FDA and Dog Food

Is FDA Allowing Dog Food Ingredients That Make Dogs Sick?

Dog food ingredients and the idea of eating your dog’s food would usually repulse even the most adventurous of us. That is because when we hear the words dog food ingredients we often think of a mixture of waste by-products, and other inedible muck. So if we are reactive of the waste by-products that make up dog food ingredients; why are dog owners feeding dogs food containing ingredients that as humans we wouldn’t think of eating?

dog treats made in usaYet in conversation most people would boast about the great dog food they feed their dogs. The truth of the matter is; we really don’t know the full ingredient content in our dog foods. As if that isn’t enough; consumers have no way of knowing if their dog food contains any real quality ingredients let alone healthy ones

Here’s why: we are familiar with the commonly used dog food ingredients such as animal and marine tissues, bone meals, meat meals, dead and diseased animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter. As if that’s not bad enough, regularly included in dog food ingredients is the term “Offal” which literally means “off fall,” the pieces which fall from a carcass referred after butchering or skinning including the entrails. Keep in mind; this includes all bodily fluids together with blood, urine, and feces, which are also all by-products.

The term “Offal” also encompasses the by-products of milled grains, such as wheat and corn often processed in a rendering plant to produce material utilized for fuel and fertilizer. Offal, in this sense of the word, is also frequently added to commercially produced pet food.

“Digests” is another by-product frequently found in dog food ingredients. The term “digests” relates to materials treated with heat enzymes and acids to form concentrated natural flavors. A comparable ingredient may be beef, however frequently it is a different substance that gives the products its characterizing taste, such as beef by-products or meat meal. Currently there are no regulations enforcing quality or contamination of “Digest” therefore allowing it to be acquired from any source and from any animal. “Digests” could also be a mixture of different animals to produce a meat flavored dog food. YUMMY!

For example, added to a dog food is a slight amount of “beef digest” which is necessary to produce a “Beef Flavored Dog Food,” even though there is NO actual Beef or any meat added to the dog food ingredients. This is the bottom of the barrel waste by-product in dog foods made from already inedible waste by-products. Any kind of animal can be included like “4-D animals” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, restaurant and supermarket refuse and so on. Poisoned animals are prohibited; but not diseased. Bacteria or viruses become a digested part of the digest and are believed to no longer pose any threat. Which means it is accepted as an edible ingredient in pet food.

If feeding dog food ingredients made from waste by-products of dead & diseased animals to your loving pets has made your stomach churn, here’s what The Center for Veterinary Medicine has to say about it:

The Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is aware of NO instances of disease or other hazard occurring from canned packing house “offal” or the tissues of animals that may have died otherwise than by slaughter (includes euthanized animals & road kill). It is considered fit for animal consumption.

In 1998 former AFFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) President Hersch Pendell disclosed that it is a good probability that dead & diseased household pets are most likely included in pet food ingredients. Currently, there are no regulations in place to prevent pet food manufacturers from producing pet foods made from anything considered a protein including our deceased loving pets. It is not unreasonable that dog food ingredients can include your little kitty Fluffy, your dog Bruno, your horse, or even your best buddy Sam the guinea pig. This gives the manufacturers the green light to use cheap dog food ingredients and allows them to advertise labels stating “beef” simply by citing “Offal” from a beef source. Dog food ingredient labels do NOT state what part of or kind of beef used and labels do not state the words “Offal” or “Digests”.

Consumers have no way of knowing if the ingredients are of high quality or even at what level quality the dog food ingredients really are.

Ever wonder why your dog food ingredients need to be fortified? Well now you know. One can contend that fortification must be added to dog food ingredients for the reason that a food by itself may not contain 100% of the daily nutritional requirements, although that is generally not why manufacturers are adding fortification to their dog food.

Consider what humans eat, human foods also do not supply 100% of the daily nutritional requirements needed. However, we eat a variety of fresh proteins, vegetables, fruits, grains etc. and can supplement with whole food supplements. Our dogs are no different they also should be eating a variety of fresh proteins, vegetables, fruits, grains etc. as part of their daily diet.

The bottom line is that the only nutrients that these dog food ingredients are supplying to pets is the chemical fortification supplement, so technically your dog could be living on a completely chemical nutrition. So if you still believe your dog is eating quality dog food ingredients you may want to reconsider.

One of the most important factors to understanding your dog’s health is knowing how to read a dog food ingredient label following these easy steps:

1. Review all ingredient contents. The first ingredient listed is the main ingredient and the ingredients that follow are listed in order largest to least quantity contained in the dog food.

2. Contact the manufacturer to ask what the specific ingredients are. For example, if the label states “chicken,” does it contain chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken skins & fat, chicken bone meal, or chicken meal?
Ask what rendering plants they buy from. Ask how they process the product. Don’t be shocked if they don’t know.

dog treats made in usa
3. If you cannot pronounce it, stay away from it. However, feel free to ask the dog food manufacturer or better Google it first.

4. Educating yourself is the best defense. Ask questions; research all dog food ingredients in the dog foods as well as the manufacturers themselves.

5. Supplement quality dog food ingredients with fresh proteins, vegetables, fruits and grains, and speak to a holistic veterinarian nutritionist first about the addition of a whole food supplement.

WebMD has a helpful article on “how to read a dog food label” which also covers a bit of the FDA & AFFCO ingredient exceptions and descriptions of ingredient additives.

Best advice; don’t believe everything you see and hear (example; TV Commercials, Radio Announcements, Written Advertisements’ etc.). Manufacturers inundate the market with infomercials, ads, fancy packaging and promotional gimmicks leading consumers to believe that the dog food ingredients in their products are the best. As consumers we have a tendency to trust what the manufacturers are promoting.

After all, if dog food brands are on store shelves, it must be healthy for my dog right?

The answer is no. Because a product is continuously promoted and gets into the market place doesn’t inevitably make it a healthy product or even a good product. Buyer beware of those select key words that dog food ingredient manufacturers advertise (for example: foods labeled no meat by-products could contain bone meal by-products or other by-products and fillers and those labeled no corn gluten could contain other forms of gluten by-product additives and or stabilizers etc.).

We have to question: if the allowed dog food ingredients are healthy & nutritious for our dogs, then why are they becoming unhealthier?

Rafaela Miett head of pet food development and CEO of Pet Bistro® has argued this topic. Ms. Miett believes if we are feeding quality dog food ingredients, our dogs would be at their healthiest. But that’s not the case Ms. Miett states; we are seeing a larger increase in unhealthy dogs. There is a rise of dogs of all ages with more diseases, diagnosed food allergies and other related allergies and illnesses of unknown origins. At what point do we as consumers have that epiphany that the problems go far beyond genetics and recognize the real problem? Ms. Miett believes it’s the dog food ingredients; the daily consumption of these allowed ingredients are closely contributing to our beloved dogs’ demises. Unfortunately, we can’t stop manufacturers from producing dog food ingredients made with “Offal”, “Digests” and other grotesque by-products; however we can be more selective about choosing dog food ingredients offering an overall improved wholesome function.

Contact Pet Bistro for more information on quality dog food ingredients or shop online at www.petbistro.us.