• How about a quick glance at some ingredients you might find in your pet’s food?  Below is a list of ingredients that, if you see them on your pet’s food ingredient label, you should be looking for a new food.

Animal Digest

  • AAFCO:   A material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and un-decomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind or flavor(s), it must correspond thereto.
  • Interpretation:  Cooked-down broth made from unspecified animals; animal parts used can be obtained from any source with no control over quality or contamination, may include “4-D animals” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter).

Animal fat (or Poultry fat)

  • AAFCO: 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”.
  • Interpretation:  Who knows what kind of animal – it could be anything from mice to llamas including dead cats and dogs.  The animal does not have to have been slaughtered – it could be “4 D” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dieing before slaughter).

Beef and Bone Meal

  • AAFCO: The rendered product from beef tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.
  • Interpretation:  Beef byproducts not suitable for human consumption.  Quality cuts of meat would already be removed.

BHA, BHT and propyl gallate, propylene glycol, Ethoxyquin

  • AAFCO:  Official definitions of each vary, but all are chemical preservatives.
  • Issue:  All are believed in testing to be carcinogens – they cause cancer.

Brewers rice

  • AAFCO: The small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice.
  • Interpretation:  A processed rice product void of many nutrients; less expensive than whole rice.

Chicken by-product meal

  • AAFCO: Consists of the dry, 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 unavoidably in good processing practices
  • Interpret:  Whatever is left over after the actual meat is removed.  Additionally, the ingredients of each batch can vary drastically in ingredients (heads, feet, bones etc.) as well as quality, thus the little nutritional value that may exist is also not consistent.

Corn meal

  • AAFCO: The dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm.
  • Interpretation:  Inexpensive byproduct of corn processing for human consumption; used primarily as a binder; not necessarily harmful, but certainly should not be at the top of an ingredient panel.  Note: corn is one of the top allergens in dogs.

Fish Meal

  • AAFCO: The clean, rendered, dried ground tissue of un-decomposed whole fish or fish cuttings, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil.
  • Interpretation:  Don’t you want to know what kind of fish?

Meat and Bone Meal

  • AAFCO:  The rendered product from mammal tissues, with or without bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.
  • Interrpetation:  Could be anything from mice to llamas including dead cats and dogs.  The animal does not have to have been slaughtered – it could be “4 D” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dieing before slaughter).

Powdered cellulose

  • AAFCO: Purified, mechanically disintegrated cellulose prepared by processing alpha cellulose obtained as a pulp from fibrous plant materials.
  • Interpretation:   An insoluble fibrous residue obtained by extraction of wood and straw pulps – seriously, you’re feeding your dog wood.

Soybean mill run

  • AAFCO: Composed of soybean hulls and such bean meats that adhere to the hulls which results from normal milling operations in the production of dehulled soybean meal.
  • Interpretation:  Basically, the floor sweepings of processing soybeans for human consumption.  Note: soy is another one of the top allergens in dogs.  NOTE:  The same applies to “wheat mill run” (sometimes referred to as middlings).

Sugar/Corn Syrup/Cane Molasses/Fructose

  • AAFCO:  Official definitions for each vary, but we all know what these are.
  • Issue:  Sweeteners have no place in a dog’s diet; they are added to make the product more appealing. They can lead to hypoglycemia, obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis, allergies, addiction.