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Dry Dog Food Kibble. Composition adult V Mature V weight control. Which is best?

Dog PelletsFor those of you who feed your dogs dry pellets you will find this article quite interesting. It compares regular pellet diets of major brands with the Mature product (dogs  7 plus years) and weight control pellet diets. You will find a very high percentage of carbs in grain form for all but the last product analysed.

This analysis looks at the ingredient and nutrition profiles for Eukanuba, Advance, Hills Science Diet, Canidae , EVO as of July 2013.

This article looks at what the major companies do to change a regular pellet meal into a mature dog meal and a weight control meal. Each brand sticks to their main formula and tweaks it a little in the energy per gram, protein and fat percentages. This usually means changing the order of the first five main ingredients and their percentages, though percentages are NEVER stated for specific ingredients. There is often a stark difference in which grains the companies choose to use.

I was motivated to perform this research when trying to find 'the right kind of fibre' as a supplement to my dog's raw meat (including bones and offal) diet. The one thing that I found that a pellet diet might provide that a purely meat based diet would not (through the inclusion of carbs) is plant fibre content.  It is true that fibre  (the fermentable part) is quite important for the proper functioning of the dog's intestine.

Note the images are generic pellet images, not related specifically to these brands.

DOG FOOD WEIGHT CONTROL FORMULAS

The reason that people use weight loss products is many folds. In an ideal world, all conscientious dog owners would be taking their dog for a long off lead walk daily. The reality is quite different. So rather than restrict a dog's pellets, an owner can provide slightly more weight control pellets and the dog will have a full stomach. Some breeds that are prone to weight gain can also benefit from such a weight loss formulation.

My original interest in weight loss product was that I was informed that many of these products simple add more fibre to the ingredients list (boosting it from 5% to 10%). If it was the case, and the right kind of fibre was used 'moderately fermentable' then those products might be useful as a supplement to a raw meat diet.   interestingly for the weight control products analyzed, they used a different method.

Dogs that consume fewer calories than they burn… lose weight

A weight control pellet formula usually means (in comparison to the regular product) that it has: Below-average calories; Above-average protein; Below-average fat

DOG FOOD SENIOR DIETS

Energy requirements - most dogs need a moderate reduction in energy provided by foods as they age. This is because they exercise less and their metabolism slows down. One study showed that dogs older than eight years consumed approximately 18% few calories than same breed dogs aged less than six years of age. This is not the same mechanism that occurs in cats (they need more energy at the extreme end of their life). (ref 1 Ref 1 p 268)

Protein and Amino Acids

"The decrease in lean body mass that occurs with aging results in a loss of the protein reserves that can normally be used by the body during reactions to stress and illness. It is important that older dogs be provided with high quality protein at a level that is sufficient to supply the essential amino acids needed for body maintenance needs and to minimise losses of lean body tissue." ref 1

Fats

It is suggested that increased body fat with aging might be due to "an increasing inability of the dog's body to metabolize lipids.  Slightly decreasing the amount of fat in the diet may benefit old dogs provided the fat remaining in the diet is both highly digestible and rich in essential fatty acids (EFA's). A decrease in the proportion of calories contributed by fat also decreases the diets energy density. This is an advantage for older dogs that have reduced energy needs." ref 1

The three main dog food philosophies

1 Dog Pellets: Cost considerations usually mean that meat is a small percentage of these packs. Most dog pellets from leading companies have a high percentage of grains in them. Thier major selling points are convenience and the AAFCO tick of approval.

2 Dog Pellets with High Meat Sources: As a compromise some companies are providing either a higher meat percentage (such as EVO) or "grain free" products (like some of Canidae range). These are often sold at a much higher price.

3 Raw meat diet. I personally believe that this is the closest to the evolution of the dog. however texts warn that a predominantly meat based diet (without accurate addition of bones offal and fibre) will cause in-balances in the dog.

DOG FOOD - The value of grain free.

