Years went by before much focus was placed on the best (and worst) food for pets. This was about the same time the door of competition for commercial pet food opened. Suddenly, we’re advised of the dangers of feeding table, or ‘people’ food to pets. This of course, would increase sales for commercial brands of pet food. Not that I disagree, as most people food these days isn’t healthy nourishment for humans. But in taking a look at commercial pet food, it’s angering to see how ‘healthy’ some of the most expensive brands portray to be. In reality, it’s simply false advertising.
For example, several professional chefs now have their own brand of pet food that’s supposed to be considerably ‘hands above’ other brands in regards to nutrition and content. However, some of the primary ingredients include: soybean meal, preserved animal fat, poultry by-products, meat by-products, animal digest (guts), artificial flavorings and colorings, and a host of other ingredients that can’t be identified or pronounced. Marketing these formulas as ‘healthy’ is wrong but somehow the human mind tells you the more you pay for something, the better it is. Although once true, today it’s just another faux pas.
Very few of the expensive commercial pet food brands are quality food for pets. There are a few however that does make the grade. According to ConsumerSearch.com, some of the best rated dog food brands include: Orijen, Natural Balance, Newman’s Own Organic (canned), and Canidae. Several top brands were included in Consumer Search’s “Runner’s Up”: Blue Wilderness, Innova EVO, Solid Gold Barking at the Moon, Wellness, Taste of the Wild, Evangers, Artemis, and Wysong.
Consumer Search’s dog food evaluation is based on contents and dog food void of dyes, preservatives, chemicals, color and flavor enhancers, fillers, by-products and common allergens receive highest marks.
One of the most helpful sites that analyses dog foods is DogFoodAnalysis.com, which provides a more comprehensive list of the highest (and lowest) quality dog foods. In addition to those listed by ConsumerSearch.com, DogFoodAnalysis.com adds Blue Wilderness, Go Natural, Instinct, and Earthborn Holistic to their list of highest ranking dog foods. Check DogFoodAnalysis.com to see if the brand you feed makes the grade.
In addition to dog food contents as listed on product labels, it’s important to learn how ingredients are listed. Due to dog food manufacturers listing ingredients by weight, the contents become easily misleading. Although meat may be listed first, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the percentage of protein provided comes from the meat, it could be a derivative from a lighter ingredient, way down the list.
Since human food is a less viable option for those wanting to feed wholesome nutritious food due to additives, preservatives, and the genetically modifying efforts of super scientists striving to make better, stronger, resistant products, another option that is becoming ever more popular is homemade and raw pet food. This way you know exactly what’s going into the food you feed your pet.
Apparently, enough consumers have turned from commercial brands to feeding homemade or raw pet food, that commercial sources for ‘homemade’ and raw pet foods are slowly becoming available. While commercially prepared ‘organic’, or ‘raw’ pet food taunts ‘healthy’ ingredients, it’s still necessary to read labels and monitor contents. For peace of mind, go with a brand that carries the USDA Certified Organic seal on it, indicating quality ingredients.
The downside to feeding homemade and raw pet food is the obvious risk of bacterial contamination, which has always been a concern for both humans and pets for as long as bacterial pathogens have been in existence. The best way to prevent against bacterial contamination is through portion control, monitoring of expiration dates and properly unthawing and handling of raw meat.
According to Nancy Kerns, “Whole Dog Journal” writer, raw meats and foods are not recommended for pets with an immune system that is compromised by other issues or disorders.
Sources: “Whole Dog Journal,” Cold Raw Facts; ConsumerSearch.com, DogFoodAnalysis.com