Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dog Food Deceptions

I spent a great deal of time today doing research for a dog food reference that we could use to compare different brands of food to Kumpi. It was somewhat distressing to see how sneaky and misleading some brands were trying to be about their product. I quickly found that it was quite difficult to even get a list of ingredients from the main pages of many foods—I ended up getting the ingredient lists off of the Petco website!

Seeing the ingredients, and how they fail to support a lot of the claims of the brand, it’s not hard to know why they made it difficult to find it online. There are a lot of little tricks that companies can do to try and “beef up” the ingredient list of their food. The most misleading (in my opinion) is to list different meats (like chicken, beef, etc.) in the top five ingredients. It sounds like something great—this food’s first ingredient is chicken! What it doesn’t take into account, however, is that the water weight in that chicken is counted in the tabulation. Water weight will cook off in the process of creating a dry dog food. The ingredient that you want to see is a meat meal. Meals already have the water weight removed, so there is a lot more bang for your buck. But in the money-making industry of pet food, even the apparently “good” ingredients can be misleading. If a company does not use human grade meat meals, then the meal is made up of mostly “leftover” portions, after the good cuts of meat have been taken for human consumption. A lot of dog-food ingredients are like this, and have a much lower nutritional value than human grade ingredients.

We’ve all learned the same rule of thumb for looking at ingredients—the first five make up the majority of the product. It’s tempting to assume that the first ingredient is the “base” of the food, but this is hardly ever the case. There is just slightly more of it than there is of ingredient number two. So if you see a food that has Chicken Meal first, but it is followed by grain after grain, that food is certainly not chicken-based! Evy has a really great article up on her site about some of the deceptive label-making practices. When you are dealing with a giant company that is all about the bottom line (pet food will bring in an estimated $19.53 billion in the US this year), you can pretty well assume that it is not entirely about keeping your pet healthy.

There are a lot of ingredients (sneaky labeling practices) that you should look out for. The first is vaguely listed ingredients. Things such as “natural flavor,” or “animal fat” should be viewed with caution. What exactly is a “natural flavor”? Where did the “animal fat” come from? Such vaguely defined terms can hide the true source of the ingredient—which may have been any “4-D” animal (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to processing). If the company is not comfortable being explicit about what is in the food they are selling you, then you should definitely not feel comfortable asking your best friend to eat it!

Kumpi uses only human-grade ingredients, and all processing is voluntarily held to human baking standards. There has also never been a recall, nor any sort of health scare with Kumpi. It is a food that you can rely on, from a small company that holds itself accountable. It was also formulated by a multi-species nutritionist, a true scientist who has dedicated his life to studying the exact effects of different ingredients. The company president, Evy, will talk to you and answer any questions that you have. Her phone number (her personal home phone) is right on the bag! Try and get that sort of commitment from any big commercial dog food brand. And a bag of Kumpi is 100% guaranteed—if it doesn’t work out for your pet, there is a hassle-free refund.

The more I learn about dog nutrition and the pet food industry, the more I like Kumpi! My pup Gordon eats it (he does backflips for the stuff, no joke!), and he is doing really well. Polo, Cortez, and Gibson are all on Kumpi as well, as are many dogs that attend daycare here at the Fort.

If you are interested in learning more about the pet food industry, check out The Dog Food Project. They have a lot of great information up there about different foods and ingredients. If you want to see how your pet food measures up, just ask Dave, Grant, Nancy, or myself. If we don't already have your food's ingredient list, we can look it up and point out which ingredients you should be wary of.

I'll see you again later!


No comments:

Post a Comment