Even Brogan is hiding away from these foods!
To sum it up, because I know the list takes forever to get through as each takes up a page:
20. Purina One Smart Blend
19. Hill’s Science Diet (any formula)
17. SportMix Wholesomes
16. Purina Veterinary Diets
15. Retriever Hi Protein
14. Diamond Premium
13. Purina Moist & Meaty Burger
12. Dad’s Econ-o-mets
11. Retriever Mini-Chunk
10. Purina Beneful Original
9. Purina Dog Chow
8. Kibbles N’ Bits
7. Pedigree Adult
5. Twin Pet
3. Kal Kan
2. Gravy Train
1. Ol’ Roy
If you’re feeding any of these foods, never fear! You’re not a terrible pet parent! I repeat: You are not a terrible pet parent! I promise, but take an inside look into how the pet industry runs their ingredient lists so you can learn for the future!
Mind you, ingredients are labeled by pre-cooked weight. Besides the fact that the ingredient list on all of these foods is devised to make people believe there is more meat in the food than there actually is–although most companies don’t even try anymore–most of these foods are comprised of mostly corn, wheat, and soy.
For those who feed veterinary diets and feel like their vet has betrayed them, I assure you, they have not. Most vets are only required to take one dietary nutrition course in their schooling, and it’s usually sponsored by one of the veterinary diets, Hill’s being the most predominant. Most holistic vets will have actually gone out of their way to take multiple nutrition courses and find that there are different foods that are much higher in quality, and although they may not have “Veterinary diet” on the bag, they can help much more than any prescription bag can.
Notice that a few of the pages bring up the salt content. AAFCO recommends that dry dog food contains a minimum of at least 0.3% sodium. That being said, the amount of salt in the food must be less than 1% of the diet, and anything labeled underneath salt in the ingredient list is a minimal addition to the nutritional makeup.
Most of the time in good, healthy pet foods, the salt falls in line with the vitamin pack. In a lot of junk foods, salt is up with and before the good ingredients, so while an unknowing puppy parent can see that there’s a lot of good stuff, if they don’t know about any of the information above, they’ll think their food is gut loaded with good ingredients, but really there’s next to nothing of the stuff after salt.
(Numbers on salt content snagged from here because I couldn’t remember it off the top of my head)
In addition, just because an ingredient list doesn’t place an ingredient higher on the list, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t belong right in those top 5 ingredients. Many companies do what is called “ingredient splitting” which is where companies will take an ingredient (ie. Corn, rice, etc.) and they will split it down into different forms that can be labelled on the bag differently (Corn meal, Corn flour, Rice gluten, Rice bran, etc.) So on a food that is technically labeled as: Meat/protein, Corn meal, Corn flour, Rice gluten, Rice bran — you’re getting the drift– it really lines up at corn, rice, meat.
Companies do this to push their meats up to the top of their list and create the illusion that meat makes up the most of their food. Hill’s science diet is one of the offenders:
Hills Science Diet Adult (Dry)
Ingredients: Chicken, whole grain wheat, cracked pearled barley, whole grain sorghum, whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, chicken meal, pork fat, chicken liver flavor, dried beet pulp, soybean oil, lactic acid, flaxseed, potassium chloride, iodized salt, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, biotin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), oat fiber, taurine, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, beta-carotene, apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, green peas
So as we break this down, basically everything after “iodized salt” has next to no importance since there’s next to none of it in there, so those apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, and green peas listed after the vitamin pack are basically nonexistent.
Then we look up at the majority of food: Whole grain wheat, cracked pearled barley, whole grain sorghum, whole grain corn, corn gluten meal. Look at that! We have a split ingredient right there! So right there you have something that bumps you up to more corn than they let on. Then you have wheat, which has little to no actual nutritional value for dogs, Barley, which supplies a good source of fiber, and a couple other nutrients, but otherwise is only moderately nutritious, and whole grain sorghum, which is yet another cereal grain which a similar nutrient profile to corn (though it is gluten free and “boasts smoother blood sugar behavior” than other grains according to dogfoodadvisor.
Now the big kicker here is that the main protein is Chicken, which is about 80% water when raw. So when they weigh the chicken, it doesn’t account for all of the water loss during cooking. Think of it this way, you have this big, luscious chicken breast that you can’t wait to cook! It’s so big, you may even be able to use leftovers for lunch tomorrow! How exciting! But when you finally get to cooking that B
adLarry, you realize that it’s shrinking and by the time you get your chicken breast on your plate, it’s a LOT smaller, same goes for chicken in dog food. So the actual chicken content of this food is a lot less than it’s listed, but companies weigh chicken at raw weight. A better ingredient to put here would be chicken meal, or even at second ingredient. Chicken meal has about 300% more protein than plain chicken. But we don’t see chicken meal until after that mountain of grains.
At the end of the day, this food is far more grain than meat, and you’re better off feeding something of higher quality with fewer grains and fillers and no corn. You can’t digest corn, neither can your dog!
Information on ingredient splitting and Science Diet ingredients pulled from