Believe it or not, we might actually be helping our dogs dig an early grave with their own teeth!
Yes, the commercially available dog food we feed our favorite furry little family members often isn’t anywhere near as healthy or as safe as we leave it to be.
All you have to do is look at these districts regarding the health of dogs across the country and you’ll start to see exactly what we mean.
Read the horrifying facts
According to a number of professional veterinarian societies, 40% of all dogs are clinically obese. On top of that, 75% of those clinically obese dogs have a form of “dog diabetes” – just as dangerous and just as deadly a disease as the version that impacts people.
Add in the fact that 46% of dogs are going to die of cancer, 36% of dogs are going to die of heart, kidney, or liver disease, and that nearly 60% of dog owners today report their pets having “food sensitivity issues” and it’s not a pretty picture.
It’s important that you understand exactly how dangerous most commercial dog food is today.
It’s also important that you understand there are some great options to pick and choose from, options that don’t require you to make your own dog food from scratch. But that’s something we’ll talk about in a little while!
Is Commercial Dog Food Bad for Dogs?
For the overwhelming majority of brands on the market today the answer is 100% YES!
The bulk of commercially available dog food today is absolutely horrific. A lot of it is loaded with ingredients that are anything but healthy.
Filler agents, corn and grains, rice, and other “non-natural” ingredients that dogs wouldn’t have ever eaten on their own are stuffed into these bags, usually with advertising all over the place promising a “healthy and happy formula”.
But that’s just not the case.
Most commercially made dog food formulas are not very healthy. They do not take into account the unique nutritional needs of your dog but instead try to pump out a “one-size-fits-all” formula as cheaply as possible – leaving themselves plenty of room to make money on scraps, empty calories, and less than healthy ingredients.
Commercial Dog Food – Basically Fast Food for Your Furry Little Family Member
The easiest way to think of commercially available dog food is to consider it fast food for your animal.
Just the same way that heavily processed, overly “artificial”, and hastily made food would ruin your health pretty quickly, commercially available dog food is doing the same thing to your animal.
Most folks aren’t aware of the fact that dogs and humans share 75% of their genetic makeup with one another. Nutritional demands are pretty similar across the board, though dogs (obviously) need quite a bit more protein than people do to be happy and healthy.
Unfortunately, most dog food formulas are very carbohydrate-rich and loaded with grains, rice, and corn. These ingredients are chosen not because they are healthy but because they are cheap, because they bulk up dog food, and because the dog food industry has found ways to “hide them” in the formulas themselves.
“Good” Ingredients are Usually Re-Named to Hide the Ugly Truth
This is the really insidious part of the dog food industry that doesn’t get talked about a lot.
A lot of dog food brands will talk about “meat ingredients” that they add to their formulas, never telling you that these ingredients are usually nothing but the scraps and parts of animals that are found to be unfit to serve to humans.
We are talking about chicken breast and steak making its way into a lot of commercially available dog foods.
Instead, we are talking about the parts scraped off of bones, the parts scraped off of organs (sometimes organs as well), and the trimmings that we wouldn’t even put into sausage or hotdogs.
Who wants to feed that kind of stuff to their animal?
On top of all that, dog food is legally able to include what’s called “4D” meats. We are talking about neat that can come from Dead, Dying, Disease, and/or Disabled animals.
This isn’t exactly roadkill making its way into your dog food formula. But it’s really not all that far away, either.
Every Year There’s Another Major Dog Food Recall
How many times in the last five years have you heard about a major dog food brand having a recall on all of the food that they have released to the general public?
If you’ve your ear to the ground even just a little bit about this industry you know that it happens a lot – A LOT. At least every year there’s another major brand announcing that they have to have people return their food because it isn’t safe to eat.
Some of this is because a lot of commercially available dog food brands have their food made in China where the rules and restrictions are a little lax, to be kind.
The foods coming out of there are very often low quality, made with horrific ingredients (including corn and filler agents contaminated with pesticides and chemicals that are poisonous to our animals), and as far away from healthy as you can get.
A couple of years ago there was a huge spike in dogs dying for no real reason whatsoever. A couple of months of investigation show people that it was the dog food they were eating that was causing the deaths, and a lot of major brands (especially those working with factories in China) had to do massive recalls across the board.
Nobody wants to put their animal in jeopardy this way.
Unfortunately, when you never really know exactly what’s making its way into your dog food that you buy off-the-shelf it happens more often than most people are aware of.
Every time you buy a bag of dog food off-the-shelf your spinning a wheel and hoping that the brand hasn’t let quality control slip a little bit isn’t pumping bad ingredients into the bag, and is trying to hide anything from you (responsible dog owner that only wants the best for your animal).
Same Dog Food Day After Day Limits the Nutritional Value
Another problem that’s an important dimension with commercial dog food has less to do with how it’s made and more to do with how we feed our animals.
It’s not uncommon for dog owners to find a brand they really like, to stick to that brand (and that flavor) like glue, and to stay with a trusted dog food company all the time.
And if you found a company you could finally trust to provide healthy dog food to your animal wouldn’t you do the exact same thing?
Well, the issue here is that feeding your dog the same food day after day (after day after day) is going to really do a number on their health and wellness. This is because they’re not getting any different nutritional elements that this formula does not contain.
They’re getting the same stuff every day over and over again, without any variation. This would be like you eating chicken – and nothing but chicken – for the rest of your life.
You probably wouldn’t notice anything going sideways at first, but wouldn’t take very long for your body to start rebelling against the limited nutritional value of that single source of food.
It’s important to shake things up every now and again, to give your dogs something new, and to make sure that their entire nutritional profile is being taken care of.
But how you do that when commercial dog food (for the most part) is so dangerous?
So What Should You Feed Your Dog? (Skip to the last paragraph)
Well, thankfully, not all brands are absolutely horrific when it comes to making commercially available dog food.
There still are a handful of brands in the business that take the health of your animal very seriously. These companies are usually based out of the US, have their food made 100% in the US (in laboratories and factories regulated by the FDA), and use only ingredients that are safe for human consumption as well.
Finding these great dog food brands can be a bit of a mess, though.
Obviously the space is super competitive in these companies and isn’t shy about trying to win your business. Every brand markets and advertises its dog food formula as the best there is. You’ve probably seen the promises these companies make slapped all over their dog food bags and signage.
Testing out every brand under the sun would be very expensive and time-consuming, too. And you’d always run the risk of getting your hands on a bad bag from a company that pretends to be healthy and ethical, too.
But that’s why we have done all the heavy lifting for you.
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Combing through all of the top dog food brands on the market today, we put together all of our research and are happy to share it with fellow dog lovers.
Check out our dog food guide to learn about the best dog food options available – as well as the worst dog food you want to avoid at all costs – today!