Do you know what dry pet food is actually made from? Read on and in 10 minutes you will. Be prepared; this may be eye-opening
Here at ProDog Raw, our mission from the very beginning has been to provide nutritional advice and support for dog owners around the UK. Drawing on the findings of modern nutritional science, we continuously work to raise awareness of the health benefits a natural, fresh raw food diet has for dogs and the facts about dry kibble-based diets.
As part of our Ditch the Dry campaign, we decided to team up with veterinarian Dr Nick Thompson and research the ingredients, macronutrients and additives that go into ten of the UK’s best-selling kibble brands.
When we analysed the results, what we found was pretty shocking. The key findings from the research were:
- All 10 of the brands analysed were found to include ingredients listed as either ‘meat and animal derivatives’ or ‘meat meal’
- Six of the 10 dry foods contain vegetable oils such as sunflower oil
- Seven out of 10 analysed were found to have at least 10 different vitamin and mineral additives
- Of the brands which provided the information (7), the average Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio was 1:5.3 indicating the foods were much higher in Omega 6 than Omega 3
What this means for your dog
Dr Nick Thompson explains the kibble manufacturing process is extensive and highly processed. Cast off meat, which could literally be any part of any animal, is rendered and heated to such high temperatures, the protein is denatured, and any micronutrients are broken down. This is why kibble has many mineral & vitamin additives to add back in some nutrients.
What exactly is ‘Meat meal’ and ‘Meat and animal derivatives?
‘Meat and animal derivatives’ is an incredibly vague definition that does not indicate as to where the meat content in food comes from*
Manufacturers use this to avoid declaring what the actual meat content in kibble is made from. For example, brands that produce flavours such as ‘with chicken’ or ‘with turkey’ often state that they only include 4%, 5% or 6% of that meat – meaning that the rest of the meat content could be from any animal and any animal part.
Meat meal is a dry brown powder typically made from the leftover parts of animals which humans don’t consume. Meat meal is made through a rendering process – the raw animal products are ground and cooked at a high temperature. The moisture is then removed, and pressure is applied; this separates melted fats from the protein and bone material. The mix is then processed even further by additional moisture removal before being ground into a powder**.
Sunflower and vegetable oils
Sunflower and vegetable oils are hydrogenated oils that are often added to processed foods to extend their lifespan and maintain flavour stability***. Hydrogenation, the process behind these oils, where hydrogen is chemically bonded to the organic compound in the presence of a catalyst, has been linked to the generation of free radicals, which when consumed can have detrimental health effects****.
Vitamins and mineral additives
Our research revealed that the majority of kibble brands are adding long lists of vitamin and mineral additives. While this may seem like a good thing initially, artificial minerals and vitamins have lower bioavailability than natural alternatives, which is why manufacturers are adding such large amounts to kibble. This can create a higher potential for hypervitaminosis and mineral excess, as we saw in 2019 when Hill’s Pet Nutrition had to recall its product due to vitamin D toxicity*****.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils
We found that of the seven brands that disclosed the information, the average ratio of Omega 3 oil to Omega 6 was 1:5.3, indicating that there is on average five times more Omega 6 oil than Omega 3 oil in kibble food and in some cases, the ratio was even 1:10.
Medical professionals recommend that this ratio should be closer to 1:1 – Omega 6 is pro-inflammatory and has been linked to chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, whereas Omega-3 is anti-inflammatory******.
We have created a simple and easy-to-follow transition guide to help owners transition their dogs from a dry to a raw food diet.
Methodology behind the research
For the study ten of the UK’s most popular dry dog food brands were selected. Each brand then had its ingredients, additives and macronutrients listed out and analysed by ProDog Raw’s in-house nutritionists and veterinarian Dr Nick Thompson.
