Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe…

March 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

 

Acana, Eukanuba, IAMS, Nature’s Recipe, Orijen, Pedigree, Pro Plan, Purina, Royal Canin, Science Diet, Taste of the Wild, Wellness… There are more dry dog food brands on the shelves of our local pet shop than there are brands of breakfast cereal for humans in the supermarket! Our furkids are definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to their kibbles—but are all kibbles made equal?

In 2007, cat and dog owners across North America, Europe, and South Africa were given a scare when several major pet-food companies began recalling their products, which were found to have been tainted with melamine during the manufacturing process in overseas production plants. When added to wheat flour, melamine superficially inflates the protein content of the product thus making it appear more protein-rich and, hence, more valuable in the market. Affected cats and dogs were found to have developed acute kidney failure and, sadly, an unaccounted number of them died as a result.

The experience prompted everyone across the spectrum—pet-food companies, food regulatory bodies, and pet owners—to be more accountable for their own actions. Today, pet-food companies claim to be taking greater responsibility in carefully sourcing for their ingredients, while food regulatory bodies attempt to tighten up legislation on the regulation of pet food. At the same time, pet owners are increasingly more saavy and scrupulous when it comes to food shopping for their furry companions.

I began cultivating the habit of reading food labels as a teenager (I guess I inherited the practice from my parents who are both, paradoxically, foodies and health nuts). So, likewise, when shopping for kibbles, I would naturally scan the food labels first. MM, on the other hand, would sometimes get sidetracked by fancy packaging! Shopping for dog food, however, requires a certain level of know-how which I had to acquire. Initially, my eyes would glaze over words like ‘crude protein’, ‘crude fat’, ‘crude fibre’, ‘meat’ vs ‘meal’, and ‘by-product’—you certainly don’t see these same terms used on human food labels!

To learn more about dog food labelling, you may wish to refer to the US Food and Drug Administration and The Dog Food Project.

As dog owners, MM and I feel we have a duty to know what it is we are feeding lil’ Maple and to invest in the best quality food possible that we can afford in terms of our time and money. For now, MM and I are currently feeding Maple commercial kibbles and supplementing her diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. As promised, I will be reviewing three brands of kibbles: Canine Caviar, Orijen, and Acana. Stay tuned for the reviews on Monday!

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§ 2 Responses to Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe…

  • I look forward to your reviews! It’s overwhelming to navigate through all the different types of food and the unfortunately, the pet food industry does a great job with marketing their food to make it appear more healthy than it is!

    • Oh, definitely, it’s hard not to get reeled in with some of the eye-candy tactics of the pet food industry. These days, the packaging for dog food has so much graphic appeal… and terms like “organic” and “holistic” are often mis-used. It sure can be confusing!

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