Coloring in Dog Food – Unnecessary Evils
This week, we will discuss one of our ‘pet peeves’ with the commercial dog food industry – food coloring in dog food. For what it’s worth, we don’t understand or advocate food coloring in human food either but we will keep this focused on dog food.
Why is there coloring in dog food?
For humans, color and plating can make a dish look more (or less) appealing. The “presentation” is one of the great things about a fine dining experience. This doesn’t mean that the food needs coloring, rather, that a plate full of vibrant colors and an attractive arrangement make a difference.
Now let’s consider this from the dog’s perspective. Do you think that they care what color their food is? Of course not. Food is food. Their decision on how much or whether they like it is driven by smell and taste alone. Dogs are partially color blind anyway, so the bottom line is that color doesn’t matter to them. Check out the pictures just above and below. The one above is full of color while the one below is brown. Guess what SlimDoggy Jack thinks when he sees either one of these? “Yum, food!”.
So why is there added coloring in dog food? This is really the key question, isn’t it? The reason why color is added to dog food is simply to make the dog food more appealing to the HUMAN! Yes, you heard that right; it is to make YOU think the food is ‘good’ and has nothing to do with the dog at all.
Colors are not created equal
The color of your dog’s food should reflect the ingredients that are used in the recipe, not by means of artificial dyes and other chemical additives that are nutritionally void at best and impose health risks at worst. The color of the dog food should come from natural ingredients like high quality proteins, fruits and vegetables. Further, as long as the recipe contains quality ingredients, it doesn’t matter what the resulting color is. Trust me on this, your dog won’t care.
Yet, there still are many dog foods with artificial color added. Some of the typical ones are listed below:
- Color (or coloring) – who knows what this is?
- Blue #2
- Red #40
- Yellow #5
- Yellow #6
If you see these in the ingredients of your dog food, you should reexamine your choice in foods and see if there isn’t a higher quality choice available to that does not contain these types of additives.
Of course we wondered how many of the commercially available foods and treats actually contain one of these artificial colorings. We will report on our findings next week. Any guesses? What percentage of foods and treats do you think contain one or more of those artificial colorings? Answer in our comments section below. Special SlimDoggy food scoop to the closest guess!