In this report we’re going to highlight the main area in which manufacturers can often blind us with science, and that is in the ‘MEAT’ content. Highly important, as this is where most of the protein, and the quality of the protein can be measured.
For Example, where you see a label that says ‘Rich in Tasty Chicken’, don’t think that the statement is automatically true. For some reason manufacturers are allowed to use words like this, even if there is very little chicken content, (and certainly not chicken as you or I know it) or in some cases only chicken fat.
There are 3 ways in which manufacturers add ‘meat’ to the food, and these are the terms normally used. You can see the list on the side of the bag. (IF the company is open enough to print it. If they don’t list the ingredients, ask yourself why and look for another brand)
Meat or Animal derivatives.
This can be any warm blooded animal, and is generally bits of the carcass that are not used for human consumption, such as lungs, spleen, muscle meat etc, but can also include the rest of the carcass including beaks, feathers and even hooves. The benefit to the manufacturer is that they are allowed to use the cheapest products available to them at the time of processing, regardless of the type of animal. In doing so, the ingredients can change from day to day as the manufacturer chooses. In the wild, dogs would of course eat these animal parts and survive, however the protein quality is extremely low and more difficult to digest.
Chicken, or any meat meal, is an ingredient used by many pet food manufacturers because it is cheaper, easier to produce with, and can be stored for longer. Chicken meal is made by taking the “leftovers” of chicken after meat has been removed for human use. This is cooked in a process called rendering: grinding the chicken down and cooking it at very high temperatures for several hours to make a powder or meal. Of course this vastly decreases the nutritional value because of the cooking process.
Other regulations state, meat meal “should be VIRTUALLY free of hair, bristle, feathers, horn, hoof and skin and of the contents of the stomach and viscera”.
This is slightly better than ‘Derivatives’, but still a reduced quality form of protein and other nutrients.
Manufacturers who produce food using human grade products will not be hiding the contents of their food in very small print on the side of the label, they will have a loud, clear and bold statement telling you how natural their food is, and that it is made with real human grade meat. These foods will not contain any Derivatives or Meal, therefore the protein quality and nutritional value is far greater.
Now that you have the knowledge, you have the power to choose whether there is a healthier alternative you could now use.
Of course we realise that budget is a major deciding factor for many people, especially this year, however we feel that these foods would be a good alternative should you wish to try a change.
Suggestions for great quality foods
Barking Heads. (This analysis is taken from their Chop Lickin Lamb range).
Composition: 51%* Lamb includes – Lamb *(32%), Dried Lamb *(19%), Brown Rice (16%), Oats, White Rice, Peas (5%), Lamb Fat, Trout, Lucerne, Salmon Oil, Seaweed, Glucosamine 355mg/kg, Methylsulfonylmethane 355mg/kg, Chondroitin Sulphate 250mg/kg, Tomato, Mixed Herbs (Marjoram, Basil, Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Parsley) (0.4%), Minerals
Crude Protein 23%
Average daily feeding cost £1.30 per day.
Tribal (This analysis is taken from their Adult Turkey range).
Fresh turkey (35%), Sweet potato (35%), Blue whiting fish (hydrolysed) (9.4%), Whole egg (8%), Beet pulp, Brewer’s yeast, Salmon oil (0.6%), Sunflower oil (0.6%), Inulin (source of prebiotic FOS), Herbal blend (0.25%; Parsley, Rosemary, Nettle, Chamomile, Sage, Thyme, Coriander leaves, Dandelion leaves, Liquorice), Glucosamine (980 mg/kg), Green lipped mussel (500 mg/kg), Chondroitin sulphate (450 mg/kg).
Crude protein 23%
Average daily feeding cost £1.83.
As you can see, neither of these foods contain any derivatives or ‘Meal’ and are both made with 100% natural ingredients.
In general the pricing of dry dog food is quite efficient in that price normally equals quality.
If you do decide to change your dogs food at any time, please remember to do so gradually over a period of 7-10 days.
Here are more food articles that you may find interesting and useful.
What basic foods not to give your dog. (And that includes Gravy)
We hope that this information has been useful to you and given you the information you need. If you do need any further help or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us, we’re here for you.