Full table of results
|A||Cereals, Meat and Animal Derivatives (20%, including 4% Chicken in the Brown Kibbles)
Oils and Fats (including 0.4% Sunflower Oil)
Derivatives of Vegetable Origin (including 1% Dried Beet Pulp) Minerals Vegetables (4% Carrots in the Orange Kibbles, 4% Peas in the Green Kibbles)
Fat content 13%
Inorganic matter 6.5%
Crude fibres 3%
Omega 6 fatty acids 2.9%
Omega 3 fatty acids 0.4%
Calcium iodate anhydrous
Cupric sulphate pentahydrate
Manganous sulphate monohydrate
Zinc sulphate monohydrate
|B||26% Turkey and Meat Meals (6.5% Dried Turkey*)
Yucca Extract (0.01%)
*6.5% dried Turkey, equivalent to 26g Turkey in every 100g kibble.
Fat Content 10%
Crude Fibre 3%
Crude Ash 8.5%
Omega 6 1.9%
Omega 3 0.5%
Vitamin A 15,000 iu
Vitamin D3 1500 iu
Vitamin E 100mg
Iron (Iron Sulphate Monohydrate) 50 mg
Zinc (Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate) 50 mg
Manganese (Manganous Oxide) 40 mg
Copper (Copper (II) Sulphate Pentahydrate) 5 mg
Iodine (Calcium Iodate Anhydrous) 1 mg
Selenium (Sodium Selenite) 0.1 mg
Antioxidants (tocopherol rich extracts – natural antioxidant)
|C||Cereals (wholegrains 55%*)
Meat and animal derivatives (15%**)
Derivatives of vegetable origin
Oils and fats
Vegetable protein extracts
Vegetables*** (0,3% dried pea and 0,3% dried carrot)
*Including min. 4% wheat and 4% maize.
**Equivalent to 30% rehydrated meat and animal derivatives; with min. 14% chicken.
***Equivalent to 4% rehydrated vegetables
Fat content: 10.0%
Crude ash: 8.0%
Crude fibres: 3.0%
|Vit A: 17 500 IU/kg
Vit D3: 1 020 IU/kg
Vit E: 83 IU/kg
Ferrous sulphate monohydrate (Fe: 72);
Calcium iodate anhydrous (I: 1.8);
Cupric sulphate pentahydrate (Cu: 8);
Manganous sulphate monohydrate (Mn: 5);
Zinc sulphate monohydrate (Zn: 100);
Sodium selenite (Se: 0.17);
Colourants and antioxidants.
|D||Lamb, Chicken By-Product Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), Ground Whole Grain Barley, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Brewers Yeast, Dicalcium Phosphate, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product||Crude Protein (min.) 22.5%
Crude Fat (min.) 12.5%
Crude Fiber (max.) 5.00%
Moisture (max.) 10.00%
Calcium (min.) 0.9 %
Omega-6 Fatty Acids (min.) 1.8 %
Glucosamine (min.) 350 mg/kg*
Chondroitin Sulfate (min.) 35 mg/kg*
|L-Lysine Hydrochloride, Caramel Color, Potassium Chloride, Carrots, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Citric Acid (preservative), Rosemary Extract|
|E||26% Meat Meal & Gravy*(with min 5% Chicken**), Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Barley, Vegetable Fibre, Maize, 2% Chicken Fat* (source of Omega 6), Whole Linseed (source of Omega 3), 2.3% Dried Whole Green Peas & Beet***, Minerals & Vitamins, Chicory Root (1000 mg/kg as a source of FOS), Yucca (150 mg/kg), *28% Meat Ingredients with Chicken & Veg*** equivalent per 100g kibble to: , *min 40g hydrated animal ingredients with , **min 18% Chicken, ***min 10g Vegetables from dried Peas and Beet||Protein 20%
Fat content 8%
Crude Fibre 3.5%
Crude Ash 8.5%
Omega 3 0.3%
Omega 6 1.5%
Vitamin A 12,000 iu, Vitamin D3 1,200 iu, Vitamin E 90 mg, Vitamin C 50 mg, Zinc (Zinc Oxide) 75 mg, Iron (Iron Sulphate Monohydrate) 60 mg, Manganese (Manganous Oxide) 50 mg, Zinc (Zinc Chelate of Amino Acids Hydrate) 25 mg, Copper (Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate) 10 mg, Iodine (Calcium Iodate Anhydrous) 2 mg, Selenium (Sodium Selenite) 0.1 mg. Antioxidant, Preservative.
