When you are trying to find the best dog food and compare dog food, always keep in mind the importance of reading the dog nutrition standards according to AAFCO and understanding the dog food labelling. You want to choose the best dog food, or best pet food, you can when picking from the various commercial choices out there. Remember that AAFCO can approve products with both high and low quality ingredients, so it is up to you to understand how to decipher all the information.
Since early in 2007, it has been widely reported that many of the dog foods have problems. Not the best dog foods, but the foods with lower quality ingredients. In fact, you probably remember all the pets lost during this time due to poor dog food quality.
Before it was all over, over 39,000 pet dogs and pet cats became extremely sick or died. The cause was the contamination of commercial pet foods with melamine, an industrial chemical. This chemical is used in the manufacturing of plastics and fertilizers. Before it was all over, over 100 brands of pet food were recalled. It seemed that every dog food comparison resulted in disappointing findings.
What you are probably not aware of, is that the major contributor to this problem was rice protein concentrate (or in other words, rice gluten), NOT brown rice. By the way, a little later in that year, in June, acetaminophen (Tylenol) was found in dog food. And then, salmonella was found. Again, not in all the best dog foods, but in many brands.
Cyanuric acid was also found along with the melamine. And these two chemicals can be deadly when together in enough amounts. In March 2007, these were found in both dog and cat food. If you have never heard of cyanuric acid, it is often used to inhibit the dissipation of chlorine in water such as spas and swimming pools. Obviously, this has no place whatsoever in any recommended dog food.
Now, is was thought back then that, as well as now, that those chemicals were present because by having them in the food allowed the nitrogen content to reported as higher than it otherwise would have been. This was sneaky and unethical. What was really dangerous for our dogs is that the melamine contaminated the rice gluten, yet was listed simply as “filler”. It was not reported anymore specifically than that.
In contrast with the best dog food and best puppy food, lower quality dog food will use as much filler as possible, since this keeps the costs down and the product can be sold inexpensively yet at a profit. By loading up their products, including dry dog food, with bulk, manufacturers can keep their costs down, but our pets pay the price as there is very little nutritional value to these bulk ingredients.
A list of these mostly non-nutritional fillers include:
- Cereal by-products
- Cottonseed hulls
- Citrus pulp
- Peanut hulls
- Corn and corncobs
In the best dog food, quality fiber is used rather than filler. Fillers can cause problems for our dog’s intestinal track. We all need to be aware that as dog food prices continue to rise, manufacturers will continue to increase the use of these fillers to keep their costs down. Hopefully, this wouldn’t apply to the best dog foods, but we need to maintain our vigilance to protect our dogs.
There are also fillers that on the surface seem to have nutritional value, but are really no better than the earlier fillers listed. Items such as meat meals, if they are not of sufficiently good enough quality, are an example. And, with all the plant based materials being used as fillers, our dog foods carry the risks of having herbicide and pesticide contamination. In fact, items that are derived from soy are often cited allergens by veterinarians. Just like in humans, allergic reactions can include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, hives, diarrhea, facial swelling, shortness of breath, swollen tongue, difficulty swallowing, fainting, and anaphylactic shock.
Luckily, the best dog foods and higher quality dog foods are usually free of such by-products. The best dog foods will contain a health combination of nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.