Ok, I get that this might seem a strange first post to make on a site about dog happiness, but I have seen so many lethargic, mal-nutritioned and at the same time obese dogs (and owners) around that I think it is one of the VERY important things you need to consider.
You have probably seen many ads before about how good dog food is from this or that manufacturer. BUT, have you ever wondered where they get the money to pay for that advertising and what is really in those pellets or cans of ‘dog food’ ?
And have you ever wondered what these foods actually do for a dog’s health, how it can be connected to their happiness?
WHY HUMAN’S HAVE BAD DIETS
Years ago, most nutritionists concerned about human diets realized that the more basic and non processed a food, the better it is for you. That means eating brown or wholemeal versions of things like brown rice, whole meal bread etc. They also discovered that additives and non natural flavors made many people sick. Put simply most simple diets went back to simple foods eaten before commercialization and profit played havoc with our foods and our health.
WHY WE BUY ‘BAD’ MANUFACTURED DOG FOOD
What happened to people’s good sense over the food eaten by their dogs? While there is a vast difference between knowing what is good food for you to eat, and eating it, surely we can decide a good diet for our dogs? After all we buy it and feed them right?
You see the breakdown in this theory occurs when we consider what has occurred over the last fifty years. People got busy, and look for convenience on ‘non essential’ tasks so they can free up their time. People don’t want to have to think too much or spend too much time doing things that aren’t fun. This meant that rather going to the butcher for their dog’s food, they just went to the supermarket where they can pick up everything at once. Then when large supermarkets started creating a monopoly over all other supermarkets, they gained supreme power over the food chain, right down to the abattoir. Now your meat costs much more to buy, most people dare not think of buying it for their dog. The rise in buying power of third world countries has also put pressure on meat prices.
Why would you bother buying meat when that pellet pack or can of dog food has the word meat on its label and a picture of large chunks of meat in the main image???
Well it turns out that most of these multinational companies that sell to supermarkets also have a lot of cash, and share holders asking for higher profits. The only way that is possible is to use the lowest cost ingredients which are grain and vegetables. If you look at your dog food label, you will see that meat is mentioned, but is it meat meal or fresh meat? If it is fresh meat, is the volume quoted before or after water is extracted (most meat is 75% water).
Do the second, third and fourth grain or vegetable ingredients add up to an equal or higher percentage of the can’s ingredients than meat?
The real question is WHAT IS THE REASON DOGS NEED MEAT.
Plenty of vets and manufactured dog food people will tell you that dogs are omnivores. This is like saying people are vegetarians. If managed very carefully, you can change the basic diet of almost any animal to something highly inappropriate, and it won’t die. It may not even suffer externally so much that you will notice.
The truth is that all dogs internal systems and digestion is geared towards eating meat. The thing that meat has over vegetables and can’t be replicated is the best/ most suitable Proteins (amino acids) for a dog (that is essentially a carnivore).
Manufactured dog food only contains meat because it looks good on the pack, and vegetables cant supply enough quality protein to meet the minimum levels required by the American dog food association committee. Inherently you know that dogs should eat meat, but for years those companies have been pushing so many wheat, rice and carb concoctions at you, that you have lost track. YOU actually think your dog is now an omnivore. Fantastic, your guilt at taking the easy, but long term health expensive option is reduced. Low guilt, the companies grow rich and your dog suffers …
Perhaps you will want to read (or not) the second installment in this brief expose ..
Don’t worry, I didn’t know about this stuff for the first dog I owned either. But at least, I live and learn.