When you leave the shop and you buy dog food, what you bring home is not what you think it is. Same when you order online.
In fact, you'll be thinking it's great. The package says "Complete & Balanced Diet", or even "Natural & Wholesome", right?
And you made sure the ingredients label does not list words like:
Better even, you think you are more careful than other dog owners: You also checked that the label does not list "Preservatives", like:
- Propylene Glycol
After all, you've done your dog food analysis. Or so you think.
Well, we show you here what industrial pet food is really made of. And so why focusing on pet food labels is entirely missing the point!
Ingredients listed on a label are just that, words. Words on a pet food label can easily be changed, window-dressed, and faked - and indeed many do get faked as past and present scandals show.
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How to benefit most from this article
Throughout this article we will use memory hooks to benefit your understanding:
To take note, on our site you simply highlight the text (if your mobile device let's you) and then click your preferred notebook (facebook, twitter, google+, or linkedin).
The Dog Food Brain Wash
When you buy dog food, have you ever asked yourself: "Why do I buy dog food?"
Please ask yourself now.
[Yes, that was practicing the icon methodology, we are quick here ]
What did you answer yourself?
- ... because my dog needs to eat something?
- ... because purchased pet food is better than people food?
- ... because the money I spend shows how much I love my dog!
Let's straight away address your potential motives to buy dog food:
- "My dog needs to eat something". Sure, but your dog - like my dog and anyone's dog! - needs to eat real food leftovers, like dogs have eaten for 33,000 years1: Dogs only exist because dogs developed as scavengers of human food leftovers!
- "Purchased pet food is better than people food". No, purchased pet food is not even food. Given today's food chain, what is sold as "pet food" is the skillful concoction of waste products from farming, shelters, vets, retail industry, restaurants, road maintenance, the zoo, and the lab!
- "The money I spend shows how much I love my dog!" Hmm. The money you spend on your dog on medical cost in the two years before death shows how sick your dog has been during life, and the money you've spent on "dog food" shows what made your dog so sick! Is either of that love??
When you buy dog food, you are the victim of the brain-wash that the pet "food" industry has done to dog owners since about the 1960ies: Decade after decade the pet "food" industry have trained dog owners to think badly of human foods.
The pet food industry brain-washed both dog owners and veterinarians(!) to believe that "pet food" is the only edible food for dogs. Indeed they washed some brains SO clean that nothing seems to be left. Consider this example from a "survival" forum under the title Pet food with 10 year shelf life:
"I am posting this for any of us that have pets, and want to have some preps for them. Actually this is a good idea because otherwise in a SHTF situation, we would have to feed our pets human food!"
Oh dear, human food! They mean REAL FOOD, yes! We would have to feed our pets REAL FOOD if we don't stock up on "dog food"! What a disaster, our pets could die on the spot if we had to feed them REAL FOOD...
What if we show you that feeding your dog natural food "table scraps"(!) is MUCH healthier than feeding what isn't even food, will you now feed "table scraps" like ALL your ancestors have done for tens of thousands of years?
Dogs' Natural Diet
Most wannabe-experts got this wrong. Think: Domesticated dogs never got much meat to eat, because throughout history meat was too precious to people to be left to the dogs! Of course people themselves ate the meat.
What was left on the bone, and certain innards (offal) that your ancestors didn't eat, this has been the meat part of the diet of domesticated dogs. With the vegetables part the same: dogs ate what people threw away.
Thus the majority of what dogs ate was roasted or cooked, ever since! And around 12,000 years ago when agriculture started2 in the Fertile Crescent (today's eastern Turkey, Iraq, and southwestern Iran), a third and fourth part got added to dogs' natural diet: grains and dairy.
May these obvious historical facts once and for all stop people from spreading nonsense like "dogs are carnivores", "dogs are 99% wolves thus they should eat what wolves eat", "dogs cannot digest grains", and similar nonsense!
Frequent Sex and the Benefit for Evolution
Where dogs aren't stopped, they reproduce two to three times a year. This means that over the span of 33,000 years of domesticated dogs the canine gene pool had over 80,000 opportunities to adapt through mutation (gene mutations happen in every generation). That's what makes evolution!
In the same timeframe people have reproduced only every 20+ years at most (on average). This means that the human gene pool had no more than 1,650 opportunities to adapt through mutation to changes in diet (and to other things).
This is why actually dogs can digest an omnivore diet MUCH better than people can. For example, the modern dog has ten genes that allow dogs to break down plant fats and digest starches.
In particular, dogs have more copies of the AMY2B gene, which allows for amylase production. Amylase is an enzyme that allows to digest the carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and grains (meat has negligent amounts of carbohydrates and dairy on average has minimal amounts). Overall, in dogs this gene is 28 times more active in the pancreas than in wolves!3
So really, dogs are omnivores and have always been omnivores, never carnivores! You don't eat a monkey diet just because your ancestors were monkeys, do you??
This is such an important fact, you should really note it down. - Remember, just highlight the text and choose your preferred notebook. If you use facebook, you may also click below.
This is why today's dogs may eat most of what we people eat - IF(!) we eat natural foods like we had done during all but a pathetic hundred years of our history.