The pellet mixes will still contain a large amount of vegetables, however these are often plant sources like potato and peas. The theory goes that in general plant based proteins are harder for a dog to digest than animal based proteins. And in particular grains require considerable processing from grinding and heat treatment (to make proteins available) and the addition of oils to make the grains palatable (tasty).

By comparison you will find that most dogs can eat raw or cooked meat and it needs very little processing, leaving most of the nutrients intact, meaning that a raw meat diet does not require as many vitamins and minerals to be added.

The following is a brief analysis of these brands adult, mature and weight control products for CHICKEN products: Eukanuba, Advance, Hills Science Diet, Canidae , EVO

NOTE the tables includes only the first fifteen ingredients in each pellet pack, A full list of these is provided in the Appendix at the bottom of this article. As of July 2013

THE CHICKEN VARIETY of each brand is used as the benchmark

 

DOG FOOD Comparison normal diet, senior diet, WEIGHT CONTROL diet

EUKANUBAnutrition tables  (% dry matter)

 

 

ADULT MAINTENANCE

SENIOR MAINTENANCE

WEIGHT CONTROL

Calorie content   kcal/kg

4,332

3,992

3,875

Crude Protein (Min)

25%

27%

19%

Crude Fat (Min)

16.0%

12%

9%

Crude Fibre (Max)

5.0%

4%

4.0%

Crude Ash (Max)

 

 

 

Phosphorus (P) (Min)

 

 

 

Calcium (Ca) (Min)

 

 

 

Moisture (Max)

10.0%

 

10.0

Vitamin E (min)   IU/kg

140

 

140

Omega 6 *

2.3%

1.75%

2.10

Omega 3 *

0.30%

0.25%

0.30

 

You will see from this table that the senior maintenance formula as 2% more protein, 4% less fat and slightly less fibre. The weight control product has less protein and less fat

INGREDIENT COMPARIONS

The adult maintenance formula has "chicken" listed as the first ingredient, however this includes the water content (60-80% water), which is why it is necessary to have the second ingredient also a chicken product. "chicken by-product meal" means that this product is the dry powdered chicken version. "chicken by-product meal" is composed of chicken flesh but can include bones, heads, intestines.

The summation of the weights of the third to fifth ingredients: corn, sorghum, and barley is likely to be the largest single ingredient (grain) by percentage.  Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain, that like sorghum is believed to be only of small nutritional value to a dog.

Senior maintenance: From the tables, we can see that this product has 2% more protein and 4% less fat than the regular adult version. From the ingredient list below you can see that this is achieved by dropping the product "chicken" (the clean flesh meat) down the list to the sixth highest ingredient and instead they use "chicken by-product meal". The next three ingredients are the same carbohydrates as for the regular adult food.

To increase the protein content either the amount of "chicken by-product" or "carbs" must be increased significantly (to account for the removal of protein contributed by the  "chicken" ingredient when it was previously the largest single ingredient).

Weight Control: Protein is 6% less and fat is 5% less than the regular adult food. It would appear that this is probably at the expense of animal protein (which is the easiest for dogs to digest). The reason for this is that Corn Meal is now the single largest ingredient.

"Chicken" meat is the second ingredient (but this is 60% plus water) then "chicken by product meal" is the third ingredient. The reason that a carbs is the major ingredient is that chicken in general contains considerable fat. The rendering process used to cook "Chicken by product meal", the third ingredient, removes most of the fat from that component.

EUKANUBA Ingredient Lists (owned by Procter & Gamble)

ADULT MAINTENANCE

 

SENIOR MAINTENANCE

WEIGHT CONTROL

 

Chicken

Chicken By-Product Meal,

Corn Meal,

Chicken By-Product Meal,

Corn Meal,

Chicken,

Corn Meal,

Ground Whole Grain Sorghum,

Chicken By-Product Meal,

Ground Whole Grain Sorghum,

Ground Whole Grain Barley,

Ground Whole Grain Sorghum,

Ground Whole Grain Barley,

Fish Meal (source of fish oil),

Fish Meal (source of fish oil),

Fish Meal (source of fish oil),

Chicken,

Ground Whole Grain Barley,

Chicken Fat

Chicken Fat

Dried Beet Pulp (sugar removed),

Brewers Rice,

and Citric Acid),

Chicken Digest,

Chicken Digest,

Dried Beet Pulp (sugar removed),

Dried Egg Product,

Dried Beet Pulp (sugar removed),

Chicken Digest,

Brewers Dried Yeast,

 

