Have you ever looked at the ingredients list of your pet’s food before you bought it? Almost everyone has or has had a pet in their lifetime, but not many delve into the world of nutrition and what we should all be feeding our pets. This short summary will help guide people who are interested in this topic towards the right direction and give helpful tips on how to keep our beloved pets happy and healthy.
What are fillers in pet food?
First, we need to talk about our current system of marketing pet foods, especially marketing from huge corporations for pet food. Big companies, like Purina, Hills, Iams, and many more will pour millions of dollars into marketing and selling through big box stores and veterinarians. These companies will go into stores or vet offices and offer free food and large discounts to employees. Their goal is to persuade the store and employees to push their food heavily. Now, this would not be so bad if the ingredients of the pet food were good, but the reality is that they are not. Many big brand pet foods are filled with “fillers.” These fillers are ingredients that are not required and are not healthy for dogs and cats to consume. Some of these ingredients include corn, meat by-products, soy, sorghum, and many more. These ingredients are considered as cheap feed grade ingredients and do nothing for the health of your pet.
What exactly is "meat"?
Another huge ingredient that some manufacturers put into their bags of dog or cat food is the ingredient simply labeled as “meat.” Many consumers will think nothing of this, as carnivorous animals such as dogs and cats need to eat meat. But, by not disclosing to the public what specific meat is in the bag, these companies can buy whatever is cheapest and they are doing so legally. Taking this into consideration, we never recommend buying any food that has the label “meat” in the ingredient list. The meat could be chicken, but it could also be pork. In many cases, no one in the manufacturing site even knows since the “meat” is shipped there already processed and packaged.
What should a meal consist of?
Lastly, just kibble is not enough. Pet food kibble was invented out of convenience. Before kibble, everyone fed their dogs and cats canned food or raw food. Most kibbles are cooked at extremely high temperatures to burn off bacteria, but the process of high heat burning also causes the kibble to lose high amounts of nutrients and important vitamins and minerals. This is why we always recommend adding something more to the kibble. Canned dog food would do great as a topper for every meal, or pieces of unseasoned meat such as chicken or turkey breast. Anything to add more nutrition and moisture back into the kibble will be an upgrade.
Does kibble clean teeth?
There is also a widespread myth that tells consumers kibble helps clean dog teeth. If this were true, we would see far fewer dental issues in dogs, but we do not. Most dogs’ teeth have never been worse due to a lack of self-cleaning. Dogs and cats in the wild will clean their teeth on raw bones from animals. The hard bones help scrape off plaque and food that may have been stuck during eating. Kibble does not have that hard consistency. Cleaning your dog’s or cat’s teeth with kibble would be the same as us cleaning our teeth with cereal. Thus, this common misconception about the cleaning properties of kibble is simply false.
Good Dog and Cat Food Brands
These pet food brands are trustworthy and put the pet’s nutrition first.
- no byproducts
- higher amounts of nutritional value
- better sourced ingredients (ex: free range, grass fed, wild caught, etc.)
1) Diamond Naturals/ Taste of the Wild
2) Nutrisource/ PureVita
3) Zignature/ FussieCat
4) Stella and Chewy’s
5) Honest Kitchen
6) Open Farms
8) Orijen/ Acana
9) Primal Pet Foods
10) Nulo Pet Foods
13) Firstmate/ Kasiks
We hope that this guide for pet nutrition was helpful! Thank you for reading.
Author: Henry Gong
Henry Gong is the manager of multiple pet nutrition stores in California. He has been in the pet food industry for the past three years and has learned a great deal of information about the pet food industry as a whole. He also has certification from DNM for pet dry food.
Dog and Cat eating out of food bowls- https://blueskyvet.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Pet-Nutrition-704x293.jpg