"Animal by-products", "oils and fats", "E 123", ... the list of ingredients on dog food packaging is often full of puzzling terms. In order to reduce production costs, save on quality and still make the food palatable for dogs, manufacturers occasionally cheat unnecessary fillers and additives in order to stretch them. However, this does not mean that cheap dog food is automatically worse than expensive products. You can identify inferior goods by looking at the ingredients. You should be careful with the following information.
1. Beware of E numbers: Artificial additives in dog food
As with finished products for humans, artificial additives are also identified by so-called E numbers in dog food. These can be preservatives that make the feed last longer, flavors, attractants and appetite stimulators or colorants. Many of these additives are suspected of causing allergies in sensitive dogs. Amaranth (E123), for example, colors the meat beautifully red so that it looks appetizing and feels fresher to the dog owner (the red color is completely indifferent to your woof). It is suspected to cause intolerance, skin reactions and asthma.
Unnecessary and controversial are also flavor enhancers, which are marked with the E numbers between E 620 and E 637. These include, for example, glutamates, which are repeatedly discredited in humans because they are said to cause discomfort, indigestion and headaches. In addition, flavor enhancers, as well as sweeteners, flavorings and attractants, as well as appetite stimulants, can make dog food so tasty for your four-legged friend that he eats too much of it and the risk of being overweight increases. If the rest of the ingredients are also of poor quality, the wuff may also lack important nutrients and there will gradually appear deficiency symptoms. A harmful effect has so far not been proven beyond doubt with the approved substances, but they are at least superfluous for healthy dog nutrition. The fewer E numbers on the ingredient list, the better.
2. "Animal by-products" are mostly unnecessary ingredients
Ingredient lists sometimes have the rather vague term "animal by-products". Unless the addition "in food quality" is present, it is usually about any slaughterhouse waste that is unsuitable for human consumption. Animal by-products include hooves, feathers, beaks, hair, blood, cartilage, bones, urine and offal. That sounds unsavory, but it is not necessarily harmful. The problem here is that nobody can understand exactly what is behind the term. However, if it is a useful addition to dog food, it is usually differentiated in more detail as to what animal by-products it is. If the term is only used across the board, it is mostly ingredients that your dog cannot use so well and that are therefore unnecessary.
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3. Cheap fillers usually mean poorer quality
But there are also vegetable by-products. This is plant waste, for example core housing, shells and stems, straw or pressed residues from vegetable oil production. Your four-legged friend cannot use these ingredients, they only serve to replenish the food so that it looks more than it is. Grain is also often used as an inexpensive filler. Your wuff can use a few carbohydrates and a little bit of grain, corn and rice, but too much of it means at the same time too little high-quality meat. The further ahead ingredients are listed on the list of ingredients, the higher their proportion in dog food. Sometimes the vegetable fillers are broken up into their individual parts so that the overall proportion looks smaller. So take a close look. Other unnecessary fillers are animal meal, dairy products and bakery products.
4. Molasses and sugar? Your dog doesn't need it
Dog food is occasionally added to sugar to improve the taste. While people can use sugar in moderation, it is completely unnecessary for dogs. The difficult thing is that sugar is not always labeled as such on the ingredient list. The sweet substance can also be hidden behind the terms "molasses", "glucose" and "fructose". Dairy products refer to all waste generated in the manufacture of cheese and dairy products; it can also contain milk sugar (lactose). Bakery products are leftovers that are left over when preparing bread, cakes, cookies, etc. - also a hidden sugar trap.
5. Oils and fats: what's behind them?
"Oils and fats" - that sounds good, why shouldn't a dog need it? The difficult thing here is that the terms are too imprecise and it is not clear whether they are valuable, nutritious oils and fats for the dog or not. This vague designation can also hide old frying fat, for example. Yuck!