|F||Brown Rice (67%), Chicken Meal (20%), Oats, Peas, Chicken Oil, Sunflower Oil, Seaweed, Minerals||Crude Protein 18.5%, Crude Fat 7.5%, Crude Fibre 2.2%, Crude Ash 6%, Copper 21mg/kg, Sodium 0.26%, Calcium 1.1%, Phosphorus 0.9%, Magnesium 0.14%, Potassium 0.6%, Omega-6 fatty acids 1.6%, Omega-3 fatty acids 0.16%.||PER KG
Vitamin A 25000IU, Vitamin D3 2000IU, Vitamin E 100IU, Taurine 1000mg, Trace Elements: Iodine (calcium iodate anhydrous) 1mg, Manganese (manganous chelate of amino acids hydrate) 20mg, Zinc (zinc chelate of amino acids hydrate) 50mg. Antioxidants (mixed tocopherols).
|G||Cereals, Meat and Animal Derivatives (21% including 4% beef in the brown clover kibble*), Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Oils and Fats, Vegetable Protein Extracts, Minerals, Vegetables (4% peas in the brown barrel kibble**), Various Sugars, Yeasts.
*Brown clover kibble: typically 20% of product
**Brown barrel kibble: typically 20% of product
Crude Fibre 3.0%
Fat Content 9.0%
Inorganic Matter 8.5%
Omega 6 1.9%
Omega 3 0.2%
|Colourants, Preservatives, Antioxidants. Vitamin A 17, 000 IU, Vitamin D3 1, 500 IU, Vitamin E 70mg, Iodine (Calcium Iodate Anhydrous) 2.5mg, Selenium (Sodium Selenite) 0.1mg, Copper (Copper (II) Sulphate Pentahydrate) 8mg, Iron (Iron (II) Sulphate Monohydrate) 60mg, Manganese (Manganese (II) Oxide) 50mg, Zinc (Zinc Oxide) 100mg.
|H||Cereals (4% Rice), Meat and Animal Derivatives (23% including 4% Turkey), Derivatives of Vegetable Origin (0.1% Chicory Extract, 0.01% Yucca Extract), Yeasts, Oils and Fats, Seeds, Minerals.||Crude Protein 21%, Crude Fat 7%, Crude Fibre 5%, Crude Ash 7.5%, Calcium 2%, Omega 3 0.3%, Omega 6 1.3%.||Vitamin A 17000 IU/kg, Vitamin D3 1500 IU/kg, Vitamin E 70mg/kg. Iodine (Calcium Iodate Anhydrous) 2.5mg/kg, Selenium (Sodium Selenite) 0.1mg/kg, Copper (Copper (II) Sulphate Pentahydrate) 8mg/kg, Iron (Iron (II) Sulphate Monohydrate) 60mg/kg, Manganese (Manganese (II) Oxide) 50mg/kg, Zinc (Zinc Oxide) 100mg/kg. Antioxidants, Preservatives.|
|I||Cereals, Meat and Animal Derivatives 26% (including 4% Chicken), Vegetable Protein Extracts, Vegetables (4% Peas in the Pea component), Oils and Fats, Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Minerals, Chicory Root (0.1%)||Crude Protein
Zinc (as Zinc Oxide)
Iron (as Iron (II) Sulphate Monohydrate)
Manganese (as Manganous Oxide)
Copper (as Copper (II) Sulphate Pentahydrate)
Iodine (as Calcium Iodate Anhydrous)
Selenium (as Sodium Selenite)
|J||Brown rice 37.8%
Poultry meat meal (min. 95% chicken) 27.5%
vitamin E (as all rac-alphatocopherol acetate)
Author – Dr Nick Thompson, The Holistic Vet BSc (Vet Sci) Hons, BVM&S, VetMFHom, MRCVS.