As caring and responsible dog owner’s we have always tried to do what is right for our best friends’ be that physical and mental stimulation, training and boundary setting and of course feeding and nutrition.
We are often asked our opinions on certain dog foods and dog treats and hope that this blog gives you an overview of some of the pitfalls of choosing the right food for your dogs. I should at this point say that we are raw feeders and will publish a blog in due course about the benefits of that method over processed feeding. That said we know raw is not for everyone or indeed every dog.
The big brand dog food manufactures such as Purina, who incidentally are owned by Nestle, and make Bakers, Winalot, Beta and that old favourite Bonio; Peigree who are owned by Mars who in turn own brands such as James Wellbeloved and Royal Canin and Hills, who market their foods through Vets making us believe they are the pet care professionals choice are in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive. All of these companies and brands spend millions on marketing to make us believe their brand is the best.
Now, I am not knocking big business as at heart I am a capitalist and big business funded my life for many years by way of not too bad salaries thank you very much! What I am saying is that big business does not generally put the wellbeing of small fury animals ahead of profits.
What we need to do as consumers is to get past their marketing blurb and make the right choice for our best friends. We have so much choice it is very hard to know where to begin but there is help at hand.
In the first instance a general rule of thumb is that if you can buy it in your local supermarket it probably is not very good, you really do need to go to a dedicated pet shop or on line retailer.
The following is a simple guide of what ingredients you should stay away from:
Bone Meal, Dairy Products, Meat and Animal Derivatives, Hydrolysed Animal Proteins, Poultry, Poultry Fat, Fish and Fish Derivatives, Barley, Maize/Corn, Maize Gluten, Wheat, Wheat Feed, Vegetable Derivatives, Vegetable Protein Extracts, Pea Protein, Potato Protein, Soya, Sodium Selenate, Artificial Colourings and Preservatives, Carrageenan, Phosphoric Acid, Oils and Fats, Salt and Sugars.
There are also a number of ingredients that although not “bad” provide little or no nutritional value and are used as cheap fillers, these include:
Barley, Oats, White Rice, Sorghum, Spelt, Pea Flour, Potato Starch, Sugar Beet, Tapioca, Vegetable Fibre, Unspecified Vegetables (or a high percentage of a single vegetable)
For a full list of do’s and don’ts visit http://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/dog-food-ingredient-glossary.php
When choosing the right food for your best friend you should look for a high percentage (over 50% is OK but the best foods have up to 80%) of specified meat or fish content. When I say specified I mean that the ingredients should read something like this:
New Zealand White Fish 40%, New Zealand King Salmon 17%, Free Range Lamb Tripe 9%, Vitamins, Minerals, New Zealand Green Mussel, Yucca Extract, Thyme, Taurine, Rosemary, Aloe Vera, Coenzyme Q10.
And not like this:
Meat and Animal Derivatives (Including min. 4% Beef, Min 4% Fresh Meat), Vegetables (Min. 4% mix of Peas and Carrots), Cereals, Vegetable Protein Extracts, Derivatives of Vegetables of Vegetable origin, Bakery Products (Min 4% Cooked Pasta), Oils and Fats, Minerals.
*Canagan Grain Free New Zealand White Fish Wet Food, £2.19 per 395g tin. **Pedigree Country Casserole with Gravy, £0.58 per 400g tin
Now I have no idea what Bakery Products could be but my basic knowledge of nutrition tells me that it’s probably not a good thing for a dog to have!
Going up the food chain so to speak will inevitably be more expensive but as most of know, you get what you pay for and I for one don’t begrudge spending a little more to do the best for my best friend!