Just as in human food, basically the first 4-5 ingredients, which is the largest makeup in that food, are your concerns. I will address later the other things you need to look for when you look at the label as well down the road.
There are now over 93 dog food brands and 87 cat food brands. Most of them are owned by one company with just multiple brand labels under that company. Why you ask? Because consumers believe that one brand is better than another. They believe they are buying a better quality over another brand in spite of the fact the 2 brands are owned by the same company. And the really big piss me off is you are paying up to $3.00 for a can of food with the first 4 ingredients that look like this-
Corn starch, hydrolyzed poultry by-products(feathers and all) coconut oil, soybean oil!
I can not even tell you when I found this label, rage coursed through my body! I had to take a deep breath and move on. This was from a very expensive company with the initials R.C. We are being duped to believe that we are feeding good nutrition to our animals and paying a fair price for that nutrition. I want to change all of that! I want pet food companies to change their practices. There must be good money in it because there are tons of pet stores now with tons of different brands of food to choose from. I am going to give you a label from another common cat food you can buy in almost every store-again giving the first 4 ingredients.
meat by products, water sufficient for processing, turkey, poultry by products.
Lets first start with “by-products” and what that can be. That means everything left not for human consumption! Beaks, feet, feathers, intestines and so on. So if we translate this label it really reads-
beaks,feet and feathers, water to mix all that stuff up and get it liquid, a little bit of turkey and more beaks and feet! Oh yum! And you wonder why your cat is so fussy. If this was ever discovered in human food we would absolutly scream. Yes, a feral cat if given the choice of starve or eat chicken feet will eat the feet, is this actually good for the cat? Maybe once in a while but their entire diet made up of chicken feet and beaks! Let us now look at a label from a dry cat food I think is actually pretty good and no more expensive than some of the best brands out there-
Boneless chicken (fresh), chicken meal, turkey meal, boneless turkey, chicken fat
Much better ingredients especially since cats require a higher protein diet even more so to dogs. This food is from Acana which is in Canada. While I am not thrilled with the chicken and turkey meal which I will explain later, this certainly is a much better quality product for the money. More importantly the taste will be much more pleasant for the cats! The better the quality of the ingredients, the better the health of your animal. The better the health, the less you need to see a vet which makes more expensive food worth it.
I can not even stress enough, just as with humans, the body is a machine, if you put poor quality fuel in the machine the machine runs poorly. Over time the machine will begin to break down. Period. This is a fact. At the cost of taking a sick animal to the vet it is so much cheaper to spend a little time in making sure you are providing the best nutrition you can. Let us look at another label from a bag of dry dog food from Eukanuba large breed dog food at 37.00 a bag-
chicken, corn meal, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by product meal, ground whole grain barley, chicken flavor.
While it is good that the first ingredient is chicken we then move on to my next piss me off, look at all the grain. The 2nd largest ingredient is corn. A cheap filler with little nutritional value. And sorghum? And we are back to the by-product meal. In fact they must add chicken flavor because there is no meat flavor after it is cooked and dried at high temperatures. Why are grains a problem you ask.
Besides for the most part they are just used as fillers to keep the food made as cheaply as possible to increase the profits of the company it is also one of the problems with developing allergies. It also contributes to weight gain. Corn has a high glycemic index which is why I dislike it the most when used in food. It is not horrible for you but it really has low nutritional value compared to its glycemic value which in other words-how it converts to sugar and goes to belly fat. Your animals are no different. Try to look for the grain free products which is a good start. Think of those foods they tell you to stay away from for weight loss such as potatoes, corn and other starchy foods. look for meat to be listed in at least the first 2 ingredients ESPECIALLY if it is dry food because the process of drying the food destroys so much of the nutritional value alone.
Okay now that I have you running to fido’s cupboard to check the ingredients I will stop for today and prepare you for my next blog-ingredients to stay away from and why!
Peace and love to you