If you’re concerned about unhealthy ingredients in commercial dog food, you’re far from alone. Every time there’s a pet food recall, concerned dog parents in their droves look for healthy alternatives. Here’s just some of the reasons why consumers are concerned about unhealthy dog food ingredients.
Dogs are largely colour blind. So why would a dog food manufacturer add artificial colourings to their food? Unless of course it was to fool unwitting dog parents into thinking the food they were buying for their dog was actually better than it really is. If the processes they employ didn’t take the colour out of their food in the first place, there would be no need for manufacturers to add back unnatural ingredients. Many of which have long-since been linked to attention span deficit and hyperactivity in both children and dogs.
Artificial preservatives allow manufacturers to increase the shelf-life of dog food. At the expense of the likes of skin disease, eye issues, behavioural problems and even canine cancer.
Ethoxyquin, propyl gallate, potassium sorbate, sodium tripolyphosphate, BHA, BHT, E202, E320, E321, E324, E451, etc. It doesn’t matter how they try to disguise them, they’re all artificial preservatives. And they’re all linked to health problems in both humans and dogs!
Beet pulp is a cheap filler used in many commercial dog foods. It’s a by-product of sugar beet production.
Digest is formed from and by the breakdown – or degredation – of animal tissue through chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis. It’s something widely used to improve the taste of dog food. This is a far from natural process. And there is no way of knowing what part of the animal has been used in the process. Or indeed what animal unless it has been specified!
Hydrolysed animal proteins
Hydrolysed animal proteins are proteins which have been broken down into their constituent amino acid building blocks by way of hydrolysis. A process which employs the use of acids or enzymatic action to achieve the food manufacturer’s goal.
As with digest and meat meal, once again you have no way of knowing what parts of what animals the protein in your dog’s food has come from.
Meat and animal derivatives
According to European law, ‘meat and animal derivatives’ are defined as: “All the fleshy parts of slaughtered warm-blooded land animals, fresh or preserved by appropriate treatment, and all products and derivatives of the processing of the carcass or parts of the carcass of warm-blooded land animals”.
In other words, you have no way of knowing what you are feeding your dog if you are giving them meat and animal derivatives. As with ‘meat meal’ below, if the protein source (the meat) is simply listed as ‘meat’ and is not protein-specific, ask yourself why.
As an individual, I am ‘loud and proud’ when it comes to the sources of protein I feed my dogs. Especially the fact that all the protein I use is of human grade quality. That goes for my recipes as well.
Meat meal is essentially minced meat of indeterminate nature. It could be offal, connective tissue, bones or anything else for that matter. All superheated until the moisture has been evaporated. Unless the source is specified (chicken meat meal, beef meat meal, lamb meat meal, etc), you have absolutely no idea what animal or animals it came from. You certainly don’t know what part of the animal or animals was used in its creation.
On the bright side, UK Feed Stuffs Regulations say that ‘Meat Meal’ “should be virtually free of hair, bristle, feathers, horn, hoof, skin and of the contents of the stomach and viscera”. Bet that makes you feel a whole lot better if you feed your best friend commercial dog food!
Powdered cellulose is a fancy term for wood pulp. Don’t believe it? Look it up. It’s sawdust!
Prairie meal is an alternative to more expensive meat proteins and a by-product of maize processing which can be used to top-up the protein levels of dog foods. Unfortunately, prairie meal is not as easy for dogs to process as protein from meat sources. As a result, it can lead to health issues such as skin problems and hyperactivity.
Vegetable protein extracts
Vegetable protein extracts, also listed as ‘derivatives of vegetable origin’, could be virtually anything vegetable related. And, for very good reason, manufacturers are reluctant to be more specific. Extracted by less than natural chemical processes, most such extracts contain things like powdered cellulose (that sawdust again), and sugar beet pulp, neither of which is in the least bit nutritionally beneficial to dogs.
If your dog has a dietary intolerance, you’ve no way of knowing what you’re actually feeding it. By using the term meat derivatives (mentioned above), and vegetable derivatives, means that the pet food manufacturer can add ingredients at will according to what happens to be cheapest at the time!
And those are only some of the unhealthy dog food ingredients being used in commercial dog food. Now if that lot doesn’t pursuade you to ditch the kibble and make homemade food for your dog, I don’t know what will!
If you want to know exactly what you’re feeding your best friend, consider one of my healthy dog diet plans. They’re all created by myself, the canine nutritionist. And every one will cost you less than the price of a veterinary consultation.