Dog food manufacturing came to our rescue when we didn't even know we had a problem. Advertisers told us we wanted quick, easy, and scientifically formulated nutritious dog food.
We felt inept. We believed we couldn't figure it out even though we feed our families.
Now we throw it in the cart, carry it in the house, tear it open and throw it in a bowl.
Maybe it's time we stopped believing the dog food company claims.
Each of the many dog food brands claim to supply the best dry dog food scientifically formulated to meet dogs nutritional needs. Is there any truth to the claims?
Seeing those happy healthy dogs in the commercials, we wanted to believe the claims. We turned our heads and shut our eyes whenever someone spilled the beans about using euthanized pets, roadkill or retired circus animals in our dog food.
Then came the dog food recalls. Once enough dogs died from a certain food, it was recalled. Some folks began the homemade dog food trend. Others switched brands.
A year or two later more dog food recalls - different food and different manufacturer made headlines. Again, some folks switched brands while others realized the value of healthy table scraps for dogs, home made dog foods, raw dog foods or found small companies who made their own dog foods from human grade ingredients and monitored their efforts to be sure they were supplying what they promised.
The saddest part of all, is not being able to see the internal damage done to our beloved canine companions. Everything from canine skin conditions to arthritis, renal failure and cancer has something to do with this substandard type of food.
Honestly I can't see how dog food can be scientifically formulated unless they are counting the way they decipher the protein, fat and carbohydrate ratios of the sources they use.
Whoever came up with these sources had pure genius but may not have liked dogs. Was someone walking through a grain processing plant and decide instead of paying to haul the mill ends to the garbage dump, they could sell them for dog food? "Wheat middlings" sound like food doesn't it?
What about the spoiled and cancerous parts of beef and chicken? What a savings! Sell it for dog food or process it and feed it back to the cattle and chickens. Now that's repurposing and recycling.
The names of these meat products are ingenious too.
The National Animal Control Association estimated that each year about five million pets were shipped to rendering plants and recycled into pet food during the 1990s. They are generally listed as meat or bone meal on the label. I don't know if the current numbers are higher or lower.
One very important thing to understand is that with these kind of manufacturing processes, the big name brands do not have to disclose all the dog food ingredients. Why? Because the rules state that anything bad used or added at the rendering plants before they get to the manufacturer, do NOT have to be listed on the bag or the can. Kind of like a "get out of jail free card" isn't it?
There are a handful of good dog food makers who grow or buy locally grown ingredients and make the food in their own facilities. That is very different. These honest folks are a cut above.
Their foods are more expensive because they have human grade ingredients and their costs are higher, some even going as far as testing every single batch, like Carna4.
The truth is that no processed dog food by itself can be as good as real food.