Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Balanced" Dog Food

This is one that annoys me. I see Rachael Ray has even gotten into the game now, with her new line of dog food, called (of course) "Nutrish."

She touts it as being "balanced" nutrition for dogs. A lot of dog food manufacturers do the same these days, not just Rachael Ray. Somehow I always seem to find things more annoying when she does them, though.

Dogs are carnivores. Carnivores eat meat. A "balanced" diet for dogs is meat. End of story. Oh, sure, we've bred them over the centuries to be goofy enough to want to eat whatever we eat, or whatever we give them, but they are still carnivores, and the best thing for them to eat is meat.

They say that a balanced diet for humans includes grain, fruits and vegetables. Humans are onmivores, meaning we are equipped to deal with the glucose such things pour into our bloodstreams, more or less. Carnivores are not well equipped in this regard. This is why there are so many fat dogs out there.

I suppose it's good that the dog food companies who claim their food is healthy don't pour a bunch of chemicals into them, but the grains and vegetables they do put in them aren't good for dogs, either. The reason they do it, of course, is that compared to meat, such things are cheap.

I was curious about the nutritional Q&A on the Nutrish site, so I had a peek. One of the questions was "Why is it important that meat is the first ingredient?" "Oho," I thought, "If she replies that dogs are carnivores and need meat, how will she justify the vegetables?"

The answer, of course, was that she didn't really answer at all. "Nutrish lists either chicken or beef (depending on the variety) as its first ingredient, which guarantees a high-quality, super premium dog food that you can trust." She should be a politician. No doubt someday she will, too, more's the shame.

I've read things online, where vets sweep this whole thing under the rug by claiming that dogs are not true carnivores (whatever that means.) I've also heard vets say that dogs should not have too much meat. Which is patently absurd, and one step away from saying fish shouldn't have too much water.

If your vet tells you things like this, it's time for a new vet, and if you truly care about your pet, at least find a dog food that is very high in protein, and forget about all this "balanced" b.s. Of course, ideally you'd feed Fido meat every day, but some of us can't afford to feed ourselves meat every meal, much less our pets. :)

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