But at no point in history during the 33,000 years of domesticated dogs, dogs got an artificial and harmful waste product from a bag or tin! Only in the recent 50 years ever more domesticated dogs were forced to eat what can only be called processed crap, as you will find out next.
Modern Food Chain
At the time when you went to school you will have learned to think of the food chain as something similar to what you see on the right. The ultimate consumer was the human being, and what people and their pets didn't eat was left to nature (natural recycling).
However, today's food chain actually is very different: What people don't eat is left to rendering plants and harvest waste management (industrial recycling). And the waste products from rendering plants are then sold as high-priced "pet food" to feed people's pets.
When the pets die - often because of having been fed "pet food" - they are left to the rendering plants as well. The rendering plants' output products are then provided to people and fed to pets another time.
And on and on. Endless recycling.
100% of animal waste is rendered into products for the chemical industry, pet food, automobile, cosmetics and body care, medicine, etc.
Harvest waste management is less efficient (yet). Rendered harvest waste is primarily utilized for power generation and heat production. The remainder is utilized as soil, mulch, and fertilizer, and in industries such as canning, juice, baby food, and cosmetics.4
The following chart depicts today's food chain pretty well:
Today's Food Chain explained
- By their genes and digestive system, cows and sheep are vegetarian (naturally they graze on grasses only). But schoolbooks will have to be rewritten: In today's industrial farming, cows and sheep are being fed husks and mill sweep mixed with animal by-product waste from rendering plants.
- Cows and sheep have been made omnivores. Of course their digestive system is not prepared for animal by-products, and so they have developed lots of allergies and get sick frequently.
- So then to keep livestock productive to maintain profit margins, livestock is routinely given antibiotics and steroids with the food. And when the animals are sick, they are ambitiously treated with additional medication.
- So now industrial meat and dairy is contaminated with medication and pesticides,5 plus artificial ingredients from the lab to increase shelf life.
- But people need to eat, right? Well, unless you are rich or friends with grass-fed cattle farmers(?), you consume the best bits of the contaminated meat and dairy. What is deemed unfit for human consumption is collected by the rendering plant.
- In addition, slaughterhouse waste is sent to the rendering plant.
- Rancid returns from the retail sector are sent to the rendering plant, complete with packaging materials.
- Euthanized animals from farms, clinics, zoos, and shelters are sent to the rendering plant - with the lethal doses of chemicals in their body.
- Road Maintenance Services send roadkill to the rendering plant.
- Certain harvest waste together with the undifferentiated retail waste is sent to the rendering plant.
- Diseased livestock, pets, and zoo animals are sent to the rendering plant.
- The rendering plant then grinds all of this, incinerates the mix - believing this will "kill all pathogens" and "inactivate" all chemicals... - and sells the output as farm-feed back to the agricultural sector, as "pet food" to dog owners, as lubricants etc to the automobile industry, and on and on.
A perfect world, isn't it? 100% of animal waste and a significant part of harvest waste gets recycled and reused - and a lot indeed get eaten as processed people food and processed pet food!
Before any of this allergenic and carcinogenic waste product is sold as pet food to unsuspecting or unconcerned dog owners, the pet food industry must then add synthetic supplements from the laboratory and "natural" additives (rendered in other processes) to meet the "nutrition needs" of dogs and cats. Because everything must be in order, on the label.
Industrial "Dog Food" -v- REAL Dog Food
--- versus ---
--- or better even ---
Real dog food would not list any "meal" - which ALWAYS is from a rendering plant. Real dog food would not list "chelated", "source of", "oxide", "acid", "nitrate", or "iodide". Real dog food would not list "made with ...", but "made of" - a HUGE difference.
Real dog food is simple, it is natural as is - and therefore chock-full of nutrients that the body can absorb!
The Easiest and Healthiest and Cheapest REAL Dog Food
Easiest and healthiest and cheapest is that you eat steamed(!) natural foods yourself (no processed foods), and let your dog have something of that too. A steamer you see on the photo above, or on Amazon here. We will have another Infographic for you explicitely on healthy homemade food.
If instead you insist to spend extra money on "special dog food" (WHY?), then it must of course be "kept fresh" somehow - even if it were to arrive at your house 3 days after preparation (it won't). Note that the healthiest food for you AND for your dog is, in this order:
- fresh food (most of it will need to be steamed)
- fermented food
- freeze-dried food
- air-dried food (not dehydrated!)
Real dog food does not need and does not have any additives or supplements or preservatives!
Why Pet Food is FULL of Additives
The reason why pet food ingredient labels are FULL of additives, supplements, and preservatives is not the poor quality ingredients that go into the rendering plant (see above), but what comes out because of how much it is processed.
You know of UHT milk, right? The milk that can be stocked on shelves for at least 6 months without getting worse. Did you know that UHT milk gets pasteurized at 135 C / 275 F for a mere 4 seconds!?6
This is done to kill all pathogens but at the same time to preserve as much nutrients as possible. The chosen temperature is not the result of a monkey throwing bananas backwards on a dart board and where they landed, mind you.
The temperature and duration was carefully chosen because it was found out that this particular temperature and duration does indeed kill all pathogens that can occur in milk: All milk pathogens are KNOWN.
