So you’ve become a label reader because you need allergy dog food for your precious pooch. You change your kibble dog food (or canned) but his allergy symptoms don’t go away. Here's the sneaky truth.
Food sensitivity dog food often fails because what you see listed as ingredients is not necessarily what you get.
And this doesn’t just happen with single protein dog food. Before I go through my spiel sharing some label enlightenment I have to tell you something.
Over 80% of the pet foods tested actually had other protein sources in them that were not listed on the bag. While this should irritate the heck out of you, it might also ease your mind about what your canine is actually allergic to.
I wish I could give you brand names but I don’t know and if I did it could change. What I do know is this. A study released in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition was about the testing and analysis of 12 bags of dog food to see if in fact they were single source protein as they claimed. Only two of those bags matched the labels.
What did the scientists who performed this study have to offer for pet owners?
They said owners could keep trying different brands to check for a reaction or they could consider feeding home prepared diets.
I love the second choice! After all, my dog's health improved drastically when I made the change so why wouldn't yours?
Those Pesky Dog Food Labels
Even if you don't need allergy dog food, let me remind you that dog food labels can be misleading and I'd like to make fun of the dog food manufacturers after I explain something.
First, the lovely pictures of meat on the bag legally don't have to be IN the food.
Second, the ingredients are listed in descending order. If there are two sources of of corn for example such as corn, and corn gluten meal, that's sneaky because added together, it would obviously be a bigger piece of the pie, or kibble in this case.
So, if the beef, chicken or lamb is listed several
ingredients down, how much is there? Often, the first ingredient listed
is corn. This puzzles me. (I'm so funny because the truth is, it infuriates me. If anyone brings it up in my presence I will begin a heated debate.)
If canines preferred corn over meat, we might hear this on the nightly news:
“In the news tonight, Farmer John Smith reportedly lost 3 acres of corn in just one day due to the growing pack of wolves living nearby. Smith reports all 206 sheep were left unharmed.”
Of course I'm being ridiculous, but you get my point. Then why is CORN the first ingredient in so many of the dry dog foods out there? This makes me crazy. Why is it used? It’s cheap. Really cheap. And these same dog food companies make claims like “complete nutrition”. How can they get away with this?
Have you ever heard of the AAFCO? It’s the American Association of Feed Control Officials. Most likely, there’s a little green box on your dog kibble bag that looks like this, and states that it has been tested using the AAFCO’s standards and was found to be complete and balanced nutrition for your dog. (Sorry the picture isn't better, I couldn't get the bag flat when I took the picture in the store with my old cell phone.)
How is the testing done? The only information I could find was this: a group of dogs is fed the food for several weeks. If there are no obvious signs of disease or malnutrition, it passes. That’s it.
Maybe we should take a group of people and give them some hot dogs, cigarettes and scotch. If after several weeks they don’t have obvious disease or malnutrition, we can label these products nutritious too. (If there is more done than this, please someone from the AAFCO, let me know.)
By the way, the AAFCO is not a government agency. It is a private company who's testers give of their time for free. Nice, except they are mostly employees of those big dog food manufacturers.
Hope this makes you think. Seems to me the best allergy dog food is one we make at home. You might even consider a switch to raw. If so, here's a few free recipes courtesy of me.