Dog Food Pellets "Advance" Brand  (owned by MARS Incorporated)

 

 

Total Wellbeing,  All Breed

 

Mature,

All Breed

 

Weight Control All Breed,

 

Calorie content   kcal/kg

 

 

 

Crude Protein (Min)

26%

28%

25%

Crude Fat (Min)

15%

13%

8%

Crude Fibre (Max)

 

 

 

Crude Ash (Max)

 

 

 

Phosphorus (P) (Min)

 

 

 

Calcium (Ca) (Min)

 

 

 

Moisture (Max)

8.5%

8.5%

8.5%

"Advance" brand INGREDIENT COMPARISON

Adult:  Advance selects chicken as its first ingredient across all three main products (adult, mature, weight control). Since the majority of that is water, and the next four ingredients for Adult and Mature are carbohydrates, there is a strong potential for the majority of the protein source to be from carbohydrates.

Mature. The texts suggest that this product should have slightly higher protein and lower fat. Unlike Eukanuba that shifts ingredient order around, Advance has the same order ranking for the first FIVE ingredients.  The sixth ingredient for Adult is Chicken Tallow (which would increase the fat) and for Mature the ingredient is "Chicken Digest".

Wikipedia suggests that "chicken digest"  means " material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. (exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers)." The use of Chicken Digest rather than chicken tallow is most likely how the Mature product increases its protein level slightly.

Weight control: Very similar to Eukanuba, Advance manages to decrease the protein and fat %'as by dropping meat from its primary ingredient. Advance weight control has Carbs as its first TWO ingredients the chicken (which is diluted by water).

One major area they have excelled in is their choice of fibre. Their site states that they have "a patented combination of fermentable fibre (beet pulp, FOS – Fructo-oligosaccharides) that acts as a prebiotic which promotes healthy bacteria. "  This is pretty much what the Ref 1 text suggests is the ideal forms of moderately fermentable fibre (beet pulp) and fibre for creation of pre-biotics (FOS).

Advance Dog Food Ingredient Lists

 

Advance Total Wellbeing, All Breed

Advance Mature,

All Breed

Advance Weight Control, All Breeds

Chicken,

Chicken,

Rice,

Rice,

Rice,

Soy Protein Concentrate,

Corn,

Corn,

Chicken,

Sorghum,

Sorghum,

Corn Gluten,

Corn Gluten,

Corn Gluten,

Chicken Digest,

Chicken Tallow,

Chicken Digest,

Corn,

Chicken Digest,

Tuna,

Beet Pulp,

Beet Pulp,

Beet Pulp,

Dicalcium Phosphate,

Iodised Salt,

Sunflower Oil,

Chicken Tallow,

Sunflower Oil,

Chicken Tallow,

Sunflower Oil,.

 

Science DIET by Hills Pet Nutrition (owned by Colgate-Palmolive Company)

ADULT : The percentage protein is similar to the previous brands. Hills is one of the few brands that actually put the amount of carbohydrate on their site. For the adult product carbs make up 53%.  Crude fibre is a LOT lower than average at 1.8% (usually 5%). Fat amount is around average

Mature:  The reference text suggests that protein should be slightly higher than in the adult formula, but in this brand it is 5% less. The fat is VERY slightly decreased.

Weight Control:  The Calorie content is significantly down which is good. The protein level is similar to the adult product level. The fat amount is 8% which is about half that of the adult. This is the first of the products reviewed that actually has a higher fibre content for its weight control product - which is ideal for making your dog feel full. However the fibre may not be the ideal type.

