One of the toughest decisions dog owners face is determining what kind of food your furry family member should eat. It's a big decision and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Many pet parents fall into the trap of convenience over quality. Though grocery stores dedicate an entire aisle specifically to our furry family members, the sad true is that ninety-five percent of those foods are NOT the most beneficial or nutritious for your pooch.
Lets break it down...
Think about it like this; if you eat $10 worth of canned corn your body hasn't gain any nutritional benefit from your meal. If you eat $12 worth of steamed vegetables your body has gained essential vitamins and nutrients for just $2 more. You'll feel better and you won't be running to the potty in a few hours. The point is you could spend $100 on canned corn and you're never going to get the nutritional benefit comparable to $12 on steamed veggies. This same analogy applies to your dogs food. Spend a little bit more with a BIG impact...both on your dogs health and the number of moon pies in your backyard.
First, it’s important to understand how ingredients are listed on the nutrition label. Ingredients with the highest weight are listed first. Lets look at Beneful’s nutrition label…
The amount of corn used in this food outweighs any other ingredient, including meat. As we all know, other than tasting good on a summer day with butter and a bit of salt, corn is nutritionally useless for us AND just as useless to our fur kids, it's nothing more than a filler. Your dog will be full after eating, but they haven't gained any nutritional benefits and they'll be hungry again in a few hours.
Lets look at the second ingredient...
The second ingredient is chicken by-product. By-Products are parts of an animal (not including muscle) such as liver, heart, spleen, kidneys, etc., these things aren't so bad and actually could have a nutritional purpose BUT, its things like hair, horns, beaks, hooves, teeth, etc. that offer no nutritional benefit and are also included in this category. In fact, the latter of ingredients listed above, over time, could be detrimental or harmful and are much more likely to be found in your dogs food as usable meet (liver, heart, etc.) would be used for human consumption. The discarded scraps that neither you nor I would even dream of consuming are what will end up in your dog’s kibble. Ick!
Sadly, manufactures are not required to list what kind(s) of by-products are included in their food, so most professionals would recommend you steer clear of any commercially produced food that list “by-products” as an ingredient.
And the third ingredient is Corn gluten meal, again, doesn't offer much nutritional benefit to your pup.
At this point, if there were referees for bad dog food, they would be throwing all kinds of flags and sending this manufacture to the penalty box.
Edit- April 2016
I have said it time and time again, Beneful is an awful brand and the fact that it's still available to purchase is appalling. It's right next to Gravy Train and Kinbbles-N-Bits. Check out this article all about the toxins found in Beneful and how they're being linked to the deaths of thousands of dogs.
Heath Team Advisor- Beneful Brand Poisons & Kills Thousands of Dogs
There are a few tricks that manufactures use to make the nutrients of their products look better:
1. Pet food companies will split grains into two components; rice and rice bran. This allows them to put the ingredients lower on the label making it appear as though there is more of the good stuff and less of the bad. Sneaky, sneaky!
2. This is the worst in my opinion; Pet food companies cleverly mark their packaging as “preservative free” when, in fact, the company buys their meat with the preservative already added. So, your dog still ingests a chemical preservative it’s just added before the pet food manufacture buys the ingredient. They didn't add it so it doesn't have to appear on the label.
I know one of the biggest concerns pet parents face is expense and I want to assure you there are high quality foods that don't cost an arm and a leg. It’s a common misconception that the more expensive the food the higher the quality. Just because a bag of well known, brand name food cost upwards of $70 does not mean it is of higher quality when compared to a lesser known brand. In fact, sometimes, big brand dogs foods are actually of lesser quality.
I have spent countless hours researching several different brands of foods and in that process I found this awesome site; Dogfoodadvisor.com. Just enter the name of the food you are thinking of purchasing and an unbias, honest review will appear. I do want to caution that not all brands are listed on this site, specifically local brands like 'Wegmans' will not be listed. You also want to keep in mind that flavors within a brand may receive different star ratings. For example, in the Finken house we feed our furkids Taste of the Wild SouthWest Canyon at a cost of $39.99 which receives 5/5 stars BUT there are other flavors within that brand that do not rank as high (not that 4 stars is bad) . See below:
For comparison here are the ratings for Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food which retails for $60.99:
As you can see some of the Blue Buffalo flavors rank as low as a 2 stars! Expensive and well known is not always the best option!
So when you are preparing your dogs 3 course meal this evening, think about what you are putting in their mouth and ultimately their bodies. A little research into what you are filling your pups dinner dish with will only benefit their longevity and health; not only in the short term but in their golden years as well.
Wegmans Brand Dog food is reviewed on www.dogfoodadvisor.com. It received 4/5 stars! One of the few brands sold at the super market that is actually a quality food for your pup!
With over 10 years of experience through ownership and rescue work, I hope to share my knowledge and insight to happier, healthier fur kids. Have a question, feel free to ask!