5 Reasons to Stop Feeding Your Dog the Generic Brand

dog golden retriever puppy in hat and coat sitting on snow near small treeSome pet owners believe that all dog food are created equal, so buying generic dog food is like buying generic medicine; they are all the same barring the bells and whistles. That is not precisely true. Drugs are tightly regulated so that generic medicines do have to provide the same efficacy as branded medicines. Dog food is not regulated, so generic dog food could be harming your pet in various ways.

Price is not really a gauge of the quality of dog food, although generic dog food brands do tend to be cheaper. The best gauge for quality is to read the nutritional label. Here are 5 red flags that you will often find in generic dog food labels.

“Corn” is an allergen

If you find corn listed in the first five ingredients, then that is way too much. Dogs can’t really digest corn, so if their food contains a significant amount of this, then they will tend to eat more to get the nutrition they need. Dogs also defecate more with dog food high in ingredients they cannot digest, including wheat and soy. Last, but not least, corn is a known allergen, so it can trigger an allergic reaction in some dogs such as itchy skin and excessive moisture around the eyes.

“Added Fat” can transmit disease

Dogs need a certain amount of fats, but the nutrition label should specify where the “added fats” come from. The best source of added fat would be flaxseed, fish, beef and chicken. If the source isn’t specified, there is a good chance it came from an undesirable source such as road kill, slaughterhouse waste or meat by-products, which can carry disease. Also avoid dog food that includes “poultry fat” or “mineral oil.”

“Meat and bone meal” is high in ash

Dogs need a significant amount of protein; they are carnivores, after all. However, “meat and bone meal” is not really food-grade because it contains a lot of ash from the meat by-products being subjected to high temperatures. The fact that it is mainly used as fuel and lubricants should be a clear indication that it should not be given to your pets.

“Color” and “Flavor” can be toxic

When a label includes these two words, it means that it makes use of artificial flavors and colors to make the food look more palatable to pet owners. Dogs don’t really care, and while small amounts are relatively harmless, they do tend to build up over time to toxic levels. The same applies to artificial preservatives that are indicated by “BHT”, “BHA” or “propylene glycol.”

“Onion” can cause anemia

Strange as it may seem, onions have a highly toxic effect on dogs, yet it is often mixed in with dog food for apparently for flavoring. If you see “onion” or “onion powder” in the label, do not give it to your dog.

These are just 5 reasons why giving your pet generic dog food may not be a good idea. However, it really depends on what is in the label. Learn to read and understand what the ingredients are and their effects on dogs to make an independent decision.

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