Going on a search for the best quality dog tasty world has been a much bigger project than I initially imagined. I decided to start trying different dog foods after the ongoing concerns with the quality of dog foods and because our male Border Collie, Rodeo struggles with stomach problems and has joint issues. I wanted to make my own determinations on safety and quality on any dog food I choose to feed my loving pups Rodeo and Maddie and of course they were pretty sure they should have a say too.
It’s probably worth mentioning that I have been in the dog business for over twenty years so I did have a pretty good idea of what I was looking for in a dog food. However, I was shocked at the lax regulations within the dog food industry. It is so easy for a food company to manipulate the information they put on the outside of their food package and then call it nutritious.
I was even more surprised to find that some of the so called quality foods that you would pay a hefty price for in the discount stores are actually not what they make themselves out to be! That’s what those advertising dollars are paying for. Which leads me to my first big tip, throwing money at a high priced dog food does not make it a best quality dog food.
I started by properly learning how to read a dog food label. There are many tricks and frankly deceptive practices that make it a priority to learn how to read a label. Here is a shortened version of that process to help you get started. The first set of labeling rules comes from the FDA and must list the following information:
The next agency that may be policing your dog food is the AAFCO or the Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO is not a government agency like the FDA, instead its members are made up of state and federal employees from various agencies and employees from pet food companies. They have additional rules and label regulations on top of the FDA regulations for pet foods. However, dog food regulations vary from state to state and not all states agree to AAFCO regulations.
With the dog food companies using adorable packaging with cute and catchy names, it’s easy for them to imply that their food is made with good stuff and your dog’s will love it. When in truth, they are hiding the poor quality of their food behind fancy advertising techniques. It’s natural for us as consumers to gravitate toward the more attractive packaging, which is why it’s important to learn how to read the label.
Confused already? Let me explain what I mean when I refer to some companies hiding the poor quality of their dog food. For starters, it’s completely possible that you can purchase a beef dog food that may not actually contain any beef! The problem lies with the rules and regulations allowing the companies to hide poor food ingredients behind wording twist and with hidden meanings. Here are a few of the statements that are used on food labels that can be misleading:
Along with the misleading phrases above, there are many other dog label statements that you will need to be wary of: Natural Food, Organic Food, Gourmet Food & Premium Food – A dog food can say “Organic” but it may not necessarily be 100% organic. You should also look for artificial flavors, calories, antioxidants as potential misleading ingredients and all of them vary between manufacturers and product lines.
It’s also important to point out that ingredients are listed by weight but they are listed before they go through any processing. This gives manufacturers another way to pad their label. By listing the weight of the meat in it’s hydrated state, it’s obviously going to make it higher up on the label than the same ingredient after going through the dehydration process. In other words, the label is giving you the amount before processing in it’s original form, not what you are actually getting after all of the moisture is removed during processing.