Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Grading Dog Food

Someone on the OBB Development Board posted the grading scale below after the recall fiasco awhile back and I dug it up to share with you. I'm not sure where is originally came from but I think it is handy and it points out some of the undesirable things in dog food. You may have noticed the grocery stores are filling back up with new and improved 'labels' on familiar brands claiming natural ingredients and some there are some new comers to the pet food and snack aisles as well. I will print this out and bring it with me to the store to see how the improved measures up or if they are taking advantage of the situation. I hope they are truly improving the quality of the food they manufacture so people on all budgets can afford to feed their pets the best. My dog pal Delilah is a English Mastiff going on 13 and her keeper swears it is from feeding her Canidae. He thinks its worth every penny--lucky girl! I have noticed the better quality of food I give my dogs the less I am cleaning up in my yard--BONUS! We are still using the Merrick brand and I am fine with Nutro Super Pet Food *wink* in the Natural Choice version even if it scores lower than human grade food. Huge improvement in the dogs skin and coat after I switched from diamond brand foods. I have talked to many people who use it and agree. You can't beat the price but you will have to clean up a few more piles in the yard on the Nutro in my experience.

Giving Dry Dog Food a Grade: Start with a grade of 100

For every listing of "by-product", subtract 10 points

For every non-specific animal source ("meat" or "poultry", meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points

3) If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points

For every grain "mill run" or non-specific grain source, subtract 5 points

If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. "ground brown rice", "brewers rice", "rice flour" are all the same grain), subtract 5 points

If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points

If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points

If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points

If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points

If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points

If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points

If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points

13) If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isn't allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points

If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isn't allergic to beef), subtract 1 point

If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:

If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points

2) If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points

If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points

4) If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points

If the food contains fruit, add 3 points

6) If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points

If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points

8) If the food contains barley, add 2 points

9) If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points

10) If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point

11) If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point

12) For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count "chicken" and "chicken meal" as only one protein source, but "chicken" and "" as 2 different sources), add 1 point

13) If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point

14) If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
78-85 = C
70-77 = D

Some additional links:
ASPCA PET FOOD RECALL RESOURCE CENTER they are continuing to update any new issues coming up. The most recent post is about chicken jerky and safety for dogs--dated the end of September. If you have an issue with a food here is the list of numbers by state to call to place a complaint with the FDA Consumer Complaint Center.

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