dog food reviews: do you know HOW TO READ A LABEL?..
STOP! Read The Label – You May Be Shocked…
We all want what’s best for our pet, and with all the mass marketing going on, we have a plethora of manufactured food to choose from…
Are you blindly following what you read on the internet; what you see on tv adverts? Behind the pretty packaging, do you really know what’s in your pet’s food? Can you tell from the label? Have you even read it??
For a while, when I used to feed Oscar processed food, I didn’t know to look. I trusted the big brand names, what other people told me, and the reviews you see around (that are sometimes actually paid for by the brands themselves). It wasn’t until much later, when I started to look more closely and started to read independent dog food reviews that I discovered just exactly what some of the ingredients were and how misleading a label could be.
I’ll go into more depth about the content of some manufactured food in other blogs, but today I thought I would share some things I learnt about reading the label, so you can start to make an informed choice about the food you feed your dog.
The worst offender is dry, kibble food, and the labels can mess with your head while trying to work out exactly what proportion of each ingredient really make up the whole.
Let me be straight – I don’t advocate using the majority of commercial food (kibble and wet) at all on a daily basis, but if you feel that’s what is best for you and your circumstances, then please, read on, so you know what you are buying and are able to choose the best food you can…
Protein For Dogs - What's The First Thing To Look For?
The first ingredient should ALWAYS be a protein – meat, poultry or fish, and listed as a specific type – i.e. chicken. At the very least, the 2nd and 3rd ingredients should also be a specific, named meat. Your dog is carnivorous by nature and needs to have a diet high in protein. If it’s not first – ditch it before you even go any further down the list.
Why is it important for it to be first on the list?
Everything is listed in descending order, i.e. the first ingredient is the most and the last ingredient is the least. BUT, it’s done by wet weight, not volume.
What does that mean?
It means, that when all the ingredients were raw, that percentage was used to create the ingredient list…
The one thing they don’t tell you in normal dog food reviews:
To make commercial pet food, they dehydrate the ingredients. The thing with raw meat is, in it’s natural state, it is around 70% water, so when it’s dehydrated it shrinks massively and the volume of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th ingredients on the list are then likely to make up the bulk of the food. These other ingredients are so often all grains, so the protein source could actually be less than 20% of the total food – and that’s bad. A diet high in grain can cause untold health problems for your dog as the years progress.
What is grain?
Some grains are: brown rice, white rice, barley, corn, millet, and any derivative of those such as rice ‘flour’ or corn ‘gluten’.
Is there anything else to look for besides protein for dogs?
Yes – splitting; splitting is when a manufacturer lists different components of one food as separate items, to hide the fact it makes up the bulk of the food…
Here’s an example from a label I found, which looks ‘ok’ on first glance:
INGREDIENTS: Chicken, brown rice, white rice, rice bran, rice gluten and rice flour
This sounds like there are a lot of ingredients, but apart from ‘chicken’, they are, in fact, all named parts of the SAME ingredient…a lump of cooked rice.
Chances are, this particular dog food has a lot of rice in it and when all the ‘rice’ ingredients are added together, it will be far greater than the portion of chicken.
In order for the manufacturer to be able to put chicken first (indicating that there is more meat than rice in their dog food reviews label), they split the rice up into parts and weigh each of those parts; each individual part of the rice now weighs less than the meat.
If they just listed the rice parts as ‘rice’ then the ingredients list would look like this:
INGREDIENTS: Rice, chicken
See what I mean? It’s tricky!
So, if you are going to use commercial pet food, take time to study the ingredients list – don’t assume because it’s a big named brand that it’s going to be beneficial for your dog. On closer inspection, you may even find those brands you have trusted for years, are the worst culprits. Do your own research and don’t be blinded like I was, for years.
I’m a believer in feeding your dog a natural, raw food diet which is high in good sources of protein for dogs, and if you’re interested in moving your dog over to this then check out A Complete Guide To Putting Your Dog On A Raw Diet.
Whatever you do, or whatever you feed your dog, be sure you are doing it with conscious intent…