As pet owners, we love our furry friends and only want what is best for them….to help them live long, healthy and happy lives. A large part of health and wellness for pups is the food we choose to feed our dogs. However one shocking statistic found that over 70 percent of dog owners do not know what is in their dogs food.
Who is Making Your Dog’s Food?
Did you know Mars and Nestle (the same companies that makes the chocolate bars) have created over 41 brands of dog food in total including some of the most popular pet food brands on the market? They have even created some of the common “veterinary prescription diets” you see in your vets office!
What’s In Your Dogs Food?
Did you know that the pet food industry in Canada is unregulated? This means that dog food not only undergoes harmful processing that kill the natural ingredients, but many well known pet food brands contain harmful additives and preservatives that are shortening the lifespan and lowering the quality of life for our dogs.
For example, according to Rover.com, there are no regulations in place that prevent pet food companies for using products that come from “rendering facilities”. These facilities are where dead animals are broken down to use in other products. These might include road kill, zoo animals or spoiled meat from the grocery store. Would you eat these ingredients yourself? I know I wouldn’t, and knowing this, wont feed it to my dog.
Take a look at the back of your pet food label.. Ideally you should see a protein listed as the first ingredient. However, avoid buying food that list any animal by-products. Animal by-products are what is left of an animal after parts meants for human consumption are removed. When you are looking at your pet food label, is there a long list of ingredients? Does it include several ingredients that you can’t name or pronounce? This is a definite red flag as the food likely contains fillers or other harmful additives For example, some pet food companies even include artificial flavouring to make their food more palatable for dogs to eat!
In Canada, it is a legal requirement for companies to list ingredients on the back of the label in order of their weight. Avoid foods that contain starch or grain as one of their primary ingredients as these can be considered “fillers” or ingredients lacking in nutritional value for your dogs. However, it is important to be aware of a common sneaky practice known as “ingredient splitting”. As Rodney Habib outlines, 47 percent of dog owners look for “meat as the number one ingredient on their pets food. However, ingredient splitting involves splitting an ingredient (generally a lower quality ingredient) into smaller portions such peas and pea flour. By doing this, pet food companies are able to place “meat” higher on their ingredient list deceiving their customers on the actual amount of meat that is in their dogs food in the process! Additionally, pet food labels list ingredients BEFORE the cooking process. Kibble goes through a process called extrusion, which heats the ingredients at such a high temperature they lose most (if not all) of their nutritional benefits.
This leads to my next question-does your dog food contain a long list of synthetic vitamins and ingredients that you dont know what they are? This is generally because the food has undergone processing which has killed the nutrients in the food so pet food companies need to supplement with different vitamins and minerals to meet the nutritional needs of dogs. However, these synthetic ingredients are generally not bioavailable to your pup rendering them essentially useless.
What Should I Feed My Dog?
Now that you know some of the secrets of the dog food industry, what SHOULD you feed your dog? Just like us, dogs need minimally processed whole foods. That means whole proteins (some great ones are turkey, salmon, beef and chicken) organ meat, natural calcium sources such as bone meal or ground eggshell, fresh fruits and vegetables and natural supplements such as kelp power
The benefits of whole foods on dogs are being studied and the results are nothing short of amazing. One study conducted on Scottish Terriers found that just adding green leafy vegetables to dogs kibble reduced their risk of bladder cancer by 90 percent!
We dont eat the same thing every day. There is a reason for this....not only is it impossible to get ALL the nutrients you need in one meal but you would also likely suffer from food boredom. Well, the same is true for your furry friend!
For maximum nutritional benefits for your dog, switch up their food by varying the protein sources and fresh fruits and vegetables to give them a variety of macro and micronutrients in their diet!
At Puppy Gang Fresh Foods, we have four gently cooked dog food recipes that have been formulated with a holistic veterinarian to provide your pup with the balance of nutrients they need in their diet. We take great care in selecting high quality ingredients and steam our food to the minimum possible temperature to kill the bacteria and preserve the nutrients. All our meals are prepared at a human grade commercial kitchen and all our ingredients are those you could eat yourself! We take the guesswork out of feeding your dogs healthy, real food by providing you with fresh, whole foods to feed your dog, delivered straight to your door