This begins a series of ingredient explanations to clear up the often questionable and debatable ingredient issue regarding your pet’s diet. Ok, so you are probably thinking, “What makes you the food science messiah, and why should I trust your knowledge and opinion?” The short answer is simple-you don’t have to. As 21st century dwellers, we have the internet for those inclined to research and seek out the info they desire. Although, as most of us realize, there are as many opinions as there are subjects on the matter and this is referred to as “the great debate” in the pet food industry. However, there are cold, hard, facts that cannot defy scientific logic, and that is where I come in. No mass marketing hype or big corporation fiscal interest here, just the basic facts explained to help pet parents make the best decisions for the well-being of their fur babies. We, at gabbi’s LOVE what we do and LOVE helping pet parents make the best decisions for their fur babies, especially in regards to health and wellness.
Pet parents are becoming increasingly aware of the pet products that are available to them. Recalls and fatalities have not nor should not been taken lightly, so many pet owners are looking for the best quality, affordable pet products for their pets. There is a plethora of options in pet care, whether its food, treats, toys, grooming needs, supplements, etc. For our purposes today, we’ll focus solely on the ingredients in your pet’s bag or can of food.
First and foremost, what are the benefits of feeding an all-natural, holistic diet? There are many;
-These diets contain high quality proteins like chicken, beef and fish that are the #1 ingredient essential for healthy coat, skin, muscle growth, and daily energy.
-These diets contain high quality vitamins, minerals and nutrients which are highly digestible and absorb better for overall pet health.
-These diets contain premium ingredients which help to avoid or control pet issues like food allergies, sensitive stomach or G.I. tract, obesity, oral health, and hip/joint issues to name just a few.
-These diets are a better value due to higher digestibility and absorption, which means you will feed less and clean up less pet waste-a win-win all around.
-These diets are devoid of dangerous ingredients, by-products, additives, or preservatives that are common in lesser quality pet foods. Ingredients that not only contain little nutritional value, they are, in fact, harmful to your pet.
-These diets have varieties that are targeted for any size, weight, breed or age of all pets. They are also well balanced and scientifically created to fit a wide variety of pets as well.
-These diets are well trusted because they come from family owned manufacturers specific to the pet industry who only have your pet’s best interests in mind, unlike huge corporations whose priority is primarily fiscal.
-At gabbi’s, our manufacturing partners provide us with food samples, which takes the hassle out of costly trial and error purchases to satisfy your pet’s palette. We are happy to work with pet parents to find a flavor their pet loves.
-Most manufacturers of high quality foods support a frequent buyer’s program for their loyal customers. They stand behind their products 100% and reward their customers for their loyalty.
-Most importantly, these diets provide your pet with an improved lifestyle, which helps increase your pet’s lifespan. Our pets increase our quality of life, so they deserve the best quality diet we can afford to feed them!
Foods with grain or without? Dry kibble or canned? Frozen, raw or air dried? Chicken, bison, fish, kangaroo, beef, duck, turkey…what the heck? Lions, tigers and bears, Oh my! Bear with me and keep reading….
Let’s first focus on the ingredient list for any pet diet. This list is required by AFFCO-The Association of American Feed Control Officials. Who are they? They are a body of members whose primary focus is safeguarding the health of humans and animals, ensuring consumer protection, and providing a level playing field for the animal feed industry. They have defined specific policies for the manufacturing, labeling, and sale of animal feeds through strict enforcement, resulting in safe, effective and useful feeds for our pets. Flip your pet’s bag of food over and look for the AFFCO statement. Ok, so the “ingredient deck” as we call it, contains all the ingredients in that AFFCO approved food. It starts with the largest quantity first and decreases, so generally, the first 3-5 ingredients make up the majority of the food’s nutritional value. Ingredients listed behind that make up a smaller percentage of content and in some cases, are merely fillers-more on this later. The main ingredients are followed up with the vitamins and minerals in the food, and all complete diets contain this package. Now here’s where it gets tricky, because some manufacturers use various descriptions designed to mask low quality ingredients with deceptive wording. Dastardly. Let’s compare the two ingredient decks below and we’ll examine each in detail.
Ground whole grain corn, meat and bone meal (source of calcium), corn gluten meal, animal fat (source of omega 6 [preserved with bha & citric acid]), soybean meal, natural flavor (source of meatier flavor), chicken by-product meal, dried plain beet pulp, ground whole grain wheat, salt, brewers rice, potassium chloride, dried peas, vitamin e supplement, zinc sulfate, choline chloride, niacin [vitamin b3], biotin, dried carrots, bha & citric acid (a preservative), blue 2, yellow 5, yellow 6, d-calcium pantothenate [source of vitamin b5], riboflavin supplement [vitamin b2], red 40, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin b6], copper sulfate, potassium iodide, vitamin a supplement, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin b1], vitamin d3 supplement, vitamin b12 supplement.
Chicken Meal, Red Lentils, Chickpeas, Green Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Natural Mixed Tocopherols), Duck Meal, Carrots, Celery, Beets, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach, Canola Oil, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flax Seed, Menhaden Fish Oil, Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate, Kelp Meal, New Zealand Green Mussel, Cranberries, Blueberries, Salt, Potassium Chloride, D/L Methionine, Choline Chloride, Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product Dehydrated, L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Vitamin E Supplement, Glucosamine, Ascorbic Acid, Biotin, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Citric Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate
Ingredient deck A is a lower quality dry dog kibble and deck B is a high quality dry dog kibble. With the names of vitamins and minerals the exception, if you can’t pronounce it, it need not be in there. I’ve highlighted the first five ingredients in each deck so we can examine the nutritional value of each and its role in the kibble.
And that’s exactly what we’ll do next in PART 2….stay tuned!