Pet Food Companies: Show Us the Analyses of Your Dog Foods

Pressing for actual nutrient analyses for dog food, take 2.

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Last month, I encouraged you to ask the makers of the foods you feed your dogs for complete nutrient analyses of those products. If you found companies refusing to answer or representatives without information, know your attempt was not wasted. You helped make manufacturers aware we want answers. 

The purpose of the exercise was not to frustrate you or to annoy the pet food companies. What I hoped to do is to highlight the fact that the industry whose products are fed to 95% of the dogs in this country can’t be bothered to provide consumers with accurate, understandable information about those products. I am outraged at that fact – and I hope that more of you will join me in my fight, in hope of pushing the industry to change. The idea that even companies with billions of dollars of annual sales can’t or won’t make nutritional information about their products available to consumers is appalling. 

While researching the article that appears on page 22 of this issue (“Drilling for Dietary Copper”), I checked the websites of every pet food maker on our “Approved Dry Dog Food” list, and found “typical” nutrient analyses on only about a third of their websites. I also searched the websites of the largest pet food companies in the world, whose products generally do not get included on our “Approved Foods” lists. Even fewer of their sites include typical or “expected” nutrient analyses for their products – and nobody provides “actual” nutrient analyses, which are the results of laboratory tests of their finished products. 

A pet food company representative, irritated with my questions, once asked me, “Do you get this information from the makers of the canned soups or breakfast cereals in your cupboard?” No, I don’t, I told him – but then, my diet mostly consists of home-prepared fresh foods. By eating a wide variety of foods, I can readily achieve “nutritional balance over time.” In contrast, the dogs who subsist almost entirely on commercial dog foods are solely dependent on the makers of those products for all of their nutrients. If there’s too much of something potentially deadly in the food that dogs eat every day, year in and year out, something that can accumulate in the bodies of some dogs, such as dietary copper – well, I’d like to know, so I can avoid that product – or at the very least, lobby for change. Or start feeding my dogs a home-prepared diet, which I should be doing, anyway!

Doesn’t it seem reasonable to ask that the companies that ostensibly provide “complete and balanced nutrition for dogs” show us, the consumers that provide their ever-increasing annual earnings, what that nutrition actually consists of? 

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