The dog food market is a difficult place to navigate. So many products. So many claims. So many lies. So what’s really in UK dog food?
Dogs and humans have much the same nutritional requirements. We each process food in much the same way. We each need the same 40 or so nutrients. By far the best source of those nutrients is food. Proper food. And that applies to dogs just as it does to humans.
If you decide to make homemade food for your dog, every ingredient you use will be added for its nutritional value. Because it adds goodness. There is not one thing I recommend adding to homemade dog food that is not there to add goodness to your best friend’s diet.
Take commercial dog food on the other hand. Let’s take a look at just a few of the things added to commercial dog food and the reason why they’re there.
Animal digest is produced by the chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean animal tissue that has not undergone decomposition. It’s an additive that has been treated with heat, enzymes or acids to produce a concentrated product used as a natural flavouring.
It’s there to add flavour because after the already inferior ingredients have been processed, there is no flavour left in what will go on to become your dog’s food. So flavouring is necessary because without it, dog biscuit, kibble, would have no flavour and your dog simply wouldn’t eat it!
Montmorillonite clay is a type of clay that typically forms after volcanic ash matures. It’s used in commercial dog food as an anti-caking agent. It helps the ingredients stick together without forming lumps.
Beet Pulp, Tomato Pomace
Beet pulp is a by-product of sugar beet production. The leftovers after the sugar has been extracted from sugar beet. Tomato pomace is a by-product of tomato manufacturing. What’s left over after the processing of tomatoes for juice, ketchup, soup, etc. It’s there to keep the fat from running and again to help bind the ingredients together.
Caramel (Caramelized Sugar)
Caramel is used as a colourant to fool consumers into thinking that what they’re about to feed their dog has some association with meat. Which of course it doesn’t!
Sawdust (Powdered Cellulose)
Sawdust or woodpulp is added to commercial food to bulk up your dog’s stool. It’s also an exceptionally cheap way of bulking up the product as well!
By the way, all these additives come under the term GRAS. Generally Recognized as Safe. Bet that makes you feel a lot better, doesn’t it, knowing that the food you’re about to feed your dog is ‘Generally Recognized as Safe!’
So there you have it. That’s what’s in UK dog food. Some of the things anyway. And not one of them was added for the right reason. The only reason I as a canine nutritionist believe you should add ingredient’s to your dog’s food. To add goodness!
Before I go …
My wife and I made a batch of food for our two dogs today. Want to know what went into it? How about lean beef mince, beef lung, beef liver and beef heart. That comprised 60% of the cook. The other 40% was made up of sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, French beans, turnip, runner beans, tomatoes, courgettes, carrots and beetroot. To which we added a host of herbs and spices, my own Essential Calcium for Dogs for necessary calcium and some salmon oil.
Now that is adding ingredients to dog food for the right reason!