With the bewildering array of pet foods available these days, one of the best ways to assess the quality of a particular brand is to look at the meat used. There are two things to look at in particular:
- the quality of the meat source
- the amount of meat in the actual food.
Unfortunately, a pretty label is no guarantee that the food you feed your dog is doing its health any good. ‘Junk food’ is just as prevalent in dog food as it is in human food. And just as with you or your children, if you feed your dog a constant diet of junk food over a period of time, you are going to end up with health problems.
The first step to evaluating the quality of the food is to look at the ingredients on the label. However, you need to have an understanding of what the ingredients actually mean, as the terms used to describe them are far from straightforward.
Here are the most important things to be aware of when looking at the meat content (and therefore the quality) of a dog food brand.
1. Make sure the first ingredient on the list is a meat source. Petfood ingredients must be listed in order of weight before processing. If the first ingredients in a brand are cereals, grains or anything other than a meat then you can be sure you are not giving your dog much nutrition. Foods without meat as the first ingredient are often called the ‘junk foods’ of the pet industry.
2. Make sure the meat is from a named animal and not just called ‘meat’. ‘Meat’ can mean it comes from just about anywhere and can even be harmful. Only use a food where the actual type of meat is named, such as chicken, lamb or fish.
3. Avoid by-products. By-products are the parts of the animal that are everything BUT the meat. They can include feet, beaks, intestines – all of the animal that is left after the meat has been stripped from the carcass. Although high in protein, they are not quality ingredients and are best avoided.
4. Favour a food that uses named meat in ‘meal’ form. Chicken or lamb ‘meal’ is simply the meat that has been dehydrated before the food is made. That means that there is a lot more actual meat retained in the food after it has all been dehydrated than there is where the meat is only dehydrated as part of the final processing. Thus, the difference between ‘chicken’ and ‘chicken meal’ is that they are both ‘only’ chicken meat, but there is about four times the amount of actual meat in the final food in the ‘meal’.
Once you understand these things, it is not hard to see the huge differences in pet foods, and how to choose a quality one over a ‘junk’ food.
Did you know that all formulas of Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic Grain Free:
- have meat as the first ingredient
- have a named meat (chicken, lamb or fish) as the meat source
- have NO by-products of any kind
- use ONLY meats in meal form
It’s one of the many reasons they consistently rate as amongst the best foods on the market and are not only good for pets but extremely tasty too!
For more information about Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic Grain Free and to order for your dog or cat visit www.petfooddirect.co.nz or call 0800 DOG FOOD (0800 364 366), toll free throughout New Zealand.