Breaking Down Ingredients–Do You Know What’s In Your Dog’s Food?

So, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve been simply fascinated over the last 5 days on dog food and ingredients. I thought I’d share with you 3 types of dry kibble dog food and break down some of the ingredients. First I’ll start off with a very inexpensive dog food commonly bought at Wal-Mart, or a large chain store.

Cesar—Roast Chicken (dry)

CHICKEN MEAL, BREWERS RICE, CHICKEN BY-PRODUCT MEAL, CORN, WHEAT, MEAT & BONE MEAL, ANIMAL FAT (PRESERVED WITH BHA/BHT), DRIED BEET PULP, SOYBEAN MEAL, CHICKEN, NATURAL FLAVOURS, RICE FLOUR, VEGETABLE OIL (SOURCE OF LINOLEIC ACID), POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, YEAST, WATER, GLYCERINE, SALT, VEGETABLES (DRIED SPINACH, GREEN PEAS, AND CARROTS), TAPIOCA STARCH, GELATIN, VITAMINS (dl-ALPHA TOCOHPERYOL ACETATE [SOURCE OF VITAMIN E], CHOLINE CHLORIDE, L-ASCORBYL-2-POLYPHOSPHATE [SOURCE OF VITAMIN C], VITAMIN A ACETATE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], BIOTIN, d-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT [VITAMIN B2], VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT), HYDROGENATED GLUCOSE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, ZINC SULFATE, GLYCEROL MONOSTEARATE, ROAST CHICKEN FLAVOUR, CHLOROPHYLL, PHOSPHORIC ACID, IRON OXIDE, COPPER SULFATE, SORBIC ACID, TUMERIC, POTASSIUM IODIDE.

  • Glycerol Monostearate—Used in makeup as a filler for “bulk”. Thickening and emulsifying agent.
  • Phosphoric Acid—Used in soft drinks, studies show it decreases bone density. Used for cheap flavoring in dog foods.
  • Brewers Rice—Milled fragments of whole rice kernels containing little nutrients as it’d been separated from the whole kernel.
  • Choline Chloride is used in chicken feed to promote accelerated growth…
  • Copper Sulfate is used to detect anemia, used in herbicides, fungicides, and as a wood preservative.
  • Iron Oxide is used in concrete, shoe polish, lip stick, electronic parts, and in debit/credit cards.
  • Glycerine is used as a thickener, sweetener, and solvent in many foods. But it can also be found in “personal lubricants”.

Honestly, and truthfully, Cesar dog food is worse than feeding your dog garbage. PRICE: $7.98 for 1.6 KG bag

Next is a medium level dog food found at Veterinarian offices and Pet Smart.

Royal Canin—Dachshund Tekel 28

Chicken meal, brown rice, rice, oatmeal, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten meal, chicken fat, natural chicken flavour, dried beet pulp (sugar removed), salt, anchovy oil (source of EPA/DHA), powdered cellulose, potassium chloride, soya oil, calcium carbonate, fructooligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, taurine, Vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), inositol, niacin supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], choline chloride, glucosamine hydrochloride, Trace Minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), tea (green tea extract), L-carnitine, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (source of vitamin E) and citric acid.

  • Corn Gluten Meal—used to bind food together, zero nutritional value, but not known to be harmful.
  • Wheat Gluten—A by-product of human food processing, no nutritional value, used to bind kibble together
  • Unless stated, chicken fat can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination–dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter can all be included.
  • Beet Pulp is used to artificially harden stools, but it is also a very gentle, beneficial source of fiber that is not only generally very well tolerated, but also has specific properties that make it suitable as a source of nutrition for the beneficial bacteria that reside in the intestinal tract.
  • Salt is a necessary mineral, however just like humans, dogs can intake too much sodium and should be used in moderation.
  • Anchovy oil contains essential fatty acids
  • Powdered Cellulose is inexpensive and is usually just dried wood. It is cleaned, processed into a fine powder and used to add bulk and consistency. Note: wood is not usually recommended in a canine diet 😛
  • Potassium Chloride is used in fertilizer and in lethal injections…. That’s all I’m saying on that.
  • Soya Oil is used to increase protein content and add bulk.  Soy beans contain toxins and have been known to cause bloat and silicate stones in dogs. It is also linked to seizures in cats and dogs.
  • Calcium Carbonate is used in chalk, as a paint extender, a filler in pharmaceuticals, or in antacids.
  • Fructooligosaccharides are used to stop diarrhea in humans and to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in intestines.
  • Sodium Tripolyphosphate is used in food preservatives, flame retardants,  leather tanning, and antifreeze.

Some okay ingredients but overall, more garbage. PRICE: $17.99 for 2.2 Lbs

Now for a higher quality food, found at boutiques, or more holistically inclined pet food stores like Bosley’s, Tisol, etc.

Acana—Pacifica

Boneless salmon, salmon meal, herring meal, whitefish meal*, green peas, red lentils, whole potato, boneless herring, boneless flounder, herring oil, field beans, canola oil, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fibre, natural fish flavour, whole apples, whole pears, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, spinach greens, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, chicory root, juniper berries, angelica root, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, lavender, rosemary

* ACANA’s whitefish meal contains wild-caught flounder, halibut and Alaskan cod.

Although canola oil is not the BEST oil, its still “good”. As you can see, pretty well everything listed is natural, and actual food, and absolutely no additives, or preservatives. The price is usually around $30.00 for a medium sized bag (16 lbs or so).

It’s blatantly obvious that it’s more expensive for companies to make good dog food, which is why many use crap as fillers and additives (plus they may also not care) and they know that most people prefer to spend less. If people can’t read what’s on the label they may assume its some funky vitamin or something healthy. Plus any food below $10/bag is going to entice those pet owners who are on a budget, but absolutely love their pets. Doesn’t make them bad people or bad pet owners. There are many reasons why people feed certain foods whether it be price range, availability, or ingredients. The best thing to do to get our pets functioning at their best is to tell other people what you learn about ingredients, products, and services while being non-judgmental, and supportive. No one wants to hear they are not doing their best for their pets. We must educate and help each other along the way.

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Breaking Down Ingredients–Do You Know What’s In Your Dog’s Food?

  1. I agree on the “education” aspect. We don’t judge over at YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner.com. I was recently contacted by a woman who had been feeding Purina for years about suggestions for a better quality dog food. I didn’t go into the detail you did here (but will share this post so people can read your “plain language” ingredient breakdown) but gently let her know about other options and why they are better.

    • If a pet has food, shelter and love I’m happy. I hate how big companies take advantage of people by adding in unpronounceable crap because most people would just assume most of these ingredients are a mineral or supplement and not what they are.

  2. Another great source of information is a website called Dog Food Advisor (www.dogfoodadvisor.com). They have a great FAQ section that talks about ingredients and understanding labels. They also rate foods (1-5 stars).

  3. We use to buy the Royal Canin when we had 3 doxies but now we have 5 and needed to buy something a little cheaper. Can you suggest what is really good but not real pricy when you have 6 dogs to feed?

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