What Exactly Are You Feeding Your Pet Dog?
Updated: Apr 23
Click here for Mandarin Version.
“You Get What You Pay For” Is this true?
The powerful marketing strategy affects the buying decision of consumers. All of us believe, price is equivalent to the quality. But, is this really true?
What is the first information you will look at when you purchase kibble? The brand? The price? The packaging? Or the ingredient label?
Will you believe that particular brand of kibble is made up of natural ingredients by just looking at the beautiful images of veggie and fresh meat on the bag? YES. FOR MOST OF US.
So, how to select quality kibbles for your dog?
WAIT ! Take a deep breath~
Before we go deeper into this topic, we want to remind everyone again that we did mention in the previous article that there is no any right or wrong answer in choosing food for your dog which means there is no food is best for all dogs. As a responsible dog owner, you will need to observe your dog’s response to what you feed him.
Let’s think in this way: If human need to take varieties of food to ensure their good health, why should we think there might be a single ideal dog meal that can meet all the dogs’ nutrients requirement?
Please don't go too far away from today’s topic. Let’s start!
What are the MUST HAVE ingredients in kibbles?
1. Animal Protein Source: Whole Meat
Named animal protein should be at the top of the ingredient label.
“Named” means types of meat is mentioned. For example: chicken, lamb, beef (whole meat). You NEED TO KNOW what actually the “meat” is.
2. Named Meat Meal
Whole meat (Ex: chicken) contains around 70% of water which means it doesn’t contain enough protein. Thus, named meat meal (Ex: chicken meal) will also present to ensure the kibble consist of enough protein.
DO NOT TRUST the ingredient list if types of meat have not been identified.
Take Note: AAFCO defines meat meal as non-muscle part of the animal that are rendered and become protein dense powder which is a good ingredient if type of meat has been specifically mentioned. The DARK SIDE is, we do not know what actually the “meat” is if the label only mention “meat meal” vaguely.
Ingredient label only mention
“Poultry Meal” vaguely.
3. Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables
Whole plants ingredients such as sweet potato, chickpeas should be fresh and unprocessed.
What are the HARMFUL ingredients in kibbles?
1. Meat By-Product
Leftover part of a slaughter animal which is inedible and unfit for human grade food.
Quality of a named by-product meal (Ex: chicken by-product) is not as good as whole meat / named meat meal, however, it is still acceptable.
Think twice before you buy the kibble if meat by-product is not named, and only mentioned as “ meat by-product”. This is because unknown source of meat may come from dying livestock, road kill or dead zoo animals.
Ingredient label only mention
“Poultry and Poultry by Products” vaguely.
2. Generic Fat Source
Animal fat is another common item that will appear in the kibble ingredient list. This can be anything, maybe different mystery animal fat that mix together. It is better if the fat source is named such as chicken fat.
3. Artificial Preservatives / Antioxidants
BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin is the common preservatives / antioxidants used in kibble. They are cheap and ensure the kibble have longer shelf life. These artificial preservatives have been linked to cancer causing agent, allergic and skin diseases.
Sadly, even the ingredient label doesn’t mention any artificial preservatives, it doesn’t mean the kibble are free from them! Please always check the expiry date on the label!
4. Artificial Color
Common artificial color used in kibble are Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2 and Yellow 6.
Adding artificial color is to make the kibble to look like it contains real ingredients. For example, green symbolize vegetables. Green color kibbles will make consumers feel real vegetables have been added in the kibbles.
5. Artificial Flavours
Made up of different types of chemical substances.
Common sweeteners are corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, sorbitol, propylene glycol.
Added into kibbles to improve palatability. However, this will cause health issue such as diabetes to dogs.
If the kibbles you buy contains those low quality ingredients but your doggie looks perfectly fine, then is good for you! Remember, there is no food is best for all dogs. You need to observe your dog’s response to what you feed him.