Science Diet

 

 


Adult Advanced Fitness Original

 


Mature Adult Active Longevity Original

 


Adult Light

 

Calorie content   kcal/kg

3705

3686

2997

Crude Protein (Min)

24.5

19.5

23.6

Carbohydrate (NFE)

53.0

56.6

51.1

FAT

16.1%

15.7

8.6%

Crude Fibre (Max)

1.8

3.6

11.5%

Crude Ash (Max)

 

 

 

Phosphorus (P) (Min)

0.68

0.6

0.6

Calcium (Ca) (Min)

0.73

0.73

0.68

Moisture (Max)

 

 

 

Vitamin E (min)   IU/kg

 

 

 

 

ADULT: First ingredient is chicken (includes moisture), then corn, sorghum and wheat before using meat again  "Chicken By-Product Meal,"

MATURE: Here they have a carb as the first ingredient (corn) then chicken by product meal (no moisture), then animal fat, and soybean mill.  The Ref 1, suggests that mature product should have slightly higher protein than the adult version (in this case it is 5% less. And seeing that the first ingredient is corn (it is primarily digestible carbohydrate and very little protein), is probably why the protein is so low.  The reason that "chicken by-product" is next is that it is dehydrated so has concentrated protein (however fat is removed in the rendering process) hence the third ingredient is animal fat (to make up for the fat that was removed from the chicken by product.

Very interestingly Flaxseed is listed as the fifth highest ingredient. Flaxseed provides fibre and  fats (for a shiny coat) but the Omega's are plant based and are not as easy for a dog to directly use as a fish based Omega. Note most pellet brand seem to use flax seed for the Omega fats source.

Weight CONTROL : Similar to the Mature pellet product, its highest ingredient is a carbohydrate (CORN). And to keep the Energy value down the second is soybean. The third ingredient "chicken by product meal" is the first meat product.  Even though rendering of the chicken removes most of its fat, placing it in third place keeps the fat down further.

The sixth highest ingredient is powdered cellulose. This is how they get the fibre to such a high level. This will help the dog feel full, however with such low fermentability it will be of little use to the good bacteria in the intestines or the coloncytes (cells in the intestine wall) as energy. High usage of cellulose in dog's diets has been found to be a source of cryptitis (Dietary fibre source and its effects on colonic microstructure and histopathology of Beagle dogs  (Reinhardt et al 1994)

Science Diet Adult, mature weight control product Ingredient lists

Adult Advanced Fitness Original

 

Mature Adult Active Longevity Original

 

Adult Light

 

Chicken,

Whole Grain Corn,

Whole Grain Corn,

Whole Grain Corn,

 

Chicken By-Product Meal,

Soybean Mill Run,

Whole Grain Sorghum,

Animal Fat

Chicken By-Product Meal,

Whole Grain Wheat,

Soybean Mill Run,

Corn Gluten Meal,

Chicken By-Product Meal,

Flaxseed,

Soybean Meal,

Soybean Meal,

Liver Flavor,

Powdered Cellulose,

Corn Gluten Meal,

Lactic Acid,

Chicken Liver Flavor,

Animal Fat

Corn Gluten Meal,

Soybean Oil,

Brewers Rice,

Potassium Chloride,

Lactic Acid,

Chicken Liver Flavor,

L-Lysine,

Dicalcium Phosphate,

Canidae

This is the first of the products reviewed that claims animal meat to make up the majority of its protein.  The third product reviewed pureLAND is one of the GRAIN FREE products it makes.

 

 

Chicken Meal & Rice

All life stages

PLATINUM Senior and Over Weight formula

Grain Free pureLAND

Calorie content   kcal/kg

3600

3300

3706

Crude Protein (Min)

26.00%

20.00%

25.00%

Moisture  max

10%

10%

10%

FAT

15.0%

8.50%

15.00%

Crude Fibre (Max)

4.0%

4.00%

4.00%

Linoleic Acid (Omega 6)

3.7%

 

2.60%

Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega 3)

0.5%

 

0.60%

Adult formula claims:  High Quality Chicken Meal as the Main Protein Source. No Corn, Wheat, Soy, Grain Fractions or Fillers.  Balanced Omega 6 & 3 Fatty Acids

