You see countless television commercials all of the time, portraying happy, smiling dogs gobbling up great tasting dog foods. Some attractive woman is telling you this is the best a dog can get, offering every single thing any dog needs to thrive. The shiny, reflective dog food package itself shows a lab or bulldog happily gobbling down his meal, without a care in the world. On top of all this, the package is sure to include a bullet point list explaining why it is so great.
The package is absolutely beautiful, but what about the food itself? All dog food might look similar, but that is where it ends. Is everything they are trying to tell you really true?
Protein & Meat: The Deal Breaker
We learn way back as children that protein is the building block to basically everything. We all need to eat (at least some) proteins to survive, and can’t live without them. After all, we are built from proteins, and it is the same for our furry friends.
You might not have learned that all proteins are made from a combination of smaller things called ‘Amino Acids’. Some of these amino acids can be naturally produced by our bodies, but others absolutely must be in our diets, or we will become deficient and malnourished. These are called ‘Essential Amino Acids’. Any given food protein will contain a different combination of amino acids.
This is the exact same case for dogs.
Dogs are able to get all of the essential amino acids they need from animal meat and animal products. In fact, dogs are still classified as carnivores, and their original diets in the wild consisted nearly entirely of animal sources and almost no plants/vegetables. Their teeth are even designed to tear at meat, and they vastly prefer the taste.
It is much harder for them to find all of these amino acids in plant products, which is where great dog foods stand apart from poorly made foods. Understand- it is much cheaper and easier for dog food manufacturers to grow plant ingredients, like corn, than process slaughterhouse meats massive scale.
Though they know dogs need animal proteins to thrive, many of these manufacturers will pack their foods with cheap plant ‘filler’. The dog suffers on this poor diet, and as a result we have an estimated 54% of all domestic dogs overweight or obese, amounting to tens of millions.
Pedigree Dog Food: Ranked Last
Who hasn’t heard of Pedigree brand dog food? This one is not only known worldwide, but sold to millions upon millions of pet owners. In fact, Pedigree sits on a nice corner of the entire pet food market, right next to the most popular brand in the United States- Purina (both brands are similar in quality). In fact, millions of people who have never even owned a pet in their lives have heard the name ‘Pedigree’.
Let’s look at the top 15 ingredients offered in this immensely popular dog food, and then compare those to another premium dog food brand. Which do you think will be better for your dog?
Top 15 Ingredients: Ground whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat, soybean meal, natural flavor, chicken by-product meal, dried plain beet pulp, ground whole grain wheat, salt, potassium chloride, brewers rice, choline chloride, dried peas, calcium carbonate
- Corn products are popular ‘filler’ ingredients used by many manufacturers.
Meat and Bone Meal
The only source of animal meat here is meat and bone meal, considered the lowest quality animal ingredient and mixture of absolutely anything. In fact, it is believed the pet food industry would use euthanized pets for a long time to make their meat and bone meals. Mad Cow Disease, a 100% fatal disorder transferable to humans, is believed by the CDC to have originated in the United Kingdom from contaminated meat and bone meal. Bone is difficult for an animal to digest.
Outside of this second ingredient, there are 14 filler ingredients. Though they do offer some nutritional qualities, every one of these 14 is an extremely cheap product used in an attempt to meet the absolute minimum of nutritional standards.
Chicken byproduct Meal isn’t chicken/meat at all, but the byproduct ingredients of chicken rendering.
Orijen Dog Food: Top Ranked
Orijen is probably the best of the best, when it comes to manufactured dog food. In fact, you could scour all the countless dog food selections in your grocery store, and probably not find anything better.
Dog food ingredients are listed on labels based on quantity, the most listed first. Anything after the top 15 ingredients is included in such small quantities, they probably don’t make much of a difference. Take a look at the 15 below.
- First two ingredients are high quality animal meats, deboned for easy digestion
- 4 different kinds of fish
- Whole eggs for egg protein & Omega Fatty Acids (also included in fish)
- 4-6 different kinds of highly valued organ meats
Top 15 Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail ﬂounder, whole eggs, whole Atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, whole Atlantic herring, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated mackerel, dehydrated chicken liver, dehydrated turkey liver
Your dog wouldn’t find better nutrients if he ate from a whole cow in your backyard. Notice there isn’t one single solitary plant product if all of the 15 ingredients listed above? If things like peas and potatoes are so great for dogs, like so many manufacturers like to boast, why doesn’t the absolute best of the best use them?
Other High Quality Dog Foods
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
Canidae Grain Free Pure
Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural
Nutrience Grain Free
Nature’s Select Grain Free
Taste of the Wild
Wellness Core Dog Food