Veterinarian Dr. James Isaacs was interviewed on Calabasa.Patch.com regarding how to pick a good dog food. Something Dr. Isaacs shared in this interview I just had to try. Here’s what I did…
I get all sorts of Google alerts; pet food, pet food recalls, and many more. One of my Google alerts sent me an article posted on Patch.com which was advice from a veterinarian on selection of dog food/pet nutrition. This article/interview was very interesting.
Below is an excerpt of that article…
DR. JAMES ISAACS: You walk down the aisle of pet foods, looking at gleaming cans, brightly labeled bags, coupons, and shelf talkers, and try to make a decision on the best food for your dog or cat.
PATCH: They all look colorful and attractive.
DR. JAMES ISAACS: And they’ve all gotta be decent, right?
PATCH: They wouldn’t be on the shelves, if they weren’t okay.
DR. JAMES ISAACS: Think again. One study of human food consumption determined that if all the bad food (meaning food that is harmful to your health) were removed from an average supermarket, all that would remain would be a tiny, convenience store.
PATCH: You’re saying there is little decent nutrition out there, even for us?
DR. JAMES ISAACS: If such peril awaits us on the shelves of “quality,” human foods, what do you think might be the case for the less regulated pet food industry?
PATCH:The bags are pretty, but the picture isn’t pretty at all?
DR. JAMES ISAACS: I had one experience with a well known, kibbled dog food that touted “Lamb and Rice Formula.” We took the entire bag of kibble and emptied it into a trash can filled with warm water. We stirred the food until it was mushy and let it sit for 2 hours.
PATCH: I’m going to guess fat floated to the top?
DR. JAMES ISAACS: When we returned, we saw the top three inches of the water in the can was covered with floating wool.
DR. JAMES ISAACS: Admittedly, wool is found on lambs, but is it food? Should it be eaten by our pets?
PATCH: More swindling on Wool Street!
DR. JAMES ISAACS: Needless to say the nutritional value of wool (and who knows what other inedible parts of the animal found its way into that pet food) is questionable.
PATCH: Marketing “Lamb and Rice” was pulling the wool over our eyes.
This sounded like a very interesting experiment to me, so I purchased a lamb and rice dog food (couldn’t find a lamb and rice cat food at Wal-Mart), dumped the food into a garbage bag lined can, filled it with water…and waited anxiously.
After about two hours, we noticed little hairs sticking out of the puffed kibble. White hairs, as in lamb hairs…wool. The particular dog food was made with lamb meal, thus the lamb ingredient would have been ground and cooked prior to the ingredient being added to the rest of the ingredients in the pet food. Very surprising to find hairs in the swollen kibble with a lamb meal ingredient.
Two more hours of the lamb and rice dog food soaking in the water, there was very little noticeable change. Still puffed kibble, still little hairs sticking out of the kibble, but no 3 inches of wool floating on the top of the water soaked food.
Experiment number two was a lamb and rice dog food but this time the ‘lamb’ ingredient was not a meal; thus whole lamb (including hair) could have been added to the dog food. We added water and waited.
After two hours, no wool. Actually, this pet food – by ingredient definition should have been more likely to contain hairs than the dog food with the lamb meal ingredient. But, we found no hairs sticking out of the kibble with the lamb ingredient. However there was a great deal of bubbly looking fat floating on top (disgusting); much more than on the other dog food.
I did not get the same results as Dr. Isaacs. However, our little pet food experiment did prove some significant things.
1. Ingredients listed on the pet food label might not be what is actually in the pet food.
I have a difficult time believing that our first dog food was made from lamb meal (as the label stated). We saw tiny hairs sticking out of at least 1/3 of the water soaked kibble. The cooking/rendering process to make the lamb meal ingredient and cooking of the kibble itself should have destroyed most of the hair. I’d have to guess this dog food contained lamb instead of lamb meal (again, as the label stated).
2. The fat differences in these two foods, seemed to be vastly different (as seen in our little experiment).
Pet food labels are only required to state protein and fat minimum – not maximum. Pet food number two in our experiment had at least an inch of bubbly brown fat on top (of the water soaked kibble). Pet food number one had only small sections of bubbly brown fat. With this type of fat variation in two adult maintenance dog foods, it is no wonder there is an obesity epidemic in pets.
3. Pet owners aren’t consciously paying for wool when they purchase a lamb and rice pet food; hair/wool (feathers) has no place in pet food.
Federal and State Authorities (AAFCO) should be ashamed of themselves for allowing industry to pull the wool over millions of consumers eyes. I don’t know how they sleep at night.
Should any of you out there decide to try this little experiment yourself – and you happen to hit the wool jackpot as Dr. Isaacs did – send me your pictures!
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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