Charlotte Peltz Living with Your Dog "Pay Now or Pay Later" brought to you by Joy Beckner Artist/ Bronze Sculptor

Living with Your Dog

Pay Now or Pay Later!

By Charlotte Peltz

No one dog food is appropriate for all dogs but there are certain things about prepared dog foods that you should understand so that you can make the best possible choices for YOUR dog.

Price is not necessarily an indication of quality except that inexpensive dog foods cannot possibly have quality ingredients in them. Period. It cannot be done. Label claims cannot be trusted and packaging is very often misleading. For example, there is a new product by Purina -- "Beneful." Don't you love the name? That combination between beneficial and bountiful is quite misleading as are the things shown on the bag. It shows fresh ears of corn, unshelled peas and green-topped carrots. IN the food, however, are ground corn (a lower-cost source of protein) and dried peas and carrots. Furthermore -- those two items are 17th and 18th on the package meaning one can only guess at the quantity of those vegetables in any given bag of food. That food also contains sugar, sorbitol (another sweetener) and sorbic acid, a preservative. Clearly Purina is counting on people buying the food based on their very misleading packaging.

While I have yet to see "Beneful" here, Science Diet "Adult Canine Maintenance," and Eukanuba "Adult Maintenance" are here and they are expensive! Yet, a review of the ingredients shows corn meal as the second ingredient on each of those packages, and corn meal is part of what is left after removal of part of the oil. In other words -- it is not really corn but rather a product of corn. Corn is cheap. Corn meal is cheaper.

Brewers rice is in Eukanuba and in other dog foods as well, and that is nothing but a waste product of the alcohol industry! It is a "fragment" item and that is undesirable. Most foods contain at least one fragment because the manufacturers have to work to keep the food affordable and that is one way to do it. Beware, however, of products containing various fragments - not that it is easy to figure out just what is and what is not a fragment without a guidebook! Other fragment items that you will encounter include: rice bran, corn gluten meal, and wheat flour -- all of which are inferior to rice, corn and wheat in their unfragmented form. Certainly avoid foods that have fragments in the top five ingredients.
Another trap in the labeling is that one can never determine what percentages there are of the various ingredients and, to be sure, the companies almost never reveal that information. While the ingredients are listed in descending order of their weight before processing, if there are two or three grains in the top five ingredients, there is surely more grain than the meat listed first. In truly top quality foods that will not be the case, but the consumer simply doesn't know. Protein from plant sources is much less expensive but not as healthy for your dog. I am beginning to wonder if there are ANY commercial dry foods with more meat than grains in them.
And, about that health issue - by skimping on nutrition, sooner or later, your dog will suffer health problems, and the vet bills will more than balance any savings you believed you made by buying poor quality food. There are many health issues that your vet will not specifically relate to the food, but are connected nevertheless. Nutrition and good health are irrevocably connected. It is your choice how you choose to spend your money, but your dog is victim to what you put in his bowl when you do not understand those labels and how to buy the best.

Charlotte's additional note: The machines that make kibble cannot form those cute little pieces when the meat percentage is high. There must be a minimum of 40 percent grain and surely there is always more. Add to the remaining 60 percent all the additives, bone meal, flavorings, etc., and there is simply no chance of getting much meat.
[Please see Charlotte's Recommended Reading.]

"One can measure the size and moral progress of a nation to how she treats her animals." Mahatma Gandhi.

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