Our last dog food post got a lot of positive feedback, so here is another from our website:
Dog food is a very important aspect in owning a dog. We understand that many pet owners may not even realize that what they are currently feeding is not in the best interest of their pet. We also recognize that most individuals do not have the time to fully educate themselves, so we have done the research for you!
We have researched for years, had various discussions with animal nutritionists and animal behaviorists, and reviewed many reputable books and online sources in order to fully educate ourselves as to the ingredients to avoid and the ones to look for when considering what to feed our dogs. We thought it might be helpful to share our findings so that you can benefit as well.
What to avoid:
Dog Food brands available in the grocery store or mass retailers are generally based on cheap byproducts of the human food industry, with artificial colorings and flavorings, and contain ingredients our pets were never meant to eat.
Many of the ingredients in even highly advertised "brand-name" dog foods are nothing but "floor sweepings" and the "tail of the ill" from grain processing plants, rendered remains of animals and roadkill and recycled restaurant grease from rendering facilities, all cleverly disguised in non-descriptive phrases like "meat meal", "cereal food fines", "meat andbone meal" or "animal fat".
Menadione in any form (also listed as vitamin K3 or vitamin K supplement)
Most sulfate and oxide based mineral supplements (zinc oxide, iron oxide)
Preservatives: BHA (Butylated Hydroxysanisole), BHT (Butylated Hudroxytoluene), Tethoxyquin, Sodium Metabisulphite
Sweeteners: Cane molasses, corn syrup in any form, sugar, sorbitol, sucrose, fructose, glucose, ammoniated gylcyrrhizin, propylene glycol
Dyes: Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, other numbered dyes
Protein: All generic meat ingredients that do not indicate a species (meat, meat byproducts, meat byproduct meal, meat meal, meat and bone meal, blood meal, fish, fish meal, poultry, poultry byproducts, poultry meal. poultry byproduct meal, liver, liver meal, glandular meal etc). Byproduct meals, even if a species is identified (chicken/beef/turkey/lamb byproduct meal etc), since highly questionable ingredients may be used in these rendered products.
Any food that contains corn (ground or otherwise) as a first ingredient, especially if corn gluten meal is also a main ingredient and no concentrated source of identified meat protein (chicken meal, lamb meal etc) is present.
Fats and Oils: Non-specific sources such as animal fat, poultry fat, vegetable oil, generic fish oil, mineral oil.
Carbohydrates: Fragments like potato product, middlings/mids or mill run of any kind. Unspecified grain sources like cereal food fines, distiller's gran fermentation solubles.
Fiber: Corn bran, peanut hulls, rice hulls, soybean hulls, oat hulls.
Fruits and Vegetables: Apple pomace, grape pomace, citrus pulp
Flavorings: Any highly rendered products (digests of any kind), ingredients of unknown origin (meat broth), glandular meal, artificial
favoring. Onion of any form is toxic to dogs!
What to look for:
Dog Food brands available in specialty pet stores and feed stores generally offer all natural, super premium, human grade ingredients that are easily digestible, provide greater nutritional value, and are overall much better for the health and well-being of our pets.
Chelated or sequestered minerals (also labeled as chelates, proteinates, amino acid chelates or complexes, polysaccharide complexes)
Carbohydrates: Whole ground grains such as rice, oats, barley, millet, etc, potatoes, sweet potatoes. Corn often gets an undeserved bad reputation and while it is not acceptable as a main source of protein, as a carbohydrate it is no better and no worse than other grains.
Fiber: Depending on the inclusion of ingredients that are naturally high in fiber (ex brown rice, oats, certain fruits or vegetables), a food may or may not include specific, isolated types of fiber. Beet Pulp is another ingredient that has an undeserved bad reputation and is a gentle, beneficial source of fiber that is well tolerated and suitable as a source of nutrition for the beneficial bacteria that reside in the intestinal tract.
Fruits and Vegetables: Unprocessed, fresh items are preferable to already processed ones, and organic is always the best choice.
These websites will help educate you so that you can make the right choices for your "best friend":