What’s for dinner?

What’s for dinner?

When you shop for dog food for your Morkie, your head might be spinning when you read labels. I believe the pet food manufacturers – a multi BILLION dollar industry – purposely confuse consumers. Why would they do that? So they can pass off sub-par food (made with the cheapest possible ingredients) as high priced, quality food.

There are many, many ways dog food makers can do that, and I’ll be reviewing them over the next few weeks. Let’s start with dog food names.

But first, who regulates the pet food industry?

morkie eating dog foodMeet the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials)

This is the group that regulates the pet food industry. You’d expect this to be an unbiased, third party group. Possibly a government organization or agency.

Nope.

AAFCO is a private corporation. It is made up largely of PET FOOD COMPANY EXECUTIVES, business insiders and some elected officials in the United States and Canada. They set standards for their industry that are not very high, to state it mildly. The Association believes foods that are made up predominantly of ingredients like these, are just fine for our dogs:

 

Ground yellow corn, soybean meal, ground whole wheat, and corn syrup.

 

What’s corn syrup doing in dog food?

It covers up the putrid taste of processed food, to the point where your dog will find it reasonably palatable.

The role of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration ) is one of oversight.  They check that what’s on the label, is in the food. That, and whether or not the manufacturer’s name is correct on the label. They have no input or insights into what constitutes healthy pet food, and their recommendations to the AAFCO are generally considered ‘suggestions’ only. And generally ignored.

you gotta be kidding about whats in dog food

Unethical and shady: dog food names

That is what allows the industry to label dog food like this:

  • “Beef for dogs” then at least 95% of the product must be beef (or 70% when counting the added water)
  • “Beef dinner” requires the product to contain at least 25% of beef
  • “With beef” means the product contains at least 3% of beef. Buying a product that says “now with real beef” and you get only 3%!
  • “With beef flavour” means the flavour itself is detectable (from beef meal or beef by-products for example), there doesn’t have to be any actual beef meat present in the product
.

 Whats in dish of dog food

 

In summary

Don’t buy foods that are labelled as dinners, entrees, meals or anything along those lines: it means the food contains just 25% of the named meat.

“With beef” or “with beef flavour” are even worse so avoid them too.

Go for the simple animal protein name, such as Beef for dogs, Chicken or Lamb.

How to pick the best dog food

How to pick the best dog food

b&w and red dog bowlYou want to give your Morkie the best dog food you can, but how to decide, with literally thousands of choices in commercial dog food?

An invaluable resource is the website DogFoodAdvisor.com. Founder and editor Mark Sagman has made it his mission to help you make an informed decision when buying dog food. Since 2008, Mark and his team have reviewed almost 5,000 products.

Mark was moved to start the site when he and his family lost their beloved rescue dog, Penny, in the massive 2007 pet food recalls. You might remember, there were tens of thousands of pet deaths, mostly due to poisonous fillers in the food. Fillers like melamine – yes, the same stuff that is used to make kitchen counters. Read more on Wikipedia.

Here’s Mark’s basic advice about the best dog food:

Don’t pick dog food
that’s advertised on TV.

Pretty simple way to start your search for the best dog food. It’s based on the fact that many commercial dog foods are well known. But their popularity has nothing at all to do with their nutritional value. Popular brands like Purina, Alpo, Beneful, Hills Science diet and Pedigree dog foods all earn just 1 star out of 5 on dogfoodadvisor.com

Why? From harmful additives to mystery ingredients, these foods are made up of cheap fillers (corn, soybeans) that your dog can’t digest properly, or doesn’t need. They have “animal fat” from unidentified sources, such as dead, dying and diseased livestock and even euthanized pets!  And they’re processed at such high temperatures that much of the nutritional value has been cooked out.

Get alerts of dog food recalls

At dogfoodadvisor.com you can sign up for free dog food recall alerts. No cost and no obligation. Even quality foods can run into problems from time to time with batches of food that’s contaminated so these alerts are well worth getting.

Rethinking Nylabone

In a recent post, I wrote about the dangers of rawhide sticks. They can be a choking hazard and are manufactured with a lot of toxic chemicals.

I recommended alternatives, including a good quality nylon bone such as Nylabone. However, thanks to the DogFoodAdvisor.com website, I learned that even Nylabones can be recalled.

In April 2015, the Nylabone puppy starter kit was recalled because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Plus, if your Morkie can chew any bits of the Nylabone off, he could easily swallow these tiny plastic pieces, causing serious digestive problems.