J is for Junk food

Posted on Friday, 11 April 2014

By 'junk food', I mean dog food brands that you should AVOID!

Are you paying attention to the ingredients label when purchasing your dog's food? If not, you should. If your dog consumes food containing animal derivatives, artificial flavours or corn/cereals, your dog's diet may be lacking in the essential vitamins and nutrients that help maintain good health. 

Although many well known pet food brand labels claim to be "premium" these may in fact offer very little or no nutrition for your dog. Any brand can consider their food premium even if it only contains 4% beef.

Ingredients to look for:
  • Animal protein should be one of the first ingredients i.e. turkey, salmon, beef, lamb
  • Grains, vegetables or fruits should be clearly labeled
  • If the food contains animal meal it should say so i.e. chicken meal, lamb meal

Ingredients to avoid:
  • Meat by-products / animal derivatives. This is a cheap way of adding protein and are generally not as nutritious. It does not require as much care in the handling process. It can be sourced from any animals i.e. Chicken? Horse? Rabbit? Emu? Rat? Giraffe?... and can include but is not limited to; teeth, intestines, hooves, brains, feathers etc. 
  • Artificial preservatives, colours and sweeteners. Natural preservatives are much healthier and there is really no need for kibble to be coloured green to look like peas
  • Corn / Cereals. These are added to bulk out foods and have little beneficial nutritional value. Some products can contain up to 80% cereals! They can irritate allergies, cause dry itchy skin, upset the stomach, increase hyper-activeness and more. Quality food brands tend to use fruit and veg to bulk their foods instead. This is not to say that all grains are bad, rice can be beneficial.

It's all in the labeling! You should avoid brands with unclear labeling. Here are two examples; one good and one bad:

Food brand one:
Lamb (42%) (Lamb Meat Meal, Lamb Gravy), Sweet Potato (30%), Potato (8%), Rapeseed Oil (4%), Pea Starch (4%), Linseed (3%), Beet Pulp (2%), Alfalfa (1%), Yeasts, Carrot (1%), Minerals, Tomato Powder (0.5%), Seaweed Meal (0.5%), Herbs (Marjoram 167 Mg/kg, Orgeano 167 Mg/kg, Parsley 167 Mg.kg, Rosemary 167 Mg/kg), Yucca (200 Mg/kg), Cranberry (100 Mg/kg), Marigold (50 Mg/kg).

Food brand two:
Cereals (35%), Meat and Animal Derivatives (26% Meat in the Chunk, 4% Beef in the Brown & Natural Kernels), Vegetable Protein Extracts, Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Oils and Fats, Various Sugars, Minerals, Vegetables (4% Vegetables in the Green & Yellow Kernels). with Colourants, Antioxidants and Preservatives.

It's quite obvious which is the good and which is the bad, right?
Food brand one was Wainwrights Grain Free Lamb and food brand two will hopefully come as no surprise... Bakers complete.

So, which well known brands should you be wary of?

Bakers - #1 worst of all time. It is PACKED with additives, preservatives and sugars. In fact, it contains 13 E numbers, some of which are banned in certain countries. You wouldn't feed your kids McDonalds everyday so don't feed the dog equivalent to your pet. 
Pedigree - Unclear labeling, mainly cereals with a measly 8% chicken, contains colourants and preservatives
Iams - Unclear labeling, contains wheat and maize and added salt
Beta - Unclear labeling, main ingredient is cereals, 4% chicken and 14% meat - doesn't specify from what animal
Royal Canin - Unclear labeling, contains wheat and maize and artificial additives
Eukanuba - Contains wheat and maize
Frolic - Very unclear labeling. Contains mostly cereals, animals derivatives with 4% beef, sugars and milk
Wagg - Main ingredient is wheat. Also contains maize and artificial additives
Hi-Life - Unclear labeling. First listed ingredient is meat meal (which meat?) also contains wheat and added salt
Hills - Foods contain low meat content and mostly maize
Winalot - Unclear labeling i.e. meat and animal derivatives 27% of which 14% meat (what's in the other 13%???) also contains cereals and sugars
Pro-Plan - Low meat content, contains wheat, maize and added salt
Any supermarket own brands i.e. Tesco, Asda, Pets at home - all cheap for a reason!

We're also jumping on the Pet Parade blog hop hosted by Rascal And Rocco, Jan's Funny FarmBionic BasilBarking From The Bayou and Love Is Being Owned By A Husky!

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  1. Great info Bernie!!! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up to the parade! Love seeing your posts!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  2. We feed orijen and wellness core grain free varieties. I do have an issue with Ping who has liver disease. We were home cooking but she wasnt doing well on that diet so we briefly switched to Hills Liver diet which I HATED to do. Now I found a fromm formula that is mostly fish and potato and so may be good for hte liver. The grain free diets our other dogs eat are just too rich for her due to the liver disease

    retro rover

  3. Nice to meet you, Bernie. We just read your last post, a self interview, and enjoyed getting to know you a bit.

  4. Thanks for putting in all out there so I know for sure what to look for. I've been thinking I'm providing good food, I know meat should be the first ingredient, and not by-products or corn. But now I am more confident I know what foods are best. It's so sad that anyone makes unhealthy pet foods. Shouldn't we care about what we put in our pets bodies? They don't have a choice after all. Thank you for sharing on the Pet Parade!

  5. Great tips. I'll look at my dog food right now. We recently switched to one I think is healthier, but I need to make sure.

    Visiting from the main A to Z Blog page. Great to meet you!

    Stephanie Faris

  6. Showing the two different label examples was a great idea. So helpful to new pet parents who struggle with what to do and how to do it right. Nice post

  7. Yay!!! Bernie you are our featured pet of the week over at the Pet Parade!!!!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  8. Great info! This is all true for cat food too. Thanks for sharing.

    Stopping over from the Pet Parade :) Nice to meet you, Bernie!



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