A Short Guide to Choosing Better Products
The Pet food industry is a very competitive multi-billion business, and the manufacturers of most popular brands spend millions on advertising alone every year, trying to convince consumers that they are offering the best, most nutritious product.
Of course they all claim that they use only the best quality ingredients, but there is no legal requirement that such statements must be truthful. It’s your responsibility as a pet owner to look past the pretty pictures of fresh cuts of meat and juicy vegetables, the cute commercials and the misleading, biased information about “proper nutrition” and to question the statements these companies makes.
Choosing a quality product is not al- ways simple and often you will have to decide whether a specific ingredient is still acceptable for you or not. If your dog doesn’t show sensitivities to things like e.g. wheat, corn, beef, or brewer’s yeast and they are of good quality (USDA inspected or antibiotic and steroid free etc.), they are not “bad” and you have absolutely no reason to feel guilty if a food contains them! There are countless examples for ingredients that have an undeserved bad reputation due to people’s half-knowledge that finds the internet as a prolific breeding environment.
Many of the ingredients and additives in commercial dog foods are the source of health problems in our pets. Brands available at grocery stores or mass retailers are generally based on cheap byproducts of the human food industry,
with artificial colorings and flavorings, and contain ingredients our pets were never meant to eat. Did you know that many of the ingredients of even highly advertised “brand-name” dog foods are nothing but “floor sweepings” and the “tail of the mill” from grain processing plants, rendered remains of (often dis- eased) animals and roadkill and recycled restaurant grease from rendering facilities, all cleverly disguised in non- descriptive phrases like “meat meal”, “cereal food fines”, “meat and bone meal” or “animal fat”?
Fortunately there are also really good quality products available, and they don’t necessarily cost more to feed, as you can easily calculate if you look past the price tag on the bag and instead take the daily feeding amount into co sideration.
This little pamphlet was created to get you started on learning how to choose better products and provide a healthier diet for your four-legged best friend. It is only a small part of the vast amount of important information about commercial dog food, but hopefully it will spark your interest in finding out more. Let’s get started!
Sabine Contreras Canine Care & Nutrition Consultant