Grain Free pureLAND claims " High Quality Fresh Bison and Lamb Meal as the Main Protein Sources.  Super Premium formula great for working breeds or dogs with high energy requirements"

CANIDAE Product Ingredient lists

Chicken Meal & Rice ADULT

PLATINUM Senior and Over Weight formula

Grain Free pureLAND

Chicken meal,

Chicken meal,

Bison,

brown rice,

brown rice,

lamb meal,

white rice,

white rice,

sweet potatoes,

rice bran,

rice bran,

peas,

cracked pearled barley,

peas,

potatoes,

peas,

potatoes,

canola oil,

chicken fat

oatmeal,

potato protein,

millet,

cracked pearled barley,

tomato pomace,

tomato pomace,

millet,

natural flavor,

 

EVO

"EVO is formulated among the highest protein and lowest carbs of grain free dog and cat food"

Natura Pet includes the following brands: Innova, Evo, California Natural, HealthWise Mother Nature, Karma (most of these are mostly available in America.

EVO  CLAIM:  "Traditionally, dry pet foods required a significant concentration of grains and carbohydrate-rich ingredients to aid in the manufacturing of a crunchy kibble pet food. Natura challenged this tradition, and developed unique manufacturing processes to create the first-ever grain free, low carbohydrate dry pet food." (EVO website)

EVO Nutrient analysis

 

 

Turkey & Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food

 

Turkey & Chicken Meal Senior Dry Dog Food

Weight Management Dry Dog Food

 

Calorie content   kcal/kg

 

 

 

Crude Protein (Min)

43.4%

42.1 %

52.0 %

Carbohydrates NFE (Max)

12.0 %

21.0 %

11.0 %

FAT

22.7%

16.2 %

15.0 %

Crude Fibre (Max)

1.4%

1.17 %

2.5 %

Linoleic Acid (Omega 6)

4.6%

3.12 %

2.2 %

Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega 3)

0.54%

1.0 %

0.5 %

EVO Ingredient lists

Turkey & Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food

 

Turkey & Chicken Meal Senior Dry Dog Food

Weight Management Dry Dog Food

 

Turkey

Turkey

Turkey

Chicken

Chicken Meal

Chicken

Turkey Meal

Chicken

Chicken Meal

Chicken Meal

Potatoes

Turkey Meal

Potatoes

Peas

Peas

Herring Meal

Turkey Meal

Pea Fiber

Chicken Fat

Eggs

Natural Flavors

Natural Flavors

Herring Oil

Pumpkin

Eggs

Chicken Fat

Tomatoes

Apples

Pea Fiber

Herring Oil

CONCLUSIONS

You will see that most of the main dog pellet brands on the market in Australia have either grains as the first ingredient or a meat source (that includes 60-80% plus water), meaning that the majority of the pack is carbohydrate based and grain sourced. This is the cheapest and polar opposite of a raw natural diet uses (meat based).

Vets promote many dog food packets, and most brands are full of grains. If you trust your vet and the dog food industry, this is not an issue for you. This article just highlights what is in most dog food pellet packs.

Of course the quality of the ingredients, the processing used, storage used, and minor ingredients all make a difference to achieve the required "complete and balanced" AAFCO approved status.

You may also want to check the history of a brand (the number of recalls) before purchasing.

Remember to integrate a new dog food slowly into any new diet you are feeding your dog.

If you wish to use pellets, and are aiming for the best (easiest to digest and higher meat source) pellet then you would probably aim for the following order. The first on the list is the preferred option, while the bottom of the list is the least preferred.

You will note from the above sample that option three (often a meat including water) is the largest seller on the Australian market.

1          Meat first & second ingredient (and highest proportion of protein source) then vegetable carbs

2          Meat first and second ingredient then grain carbs

3          Meat first ingredient, grains next 3 to four ingredients

4          Carbohydrate first ingredient

 

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link tohttp://www.healthydogtreats.com.au

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Reference

Canine and Feline Nutrition 3rd edition  Case Et al

Specific dog food corporate websites

 

APPENDIX

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