When researching dog food, it is easy to feel a little overwhelmed. Between all the different ingredients, manufacturing processes, brands, formulas, and other information, feeling confused is normal.
There are many aspects of dog food you should know to make sure your pet is provided with the best food possible but due to issues with dog food testing, this too can be difficult.
We wanted to take this opportunity to explain some of the continuing issues pertaining to dog food testing so you would have a better understanding of areas that need more focus when choosing healthy food for your dog.
Over the years, a large number of people have become extremely focused on making healthy choices, which is great and as a result, this focus has filtered down to decisions for pets, which is also exciting.
Today, pet owners want to choose better quality food but to do this, they need accurate information about ingredients, processing, and other factors that would come from dog food testing. The concept is that testing would make the decision-making process easier but considering issues exist, buying dog food is somewhat of a guessing game.
In the past 10 years, numerous pet food companies have developed unique formulas in support of various canine health issues such as arthritis, allergies, diabetes, kidney problems, and more. However, even these specially blended foods are usually not made to meet the basic requirements in support of good health.
Another interesting thing is that when healthy food is provided, dogs live long and healthy lives but when fed poor quality food, they can actually develop a number of health problems to include diabetes, allergies, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. At this point, dog food testing lacks what consumers need to differentiate between the two choices.
Viewpoint on Pets
Sadly, only a few pet product companies actually take results from dog food testing seriously. Most are more focused on the company’s bottom line and methods of generating profit opposed to providing dogs with healthy food choices.
In addition, many companies create food to please owners, not dogs. For instance, outside packaging is designed to attract the attention of owners, shapes and sizes of food are made to appeal to owners and what they think their pet might like, and marketing efforts are targeted to sell products.
Just as children love cereal and other food items that have bright colors, cute shapes, and interesting themes, many pet product companies use this same concept as a means of making dog food appealing to owners while the dog is only interested in flavor.
In truth, responsible dog owners want food their pets like but more importantly, food that is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and even antioxidants. Because of the way companies targeting marketing efforts, any reliable results that come from dog food testing are usually overlooked.
Although there are many pieces of important information coming from dog food testing, grade of food used is certainly near the top of the list. Another thing that is often overlooked by pet owners is the actual nutritional value of ingredients used in different brands and formulas of pet food.
However, if more pet owners knew what to look for on labels, they would have the ability to separate poor quality dog food versus products made from natural and human grade ingredients.
One of the challenges when it comes to dog food testing is that companies are owned by domestic and international organizations so processes are not always uniform. For instance, manufacturing pet food in Europe would need to meet or exceed one set of standards while products made in the United States would follow a different set of rules. Because of this, dog food testing is seldom even across the board.
To give you an idea why this is such a big deal, consider the companies listed below and who the owners are, which covers both dog and cat food products.
Hill’s Science Diet – Owned by Colgate Palmolive
9 Lives, Cycle, Gravy Train, Kibbles and Bits, Nature’s Recipe, and Reward – Owned by Del Monte
Advance, Cesar, Pedigree, Sheba, and Whiskas – Owned by Mars
Alpo, Beneful, Chef’s Blend, Come ‘N Get it, Deli-Cut, Dog Chow, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Kit ‘N Kaboodle, Mighty Dog, Pro Plan, and Purina One – Owned by Nestle
Eukanuba and Iams – Owned by Procter & Gamble
Standards of Dog Food
The bottom line is that the quality of pet food could be exceptional or poor but to make this determination, consumers would need to understand the good versus bad ingredients and then spend time reading and analyzing information on product labels.
While this is all good, because there are still inconsistent processes in place specific to dog food testing, people find it hard to rely on information provided. However, considering that other pertinent information is missing, decisions are still being made partially on guesswork.
Now in saying this, the Association of American Feed Control Officials or AAFCO does have set standards that all pet food products must meet or exceed. The easiest way to distinguish these foods from others would be to look for the words “complete and balanced” on the product label or somewhere on the packaging.
Obviously, this helps but again, officials of this organization agree that the quality of actual standards is flawed, thereby making it near impossible to depend on results of dog food testing.