Dog Food Guide to Ingredients
Dog food manufacturers are subject to guidelines provided by the government and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)and must list ingredients and contents of each product they make. Although the actual amount of each ingredient is not provided, one can determine the basic proportions of the contents to the whole of the meal; ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight. For instance, if corn meal is the first ingredient listed, as a whole, the food contains more corn meal by weight than any of the other ingredients. Likewise, if chicken is the first ingredient, the food has more chicken by weight etc.
One thing to understand is that these orders of ingredients can be misleading (and often times are) as content like grains can be broken into different parts and listed independently of one another. If for example, the label reports chicken as the first ingredient, but goes on to list corn meal, ground corn, chicken by product meal, and corn gluten meal, the food as a whole might primarily be corn based, even though chicken was reported first. Another common trick is listing fresh meat as the first ingredient suggesting it is the staple portion of the contents. However, fresh meat has a much higher percentage of moisture, therefore some what less protein, than does meat meal, which has less moisture as it is removed during processing. So the protein content in 1 pound of fresh meat is lower than 1 pound of meat meal.
The AAFCO helps us to understand the ingredients by applying standards that apply to all manufacturers and regulates the definitions of ingredients so that they mean the same thing to all companies and suppliers. It also regulates terms such as fresh, dried, natural, organic, toasted and rolled. It also protects consumers from the false advertising of dog food companies.
Below are definitions to the ingredients that can be applied to all dog food manufacturers.
Animal by-product meal: The rendered tissue and parts of animals, not including added feet, hooves, horns, stomachs, hair, hide trimmings, manure and rumen except as unavoidable during processing.
Animal Digest: A compound as a result from the chemical and enzymatic decomposition of clean and undecomposed animal tissue not including hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except as unavoidable in processing.
Meat and Bone Meal: Rendered from meat and bone not including hair, blood, horns, hooves, manure, hide trimmings, stomach or rumen contents except which is unavoidable during processing. Only 14% of this may be indigestible residue and no more than 11 percent indigestible crude protein.
Beef, chicken and animal fat: Fat obtained from poultry and mammalian tissue during the process of rendering.
Corn gluten meal: The dried residue from corn after the starches, germs and brans are removed.
Meat meal: Rendered meal made from mammal tissues not including hair, hooves, blood, horns, hide trimmings, stomach or rumen, and manure except for what is unavoidable during processing. It cannot contain added any foreign matter and may not contain more than 14% indigestible materials. Indigestible crude protein cannot be more than 11%. Meals are also used after process and give a more ture actual weigh on the list of label ingredients for placement over whole meats.
Meat or meat based: This is meat that is the clean flesh of slaughtered cattle, pigs, sheep or goats and can include striated skeletal muscle, tongue, diaphragm, hear or esophagus, overlying fat and some skin, sinew, nerves and blood vessels already in this flesh. After processing these meats can loose up to 80% of their total weight pushing it down the list from number 1 to 4 and beyond.
Grains: Whole, ground cracked and flaked, including corn, barley, whet, rice, oats, brewer’s rice, brown rice and just about any other grain.
Ground corn: The whole corn kernel.
Poultry: The clean flesh and skin either with or without the accompanying carcass bone but not include feathers, feet, entrails and heads.
Poultry by product meal: The ground, rendered, clean poultry parts like necks, feet, intestines and partially developed eggs while not including feathers except as unavoidable by processing.
Poultry by products: The nonrendered clean parts of poultry including heads, feet and viscera but it must be free of fecal and foreign matter except as unavoidable by processing.
Amaranth: A superior grain and source of good carbohydrates, minerals and flavor
Alfalfa meal: The finely ground meal of the alfalfa plant.
Semolina: The endosperm of durum wheat and is high in protein
Barley: Contains at minimum 80% good quality barley and no more than 3% heat damaged, 6% foreign material, 20% other grains or 10% of wild oats.
Barley flour: Ground barley meal
Brown rice: Left over unpolished rice
Soybean meal: Rendered by product of soybean oil production
Grain sorghum: Member of the grass family; can be either grain sorghums, grass sorghums, sweet sorghums or broomcorn
Cereal food fines: the by product meal made from leftovers during commercial human cereal production
Flaxseed: Known also as linseed which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids
Linseed meal: The residue of flaxseed oil production
Mesquite bean meal: By product of production but high in nutrients that help regulate blood sugar
Oatmeal: Real healthy oats made into a meal
Whole Eggs: The best source of usable protein and rates above all meats and meat meals and meat products. Shells contain calcium carbonate goof for strong teeth
Beef tallow: Hard, white, fatty substance that provides difficulty in digesting
Animal digest: A liquid or powder made with clean under-composed animal tissue broken down through a chemical or emblematic hydrolysis. I cannot contain horns, hooves, teeth, hair or feathers except that which is unavoidable. Digest names have to be descriptive of their specific source i.e. chick, beef, lamb digest.
Fish meal: Clean and dried ground tissue of whole fish or fish cuttings which may or may not have oil still. Fish meal in a dogs diet is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Salmon: Clean whole salmon meat or meat cuttings that may or may not still have oil. Salmon in dog food is great as it contains Omega-6 and good quality protein.
Turnip greens: Fresh vegetable which contains calcium, Omega-3, vitamin A & C. Great product for pet foods.
Tomatoes: Whole vegetable with carotenoids, beta-carotene, and vitamins A & C.
Peas and carrots: Fresh vegetable full of fiber with an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Also used for a palatable flavor.
Oranges: Used to combat some of the toxins in food as well as provide vitamin C for good immunity and reduces cholesterol.
Pumpkin: A squash with nutritious properties including fiber.
Papaya: Also added for fiber as well as its enzymes used in the digestive process and absorption of critical vitamins and minerals.
Guava Leaves: Helps to combat effects of diarrhea.
Peppermint Leaves: Sometimes added for good dog breath.
Download 130 of the best homemade dog food recipes.
Other Nutrients that Might be Added to Dog Food
Antioxidants: These include vitamins C, E and selenium and help to neutralize toxins and mal-cellular division thus suggesting the properties of fighting cancer. These can also combat the development cycles of cancer growth and generally help the immune system wit hits own fight.
Fatty acids: Such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 help to keep a dogs skin and coat healthy and allergy and itch free.
Glucosamine, chondroitin and shark cartilage: Added more and more to dog food diets as research suggests the healthy support of joints in dogs. It is also been proposed that it might even restore damaged cartilage in the joints.
Probiotics: Intestinal friendly, good bacteria for the digestive system that keeps things flowing smoothly. Its also been said that it supports the immune system. These probiotics can be found in dairy products such as yogurt, kefir and cheeses.
Big Dog Blog
Do you read the blog?
Visit the new Big Paws Blog and information on new dogs, fashion, show, and more that's new in the dog world. Click here to visit and start reading.
Welcome to Big Paws Only with the best Big Dog Chat and Message Boards. Registration is Quick & Easy, takes only a few seconds, and allows you to view all of the wonderful pictures of our babies, and chat. Posting Pictures is really easy too, and we host them!