Note: the purpose of this article is to show the inconveniences of choosing a bad processed food brand for your dog. At no moment should it be deduced that we are against all dry foods for dogs and other animals, with the exception of obvious cases of low quality brands.
Choosing the best food for your pet is no easy task. Marketing campaigns by large companies do not allow owners to have real information about the pros and cons of different kinds of dog food. Your responsibility as an owner is to learn to evaluate their quality to make sure you´re giving the best for their health, as well as checking which products have been withdrawn by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make sure your dog isn´t eating them.
Your dog is a carnivore and needs a meat diet. Dry food is made from ingredients such as processed subproducts-flour (feathers, beaks) and meat and bone flour (including remains of animals unfit for human consumption). Meat is of good quality when it´s fit for human consumption. This implies higher costs in the manufacture of feeds and many companies are not willing to sacrifice economic gains for quality, replacing it with raw waste parts of cattle, pigs and poultry (such as liver, udder, kidneys, lungs, feathers and hooves), and even animals that have health problems or have died on farms. For this reason it´s important that you learn to read the labels of dog dry food, knowing the meaning of ingredients and which ones are natural and which ones are processed. This article from Ehow.com gives good information on the subject.
Is processed food unhealthy for my dog?
A dog´s body is designed to eat food with a moisture content of approximately 70%, which is the percentage found in fresh food; but moisture in dry food or feed is 8%, which is why dogs fed with this kind of food feel the need to drink water continuously.
Manufacturers use chemical additives (such as preservatives, aromatic spices and flavorings) to ensure preservation (12-18 months) and to standardize and improve the appearance features. Additives provide no nutritional value and most of them are a danger to your pet´s health.
Additives used in some dry foods
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT). The World Health Organization suspects that these may cause cancer.
- Propylene glycol and ethoxyquin. Propylene glycol is used to keep food soft and semi-wet, but is banned in cat food for producing anemia. Ethoxyquin (E-324) is used for preserving food for dogs and cats, preventing rancidity (the process by which a food with high fat or oil content changes with time acquiring an unpleasant taste). Continuous use causes thyroid and kidney problems and cancer. It is also used as a pesticide in some fruits.
- Candy E-150. Used to give brown color to foods. It´s related to gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea and soft stools.
- Flours of grains and vegetables (such as corn gluten, soy or linseed) are used to keep production costs low. None of these products are easily digestible for your dog and are considered as fillers. In addition, corn is a major cause of allergy in dogs.
- Sugar is used in high doses as a preservative. This is related to diabetes, obesity, allergy and arthritis.
- Salt and sodium chloride, when used in excess, may cause thirst, irritation of the stomach´s membrane, fluid retention and increased arterial pressure.
This is why it´s important that you have knowledge of the bad ingredients in dog´s dry food, so that you can evaluate better which is the most appropriate brand for your dog.