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Dog Food Labels Are Made To Be Misleading ~

Protein is a good example of this. We look at the percentage of protein, but that doesn’t tell us biological value or digestibility. The biological value depends on each protein’s unique composition of the amino acids that it is comprised of. The digestibility if of course the extent to which the gastrointestinal tract can actually absorb it.

Because manufacturers are required to list only the amount of crude protein, most people don’t realize that terms like “meat by-products” can actually mean poultry feather meal, gristle, leather meal (like shoes or belt leather), fecal waste from poultry and other animals, and horse and cattle hair. Robert Abady, founder of the Robert Abady Dog Food Company, describes meat and bone meal as “generally comprised of ground bone, gristle, and tendons, and is the cheapest and least nutritious of the by-product meals.” The same being true of lamb meal, poultry or chicken meal, or fish meal, all of which are widely used in pet foods. Because of the added tough, fibrous ingredients, dogs are only able to digest about 75% of the protein in meat meal. This is made even less digestible by the prolonged high temperatures used to sterilize pet foods destroying much of the usefulness of even those proteins that started with a high biological value. The heat causes proteins to combine with sugars, naturally occurring in the food, to form compounds that can’t be broken down by the digestive enzymes.

Carbohydrates can be an excellent source of nutrients, however, in such foods as a soft-moist dog food, they usually come from such empty-calorie sources as sugar, propylene glycol, and corn syrup.

Fats ~ usually from animal fats unfit for human consumption. Such fats may be rancid which is actually toxic to the body.

Fiber ~ May come from whole grains and vegetables or it can come from peanut hulls, hair or even newspapers.

Other Ingredients:

Rice flour ~ finely powdered, usually the end process of milling and of very little nutritional value.

Beet sugar ~ the dried residue from the sugar beet.

Corn gluten meal ~ dried residue from corn after removal of starch, germ and bran. Little, if any, nutritional value.

Brewer’s rice ~ rice sections that have been discarded from the manufacturing of beer, which contain pulverized, dried, spent hops. Again little, if any, nutritional value.

Rancid or moldy grains ~ unacceptable for human use.

The better brands of pet food, such as many “super-premium,” “natural,” and “organic” varieties, do not use by-products. On the label, you’ll see one or more named meats among the first few ingredients, such as “turkey” or “lamb.” These meats are still mainly leftover scraps; in the case of poultry, bones are allowed, so “chicken” consists mainly of backs and frames—the spine and ribs, minus their expensive breast meat. The small amount of meat left on the bones is the meat in the pet food.

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