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Old 03-18-2010, 11:57 PM   #11
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Dear vagreys,you seem to have given great thought to evaluating the ingredientsof commercial dog food.
My question is this: how can we verify that the manufacturers' ingredient listing is correct (or honest!)?

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Old 03-19-2010, 02:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Alsenor View Post
Dear vagreys,you seem to have given great thought to evaluating the ingredientsof commercial dog food.
My question is this: how can we verify that the manufacturers' ingredient listing is correct (or honest!)?
That's a good question. And a difficult one to answer. AAFCO guidelines for labeling have very specific definitions for each ingredient and each word used in an ingredient list. For example, "natural" has no definition, and so no meaning when present in an ingredient list. Chicken Meal has a very different definition from Meat Meal or Meat-and-Bone Meal or Meat Byproduct Meal. While the ingredient list can give you an idea of the quality of ingredients, and relative amounts (ingredients are ordered by weight prior to processing), they don't provide you with a way of telling if what is on the label is what is actually in the food.

In the US, the US and State Depts of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and the American Association of Feed Control Officials provide some oversight of the manufacture of animal feeds, including pet foods, and also establish industry standards for production and quality control. Unfortunately, the AAFCO is a commercial organization made up of state officials and pet food manufacturers, and the range in quality is huge, and they exist to protect the interests of the animal feed manufacturing industry.

I don't know of a way to verify or determine if the food offered is, in fact, what they say it is. You can talk to the manufacturers - the higher quality manufacturers are happy to talk with you, and you may even find yourself talking to the staff nutritionist or even the owner of the company. I can say that, if a manufacturer is found to be violating the law or endangering animals with inferior or tainted feed, they can be shutdown and their product recalled. This happened to many manufacturers during the tainted melamine scare that killed so many pets, for example.

Even the worst dog foods out there adhere to the AAFCO guidelines with respect to their food. As bad as some of the foods are, if they were going to lie about their food, the label would be the place to do it, and yet they don't. They tell you exactly how bad their food is, by the specific ingredients they list. The high-quality dog food manufacturers list much better ingredients. Could they be lying about the quality of their food? Yes, they could, but it would not be in their best interests as a company to do so, since the entire company could be forfeit.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:53 AM   #13
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Thank you very much again, vagreys!
Your explanation were very encouraging.
I now use a Lamb & Rice kibble from Costco.
I always thought that it had very good ingredients, but realizing that there just are no shortcuts to intelligent findings, I will go to the detailed work of grading the ingredients according to your instructions.

This is the list:
Lamb,
lamb meal,
whole grain brown rice,
rice bran,
egg product,
cracked pearled barley,
chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and vitamin E),
beet pulp,
potatoes,
fish meal,
flx seed,
natural flavor,
millet,
brewers dried yeast,
potassium chloride,
salt,
choline chloride,
carrots,
peas,
kelp,
apples,
dried skim milk,
cranberry powder,
rosemary extract,
parsley flake,
dried chicory root,
glucosamine hydrochrolide,
taurine,
vitamin E supplements,
iron proteinate,
zinc proteinate,
copper proteinate,
ferrous sulfate,
zinc sulfate,
copper sulfate,
potassium iodine,
thiamine mononitrate,
manganese proteinate,
manganous oxide,
chondroitin sulfate,
ascorbic acid,
vitamin A supplement,
biotin,
calcium pantothenate,
manganese sulfate,
sodium selenite,
pyridoxin hydrochloride (vitamin B6),
vitamin B12 supplement,
riboflavin,
vitamin D supplement,
folic acid.

Crude protein: 23% min.
Crude fat: 14% min.
Crude fiber: 4% max.
Moisture: 10% max.
etc.

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Old 03-19-2010, 12:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Alsenor View Post
Thank you very much again, vagreys!
Your explanation were very encouraging.
I now use a Lamb & Rice kibble from Costco.
I always thought that it had very good ingredients, but realizing that there just are no shortcuts to intelligent findings, I will go to the detailed work of grading the ingredients according to your instructions...
You're welcome. If you look in the Kibble Grading Discussion thread, and search for "Kirkland" (the Costco brand) you will find several posts on it. Kirkland is pretty good food for the money. I encourage you to grade it, yourself, though, because you will learn about the food.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:56 PM   #15
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You're welcome. If you look in the Kibble Grading Discussion thread, and search for "Kirkland" (the Costco brand) you will find several posts on it. Kirkland is pretty good food for the money. I encourage you to grade it, yourself, though, because you will learn about the food.
OK, I found the posts. Kirkland scored 94 by your count, which is mostly due to a 10 point deduction for unspecified fish meal.
I suppose it is good value for the money, but doesn't make me feel good as long as there may be better products out there which I still can afford.
Any suggestions?
My dog is a rescue puppy from the local Humane Society, according to a saliva smear DNA test is a Borzoi/Boxer/English Setter mix of 85lb in his 13th month of life.
See Ricky and me: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/album.php?aid=2055663&id=1109912003&ref=mf

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Old 03-19-2010, 10:02 PM   #16
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Alsenor I use kirkland for my dogs and even my pit that has a sensitive tummy is doing good on it. She easily gets the runs. same thing with my last rescue rott, she had stinky greasy furr, in 2 months without me even giving her a bath she had shiny sleak furr and smelled like a normal dog (as good as a hairy dog can smell *lol*) and people wonder if I polish my dogs. So if your dog does good on it don't worry its a great food and for them money even better.
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:10 PM   #17
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Alsenor I use kirkland for my dogs and even my pit that has a sensitive tummy is doing good on it. She easily gets the runs. same thing with my last rescue rott, she had stinky greasy furr, in 2 months without me even giving her a bath she had shiny sleak furr and smelled like a normal dog (as good as a hairy dog can smell *lol*) and people wonder if I polish my dogs. So if your dog does good on it don't worry its a great food and for them money even better.
Ricky has a great looking, short and silky coat as well, but tends to have loose stool unless we mix cooked rice with the kibbles.

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Old 03-19-2010, 10:25 PM   #18
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As long as stressf actors and medical issues are ruled out (Feliz had worms for example in the beginning causing loose stool) then Id say that yeah another food is likely better. Not all food fits all dogs. My old lady was on purina and then royal canine her first years.. never had an issue. I wish you well in your food hunt, it was a pita for me with the little pittie so I can relate.
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:33 AM   #19
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Thanks, monkey. I feel I owe him the effort to do due diligence on a subject that can mean so much for his well being.
It is my responsibility to do my utmost to ensure a healthy, happy life for the oh, so few years a dog has on this earth.

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Old 03-23-2010, 07:42 AM   #20
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Great post and very informative..........really appreciate you taking the time to do this : )
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