Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pet Food Ingredient Breakdown - #3

A premium line of dog foods recently reformulated their products and, call me Suspicious Sally, but I know the country is facing an economic crunch and I wondered how the new ingredients would stand up to scrutiny. Here are the first ingredients listed in one of the new formulas:

Beef, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, animal fat, whole grain corn, soy flour, soybean meal, dried beet pulp, fish meal, animal digest, glycerin

Beef - OK. Ideally this would be USDA inspected beef muscle meat, obtained from local, humane, sustainable farming methods - not feedlot misery. But yeah, I know I'm dreaming.

Brewer's Rice - Alcohol industry waste product which, if not bought by pet food companies, would otherwise end up in the trash bin. AAFCO allows this ingredient to contain "spent hops in an amount not to exceed 3 percent." Spent hops, when ingested by dogs, can be fatal.

Whole Grain Wheat - OK for some dogs but it is a common allergen

Corn Gluten Meal: Waste product from facilities manufacturing corn syrup, used in the extrusion process to bind kibble. Corn gluten is one of many known contaminated pet food ingredients to have poisoned pets in the past.

Poultry By-Product Meal: The bits that people won't eat (such as heads, intestines, and feet) but from what kind of poultry - anyone know? Does the manufacturer know? Apparently not.

Animal Fat - AAFCO describes this as fat from mammals and/or poultry. Dang, how would YOU like to have a dinner made from "mammals". Kinda horror flick like.

Whole Grain Corn - indigestible by dogs, another common allergen

Soy Flour and Soybean Meal - Soy is a common allergen in dogs. The flour is presumably used as a binding agent, while soybean meal is simply waste product of the soybean oil extraction process.

Dried Beet Pulp - Dried residue from sugar beets which is yet another ingredient used in pet foods which would otherwise be sent to the landfill. Pet food companies use it because it binds the stool and apparently as owners, we are so excited to see firm stool that we don't care if it's the result of some junk ingredient added to the food as opposed to an accurate reflection of good nutrition and healthy digestion. Gosh, we're dumb.

Fish Meal - What kind of fish is "Fish"? In order to comply with US Coast Guard regulations, all fish meal must be preserved with ethoxyquin. The pet food manufacturer need not list the ethoxyquin as an ingredient since they didn't add it themselves.

Animal Digest - Ick.

Glycerin - a waste product of the bio-fuel industry

Overall product ingredients review: *sounds buzzer* It looks like this company has cut corners even further in order to try and maintain profitability during the economic crisis. Too bad for the dogs who rely on this food as their main source of nourishment. To my mind, a diet of healthy table scraps would be far superior.


EmilyS said...

Is this a test, or can you tell us the brand of the food?

YesBiscuit! said...

It's not a test (I can't find my red pen anyway!) - the food is Pro Plan Shredded Blend Beef and Rice

jan said...

[gagging] There are some great ideas for dishes for a human on a diet: Mammal soup, Buzzard stew...

EmilyS said...

oh for goodness sake, that's the "new" food Purina is promoting heavily.. .I see ads on about every dog webiste I go to.

YesBiscuit! said...

Jan - How about some undeveloped eggs over-easy served on a bed of diced mammals?

EmilyS - Yeah but you don't see those ads HERE, for some reason... ; )

EmilyS said...

"How about some undeveloped eggs over-easy served on a bed of diced mammals?"

I think one of the contestants on TOP CHEF tried to serve that last week!


Caveat said...

I had sliced mammals on fermented baked ground grains with the bacterially altered and long-aged milk of a mother herbivore, topped with berries from the nightshade family for lunch today. I even added an emulsification of unfertilized ova, the oil of a tree fruit, lemon juice and the minerals left after dehydrating seawater.


I never feed dogs anything with corn or soy in it. I thought the beet pulp was for fibre. Obviously not although it's probably OK to eat.

I should tell my friend to check the label on the ProPlan Turkey and Barley he's been feeding his dogs (who look great) for years.

Barb said...

More than the icky ingredients, I'd like to point out that although "beef" is listed first, and thus makes up a larger percentage of the formula by weight than any other single ingredient, it refers to whole meat which naturally contains a LOT of water. They have to dehydrate it to make the dry food, and when they take out the water... presto... the meat suddenly weighs a lot less than other single ingredients. The only time a dry pet food can claim to be "meat based" is if the first ingredient is some sort of meat meal (dried, powdered meat) - beef meal, chicken meal, lamb meal etc. Then you can truly compare the quantity of the respective ingredients based on weight.
Another common trick is to list ingredients with a common source separately. So you have "corn gluten meal" and "whole corn" listed separately although these are both corn products. If you had to list them together as one ingredient, they'd be much higher on the list.
So this is a totally grain-based food. If you're going to go that route, it would probably be cheaper - and would be MUCH healthier for the dog - to just feed him oatmeal or rice with some table scraps. Which, you know, is essentially how people were feeding dogs for thousands of years.

smartdogs said...


Thanks for reminding my we feed a home-made diet!