The world is confusing in dog food land. Marketing magic rules the day, manufacturers tend to favor the bottom line over reliable pet health, and government regulation…actually, there isn’t much government regulation in the $15 billion dog food industry. This allows pretty much a free-for-all in terms of what ingredients manufacturers pack into their products. People tend to trust that the pet food industry has our pets’ best interests – and health – at heart, but this is often not the case at all. According to pet food consumer rights groups and informed veterinarians, the main culprit is corn.
“Complete and Balanced” does not necessarily mean complete and balanced. Dogs are essentially carnivores — descendents of wolves — and while they can and will eat vegetables (and an abundance of other fare they shouldn’t eat, as they don’t inherently “know” what is bad for them) the character of their teeth structure and the understanding of their heritage points to meat as their Number One dietary requirement. Therefore, meat is essential as the primary ingredient in dog food, and more often than not, it is corn, as in corn gluten meal, ground yellow corn, corn syrup, as well as other grains such as wheat. Veterinarians note that the shiniest of coats, the lack of hot spots and itchy skin, and the absence of digestive tract ailments were indicative of dogs with high-meat-content diets. Diets rich in animal proteins do not cause kidney damage in healthy dogs and cats as once believed; they thrive on those animal proteins in every positive way.
One regulatory requirement of dog food (and cat food), is that the ingredients on the packaging must be listed in order of weight. If corn is listed first, you will know it is the most predominant component. When meat is listed first — chicken, lamb, or beef — then you know you have a winner.
Check those ingredient listings. Nutritional awareness is the best tactic for ensuring the health and vitality of our furry loved ones.