I am going to finish this discussion by talking about Pet Food Industry secrets.
1.Co-Packing – Many dog owners have standardized on a large pet food company thinking that that company is responsible for the ingredients and the packing process. In fact one company can make the food and another packs it and places their label on the package. In 2003 Iams signed a 10 year contact with Menu for 100% production of its canned foods. When Doane’s and Diamond were recalled we learned that dozens of private labels were involved. It all comes back to closely reading the ingredient list. The packer may be packing foods for many companies but the ingredient list may vary widely.
2.Marketing – To make every dog feel special you will see a wide range of foods especially made for every breed and for any problem your dog might have. Everyone wants to feel special and a product with a specific target will sell better than a general product. In fact there are only two standards, adult and growth. Everything else is some marketing persons way of getting you to spend more money.
3.Natural/Organic – The natural definition adopted by AAFCO actually allows for artificially processed ingredients that most people believe makes the food unnatural. The term organic as defined by the USDA requires that the growing area must be free of synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and defoliants for three growing seasons. Pick organic over natural.
4.Meat is the first ingredient claim – A claim that meat (chicken, lamb, beef) is the #1 ingredient by weight is seen in a lot for dry food. We need to remember that chicken contains a lot of water. The product may really be mostly corn gluten meal, soybean meal, or some other high protein meal. This is essentially a powder and weighs very little. It could be most of the food even though chicken weighs the most when you include the water in the chicken.
5.What can you do? You have two choices. The first is to stop buying commercial pet food. Purchase a book and make your own. Only then will you know what goes into the food. Secondly if you do not have the time to make your own then you need to learn how to read a pet food label. Just stop in at the store in Medina and we’ll be glad to give you some tips.
At One Lucky Dog Bakery we do not play games with labels. We bake right in front of you and invite you into the kitchen to check what ingredients are in our gourmet dog biscuits. With us, “It’s all about the Dogs”, and we want dog treat time to be special and healthy.