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What Is In That ‘Can or Packet’ Of Dog Food?

3 Mar 2016 5:05 PM -

The long-held philosophy is that harsh chemical preservatives and ingredients of low quality in various commercially prepared dog foods is the major cause of dog illnesses, skin irritations, periodontal disease and premature death. This is why it is advisable to follow the principal of the Raw Meaty Bone Diet that has no preservatives. Understand that the dog food industry undergoes a multi-million-dollar turnover every year, and the companies vying for a slice of the pie are countless. 

Do not forget that the marketing strategy is designed to make you as the dog owner feel that you are not feeding your dog with the right ingredients. 

As opposed to the human food industry, the dog industry is self-regulated and for the betterment of their commodity they must make products that come with a long shelf life that requires zero refrigeration. For this to be achieved, a range of preservatives are used in high quantities, some of them detrimental to the health of your dog, while others are banned for human consumption. For them to claim that no preservatives are added to the dog food, the chemicals are added to the raw product before arriving at the dog food factory, also the quality and amounts of proteins used are very low with high amounts of (fillers) grain products used to bulk up their product. Because of the poor quality of proteins and the manufacturing processes used to produce these foods which destroys most of the goodness of the raw ingredients, they then add synthetic vitamins and minerals known as Premix, these have the effect of blocking the natural receptors of natural vitamins that your dog has leading to more health problems. By adding this Premix they can then state that their product is a well-balanced diet for your dog.

Harmful Chemicals Used in Dog Food and Treats.

With the ever changing technology and high competition in the market today, there has been a high rise of dog food contamination. It's your responsibility as the dog owner to be a little more cautious when making your dog food and product purchase. Below, we will discuss about various products you as the dog owner must avoid, and the foods you need not feed your dogs with. 

Why Companies Find Preservatives Are Necessary

Animal fats are a crucial part of dog food. They are prone to spoilage and can become rancid after the date of manufacture. For the shelf life to be extended, a certain preservative must be added to the ingredients. Don’t get this wrong. It should be clear that preservatives vary. They can be classified as artificial or natural. 

Natural preservatives are only made from vitamins E and C. In dog boxes, you will notice words like ‘ascorbite’ or ‘tocopherol’ meaning they have vitamins C or E. The good news is natural preservatives are safe when used in moderation. 

Sodium (Salts) are also deemed as a natural preservative and is used in high amounts in most commercial produced dog treats and food products, so much that they suggest you have a bowl of water nearby for them to quench the salt produced thirst you just feed them with. Dogs will get enough salt requirements from fresh meats and do not need added salt in their diet.

What’s Important to Note?

Understand that every dog is a captive audience that will consume what you present. So, keep off artificial preservatives completely. The common chemical additives you must watch include:

  • Sulphur Dioxide
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Propylene glycol
  • BHT
  • BHA 
  • Propyl Gallate

Pet Food Companies use the preservative, sulphur dioxide, in pet meat products, especially raw meat products with impunity because there are no rules about labelling or how much can be added. Clinical studies have proven that sulphur dioxide can destroy Vitamin B (thiamine) levels in food, which is essential to animal health, this why the packet will sometimes state Now with added Thiamine, Scientists have warned that thiamine deficiency can cause neurological breakdown in cats and dogs.

‘Ethoxyquin’ (E324) is one dangerous label that you must watch out for in the dog food box. It is a very dangerous preservative in the dog food and should it be there; then you must treat the product as one that contains a harmful chemical in dog food. It is a harsh element that is not solely used as a pesticide in rubber, but also as a preservative of fats in dog food. 

For a long time, this chemical has been banned from preserving human food, but is still in use for the preservation of dog food and treats in some countries. Veterinarians suspect that skin problems, allergic reactions, kidney disease or failure, cancer, behaviour problems and major organ failure could be linked to ‘ethoxyquin’.

‘Propylene glycol’, for instance, is used in dog foods to reduce moisture, keeps the food soft and squishy and prevents the growth of bacteria, it also has a sweet taste to dogs that they find moreish. Note that your dogs need intestinal bacteria that promote the absorption and digestion of food. Given that this ingredient decreases the growth of bacteria, it is also excellent for reducing the needed good growth. It reduces moisture needed to aid in digestion. For this reason, some dogs are likely to develop cancerous lesions in the intestines or experience intestinal blockage. Avoiding them could very well add healthy years to your dog’s life. 

The other dangerous chemical to watch out for are ‘butylated hydroxyanisole - BHA’ and ‘Butylated hydroxytoluene - BHT’. 

W.H.O has so far named BHA and BHT as suspicious cancer-causing compounds. In fact, the state of California has identified BHA as a possible carcinogen. Unfortunately, these two bad boys are still present in many commercial dog foods. 

The over use of artificial preservatives is not a good story. Should any dog be fed with foods laden with these chemical preservatives for an extended periods of time it can lead to serious health issues internally and externally and shorten their life span by many years. 

Foods To Keep Away From Your Dog

Did you know that there are foods in your kitchen that are dangerous to your dog? 

1. Grapes, raisins and currants: All of these can quickly lead to kidney failure in your dog meaning you need to keep them away. 

2. Avocados: Can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea and don’t let your dog chew on the seeds. 

3. Walnuts and macadamia: Can both cause muscle damage. 

4. Onions and garlic: Are great in flavouring food for us, but can lead to blood cell damage in your dog and anaemia so be careful with certain left over human foods that you may give your dog, e.g. stews

5. Alcohol: Can make your dog go into a coma and lead to intoxication. Note that alcohol can also kill them. 

6. Cooked bones: Being carnivores, dogs are designed to chew and digest raw bones. Cooked bones are not digested by your dog and can cause lacerations in the stomach and cuts in the digestive system.

7. Corn Syrup/Corn: Is a sugar used to sweeten dog’s palate. Too much sugar will contribute to diabetes, weight gain, and hyperactivity over time. With time, corn may develop mould or fungus, and as a result cause death.

8. Dairy: meaning milk and products made from it like butter, cheese, yoghurt can cause diarrhoea in your dog

9. Mushrooms: Although you may not feed mushrooms to your dog at home, be careful when with it in the fields as some mushroom species can cause death in your dog.

10. Junk foods: Like burgers and fries can lead to pancreatitis in your dog

11. Caffeine: Can cause diarrhoea and vomiting in dogs and lead to damage in the heart and the nervous system

12. Chocolate: Can lead to damage in the heart, the nervous system, and can kill them if fed in large amounts. 

It is vital that you ensure that as a pet owner, you have an in-depth knowledge about all the harmful ingredients in processed dog food. Remember, ignorance can be very costly and painful for both the owner and his dog. As a matter of fact, Zoe’s Doggy Treats’ main focus is to provide your dogs with safe and healthy treats. 

Our main philosophies are:

  • To Make Pet Treats Healthy Enough For Everyday
  • Only Make Tail Wagging Pet Food Treats
  • Pack Affordable Value into Every Treat!

Please go ahead and contact us to learn more about our range of healthy dog treat products.

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2 Jul 2016,8:17 AM - Wendy Fardon
Hi Deb & Rob,
Wow! I hadn't realised what was in all the food and treats I have been giving my little Judy the Staffy, she has had some skin issues that I and the vet haven't been able to resolve and I have tried everything the vet had advised and sold me, however since changing her diet to a more natural and preservative free one Judy is a completely different dog, her skin and fur are normal and she has stopped her constant scratching so I just wanted to say thank you both for your info on crappy dog foods and what goes into them.
Wendy and Judy the Staffy.