We all know the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Nothing could be truer in deciding on the foods we feed our pets. We must turn the bag over and read the ingredient panel. Just like when we are shopping for our children, or ourselves, it is important to read the labels on the food we buy, the same is true for our pets. It is never safe to assume that because the packaging shows big pieces of meat on the bag, that there is real meat of that quality in the food.
Our foods contain real meat like chicken, lamb, beef, salmon, duck, and bison. They also contain whole grains like barley and oatmeal, and they have real vegetables. Now, just as importantly, let’s talk about what they do not contain. They do not contain corn, wheat, soybean, whole grain sorghum, (these sound like cow feed to me). Our foods do not have any by-products, meat and bone meal, sugar, sorbital, or artificial colors. They also do not contain any chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin.
Unfortunately, most commercial brand pet foods contain some if not all of the ingredients on the second list. Many of these ingredients are known allergens to our pets and can cause many different reactions. Some of the more common reactions are:
- Licking and biting of legs and paws
- Red and inflamed skin
- Excessive shedding
- Dry skin
- Occasional vomiting
- Sores that won’t heal
- Behavior problems
Pet foods have a rating system that was developed to give some insight into the foods quality. All foods, regardless of cost, start with a score of 100. Points are then added or subtracted based on what is in or not in the ingredient panel. Based on the score they are then given a letter grade just like the kids get at school. Many commercial brands such as Purnina, Pedigree, Science Diet, Ekanuba and Iams have scores ranging from 17-74 points and letter grades of D or F. Brands such as Diamond Naturals, Nutri Source, Professional, and Taste of the Wild have ratings of 89 to 112 points and letter grades of A or B.
It is apparent from these scores that the commercial brand dog foods do not rate so well. Understandably this is hard to believe because we trust that the advertising portrays truth and they are names that we have always trusted. Unfortunately it is not always true.
The number one thing we can do for our pets is to read the label. You are the only one who can keep your pet healthy, happy, and problem free. Your pet depends on you completely for his health and well-being. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call us at 715-421-4112.