Now take Rendering plants that process complete animals7: some cattle with plastic pesticide ear tags, some pets with plastic or rubber chemical tick collars, some poultry with aluminum identification tags, etc. Plus, they process all the mixed meat returns from Retail complete with styrofoam packaging, clearfilm wrap, plastic bin bags etc! And much much more inedible material (see above).
The pathogens that occur in this toxic mix are NOT all known. Most Rendering plants nonetheless choose roughly the same temperature for the incinerator to cook this mix. Yet the majority cook it for two hours, arguing (hoping?) that the prolonged high temperature "kills all pathogens potentially in there and inactivates all chemical toxins".
10-year-old kids learn in chemistry at school that certain kinds of material better not be incinerated, or they will form new toxic substances. The chemical engineers in rendering plants know this too, and they assess the risk and run tests and feeding trials.
But no testing and no feeding trial lasts a dog life or a cat life. And much of any toxic material that a dog or cat eats daily accumulates in the body over time.
This is the prime reason why so many dogs today die at such young age:8 Daily ingestion of allergenic and carcinogenic substances OF COURSE results in sickness! This sickness first costs pet owners and the public a LOT of money, and then leads to early death of the pet.9
But for a moment let's put aside all the obvious health problems caused by rendering plants. Because the key point to understand here is:
If the milk industry heats up their 100% KNOWN product for a mere 4 seconds to retain as much nutrients as possible, have a guess: Can the rendering industry heat up their vastly UNKNOWN product for TWO HOURS without destroying all nutrients?
No. Of course not! They know that ALL nutrients have been destroyed when the paste exits the incinerator. This is why the pet food industry artificially supplements pet "food" with so many additives.
The dead mass that exits the rendering process has to be "enriched" or "fortified" with additives and supplements to give the impression of being "nutritious". Otherwise there would be nothing beneficial in "dog food", your dog could just as well eat bricks! And to add the degree of toxicity, bricks and mortar.
The long list of preservatives are then added to reach a shelf life of 12 months minimum. Some pet "foods" have a shelf life of 5 years. Guess how much preservatives must be in "pet food"?!
Wondering how all the additives, supplements, and preservatives get into the "pet food"?
Simple: Some liquid and solid additives are mixed into the paste that exits the incinerator before it is moved on to extrusion or baking. Either process can produce those cute kibble shapes that further attract dog owners to buy them. Other supplements are coatings achieved through gassing the final product.
Nutrients or Anti-nutrients?
The key proposition of nutrition science is: The less you process foods, thus the more natural you leave foods, the healthier they are.
This proposition holds true despite the fact that adding heat (cooking) increases bioaccessibility and bioabsorption of some nutrients, because bioaccessibility and bioabsorption of other nutrients is reduced at the same time.10
Bioabsorption is a complex subject and beyond the scope of this article. In fact nutrition science still is so new that new discoveries are made every single day in our connected world.
Yet it is worth noting here that both the human and the canine body are primarily water, and your steak and chicken breast etc too are primarily water even after roasting (for details see the linked Periodical).
Obviously there is much more research needed but where shall the money come from? The public sector is always scarce of funds and often misguided by the industry's lobbying(!), and the food processing industry itself only researches what benefits them. They have no interest in research that might show just how bad the processed foods are that they aim to sell!
So, are the artificially added supplements sufficiently nutritious?
No. The "pet food" chemists know this, and most likely supervisory organizations like USDA and FDA in the US, the Food Standards Agency in the UK and so on know this very well too. But look, it's a compromise:
The Greatest Fear of Governments
Just in North America alone(!), every single day 165 million pound or 75 million kg of animal byproducts have to be disposed of! The gigantic amounts of animal waste (and additional plant waste) must be disposed of in a way that's safe to the environment.13
There is little that modern governments fear more than soil-spread and groundwater-spread diseases. Because then tax income would dwindle, bureaucrats would lose their jobs, and politicians wouldn't be re-elected.
So landfills for animal waste are out of the question. And incineration is too costly. Unless...
Oh right! They've found someone willing to pay for that: dog owners!
Rendering Risk Assessment
Don't get this wrong, we are not to criticise the Rendering industry as such. This industry is needed and beneficial in many ways. The rendering industry benefits other industries as diverse as the chemical industry, automobile, cosmetics and body care, restaurants, cleaning, etc.14
If you doubt the overall value of rendering, see for example this video from the industry's lobby organization in the USA - the National Renderers Association - which is so upbeat that it kept me chuckling for 5 of the 11 minutes:
However, what we do criticize is the use of rendering plant output as the foundation for food, here pet food. The risk of rendering plant output sold as food is two-fold:
- Toxic and carcinogenic substances in "pet food":
- euthanized animals with the lethal chemicals in the body!
- diseased animals with grown tumors and worse!
- pesticide ear-tags, flea- and tick collars still attached!
- styrofoam, clearfilm wrap, and plastic bags from unsold Retail stock, etc!
- The process of rendering in the incinerator:
- the up to 300 F heat does not decoct and inactivate all pathogens!
- mixing many unknown input factors under heat forms new carcinogenic substances!
- the prolonged incineration eliminates any and all natural nutrients!
