As I walked down the aisles of a local food for pets store, browsing at the various options I began to pick up the bags and look at the ingredients. I was more than a little surprised with what I saw. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that working for Castor & Pollux makes me biased when it comes to what food I’d recommend for your pet. But there is one thing you can depend on THAT IS NOT biased – the ingredient label.
It’s easy enough to get distracted by pet food company representatives, a nice-looking display or special discount offers, but be wary. Even if the package claims to use natural ingredients, or have a scientifically proven or holistic formula, it’s not always the best choice. I took a few pictures to show you what I mean. Let’s look at the first 4 ingredients on the labels:
Science Diet – Active Longevity Formula – Mature Adult
First 4 ingredients: whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, animal fat, soybean mill run
All of these ingredients (being the first 4, they likely make up the majority of the food) raise red flags for me. They are depending on corn as a protein source as opposed to a high quality meat like chicken, lamb or turkey. Chicken by-product meal (as opposed to chicken meal) is a big no-no – the majority of the nutritional benefits of chicken have been removed by the time it becomes a “by-product”. Animal fat can come from any animal, you’d think they could at least tell you what kind! And then there’s “soybean mill run” – have you ever heard of that? It’s the by-product of processing soybeans (the soybean hull and fragments of soybeans). Sounds tasty right?
Iams – Healthy Naturals – Adult
First 4 ingredients – Chicken, chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, corn meal
Iams started out good with a named animal protein as the first ingredient, but it goes downhill from there. Chicken by-product meal has no place in a food formula touting to be healthy and natural. Brewers rice is a solid carbohydrate source, but seeing corn meal just makes me unhappy.
Nature’s Recipe – Adult Lamb Meal & Rice
First 4 ingredients: Lamb meal, pearled barley, oatmeal, ground rice
Nature’s Recipe made a good choice with lamb meal as the first ingredient, but it’s the only animal protein in the first four ingredients! With barley, oatmeal and rice following, this formula relies heavily on grain for protein. Where are the fruits and veggies, Nature’s Recipe? The only vegetable I see on that ingredient label is tomato pomace.
So let’s take a look at the ORGANIX and Natural Ultramix. I think you’ll understand why I feel so comfortable recommending our brands.
ORGANIX – Adult
First 4 ingredients: Organic Chicken, Chicken Meal, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Peas
Natural Ultramix – Adult
First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Milo (Sorghum)
A quick reminder, here’s what to look for in choosing a food for your pet:
• A named animal-based protein as the #1 ingredient—like chicken, lamb or turkey
• High-quality protein meals—like chicken, turkey, lamb or salmon meal—to complement the first ingredient
• Quality fiber for a healthy digestive tract
• A named fat source to help promote healthy skin and coat
• Fruits and vegetables that provide vitamins, minerals & antioxidants
In the end, don’t be fooled by fancy marketing. Walk the aisle like I did, and read the back of the bags.