“It has taken me 20 years as veterinary doctor to realize that 90% of health problems in dogs is due to their food” (Dr Michael W. Fox)
With so many different brands of dog food on the market – and the billions spent on advertising – it is easy to believe that there isn’t a lot of difference between dog foods. After all, they all claim to offer “complete nutrition” and be “totally healthy” for your pet. They all come with attractive packaging and show images of healthy, happy pets. And while we know that the more expensive foods are probably a bit better for our dog’s health, the cheaper ones sold in supermarkets can’t be that bad….after all, they sell them, don’t they?
And if they were actually harmful to dogs, they wouldn’t be able to be sold. Would they?
And surely there are regulations in place to ensure they are not harmful? Aren’t there?
The sad truth is that just as the rise in processed foods for humans has led to a dramatic increase in cancers, diabetes and heart disease (and there is massive evidence to show a direct link), the same has happened for dogs and cats.
The lifespan of your average cat or dog is much lower than it should be, and cancers, skin problems, joint problems and others are also increasing dramatically. We should be able to see our dog live a happy and healthy 20 years but sadly this doesn’t happen much anymore.
And when you see what is legally allowed to be put in dog food you will see why. You will be drawn to the conclusion that there can be very little regulation of the petfood industry….. and you would be correct.
Without a doubt, poor quality food is going to result in one or more of the following:
- your dog will live a shorter life
- your dog will live a more painful, less happy life
- your dog will potentially develop minor irritations such as skin rashes, flaking and eczema
- your dog’s coat will be dull rather than shiny
- your dog will develop bad wind, smelly breath or body odour
- you will be spending more time and money at the vet
- you may well spend more on food, as lower priced brands contain more fillers – you need to feed your dog more for the same energy
You may think there are strict government regulations for what is put in dog food.
Unfortunately, you would be wrong.
It is perfectly legal to include the following in dog foods, and they are found in some of the best-known brands in the world:
- Cancer-causing chemicals that are banned from human food
- Artificial colorings, again suspected carcinogens (remember, your dog doesn’t care what the food looks like; colorings are only added to make the food look more appealing and ‘natural’ to the the dog owners!)
- Artificial flavorings (added because the ingredients on their own are so unappealing to dogs that they otherwise wouldn’t eat it)
- The waste parts of animal carcasses that are unfit for human consumption, including organs, feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs, cancerous tumors from the animal…. these are all put through a process called ‘rendering’ and the whole concoction labelled ‘by-products’
- The waste products of human food manufacturers. The following list may really shock you, but all are perfectly lawful in dog food and are the ingredients in “meat by-product” or “animal fat”
- Bread and cereal rejects (cobs, stalks, mill sweepings)
- Contaminated grain middlings
- Dying, diseased and disabled farm animals
- Road kill (deer, skunks, and raccoons)
- Distiller fermentation waste
- Spoiled supermarket food
- Dead zoo animals
- Restaurant grease
- Euthanized cats and dogs
This is actually the tip of the iceberg…..
Do you want your pet to live a long and happy life? You answer that question by the food you feed it. To choose an acceptable food all you need to do is look at the ingredients on the label:
- avoid: artificial flavors, preservatives or colorings
- avoid: any “by products”
- avoid: “animal fat”
Better foods may cost you more for a bag, but they will last longer (as you need to feed less) and so will your happier and healthier dog.
(For more on the truth about dog foods, including independent reviews of major brands, visit www.dogfoodadvisor.com)