You’ve just adopted the most adorable new puppy, or maybe even an older dog from the shelter or a rescue. Awesome. Now you go to the local pet store and pour over the food dishes, leashes, and collars. You pick out the perfect tag and have it engraved with the name that you muddled over in your head for days while thinking about picking up your new baby. Gotta make sure you get some food and treats too, so you grab a bag of food that has a name you have heard before a million times in commercials or that your parents fed your childhood dog. I mean – it’s by a company that has been making dog food for ages and it says new and improved and it has the word “Healthy” in the name. How can I go wrong? And those chewy bacon-flavored treats will be something they love. All set! Let’s head to the check out and start our happy life at home!
Hold on! Don’t you want to know what is in that food? How about those treats? This furry, face-licking, frolicking bundle of love depends on you for their meals and treats, and it is important if you want to keep them healthy for as long as possible that you pay attention to what is in their food. Here are just some of the ingredients that are in dog food and treats that are allowed by the food and drug administration (FDA):
Wheat or Corn (including Wheat or Corn Gluten) – while both of these are capable of sustaining your pet, they do nothing to help them thrive. They have also been known to be a source of allergens and hard to process for many dogs, giving them really uncomfortable gas which is unpleasant for both the pet and those that share the room with them.
Meat - Now hold on! How can you question this? Of course, meat is good for your dog! But what kind of animal did that come from and what part of the animal is it? Dog food and treat manufacturers are very sneaky about how they word the ingredients that lead you to believe your dog is getting better than they are. Unless it specifies the type of animal, “meat meal” could be just about anything – you will never know. "The raw ingredients used in rendering are generally just leftovers of the meat, poultry and fishing industries. It is known that the temperatures used in rendering may also alter or destroy natural enzymes and proteins found in these raw ingredients. These facts indicate there is potentially wide variability in nutrient composition of the final product that ends up in pet food. In fact, the nutritional quality of by-products, meals and digests often varies dramatically from batch to batch." (Dr. Donna Spector on Petmd.com). So basically, you want to make sure that Fluffy is getting the good stuff, not the bones, feathers, beaks and….well, let’s just leave it at that. You get the idea.
Flavoring - Yep, flavoring. Now logic would dictate that if the dog food has a specific meat as its protein source that it would not need a flavoring added to it. It should taste like chicken, beef, or liver because that is what it is made from. Just like your favorite lemonade drink has artificial flavoring (if you weren’t aware of that, you should be), lots of pet food manufacturers have resorted to adding flavorings because of the poor quality of the ingredients that are in the food. And the treat industry is guilty of this as well. Recently I went on a discovery expedition to my local store to discover just what some of the ingredients were in some very popular and trusted dog treats. I hope you aren’t reading this over lunch.
Animal Digest - Just about as repugnant as it sounds. “As defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, digest is produced by the chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean animal tissue that has not undergone decomposition.”(Wikepedia). So, what you have here, in the case of these “snappy” liver flavored treats is a flavor that came from soaking the animal meat in chemicals to create a soup that is liver flavored. Why not just use the liver itself? Oh yeah - that would cost more and they must look out for the bottom line. Trust me when I tell you that the big companies are typically not looking out for the best interest of your new companion, they are doing the minimum to avoid a lawsuit.
Propylene Glycol - Ok you ask, but what about those soft chewy treats that look like hunks of steak or chicken? Once again, not a good idea. What keeps those treats so soft and chewy is Propylene Glycol. A close cousin to Ethylene Glycol which is much more toxic, it is still used in more friendly versions of anti-freeze. Yes, you read that right. It is used in anti-freeze. The FDA has approved it as “generally recognized as safe” and it is used as a humectant, meaning it keeps things nice and moist. I don’t know about you, but “generally recognized as safe” doesn’t fill me with warm fuzzy trustful feelings. Your best bet, SKIP IT. Your pet can live much better without soft squishy treats. Besides, crunchy treats will also help clean their teeth.
The bottom line when it comes to pet food and treats is this. These wonderful creatures come into our lives for such a short time already. They count on us to provide for their well-being. What they eat, their everyday health, and amount of exercise they get are in our hands. For many of us they are our kids. We go out of our way to make sure they are getting the best. Awareness and knowledge are key in keeping them healthy.
We here at Mooch’s Munchies recognize and relish how special that bond with our pets are. We have made it our mission to ensure that the products we produce are of the highest quality. We vow to never put in fillers or glutens. You won’t find artificial coloring or flavorings. We use real freeze-dried chicken breast in our chicken treats. We will never use meals or by-products. No rendered fats in our products. What you will find in our cookies is a high-quality treat for your dog that is made to appeal to your dog’s tastes. Quality is not cheap, but it is worth it. Your dog’s health will be better for it and they will live a better life because of your good choices.
Now grab some cookies, a tennis ball, your new furkid and hit the dog park! Time’s a wastin’!