For thousands of years, man’s best friend ate just like his master. Dogs fed the same foods that man ate managed to live long lives and nutrition was simple. The pet food market started with good intentions when James Spratt sought a food when traveling with his dog. He created a dog cake and used meat, beetroot, wheat and vegetables so his dog could eat well when they journeyed. The concept didn’t take hold until after WWII. Soon advertising jumped in and dog food filled with preservatives sold with catchy commercials.
The animal feed regulations remain the laws that govern the production of dog food The Association of American Feed Control Officials controls the pet food industry and is composed of people that work in the industry as well as government official. The agencies demand that label ingredients are correct but don’t get involved in dog food nutrition beyond the label. Many required canine vitamins and minerals fail to show up in their dried bag of kibbles. However, companies cannot label their product as “complete and balanced” unless it has a specific nutritional profile.
If the product uses the words with or flavored as in beef flavored, the dog food usually contains less than 3 percent of that ingredient in the total contents. The tricky wording comes from the marketing department to lead the purchaser down a false utopian path. You must read the label and discern for yourself how much nutrition your dog actually gets when he eats that particular dog food Just like human foods, label ingredients list the foods by the amount contained and the first on the list is the most prominent product in the food.
Many times companies use chemical testing and add additional minerals and vitamins in a quest to reach the magic numbers. Unlike the nutrition of food, the added vitamins often pass through the body of the animal unabsorbed due to the fact they are unchealated.
Often food from the rendering plant and manufacturing plant smells bad enough that dogs turn their back on it. To solve the problem, some companies give the food a nice spray of fat. Many times the fat considered unfit for human consumption acts as glue to hold the wisp of other flavors onto the food. When you open a bag of dog food notice the feel of grease on the inside of the bag. These additions of aromas and flavors trick your dog into eating something he wouldn’t otherwise give a second look.
Today’s manufacturers don’t allow for difference in dogs’ bodies. Each breed has specific needs. For example, if a dog shed frequently, he needs more protein and B vitamins for the increased production of hair than the dog that never sheds.
Beware when you purchase dog food there are many things in the processing of dog food that would make you cook your dog his dinner and never buy another bag of commercial food. Our canine friends are too valuable to receive poor dog food nutrition when so much money goes into their care. It only takes one missing vitamin or nutrient to create malnutrition.