|Toxic Chinese dog food is less of a threat than something far closer to home.|
The greatest toxin in dog food is not salmonella or aflatoxin. It's not melamine or botulism. It's not ecoli, ethoxyquin, BHA, or BHT.
My son came home for the weekend, and he brought with him a bag of "Dick Van Patten New Balance" dog food.
In short he damn near brought poison into my house.
He did not mean to.
He loves his dog, and he wanted to get her some "really good food" for her, so he did what so many people do -- he went into a pet store.
Of course a pet store never has any normal brands, does it? No Purina. No Pedigree. Just "fancy" boutique brands.
I say poison because almost none of these boutique dog food labels actually make their own dog food. They are simply "lick and stick" companies that invent a dog food recipe, pay an advertising company to make up a label, and then contract out with a third-party manufacturer to fill up the bags. Another company is paid to market the dog food, and no one ever gets their hands dirty or even sees the product one month to the next. Feed trials? You must be kidding. That would cut into the profits.
And the result? Poison in a predictable number of cases.
The latest cockup is Diamond Dog Food which makes the junk put out by Dick Van Patten, an overweight, fleshy, no-talent actor that used to star in bad sit-coms in the 1980s.
What's Dick Van Patten know about dog food? Not a damn thing, as I noted a while back in a post entitled Canned Beaver as Dog Food?
This is dog food made by who-knows-who, from who-knows-what, which has been sitting around who-knows-where for who-knows-how-long.
Of course, Dick Van Patten's "Natural Balance" dog food is not the only pet profiteer that has contracted with Diamond Dog Food to crank out suspect dog food. Other companies implicated include:
- Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul
- Country Value
- Diamond Naturals
- Premium Edge
- Solid Gold
- Taste of the Wild
- Kirkland (Costco) dog foods -- a wide variety, as well as
- Natural Balance
- Kaytee Forti-Diet (mouse, rat and hamster food)
All of these companies have hired Diamond Dog Food to "co-manufacturer" their brand. "Co-manufacture" is fancy-talk for "you make the crap while we lie about it in the ads and on the label."
The simple truth, as I noted in a past post entitled What Dog Food Hysterics Won't Tell You is this: "No brand of dog food has ever been shown to be better than any another brand of dog food".
That's still true to this day, which means you can kick to the curb such high-priced nonsense brands as "Blue Buffalo" and Wysong. You can also dump all the dog foods that have these words on the label:
- no filler.
None of these phrases mean a damn thing other than the company that put them on the label thinks you are an idiot. You're not an idiot, are you?
So what food do I feed my dogs? Dry Purina kibble that comes in a bag.
Purina is a company that has been making dog food for more than 100 years and if you visit a kennel of working fox hounds or bird dogs, it's the food you are most likely to find in the shed.
I feed dry kibble because time and experience has shown fewer quality problems with fire-treated dry kibble dog foods.
I feed Purina because Purina has its own factories, it has a long-established chain of stock suppliers, it invests in canine research and performance sports, and it is not spending a lot of money paying payola to pet stores in order to get their food stocked. In fact, Purina dog food is available at Safeway or Giant or Target, and it moves fast off of store shelves which means it's generally pretty fresh. In addition, grocery store dog good like Purina has generally been stored in a large, temperature-regulated warehouse, not the back of a rat-infested strip-mall pet store with a leaky roof.
Does this mean Purina has never had a quality problem? Nope. Everyone who manufactures anything has a quality control problem sometimes. That said, Purina has a 100-year reputation to defend, and it's not likely to blame some third-party manufacturer for its problems if and when they do crop up.
The bottom line is that Purina makes its own dry food,and they didn't just start doing that yesterday.
Does that mean you should feed your dog Purina? Of course not. Feed your dog any damn thing you want. I do not care.
Just be advised of the most important thing about dog food: the single greatest toxin in dog food is not salmonella. It's not aflatoxin. It's not melamine or botulism. It's not ecoli or ethoxyquin or BHA or BHT.
The single greatest toxin in dog food is YOU.
About 40 percent of all dogs are obese, and that's not the dog's fault or the dog food manufacturer's fault. That the owner's fault.
Now I know it's become somewhat politically chic these days for overweight people to say there's nothing wrong with being fat.
I get it -- let's not be rude. That said, from a health point of view, it's complete nonsense. Obesity kills, and it kills every damn day.
Fat people have wrecked knees and wrecked hips and chronic back problems. They have liver damage and they have high blood pressure and diabetes, and all of that costs this nation scores of billions of dollars a year.
And what is true for humans is also true for dogs. A fat dog will have a shorter life, more joint and back problems, more liver and other organ failure, and far more expensive veterinary bills.
Is that a secret? Is that "The Dog Food Secret "They" Don't Want You To Know About?