- which then ironically get substituted with pseudo-nutrients from the lab!
As you know from our favorite rendering video, the complete animals are thrown into the grinder, thus including infected body parts, tumor tissues, and all sorts of animal attachments and implants:
This step of the rendering process is affectionately called "The Grinder"
(shown is an old style Grinder, newer plants avoid the cost of employing the lift truck operator: Animals are dumped from the delivery truck straight into the Grinder below - which now is much larger, these can "handle" several animals at once)
And not that you think "but poultry is safe", see this:
Human-grade chicken manufacturing
Did you see at the end the images titled "Rendering Plant"?
They don't show you what ends up in there. But we do.
For example this deadly campylobacter bug infested chicken conveyor belt overflow goes into the Rendering Plant.
To be processed as... "pet food", yes!15
Prions - The Ticking Time Bomb
Even the pet food industry's idea that the two-hour-long incineration makes pet food "safe" is flawed: It's not only that the plastics and chemicals from packaging materials, pesticide ear tags etc form NEW toxic substances when incinerated.
A yet much underestimated risk is posed by prions. Prions are the harmful proteins that cause Scrapie in sheep and goats, BSE in cows, CWD in deer and elk, FSE in cats, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in human adults and children: Each and every incidence is deadly within weeks to months.
Meanwhile prions are known to transmit between species, and known to NOT get inactivated through incineration. In fact infectivity of prions can sustain even day-long autoclaving at 138 C / 280 F (pressured steam-cooking), and you need to combine it with a sodium hydroxide solution to have a chance to inactivate prions with heat.16
In diseased animals prions have already been found in the brain, the spinal cord, and various lymphoid tissues. Diseased animals means they are known to be sick at death, for example cows that can't stand: downer animals.
But what about all the processed animals that prior death appeared to be healthy? Note that infective prions have been found in lab tests weeks after seemingly healthy animals died!17 By that time your dog will already have eaten the processed "pet food". And even if not, it is impossible to associate the then identified sick but rendered animals with individual batches of sold "pet food".
While prions won't wipe out humanity or dogs as species,18 history shows that prions rapidly kill individuals that eat infected food.17
Pet Food Production Regulation?
Now take for example the USA. Many Americans like to believe that if pet food production has USDA and/or FDA approval then it must be good dog food. Given all the above facts, you could hardly be more wrong if you believe that.
Globally, pet food production regulation is mediocre at best (for example for the USA start here). Despite appeasing language and what lobby organizations like the National Renderers Association and the Pet Food Institute aim to make you believe, the pet food industry actually is hardly regulated at all.
Voluntary inspections19 and self-regulation of the pet food industry, that's not a regulated industry. And all the pet food scandals are proof of that! In fact, regulation without strict enforcement is ineffective from the start.
Where "pet food" manufacturers aren't subject to painfully high fines, they have no reason to comply with any standard. Given the ultra-high profit margin in the pet food industry20, it is today too lucrative to trick the system.
We must have enforceable regulation, and ideally on a global scale because pet food production is a heavily globalized business.
Now for just a moment, let's imagine that tomorrow all pet owners stopped buying industrial pet "food". Instead, they feed their dogs what's left of their own natural diet, as it has been for tens of thousands of years. Call it table scraps if you want. Not to worry: The photos above showed you how delicious natural "table scraps" can be!
What would happen?
Soon "pet food" manufacturers would stop paying rendering plants to produce "pet food" because they can no longer sell it. And in no time our modern world would indeed face severe animal disposal problems.
Thus this is no solution, in the short-term. Better you keep buying industrial pet "food".
Or is it not?
Well no, that's not necessary. If we address the much bigger problem of modern society:
The Biggest Flaw of Today's Food Chain
Because of the tax-funded subsidizing of grain farmers(!) even cows and sheep and pigs are being fed grains - which are allergenic to them. And so we people have to eat the medication-contaminated meat and dairy of allergic livestock. And what we don't eat our pets have to eat as further processed waste product from rendering plants!21
TODAY'S FOOD CHAIN IS INSANE:
- Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of meat!22
- More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock, rather than being consumed directly by the people who desire to eat grains.
The enormous health risks of rendering plant "food" products shown above aside, it is a flawed thought that industrial-scale contaminated meat production is necessary to feed the now over 7 billion human population: All meat that we need for animal protein could still be grass-fed(!), with the animals peacefully pasturing on meadows.22
Instead, you and I, and your family and friends, almost everyone is forced to consume contaminated meat and dairy!
S T O P this disaster! BOYKOTT processed meat and other processed foods, and choose the natural way, the healthy way. Even if that means that you eat less meat until the meat industry has learned its lesson. TAKE ACTION!
May the above briefly described modern food chain serve as educational backdrop for what follows.
5 Killer Ingredients in Dog Food Served With Every Bag and Tin
Or we can also say:
The 5-a-day that kill your dog all the way!
1. Animal & Plant By-Products
- Cancerous body parts from livestock, poultry, and fish ending up as bone meal, meat meal, poultry meal, or fish meal
- Slaughterhouse waste like bones, offal, skin and coat, hooves and feet, head and tail
- Flour, husks and mill sweep - instead of REAL grains
- Retail returns of rancid meat that couldn't be sold while fresh, or that went bad because the chiller broke down or because the transport truck went in the ditch - complete with packaging materials!
