Dog Food – Why ‘premium’& ‘free range’ chickens arent worth it
Euro monitor gives the latest trend in dog food as ” Premiumisation, humanisation and a focus on health and wellness will be the key trends driving dog food sales throughout the forecast period.” The questions you need to ask is:
Is Premiumisation’ just in branding and packaging, or actually more meat and better quality meat in the dog food. Generally the answer is no.
Humanisation is a big red flag. Mostly because humans are omnivores and tend to enjoy processed food whereas your dog is a carnivore and better off with meat based foods. NOT “human”.
In fact its said to be the feeding of dogs table scraps high in fat content that have lead to an outbreak of pancreatitis and other such ‘human’ ailments.
“cereal- and grain-free, with free-range chickens“
This might look like a brilliant trend until you of course read the fine detail.
Grains typically are classed as cereals. The vast majority of dog food, wet and dry on the market is mostly made of grains or cereals. These vegetables have fibre in them (if they are whole grain) and a dog can gain Energy from them, but the fats and proteins are not geared to what a dog needs.
But the replacement of grains in most dog foods is almost exactly taken up with other vegetables such as potato or peas or anything else that is useful for adding bulk to your dog food.
The two major things that the savvy dog food maker concentrates on after they make a really pretty packet with meat on it, is making sure a dog will eat the grains (ie put lots of oil and sugar and salt on it) AND that it provides the bare nutrition required by aafco tables.
These tables are notoriously lax and are geared towards large dog food makers being able to mostly put cheap grains and vegetables in the food so they can make a profit. While your dog could eat the same amount of dog food at a fraction of the size if it was mostly dried meat, dried meat is expensive and it would not look like a lot of food for your money in the packet. Dog food makers know people expect big puffy brown cereal grains in the packet, and for a dogs stomach to literally expand as the grain pellets expand in their stomach with moisture.
Free range chicken is not always humane Chicken
The ABC site says that in 2016 that the “The national definition of free-range will require hens have “meaningful and regular” access to the outdoors, and that the density of chickens outdoors must be no more than one hen per square metre (10,000 hens per hectare).”
You will find that many animal activists will applaud that at least a law was made for labelling – but that “meaningful and regular” is so subjective as to be meaningless and does not protect the chicken.
Just allowing a chicken access from a barn to the outside world, does not mean that they all will find that hole in the wall, or choose to be outside, if there are fearful things out there or if they have been conditioned to live inside.
If more startling is the following information ” The change is significantly less strict than the 1,500 birds per hectare standard preferred by the RSPCA and consumer group Choice Australia — a standard that is already encouraged by the Australian Capital Territory.”
Yes, the preferred standard by the RSPCA is about EIGHT TIMES less chicken density than the best current free range certification allows for! But then again no one knows where the chicken source for dog treats or dog food comes from – claiming the ethical superiority with watered down laws is always fraught with danger.
Dog food, the profit motive and large corporations
You might be shocked to know that large corporations (by definition) have making profit as their number one goal. Not getting caught doing illegal things is a close second, however if enough corporations band together to tell you that black is white, or that vegetables are actually dog food, then at least all of their share holders will believe it.
The dog food industry is an oligopoly controlled by massive corporations that almost NO vet doesn’t receive some money from by selling their product. Many of these dog food companies are found to be sponsoring Vet schools at universities.
There are many reasons to doubt that a grain or vegetable diet is actually healthy or responsible for your dog.
The safest thing for you to understand is that ” Premiumisation, humanisation” is all about making large companies richer, and if they accidently make a genuinely healthy product (ie mainly meat) then that is great, but don’t hold your breath.
If you feed your dog any kind of dog food made in a factory, make sure you add meat dog treats on a daily schedule to balance up the grain and veggies your dog is eating.