Several weeks ago, Hill's Prescription Diet announced a revolutionary new concept in the diet pet food arena, their Canine Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution product. The food is designed to help your dog loose 28% body fat in two months, because it works to control hunger. (Source: http://www.hillspet.com/products/pd-canine-metabolic-prescription-diet-dry.html). Hills has it right: a glaring 50% of American pets are overweight. Yikes!
Upon close examination, the first few ingredients are listed here: Chicken By-Product Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Pea Bran Meal, Soybean Mill Run, Soybean Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Coconut Oil, Pork Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid) (Source: Hillspet.com). Though really well intentioned, some of these ingredients may raise the hair on the necks of those who watch their pet's intake of byproducts and grains. Oh... and did I mention Image C. Hills Pet Food that a 27.5 lb. bag is priced at $71.69? (petfooddirect.com)
The first ingredient is chicken by-product meal, but do you know what that is? According to AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), the product is defined as follows: Chicken By-Product Meal - consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice. Keep in mind that the ingredient that your pet food contains the most of is listed first. Yep.
The next products, such as Whole Grain Wheat, Corn, Corn Gluten Mean, Pea Bran Meal, and Soybean meal product sound just fine, that is, if you're feeding cattle. Dogs share 99% of their DNA with the wolf, and they are carnivores. The necessity of these grain products is questioned, as well as the digestibility. Not to mention, we HOPE they are being sourced from America and not China. Perhaps most concerning is that these grain products contribute to some of the most common dog allergens.
Moving on to "Liver Flavor".... just what species is that liver from? So... what if my Cocker Spaniel has a beef allergy, and it's beef liver? How would I know? Hmmm... how do we know? Beet Pulp is simply the dried residue from sugar beets, but we still see some pets with an allergy to this ingredient. Tomato pomace, which is likely added to boost fiber, is defined by Wikipedia as...." an inexpensive by-product of tomato manufacturing. Effectively, it is what is left-over after processing tomatoes for juice, ketchup, soup, etc". And that leaves us with Flaxseed, Coconut Oil, and Pork fat. Leaving the flax and coconut oil alone, let's look at pork fat.
By AAFCO standards, Pork Fat is obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial
processes of rendering or extracting. It consists predominantly of glyceride esters of fatty acids and contains no additions of free fatty acids. If an antioxidant is used, the common name or names must be indicated, followed
by the words "used as a preservative". What is wrong with this picture? Is there anything that sounds even remotely healthy here?
It is reasonable to think that pet weight loss is very possible with some control on the part of the human. After all, dogs and cats don't shop at the store or fill their own bowls. They eat what we feed them, and there certainly are lots of food to choose from. Watch for future posts featuring natural options, holistic foods, and some insight on RAW feeding.
What are your thoughts? Would you feed this food to your dog? What dog or cat food do you love?
Jen Ortman, owner of Holistipet (LLC) is a Professional Animal Communicator, Animal Reiki Master Teacher, author, and speaker.