- Deceased pets from vets, shelters, and animal clinics have to go somewhere, but dumping them on the landfill incurs high fines. So after livestock, pets make the second highest number of rendered animals - complete with the lethal doses of barbiturates used to euthanize them!
There are no fines for selling all of the above ingredients as "pet food", hence why it's done. Therefore, we need fines of at least 500,000 USD per offense to get the "pet food" industry to wake up!
The "pet food" industry's crude reasoning is: Cremation of diseased and euthanized animals or burial at sea would be costly. No one is willing to pay for that.
But returning animal cadavers into the food chain is cheap and clever: Pet owners are HAPPY to pay for that, and a LOT LOT LOT: They happily buy the rendering plant waste products as vastly overpriced "pet food" and feed it to their four-legged family member.
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!
S T O P this disaster! BOYKOTT processed meat and other processed foods, and choose the natural way, the healthy way. And then let your dog have "table scraps" of that real food. TAKE ACTION.
2. Artificial "Nutrients"
Besides the allergenic and carcinogenic by-products, the next problematic "dog food" ingredient are the artificial "nutrients" that are added to the paste that the incinerator has cooked up.
You may rightfully wonder: "Why at all add anything?" Given the apparently wholesome natural ingredients that all pet "food" manufacturers promote in their advertisements:
Edit: Oh! It appears "Purina Beneful" folks realized their video is being made FUN of and so they made it "private". A marketing video becoming "private"?? LOL
For this particular "dog food" thousands of dog owners have finally realized it's crap
- yet too many still believe another one is better...
If the glossy advertising of the pet food industry is legitimate then only fresh steaks, sparkling ripe vegetables and fruits, and real whole grains go into the huge bags and smaller tins that dog owners are buying, right?
Well, as we have learned above, none of that goes into the "dog food" bags and tins! And what comes out of the incinerator is SO POOR in substance that it just has to be pepped up, or dogs might die within days to weeks of being fed that crap.
The mere fact that so many pseudo-nutrients are being added to "pet food" proves that the glossy advertising of healthy wholesome ingredients in the pet food industry is defrauding the largest coherent group of society: dog owners.
Now take for example the tobacco industry, it is so heavily regulated, in most countries they may not advertise at all(!), they have to print prescribed warnings onto every package, they have to print photos of tobacco victims onto every package, the majority of the tobacco price is taxes, etc.
We need similar regulation of the "pet food" industry!
This would solve all the above problems, including who pays for more sensible animal waste disposal.
There is no similar regulation of the "pet food" industry because currently there is no animal disposal problem. Governments know that the people disposal will be paid for by the close family of the smoker.
One could very well argue though that every sick pet and every dying pet affects the dog or cat owner's family just as much. It is unacceptable that the "pet food" industry is allowed to sell at much higher prices much more toxic stuff without much stricter enforceable regulation!
So does adding all those artificial "nutrients" benefit your dog? Biotin, Riboflavin, Folic acid, Copper sulfate, Potassium iodide, Manganese sulfate, Taurine, Spearmint - and 781 other supplements!?
You mean, compared to the bland paste that exits the incinerator??
Under Nutrients or Anti-nutrients above you learned how important the water content and molecular relationships are that make up natural foods. Thus the short answer is: No.
Besides, be aware that many "nutrients" are merely gassed onto the manufactured kibble, thus they are surface coatings that rub off inside the bag, they don't even get into your dog's bowl anyway.
What is called kibble is so much processed and so dry that the molecular relationships of kibble are the opposite of natural. Thus if at all, bioabsorption of all those supplements is infinitesimal (smaller than minimal).
And arguing the long list of supplements would benefit your dog is like saying: "If you eat bricks and mortar but sprinkle olive oil on top, you have an improved diet."
No, you have not. You need to leave out the bricks and mortar and substitute it for some natural foods, then you have an improved diet! And the same for your dog.
Also note that we could not find any controlled study showing that any pet food "nutrients" had any health benefit at all! As the pet "food" industry has an inherent interest to show this, but failed, you see that such claims are nothing but marketing claims.
Be aware that "studies" conducted or sponsored by the "pet food" industry are no scientific studies when they start with a target outcome. And although many "studies" from independent organizations are published (just about any topic), very very few studies are controlled studies applying the scientific rigor necessary to prove correlation rather than coincidence.
Label listings are in the order of weight
Mark also that where a label for example lists "Blueberries" or "Apples" three lines after "Parsley Flakes" as in the dog food label shown earlier, then the heavier "Blueberries" - and all the more the MUCH heavier "Apples"! - cannot be numerous at all:
Items are listed by weight, meaning for the ingredients label shown earlier that the manufacturer cannot have put more than two or three blueberries and less than one apple into the huge industrial silo! And those almost certainly were already mouldy anyway.
So better don't get naive when you see a valuable food item listed way down on the label. It is meaningless.
For no country we could find any indication that certain minimum percentages would be required before items may be listed on the label and heavily marketed. Indeed, the pet "food" market is so highly UNregulated that it is too easy to con customers with misleading labels.
We need clear regulations, constant independent reviews, and legal enforcement - paid for by the industry itself.
3. Harmful Additives
Additives are substances added to food to introduce flavor, or to introduce taste, or to modify appearance.
- Preservatives and Emulsifiers
- Color enhancers and flavor enhancers
- Surface coatings and gases
There are more additives in pet "food" than what is listed on the label. And this is true for all above ingredient groups: More preservatives and stabilizers, more colorings and flavorings, more surface coatings and gases.
In no country it is legally required and enforced to list ALL additives. In fact it is difficult to do so because most "pet food" manufacturers don't know all additives: They order countless premixes from different suppliers to devise their own final proprietary formula. There is no way to control what each supplier has added to the waste mix.
Look at the long list of ingredients in industrial dog "food", no country produces all of them (not even China, no). And so "pet food" manufacturers have to rely on what their suppliers say. Tests are rare because frequent tests would cost far more than to settle a handful of claims from dog owners when their pet got sick or died.23
Thus again, if you buy your "dog food" based on ingredient labels, you totally miss the point. Never mind, many veterinarians miss the point too:
It's almost funny, but also sad, to notice the current trend in the USA where many dog owners since the Melamine contamination24 or since the more recent beef jerky scandal25 demand: "No ingredients from China!" - believing that "wholly made in USA" would signal healthy dog food.
It's funny because the same dog owners continue to buy industrial pet "food" with long lists of additives, and then some of those additives always come from China.
It's sad because you can feed your dog as much "pet food" labeled made in the USA as you like, yet your dog will then suffer autoimmune disorders and organ failure anyway: Re-read above, what goes in, and how it's made!
Be aware that many additives that are avoided or even forbidden in people foods are nonetheless used in dog "food": BTA, BHA, TBHQ, tartrazine, carmoisine, sunset yellow, ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, etc.
Dogs NEVER had to eat chemicals until around the 1960ies. And as far as is known, at no time in history were there so many cases of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, kidney failure, allergies, and skin infections!
Dog life span - today and historically
Never before dogs died so early: Thanks to the global dog database that we maintain at MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG, we know that today the majority of German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) succumb to sickness before they reach a mere 10 years of human age.
While in the 100 years old book Der Deutsche Schaeferhund in Wort und Bild (The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture) Max v. Stephanitz makes clear that it wasn't rare that GSDs were fully productive working dogs until age 15 to 16 years.26
The same is true for other breeds and mixes, as our local animal hospital records suggest: Dogs today die at a much younger age. Worse, they die after years of sickness that has cost the owner a lot of money - money that allows vets, pharma, and pet "food" industry to promote their deadly crap to ever more clueless dog owners.
So how comes that the American Pet Food Institute claims: "Today, advanced science and nutritional knowledge go into creating complete and balanced pet foods that result in pets living long, healthy lives."
Does their claim surprise you? No, of course not: The "institute" is funded by the "pet food" industry itself! Thus they have a vested interest in lying to you about the "quality" of pet "food". And so they come up with those unfounded claims out of thin air.
Also be aware that historically next to no one spent money on vet visits and medical treatments of their dog, but today most dog owners do. Thus dogs should live much longer now. And yet, they don't. Now that's really shocking!
Dogs have been MUCH healthier when they were fed "table scraps" than they are today where dogs are fed DEA + MS + AA.
The long lists of additives in "dog food" - and the ones not listed! - are particularly worrying in the case of preservatives, because pet "food" is full of preservatives: it's all about shelf life, more than anything else.
Imagine "pet food" manufacturers had to render their crap AGAIN just because pet owners stop buying pet "food" after the due date. What a decline in profit margin that would be!
The pet "food" industry cannot risk that, and governments in nations with industrial meat production cannot risk that. See above: the Greatest Fear of Governments.
Therefore the "pet food" industry unanimously agreed to stuff their waste products with so much preservatives that it won't go rancid for at least 12 months. And emulsifiers make sure that the many additives don't separate. So that dog owners buy kibble, not crumbs.
Why color enhancers? Do dogs require crap to have a certain color before they eat it?
No, of course not. Again, "pet food" manufacturers add color enhancers purely to con dog owners.
They know that dog owners like to see strong colors, not the bland grey-black tarlike substance that exits the incinerator.
And flavor enhancers?
Yeah, obviously dogs wouldn't eat the rendering plant waste product sold as overpriced "pet food" if it was as bland as the incinerator made it. It has to be pepped up flavor-wise, I understand.
BUT: REAL FOOD doesn't have nor need "flavor enhancers"!
Also be aware that again, some additives too are gassed onto the manufactured kibble, thus they are surface coatings that partly rub off inside the bag. This is why kibble has that characteristic stench already the first time you open a sealed bag.
Is "All Natural" or "Preservative-Free" or "Organic" an option?
Note that there is NO enforced legal definition of "all natural", "preservative-free", "natural & wholesome" or whatever. Manufacturers can, and do, freely put such terms on the label if that fits to their marketing plan.
Worse, in "pet food" the label "ORGANIC" doesn't have the meaning it has in people food.28 First, mark that "made with organic material" is MUCH WORSE than "organic" (made of organic material): in the USA "made with organic material" allows 30% to be NON-organic.29
And in the USA (not so in Europe) manufacturers are allowed to use the label "ORGANIC" even though the food has 5% NON-organic substances.29
All the while, who cares for what is "allowed"?
There has never been a single case getting public where the law was enforced with heavy fines for those who were found to fraudulently use the label "organic". And so it is of no surprise that the industry doesn't care.30
Don't trust mere words on a label: If food doesn't LOOK NATURAL then it isn't natural!
This does not mean that all food that looks natural is natural: The appearance of food can be faked too. But it means that certainly all food that does NOT look natural is NOT natural.
4. Chemicals & Medication
One really has to wonder why on earth FOOD should have any chemicals and medication in it? It shouldn't! But because of the foolish industrial meat production shown above both people food and pet food is full of chemicals and medication:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!
Industrial livestock typically receives antibiotics and steroids with the food, as "prophylaxis" to make dairy and meat production more profitable. The view of the meat industry is that "banning the use of such drugs would greatly reduce the profitability of the industry", driving up the cost of meat.31
This crude view has had two devastating consequences already:
- industrial meat makes us sick, and our dogs too!
- antibiotics no longer help when they are needed: to cure a life-threatening disease!32
Mind you, sickness not in the sense that you eat a steak and you suffer diarrhea. Worse: Industrial meat makes us sick in the sense that the regular ingestion of the antibiotics and steroids that the livestock had to ingest wrecks havoc in our body systems - which has spiked autoimmune disorders such as cancer and allergies both in people and in dogs!
And then when you or your dog gets really sick and you need medication, it no longer helps. Because many bacteria already have become resistant to all known antibiotics since livestock has served as a reservoir of antibiotics-resistant pathogens.33
This second consequence of the foolish industrial meat production has caused huge danger for humanity: Already since 1987(!) NO new classes of antibiotics have been discovered.
Conversely, some bacteria double in population in a mere 20 minutes. So every 20 minutes they have another chance to develop resistance to the latest antibiotics we managed to develop - which was 30 years ago.34
Given the amount of these medications fed to livestock, it is no surprise that in many cases meat eaters notice NO improvement when they take prescribed antibiotics. Their body got accustomed to the antibiotics diet, AND the bacteria have become resistant.
Couple the two and you understand why today the majority of prescribed antibiotics are ineffective from the start.
With steroids it is different. Steroids always impair or entirely shut down the immune system!
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!
You should never accept the prescription of steroids, neither for yourself nor for your dog. Nor should you or your dog eat meat contaminated with antibiotics or steroids. Learn from top immunologists. Steroids destroy the body's ability to self-heal, now and going forward. Thus steroids are the most foolish thing you can do to your health, and to your dog's health!
As if feeding livestock antibiotics and steroids as "prophylaxis" weren't bad enough, industrial meat production does worse: Antibiotics also are fed to stimulate growth. Because more meat means more profit. And antibiotics do indeed make livestock fatter.
This is insane. The greed for higher profit makes consumers sick today, and risks lives in the post-antibiotics era tomorrow! Boycott that insanity NOW.
In Europe, already since 2005 absolutely NO antibiotics are allowed to be used as growth promoters in animal feed.35 While in the USA the FDA explicitely allows that, hence why it's being done!36
But the FDA and USDA are no more than the long arm of industry interests anyway, which has become inherently clear since the FDA and USDA started to actively promote GMO foods in favor of Monsanto. Conversely, in the entire EU only one GMO crop ever got approval, and for the foreseeable future no other will.37
Because it is long known among independent thus genuine scientists that some GMO foods lead to cancer,38 others to liver damage, kidney damage, hormonal disorders, etc.39 If you are one of the many sponsored by Monsanto & Co, obviously you won't accept this fact. Yet real scientists accept facts, not money or perks.
Medication aside, other chemicals in "pet food" are toxic too: The lethal doses of barbiturates used to euthanize animals, packaging materials such as styrofoam and clearfilm wrap, etc!
Here's an insanely helpful thought experiment for you:
Just imagine for one moment, you were to EAT cooked styrofoam and clearfilm wrap and other packaging materials every day. Because no one in the rendering plant gets paid to UNpack unsold retail returns. ALL packaging materials go into the incinerator as well.
What do you think how your digestive system would handle all these inedible chemical compounds? And then your immune system and the other body systems?
I would assume that you'd have stomach pain and intestinal upsets frequently, that you'd feel tired often, that soon you face organ failures, and that tumors grow.
Oh, what a coincidence! That's exactly what is happening to dogs, right?
But no, this is no coincidence, it's correlation: Dogs get fed that crap, day in, day out! And yet they eat it without complaining. Because they realize they won't get any real food. - Or will your dog now get real food?
ARRRGH! This thought experiment really feels insane, doesn't it?
Well, hundreds of millions of dogs in the world have to cope with this insanity in their very dog bowl every single day.
Now that's insane. By us people. How we treat our dogs.
5. Plastics & Rubbers
Plastics of course are chemicals too, but it helps to differentiate them because of their tangible nature. Think of
- plastic bags
- pesticide ear tags on livestock
- flea collars on pets
- oesophagus ties, stomach ties, and rectum ties during slaughter, etc.40
Some items are plastics, others rubber.
