Partial Ingredient List of Two Typical Brands
I will begin by listing the first two lines of ingredients of two typical best dry dog foods. We will refer back to these lists throughout the article:
- Brand 1-Whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn gluten meal, meat and bone meal, brewers rice, soybean meal, barley, whole grain wheat, animal digest…
- Brand 2-Deboned Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal (natural source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Chicken Meal, Potato Starch, Peas, Chicken Fat, Potatoes…Blueberries, Cranberries…
Principles for choosing what dog food is best
Rule #1 – Look for a named animal as the first ingredient (chicken, fish, duck, lamb, etc.).
Comparing the above two labels we see that one has whole grain corn as the first ingredient while the other has two named animals (salmon, menhaden) as the first ingredients.
Rule #2 – Look for named animal sources of meat (i.e. a specific animal species) and not generic animal sources.
You can see that the first brand has quite a few generic animal ingredients (poultry, animal, meat, etc.) These are highly processed meat sources from the discards of slaughterhouses, which are not fit for human consumption. The second brand lists specific animal sources (salmon, chicken, etc.)
Rule #3 – Avoid chicken / poultry by-products.
Again, comparing the above labels, we see the first brand contains poultry by-products. Not only is it not a named meat source (Rule #2), but “by-product” means it is the ground, rendered remains of slaughtered poultry including necks, intestines, feet, beaks, etc.)
Rule #4 – Avoid artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
The rendering process for commercial dog food makes it nearly unpalatable to dogs. Thus, colors and flavors are added to improve the tastes. Preservatives are added to increase the food’s shelf life.