Ideally you want choose a dog food that is going to be beneficial to your pet.
There are certain ingredients found in common dog foods that are not suited to the canine digestive system. These include; corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat, corn syrup, propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, BHA and BHT .
Of course there are lots more, but these typically occur in the pellets that we lovingly pour into our dogs bowl.
Let us unpack some of these common ingredients.
There is much controversy regarding corn in dog food. It is mainly used as a bulk up agent to fatten up your dog. Dog food that contains corn is less expensive as it dilutes the costly meat ingredients. As a whole grain, corn is not easily digestible unless the kernel is first made into a flour and then cooked. Thus corn (and other grains) are only digestible to the extent to which they are processed. For this reason corn should not be present in dog food. More reading here.
Beef and bone meal
This is another ingredient to avoid. It is a by- product made from beef parts which are not suitable for human consumption. This is an inexpensive, low quality ingredient used to boost the protein percentage.
It turns out that good old fashioned soy meal is not so good after all. More details.
Once again, a grain. Though often deemed OK by kibble (pellet) producers, wheat is in the top 5 list of ingredients that are responsible for allergic reactions in dogs. More details.
Corn Syrup is used to help sweeten your dog’s palate. Too much sugar over time can lead to weight gain, diabetes and hyperactivity.
Though on the “safe to use” list by the FDA and WHO, it has definite ties with eczema and skin issues in dogs, even when the low-potency pharmaceutical grade is used. See this article for more information:
Salt is even less healthy for dogs than it is for humans. Too much of it can lead to an imbalance in electrolyte levels, dehydration and potentially diarrhea.
Dogs naturally produce hydrochloric acid in their stomachs. This helps with their digestion. An excess can lead to condition such as digestive issues, depression, confusion and fever.
This is generally added because of the nutrient loss during the pellet manufacturing process. A good raw diet will supply all the potassium your dog requires without the use of an artificial, chemically derived equivalent.
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
These synthetic versions of Vitamin E are two of the most common artificial preservatives. The World Health Organization has identified BHA as a possible carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent, in animals.
Vitamins and Supplements
Like many humans who consume a cocktail of vitamins everyday, many pellet manufacturers and even raw food suppliers add vitamins and supplements to their particular mix of dog food. However, If your dogs are eating a healthy and balanced diet, these are unnecessary. Vitamins and Supplements do have their place, for instance if your dog has a medical or health issue.
What food your dog should be eating
So now that we know what’s bad for them, how do we go about finding something that is good?
A raw, natural and balanced diet containing fresh ingredients with all the right proportions of meat, bone, organs, fat, fruit and vegetables (the right ones), herbs, apple cider vinegar and kefir is perfect!
It is available at Natural Pet and comes in easy-to-serve portions that only need defrosting.