Searching for Healthy Dog Food
If you ever want to be stared at like you're a crazy person go into a big box pet store and walk up and down the isles taking pictures of the ingredients in their dog foods. As in home pet care providers we think it is important to be well informed as to what is happening in our industry, so we are members of several pet sitter Facebook groups. On one of these someone recently shared an article on why raw diets aren't good for your pet. The problem was the article was completely misleading. The study they quoted found that 23% of commercially available raw food products contained bacteria or pathogens lethal to dogs. The study said absolutely nothing about raw diets as a whole and was far more a condemnation of the pet food industry than any particular diet. The above food is the best dry kibble I could find at the pet store and the one I would choose to feed my dogs on my budget if I were going to buy a food from a big box pet store.
From what I could find online the percent of protein you're aiming for in your dogs diet is around 30%. Also from my research online there is no consensus on if dogs should eat grains. Dogs are omnivores so their digestive systems can break down grains but there is a big difference between can and should. The article linked above states that carbohydrates like grains provide dogs quick energy much like they do for humans but that dogs need the amino acids found in meat. I'm not going to get any further into ideal dog nutrition as that is a much larger debate. My problem with the raw diet article I came across and a lot of the grain free brands I went to scope out today is that they are lying to you. They use words like origin and wilderness and wild to make you think you're feeding your dog an ancestral diet but then the ingredient list looks like this.
The second ingredient which is the second most common ingredient in the food is tapioca starch which is nothing but a starch and contains no nutritional value followed by potatoes which again is just a starch. My problem isn't so much with the ingredients it is that this dog food is presented as a healthy alternative but has as much filler as a grain based dog food. If they are going to talk about being a more natural and nutritious brand then perhaps that is what they should be. Otherwise they should be honest and inform you that they don't care about your dog or their nutrition at all and are stuffing their foods full of grain free fillers in order to stamp buzzwords on the front of the package and trick you out of your money.
I was also a little concerned about the inclusion of Conola oil so I Googled if it was healthy for dogs and I found a 50/50 split. I can tell you two things. Our dog's ancestors weren't processing rape seeds into oils and if you Google, "Is meat good for dogs," you don't get a 50/50 split.
As in home pet care providers it isn't our job to promote any one diet or method of feedings. My point is that we should be careful who we listen to and if you are dishonest in your advertising people are going to find out. Look at the above "grain free" ingredient list and compare it to these two high end grain based food that are generally considered to be the best of the best and sold in most vet offices.
Those two above dog foods contain hardly any meat and have more in common with Captain Crunch than dog food. We are the stewards of our pet's health and it is shocking just how much we are lied to by the pet food industry. Whether you want to feed your dog raw or kibble or wet food the important thing is to do your research and reach an informed conclusion on what is best for your dog, because the pet food industry clearly doesn't have their best interest in mind.