What's Really In Your Dog's Food?

SlaughterhouseI have been in the business of dogs for over 20 years. During this time the dog food industry has changed, changed some more and changed yet again. I have seen many changes for the better, as far as quality of ingredients, the reduced use of chemical preservatives and an increased awareness by pet owners to read labels in a effort to provide their companions with the best nutrition possible. Yet, there is still a very long way to go. Our pets are part of our family and they should live long and healthy lives. But, the pet food industry still struggles to understand this. Veterinarians too if you consider what so many of them recommend we feed our pet's! Pet Food recalls are ever-present and growing! Even our dog's treats can be dangerous.

Let's Understand Manufacturing

Tyson is one of the largest suppliers of chicken in the world.  Tyson also sells chicken to pet food manufacturers. 

Dog FoodThe Top 5 Pet Food Manufacturers; Mars Inc, Nestle SA, Colgate-Palmolive Co, Proctor & Gamble Co, Del Monte Food Co.

There are dozens of private labelers who produce pet foods for "house" brands such as Wal-mart, Krogers, Costco and other co-packers.

From the FDA Website: "There is no requirement that pet food products have pre-market approval by the FDA. However, FDA ensures that the ingredients used in pet food are safe and have an appropriate function in the pet food. Many ingredients such as meat, poultry and grains are considered safe and do not require pre-market approval."

Pet Food Recalls

2014 = 4 (as of 2/10/2014)   »   2013 = 34   »  2012 = 45   »  2011 = 19   »  2010 = 25  »  2008/2009 = 8

The #1 reason for recalled pet food - Salmonella

Ingredients of Note - Definitions

Meat-by Products - Any meat or protein by-product is Slaughterhouse Waste

Chicken Meal - (Best if FIRST ingredient listed) AAFCO definition of chicken meal falls under poultry meal; duck meal and turkey meal would have the same definitions.  Simply put, chicken meal is chicken with moisture removed.  Chicken meal is a rendered (cooked) ingredient that can include muscle meat, skin and bone.  It does not include chicken/poultry heads, feathers, feet or entrails. Always opt for a defined protein source, chicken, turkey, menhaden fish, etc.

Gluten - Gluten is what’s left over from certain grains such as, wheat, barley, corn, rice, rye and other grains once all of the starchy carbohydrates have been washed out. The sticky/rubbery "protein" residue that remains is the gluten.

Animal Fat - Unlike "chicken fat" - a named animal source, un-named "animal fat", as defined by AAFCO is "Animal Fat obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial processes of rendering or extracting. In many cases "animal fat" includes meat sources from the "4-D" class - defined as food animals that have been rejected for human consumption because they were presented to the meat packing plant as "Dead, Dying, Diseased or Disabled. Choose only pet foods that define fat sources: Chicken Fat, Turkey Fat, etc.

Ground Whole Grain Sorghum - The feed value of grain sorghum is similar to corn and is grown primarily as a feed grain for livestock.

Grains, Vegetables, Fruit - Canines are in fact CARNVORES. That being said, they can, and do in the wild (as did their ancestors), consume animals that have themselves consumed grains, vegetables and fruits. The key here is that highly processed ingredients are potential triggers for food related issues as are ingredients of inferior quality - which is what most manufacturers use. It is extremely important that all ingredients in your dog's food come from companies that utilize only US sourced ingredients of human-grade quality - like Flint River Ranch!

About Chicken

(Excerpt from truthaboutpetfood.com)

The (AAFCO) official definition of chicken is “the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.  It shall be suitable for use in animal food.”  (The same definition applies to any poultry.)

And the (AAFCO) official definition of chicken by-product is:

“must consist of non-rendered clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice.”


About "Meat"

(Except from "Food Pets Die For" by  Ann N. Martin)

Dead-stock removal operations play a major role in the pet food industry. Dead animals, road kill that cannot be buried at roadside, and in some cases, zoo animals, are picked up by these dead stock operations. When an animal dies in the field or is killed due to illness or disability, the dead stock operators pick them up and truck them to the receiving plant. There the dead animal is salvaged for meat or, depending on the state of decomposition, delivered to a rendering plant. At the receiving plants, the animals of value are skinned and viscera removed. Hides of cattle and calves are sold for tanning. The usable meat is removed from the carcass, and covered in charcoal to prevent it from being used for human consumption. Then the meat is frozen, and sold as animal food, which includes pet food.