Dog food analysis - Answering dog owners main concerns about healthy dog food
Dog owners are concerned about making sure their pets get the healthiest options available when it comes to dog food. Owners spend time and effort reading up on the optimum nutritional values in dog food and the alternatives. But few ever question the standards set by authorities who regulate the quality of dog food available in the market.
How do we know that the ingredients listed in pet foods have been checked and verified for safety? Can pet owners be certain that manufacturers do not misrepresent their products or make false claims?
Pet food is a heavily regulated product and as such is covered by legislation throughout the United States, Canada, and throughout Europe as well. In the States, pet food manufacturers are regulated by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), who are advised by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), monitor the ingredient ratios and manufacturing standards for pet food ingredients.
Unfortunately, as there is no stringent legislation the States which demands a basic benchmark of nutritional balance, there are less scrupulous manufacturers who add chemicals to their brands which have been proven to contribute to the early degeneration of an animal's health. Advertising is also suspect as times, as some manufacturers make false claims by stating that a brand is suitable for senior animals when in fact it is manufactured for the general consumption of adult animals.
In the UK and many European countries, the regulatory body is the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF). They lay down guidelines for the manufacture, labelling and advertising for pet foods and demand high standards for ingredient ratios and manufacture, but similar to the case in the States, many of the guidelines for pet food manufacturers are voluntary when it comes to additives and ingredients sourcing. There is expert veterinary research suggesting that pet food is actively contributing to the failing health of pets because of the inadequate standards and the permitted inclusion of additives.
What can you do to make sure that you are feeding your dog a healthy diet that will keep him healthy, fit and energetic throughout his life?
Your first port of call is the label. Check the list of ingredients and see which constituents are listed in the first five. If the dominant ingredient is cereal, chances are, the dog food you are considering is mostly made of ground cereals. And sad to say, ground cereal does not fulfil most of the nutritional requirements that a healthy dog needs. Also take note of the other chemicals that are added in the dog food and do some investigations as to the purpose and effects of these chemicals.
Another possible avenue is to read up on the research and development of particular dog foods you're considering for your pet. Bear in mind if other animals were used development of their products, and the purpose for utilising animals in their research. Make enquiries into the specific tests conducted to ensure that the finished product is safe for your pet’s consumption and to ensure that your pet will enjoy the food as well.
Once you have gathered adequate information, take time to consult your vet about the options available for ensuring that your dog stays healthy and active for as many years as possible. What you feed your dog is ultimately your choice, but bear in mind that the choices you make have a direct bearing on his current and future health.