One of the toughest decisions you will have to make as a pet owner is determining what kind of food your furry family member should eat. There are heaps of questions responsible dog owners should have when it comes to determining the best food choice for your dog.
Many of us enjoy the convenience our local grocery stores offer by stocking an entire aisle with foods and treats specifically made for our furry family members. Sadly, I have to be the bubble popper and clue you in on a little secret, 95% of the foods you can purchase at your local supermarket are NOT going to be the most beneficial or nutritious for your pooch.
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 first ingredient listed is ground yellow corn. The amount of corn used in this food outweighs any other ingredient including meat and as we all know, other than tasting good on a hot summer day with butter and a bit of salt, corn is nutritionally useless.
The second ingredient is chicken by-product. Lets talk by-products…
By-Products are parts of an animal (not including muscle) that are added to your pups’ food. This could be liver, heart, spleen, kidneys, etc. These things aren't so bad and actually have a nutritional purpose for your dog’s health. Its things like hair, horns, beaks, hooves, teeth, etc. that are not at all beneficial and offer no nutritional benefit for your furry love monster. In fact, they could, over time, be detrimental or harmful. Most often the by-products in your dog’s food are likely to be the less beneficial of the two above options as the usable meet will be used for human consumption. The discarded scraps that neither you nor I wouldn't 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 too 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.
Here are 2 sneaky tricks used to fool pet parents:
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 than they would if the rice were combined because ingredients are listed in the order of weight. Sneaky, sneaky!
2. This is the worst of all 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 pupper still ingests a chemical preservative it’s just added before the pet food manufacture buys the ingredient.
I know that one of the biggest concerns pet parents face is cost. We love our four legged children but don’t want to break the bank feeding them. It’s a common misconception that the more expensive the food the higher the quality. You don’t have to purchase a $65 bag of dog food to feed your dog something that is equally nutritious and delicious. In the Finken house we feed our pack Diamond Natural (Pet Supplies plus) which runs about $35-$40 for a 40lb bag.
I’d also like to point out that by purchasing a lower quality food at a lower cost you really aren't going to save yourself any dough. The lower quality the food the more of it your pooch will require to acquire much needed nutrients. Higher quality foods, thought a bit more costly, will last you longer because your pup won’t eat as much. The ingredients in lower quality foods (corn) will simply pass through your pup and land in your yard as lawn ornaments where higher quality foods with more usable ingredients will absorb and stay inside your pups tum, where it should be. Not to mention better foods will keep your pup healthier, longer and are less likely to high jack your bank account with medical issues down the road.
Food for thought (pun intended).
A good and reliable site to use when researching different brands is; http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/
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!