February 12, 2013

Dog Food Reviews

Americans own more than 130 million cats and dogs and spend over $12 billion per year on commercial pet foods. Picking which dog food brand you buy can be a confusing ordeal. With lots of brand names and a myriad of formulas for different dog types and ages, picking the right one can be difficult. The internet is a powerful tool for pet owners. A simple search can get you information on nearly every topic, including dog food reviews. There are many websites out there that offer dog food reviews, such as dogfoodscoop, dogfoodadvisor, dogfoodanalysis, petfoodtalk, and dogfoodproject, just to name a few. One thing you will notice in all these dog food review websites is that they rarely agree on which brand is best. They do, however, tend to recommend the same brands to avoid such as ones that include animal by-product, contain ground corn or whole grain corn or if corn is in the first five ingredients. They also agree on the big points to look out for while choosing a brand such as type of ingredients used, the extent of variety included, protein and fat percentages and so on. Another plus when looking for in dog food reviews is that many will include the ingredient lists from the packaging which saves time going through the feed shelves yourself. Most of the websites give preference to dog foods that include at least some of the following ingredients: probiotics, glucosamine and chondroitin, contain fruit and vegetables, barley, oats or oatmeal, different specific animal protein sources (i.e. chicken and turkey, etc.), flax seed oil, and sunflower oil.

It can be very difficult to pick a good dog food brand, a process that is exacerbated by the pet food industry that often has shady business practices. As Harvard Law graduate Justine Patrick pointed out in his 2006 study of pet food company practices dog food reviews are often tainted by the companies themselves.

“These consumers naively believe veterinarians that endorse and sell pet foods from their offices while neglecting to mention that these “pet doctors” are often “on the take” and can earn up to 20% of their total income from such sales.”

The commercial pet food industry faces minimal substantive regulation, despite navigating several layers of regulation from various groups including the FDA, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), and state regulators. The FDA entrusts AAFCO to issue regulations governing ingredients, feeding trials, labels and nutritional claims, but these rules often fail to ensure that America’s pets receive adequate nutrition, or even foods that won’t cause chronic digestive, skin, eye, and coat problems. The pet food industry is able to influence its regulatory commission in such a way that irrational regulations, including ingredient definitions which effectively prohibit organic chickens and vegetables, while blindly permitting thousands of euthanized cats and dogs to make their way into pet foods through the unsupervised rendering industry. Uneducated consumers purchase these commercial pet foods under the assumption that the FDA has ensured that the foods are both safe and providing “complete” nutrition for their beloved pets. With a little research online for dog food reviews and avoiding any store branded mass produced feed, you can ensure that your pet has a healthy diet.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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