Basics of Dog Food and What Is Really In It
Choosing the right dog food can be extremely confusing and a difficult process. Not only do you want to make sure you are feeding quality ingredients to your dog or puppy, you want to make sure that they actually eat the food you are feeding. Some dogs are picky eaters (but do not confuse that with dogs that are stubborn eaters). Other dogs have allergies to certain foods. This can be when they are born, or more commonly they develop these allergies by creating an intolerance to eating the same month in and month out, year after year. The most common food allergies in dogs are wheat, corn, and soy. However, you will have some dogs become more intolerant to certain meats, oats, potatoes, or oils.
Here are some helpful hints regarding the basics of dog food. Just remember, regardless of the type of food you feed, make sure you are feeding quality ingredients with no chemical or artificial preservatives. Stay away from MEAT MEAL or Byproduct Meal as your top ingredients (as explained below). The top 5 ingredients are your most important. When you see the word “meal” it doesn’t necessary mean this is negative. All it means is that the water content has been taken out of the meat. However, when you see Meat and it is does not specify what kind of meat (chicken, beef, lamb etc); it is something to avoid at all costs.
You also would like to choose a Pet Food Company that prides itself on “Human Grade” Meats.
Dog food is a billion dollar industry that is almost self policing, and is willing to go to almost any lengths to increase bottom line profits. “One Large pet food company in the U.S. with extensive research facilities, used rendered dogs and cats (animals euthanized at clinics, pounds, shelters and sold to rendering plants) in their food for years until the information came to light and claimed no knowledge of it, changed their formula, and was never prosecuted or fined. –Natural pet magazine.
Difficult as it may be to believe, millions of these dead American dogs and cats are processed each year at plants across North America. Eileen Layne of the California Veterinary Medical Association states “when you read pet-food labels and it says meat meal, bone meal, or meat by products,” that’s what it is —–cooked and converted animals, including dogs and cats.
Road kill, slaughter house rejects, animals that die on their way to the meat packing plants are all acceptable ingredients for pet food under the “4D” rule – diseased, disabled, dead and dying. Meat from grocery stores past final due date are added to the mix, along with their Styrofoam trays and plastic wrap.
Before the meat arrives at the rendering plants, it has already been saturated with chemicals. To comply with government regulations, all meat rejected by slaughter houses must be “denatured” – a process designed to make it unpalatable to humans – thus ensuring it cannot be sold as Human Grade Meat.
The generic term “meat” allows the pet food companies to use any animal source as an ingredient, as opposed to more specific terms “chicken meal”. The governing body for pet food, The Association of American Feed Control: AAFCO is open to such liberal wording that it is difficult to protect to public from these types of dog food companies.
For example, reading a label, Mike’s Dog Delight with Lamb and Rice” assume that “Lamb and Rice” are the primary ingredients; after all, it’s in the label. In actuality, the addition of “with” means the manufacturer is only required to include lamb and rice as 3% of the total food ingredient. If it was just Mike’s Dog Delight Lamb and Rice, AAFCO would require Lamb and Rice at 95% of total ingredients.
The answer: Stay away from Supermarket Puppy Chow, research manufacturers that are adamant about using “Human Grade” ingredients and educate yourself with reading dog food labels and what the ingredients mean. Supplements are important as well, since you are giving your dog the same food day in and day out, he might not be receiving enough of the .025% of Vit C that the food contains. Perhaps he didn’t eat all his food that day? Or His body is in need of additional supplements due to some injury? Take into consideration that the supplements put in the dog food represent a small percentage of recommended allowance and you should consider supplementing if your dog is need of a boost to any of his biological functions.
Avoid these ingredients:
Meat Meal or By-Product Meal: by-product meal consists of the dry, ground, and rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered animals, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines. This can also include road kill and euthanized animals from shelters. These animals have been injected with toxins which although the manufacturers will tell you that they have been processed at such high temperatures it has been expelled from their system, I would not trust their recommendation, would you?
Chicken by-product meal is an inconsistent ingredient because of the multiple organs used, their constantly changing proportions, and their questionable nutritional value. Chicken byproduct meal is much less expensive and less digestible than chicken meal.
Instead look for Chicken Meal, Fish meal, Lamb Meal, or Chicken, Buffalo, Elk Salmon (actually food names)
Corn Meal: Corn meal is the entire corn kernel, finely ground. It is major filler in cheaper dog foods. It should not be one of the top 5 ingredients. While the whole corn kernel is nutritious, corn is considered to be highly allergic.
Egg product: Egg product is product obtained from egg graders, egg breakers, and/or hatchery operations that is dehydrated, handled as liquid, or frozen. Egg product consists of the unused leftovers from eggs for human production. It can include undeveloped eggs, shells, and other tissues unfit for human consumption.
Instead look for Eggs.
Vitamin K3 – Menadione Sodium Bisulfate: Studies have shown this causes severe birth defects in humans and can cause health risks to animals.
Instead look for other supplements that are high in Vitamin K1 such as alfalfa, kelp, oats, egg yolk, and liver.