What is in Dog Food? Reading Beyond the Name
We often stress the importance of reading the details on a dog food label. It is really the only way to evaluate if the food is a good fit for your dog. Yet, many people simply look at the Brand and recipe name (along with the packaging) when making their pet’s food decisions.
This had me wondering if the recipe name alone would be a good indication of the proteins in the food. In order to conduct this analysis, I chose chicken, which is by far the most popular protein used in dog food. Using the SlimDoggy food database of over 2,000 dog foods, I searched both the dog food names and the full ingredient lists for the word chicken. The results are pretty astounding and prove my point. (This analysis was done on foods only and did not include treats. However, the results are similar if treats are included.)
What is in Dog Food? Chicken?
The first step was to find out how many foods contained the word chicken in their name. The answer was, a lot. A total of 24% of foods (or more than 520 foods) used the word chicken in their name. Next, I searched the ingredient lists to find out how many foods actually contained chicken. Care to take a guess at what percentage of foods actually had chicken in their ingredients? I will give you a hint. It is more than 24%.
As shown in the graph, a whopping 68.8% of the dog foods we searched contained chicken as one of their ingredients, even though only 24% of these foods used chicken in their name. Translating to actual numbers, almost 1,000 of the foods in our database contained chicken even though their name did not!
The Importance of Knowing What is in your Dog Food
There are several key benefits to pet owners who read beyond the dog food name and dig into the ingredients of their pet’s food. Besides being able to check for artificial ingredients like colorings and preservatives, reading the ingredients can help your pet avoid the onset of food allergies.
The old wives tale of serving your pet the same food for their entire life is exactly that, an old wives tale. Feeding the same food, and the same proteins for long periods of time can lead to food allergies or allergic symptoms as the dog’s body effectively overdoses on the protein. It can also lead to deficiencies in key nutrients depending on the specific foods you use. The healthier strategy is to use a rotational diet which means that you should rotate the proteins and foods that you serve your pet. This can only be accomplished if you know exactly what is in the food, not by using the dog food name as a guide.
Food allergies can often manifest themselves in the form of itchy skin and rashes and often are not diagnosed as the cause of the skin condition. Our rescue dog SlimDoggy Jack, developed sensitivity to chicken, no doubt because he was probably fed it his entire life. It was only because we switched to single protein foods (with no chicken) that we were able to confirm that he had developed this condition. Now, Jack is on a rotational diet that include different proteins and food recipes and his skin is back to normal and no itching. No drugs, just a rotational diet!
Do you know exactly what protein is in your dog’s food?
We're joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol's Notes: