What's in a bag dogWe know the effects of additives, colourants and E numbers on children and adults so why is it acceptable to feed them to our pets? How many of us would encourage our family members to eat MacDonalds every day as a healthy option? The answer is we wouldn’t. So what effect does this have on our dogs…?


Many of our top brands produce cheap dry dog foods and they will argue that they pay people huge amounts of money to experts to scientifically formulate a balanced nutritional meal for dogs. Yet all they are doing is putting in artificial additives, cereals and derivatives to make up this incredibly wholesome diet. Hardly wholesome because at the same time they are only declaring 4% meat content which is the minimum required by law.


Why do they add “oils and fats” and “various sugars”? Quite simple. If they didn’t our dogs would turn their noses up at the food and refuse to eat it. Even as a non-expert in the world of scientifically formulated nutritional meals for dogs I can be fairly confident that it is exactly those items that will cause dogs to put on unnecessary weight. It’s funny because owners think the cheap brands are good because their dogs love the food and it puts weight on them!!


So why the brightly coloured kibble? I always thought dogs, though not exactly colour blind, were limited in the depth of the colours they saw. Brightly coloured kibble would have no impact on them but it could on their owners. Therefore it’s no more than a marketing ploy to make people think it’s nicer for their dogs because it’s colourful and not drab. Oh our poor dogs……


But let’s look at “cereals” as an ingredient. What does it mean? Well, not a lot if the label doesn’t tell you what cereals have been added. Taking the retail cost of a 15kg bag of dog food at £8.00 and assuming the retailer is going to make a profit on the sale of that bag. It would be a fair assumption that the manufacturer would also make a profit on the sale of the bag to the retailer after paying the cost of manufacturing and packaging. So what have the ingredients actually cost?


Whatever grain has been used it will be the cheapest on the market at a given time. There will be no consistency as to which grains are used because the manufacturer needs to buy the CHEAPEST possible in order to keep the price of the bag of dog food at £8.00 to the consumer. You don’t need a lot of imagination to know that the description of quality will go out of the window. Some grains are less digestible than others and these are usually the cheapest. If your dog is skin sensitive, suffers from allergies or has a sensitive stomach then this will not be the right food for your dog as the ingredients will change from batch to batch. Then some dog foods can contain as much as 80% cereal content.


Meat and Animal Derivatives is a generic term for animal protein without having to declare where it comes from or what it is. It’s going to be the very cheapest at £8.00 a bag and will come as no surprise when it can be any part of the animal. Basically it is slaughterhouse waste. So that’s why the manufacturer cannot declare what it is and why they call it 4% chicken even though it could be from an animal other than a hen.

So please take note of what you have got in a 15kg bag of dog food for £8.00 or more importantly what you haven’t got in there. Out of that £8.00, there is profit for the retailer, the manufacturer, overheads like packaging, transport, factory costs and wages which leaves very little leftover for the ingredients……….THAT’S THE STUFF YOUR DOG EATS!