When you purchase a commercial pet food, you’re putting a lot of trust in the manufacturer. In fact, you’re giving him full control over what your dog eats and where that food is sourced. If that’s a frightening concept for you (and it should be), then here are a few tips to help you select the best commercially prepared food for your dog.
- Raw is always best. Cooking, even at low temperatures, denatures food and produces toxic byproducts. Raw foods will retain most of their naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes and probiotics.
- The bottom of the label is the most important part. As stated above, the high heating process denatures the food and renders it dead. In order for that food to have some nutritional quality, synthetic vitamins and minerals are added to the food in the form of a “premix.” Synthetic vitamins are damaging to your dog’s liver and kidneys and most of these premixes are manufactured in India and China where quality control is poor. You’ll know if your food contains a premix because you’ll find chemical names on the label such as Sodium Selenite and vitamin names such as vitamin A. Note that nearly all commercial foods contain premixes manufactured in China. If the premix is manufactured in the US, then the individual ingredients that form the premix almost certainly are still manufactured in China. Chances are, your kibble manufacturer doesn't know the origin of the premix ingredients.
- Human Grade ingredients are always preferred and free range and pasture raised ingredients are best. If this isn't clear from the label, call the manufacturer and find out where your dog’s meat comes from.
- Stay away from irradiated foods. The use of radiation in foods was responsible for the deaths of many cats in Australia. Irradiation destroys nutrients and produces free radicals in foods – and it doesn't kill bacteria. For more information, read here.
- Look for meat at the top of the label. Avoid terms such as meat, poultry or animal as this indicates inferior sources of meat. Look instead for beef, chicken or lamb.
- Look for grain free foods. Your dog has no requirements for carbohydrates, they are simply added to foods to reduce the cost. Many kibbles replace grains with potatoes but this isn't much of an improvement because potatoes are still carbohydrates.
This short list should get you well on the way to finding a healthy food for your dog. It will also show you that 99% of the kibbles on the market contain products that are harmful for your dog. Despite claims to the contrary, it’s nearly impossible for processed foods to provide sound nutrition.
Clearly, the best thing you can do for your dog is feed him a raw diet prepared at home. This way you know exactly what is going into him and how it’s been handled. If that seems complicated, then there are many commercially prepared raw foods that could fit the bill. If the cost of these products is to prohibitive, then a freeze dried or dehydrated food would be a good option. There are plenty of healthy alternatives to overly processed, nutritionally devoid kibbles.
Remember, when you feed a commercial food to your dog, you are entrusting that company with the health and welfare of your dog. It may seem like a good thing to entrust experts with the health of your dog but you are also entrusting that company’s marketing department and share holders. The best way to take control of your dog’s health is to take control of his diet.
If you love dogs, this is a great newsletter to subscribe to.
Everyone should be doing research on what they feed their pets. Don't take the word of a vet, a TV commercial or anyone, unless you are checking it out yourself.