ALL OF THAT goes into industrial pet "food". When renderers collect dead livestock or any kind of roadkill, no staff has the time and gets paid to take off anything that's attached to the animal.
Review the "butcher" video above. If necessary, everytime before you fill your dog's bowl.
Of course not all rendering plants process whole animal carcasses, independent rendering plants do, integrated rendering plants don't. In the USA, roughly two thirds are integrated rendering plants - which means integrated with slaughter farms.
Thus ALL rendering plants promote cannibalism. With the health consequences that cannibalism has.42
However, feeding an animal plastics and rubbers is much worse, as regards the immediate health impact:43
- Polyvinylchloride (PVC) - causes cancer, birth defects, skin disorders, deafness, blindness, digestive disorders, liver dysfunction etc
- Phthalates (DEHP, DINP etc) - cause malfunctioning of the endocrine system, breathing difficulties, developmental and reproductive impairment, infertility, hormonal changes, immune system impairment etc
- In addition, the incineration of PVC and Pthalates releases dioxins and mercury - both lethal
- Polycarbonate, Bisphenol A - cause cancer, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, etc
- Polystyrene, Polyethelyne - cause cancer, dizziness and unconsciousness, irritate eyes, nose and throat
- Polyester - causes acute skin rashes, eye and respiratory inflammation
- Polyurethane foam - causes coughing and lung problems, skin inflammation and eye inflammation
- Acrylic - causes breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, general weakness, headache and fatigue
And if you notice any of these health issues among your human family members then you are using too many plastics in your kitchen: Some chemicals in plastics migrate from the plastic packaging to the foods they contain, all the more when heated up.41
Be a Conscious Consumer
- With every kibble bag or tin purchased you signal to the pet "food" industry your implied consent to their practices. Practices that increase your dog health cost today and shorten your dog's life tomorrow.
- Rendering plant pet "food" always triggers disorders, diseases, and defects. Some experience these sooner, others later.
- The frequent food allergies and skin conditions German Shepherd Dog owners know particularly well. Yet any dog will experience these over time.
- If your dog already shows these signs, throw out all industrial "foods" (meals AND treats), and see how much that alone improves your dog's condition within a mere weeks!
- If you don't, accept to have to foot ever higher medical bills
- To avoid high medical bills and the early death of your four-legged family member, feed REAL FOODS only.
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1: The origin of dogs
2: The development of agriculture
3: Amylase activity is associated with AMY2B copy numbers in dog: Implications for dog domestication, diet and diabetes
4: End Food Waste Now
5: Meat Contamination
6: An equivalent combination is 138 C / 280 F for 3 seconds.
7: Animal incineration
8: Articles like those are of course nonsense. Our dog database, pet owners, and most veterinarians observe that dogs die at an ever younger age: of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and other autoimmune disorders.
9: Most skin problems too are caused by the pet "food" forced down on the dog
10: For quick insight into factors determining bioabsorption see Nutrient bioavailability - getting the most out of food
11: "food matrix": The nutrient and non-nutrient components of foods and their molecular relationships
12: Macronutrients however (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) are more readily absorbed, on average around 90%. Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, and bioactive phytochemicals like flavonoids and carotenoids.
13: Cornell Waste Management Institute - Natural Rendering: Composting Livestock Mortality and Butcher Waste - they reason that composting would be safe to the environment.
14: Rendering & Meat Byproduct Processing in the US: Market Research Report
15: Revealed: the dirty secret of the UK's poultry industry
16: Inactivation of prions by physical and chemical means
17: Resistant Prions: Can They Be Transmitted By Environment As Well As Direct Contact?
18: A protein variant can provide protection from deadly brain-wasting
19: What is certified pet food?
20: The "food" input cost of "premium brand dry kibble" is infinitesimal, like $0.09 per pound or $0.20 per kilo!
21: Pros and Cons of Meat
22: U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists
23: Think You Can Avoid Pet Foods Made In China? Think Again!
24: Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007
25: Death toll for pets given jerky treats made in China
26: Max v. Stephanitz: Der Deutsche Schaeferhund in Wort und Bild; a later edition is available in English: The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture
27: Rendered Waste Ingredients Far More Serious Risk
28: 7 CFR 205.105 - Allowed and prohibited substances, methods, and ingredients in organic production and handling
29: 7 CFR 205.301 - Product composition
30: Organic food not proven healthier or safer, study finds
31: Antibiotic Debate Overview
32: WHO's first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public health
33: Analysis: Antibiotic apocalypse
34: The Antibiotic Discovery Void
35: Ban on antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed enters into effect
36: Antibiotic Use in Food-Producing Animals
37: New E.U. Law Lets Nations Ban Gene-Modified Crops
38: Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) Linked to Tumors, Allergies and Early Death
39: Here's Why 19 Countries In Europe Just Completely Banned Genetically Modified Crops
40: Techniques and hygiene practices in slaughtering and meat handling
41: Animal Rendering: Economics and Policy. Report for Congress, pdf document order code RS21771
42: Spotlight: Why Cannibalism is Bad for You
43: Adverse Health Effects of Plastics
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