Pet Food Problem Ingredients

When choosing the right food for your dog or any other animal for that matter, nutrient content is important. Ingredients vary in form, quality, and nutrition (Case et al., 2011). Raw materials used in dog foods are purchased in commercial lots on the open market making the quality variable. Products differ in place of origin and can come from farms, different states, storage facilities, or countries (Sagman, 2012). Controversy: Raw Diet vs. Kibble Diet 6 The pet food industry promotes the image of beautiful cuts of meat, fresh grains, and vegetables through clever advertising. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agricultural industries. It is the waste from slaughterhouse carcasses, leftover grains from human food manufacturing considered “unfit”, and any other waste product. It can contain diseased and cancerous animal parts (Animal Protection Institute, 2004). Most everyone is familiar with AAFCO’s main ingredient definitions, but also included are definitions of other ingredients.

These are just a few that are allowed in our pet’s food:

Spray-dried animal blood

Produced from clean, fresh animal blood exclusive of all extraneous material such as hair, stomach belching, and urine, except in such traces as might occur unavoidably in good factory practices. This ingredient can be used in pet food or mixed in during the rendering process, or found in meat chunks in some canned food

Dehydrated garbage

Comes from butcher shops, or plants that manufacture fruits and vegetables and is artificially dried and collected before decomposition has started. It should be separated from crockery, glass, metal, string, and similar materials.

Dried swine waste

Composed of excreta that has been artificially dehydrated to moisture content not in excess of 15%. It shall contain not less than 20% crude protein, not more than 35% crude fibre, including other material such as straw, wood shavings, or acceptable bedding materials, and not more than 20% ash. (Martin, 2008).

AAFCO labelling is very specific on chicken vs. poultry products, but some in the pet food industry interchange the words freely. If a product is labelled chicken it has to contain that species. Poultry, on the other hand, can be chicken, turkey, geese, buzzards, seagulls, unidentifiable birds, or euthanized pet birds (Becker, 2012). About 50% of an animal is used in the human food industry with the remaining parts, heads, bones, intestines, organs, even unborn foetuses entering the pet food industry. This gives additional profitable markets for American farm products (Martin, 2008). Rendering, by law, can contain grocery store expired meat with the Styrofoam and plastic intact, 4-D animals; diseased, disabled, dying, and dead, road kill, and euthanized animals (Becker, 2012). An EPA document states, “…independent rendering plants obtain animal by products…and entire animal carcasses, from the following sources; butcher shops, supermarkets, restaurants, fast food chains, animal shelters, etc.” (As cited in Thixton, 2010). The pet food industry explicitly denies using euthanized cats and dogs in pet foods, but regulatory laws don’t clearly state they are forbidden (Thixton, 2010).


All dog, cat and general commercial “pet” food is heated and cooked to eliminate micro-organisms. Foods that are susceptible to high heat and cooking are destroyed, while most ingredients are damaged (Better Health Channel, 2011). Grains and cereals, instead of losing nutritional value when cooked, increase in digestibility. Because most vitamins and minerals are destroyed they need to be added back in (Animal Protection Institute, 2004). A study done by the Animal Nutrition Group on the effects of high temperatures on nutrients showed that 4mm kibble dried at 200 degrees lowered proline, total lysine, reactive lysine concentrations, linolenic and linoleic acid concentrations, and increased oleic acid (Animal Nutrition Group, 2011). The cooking process changes the molecular structure of ingredients making it more indigestible and the dogs immune system sees these as foreign, thus their immune system attacks them (Billinghurst, 1993). Cooked processed dry dog food contains very little moisture, about 10%, and is dehydrating to dogs (Becker, 2012).

Further to this, advanced glycation end products (AGE’s) are harmful compounds that are formed when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream, they are formed when food is cooked at high temperatures (including when it is pasteurized, sterilized or extruded). When the food is eaten, it transfers the AGE’s into the body

AGE’s build up in the body over time and lead to oxidative stress which is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons. The uneven number allows them to easily react with other molecules – inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

At around 43 degrees Centigrade, two of the 8 essential amino acids, tryptophan and lysine, are also destroyed.

We are driven to help pets live longer, happier and healthier lives with raw food.
For more information on how we can help you and your pet get in touch!


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