Published at Monday, May 13th 2019. by Varden Jacquet in Dog Food.
Dog food producers know very well how to make high quality, healthy dog food as evidenced by the expensive 5 star brands, but the problem is, it is just too expensive for most dog owners. And to be competitive with other producers, the price of the food dictates what the foundation or the primary ingredient is; and it is not meat. In a nutshell, most dog owners are feeding their dogs as if they were plant eating herbivores rather than meat eating carnivores. But it is not your fault that producers are not disclosing the truth about the nutritional value of their dog foods, but instead doing everything in their power to convince you they are nutritionally complete and the best food for your dog.
So, why is a high quality meat based diet so important? For dogs, meat is the appropriate source of protein and fat is the appropriate source of energy. High quality meat contains all the proteins, vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients needed for dogs to live a long and healthy life. Yet, carbohydrates have become the dominant nutrient found in most dog foods. Why is this? Because they are abundant, have a long shelf life, and are cheaper than protein and fat. What does this mean? Less expensive dog foods generally include less meat and more animal by-products and grain fillers. Is this good? Keep reading to find out.
When dealing with meat in general, the first 50% of a slaughtered animal that can be used is considered to be ”human grade.” Some people have felt that serving their dogs ”human grade” food is a proper solution to all of their dog food needs. A lot of pet food companies use the words ”human grade” as a catch-all phrase to make some of their food sound better than it really is. While the idea of a ”human grade” food is a great one, but it isn't an absolute. To say that a food is human-grade is relatively misleading. What the term means is that the food is good enough to be consumed by humans. This has little to do with the processing of the product. The term ”made with human-grade ingredients” doesn't mean that the end product is human grade. In short, the processing of human-grade meat could in fact be something that wouldn't be healthy for human consumption at all. The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) doesn't even have a definition of ”human grade” ingredients.
Some of the key items that are found in commercial pet food are animal leftovers that can't be sold at the local grocery store. These items of the animal are usually the brains, bones, eyeballs, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, ligaments, membranes, and fat trimmings. These leftovers are called ”by-products” and tend to get used in pet foods. A good thing to know about animal by-products is that hair, horns, hooves, beaks and feathers aren't a part of the equation. As a general rule of thumb, higher-end pet foods don't even use meat by-products. If one registers at the AAFCO website and looks into animal by-products, the results could be considered encouraging. An example of this would be 4D meat (dead, diseased, dying or disabled) is considered ”adulterated” and shouldn't be included in pet food unless it has been treated to a point where all dangerous microorganisms have been destroyed. Obviously, a dog food with meat by-products as the main ingredient is inferior to one that has a specific meat and then a by-product listed afterward.
Chemical Culprits. Many dog foods contain unnecessary chemical preservatives such as butylated hudroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and ethoxyquin. Although human food also contains BHA and BHT, we consume much less than a dog does in his average 15-year life span. Chemical preservatives are commonly used by large manufacturers in large dosage because their products are made in huge quantities and distributed all over the world, often sitting for long periods of time on store shelves or in warehouses where extreme temperatures can alter the quality of the product.
Just like the potato chip analogy, many commercially processed dog foods are made with fillers such as corn gluten, corn meal, and other such ingredients to help keep production costs down. These ingredients have virtually no nutritional value and will not benefit your dog in any way. Many quality conscious dog food producers will include vegetables, ”human grade” meats, meat proteins, oats or whole grains in their foods. These ingredients have great nutritional value, and will generally keep your dog healthy and active.
Browse any grocery store or pet food store to buy Dog Food and you will agree that trying to decide on what is best for your dog is an exhausting task. Scanning the shelves of products available, you are bombarded by foods extolling different health benefits as well as a huge range of prices. The pet food industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and pet food manufacturers are eagerly marketing for every dollar. Not only are they marketing us to death, but also developing new products to put in front of us. Those products include ”dry”, ”canned”, ”semi-moist” and health targeted products such as ”senior”, ”premium” and ”gourmet.
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