingredients on the back of the pet food bag. When the words read like they are English, it’s reassuring.

Powdered cellulose. That sounds logical. “Powdered” – derived from powder, finely ground. “Cellulose” – anyone who remembers high school biology class, knows cellulose is the part of the plant cell wall that keeps the shape – and it’s indigestible. Easy: cellulose is the indigestible part of plant.

What plants?

If it’s freshly harvested grass from the pasture, that’s a clean source. Cows use it, so do horses and goats; those species grow and develop from eating and digesting cellulose. Of course, dogs and cats don’t have a rumen or a cecum like cows or horses, respectively.

One could even postulate that powdered cellulose is in pet food to add fiber, to prevent constipation or diarrhea, and so the feces are nicely formed logs. But we have to go back to the question of “where does it come from?”

In important thing to remember: pet food is a documented outlet for recycled ingredients. Recycled, as in not acceptable to feed the humans so let’s repurpose it for dog or cat food. Kind of like 4D meats are not acceptable for humans to eat but are diverted into pet food, but that’s another post. (4D – dead, disease, decayed, dying. Ew.)

Powdered cellulose is used to keep shredded cheese (dairy products for human consumption) from clumping. It would be great if the powdered cellulose in our dogs’ and cats’ foods were the same quality as that which is on shredded cheese product.

In actuality, powdered cellulose is very likely sawdust. Because it’s pet food, the sawdust is not the same quality as that which goes into human food. Since powdered cellulose is “fiber,“ it works to make the poop look good, but what does it do for the insides of dogs and cats? Because it is an inferior quality ingredients, it may contribute to shedding – a sign of inflammation.

(Inflammation. Fancy word for saying something doesn’t feel right. Like a headache is inflammation of the tissue around the brain.)

Powdered cellulose? Not an ingredient worth recommending in pet food.

Now what? There are pet food companies who use high-quality ingredients, including those which are acceptable for humans to eat. These foods may cost a little bit more; but think how much money you save by not causing inflammation in your pet. (Potential signs of inflammation: shedding, yeast infections, ear infections, itchy skin etc.) Reduced inflammation = improved health. How much money do you save by not going to the veterinarian? It’s worth spending it on the food and avoiding trip to the vet’s office.

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