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A Great Commercial Dog Food

Updated on May 16, 2012
Ingredients label for Nutro Ultra.  Chicken,  chicken meal, whole brown rice, ground rice, rice bran, chicken fat are 1st 6.
Ingredients label for Nutro Ultra. Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, ground rice, rice bran, chicken fat are 1st 6.
Ingredients label for Iams.  Hope you can see on top line, Chicken By-Product
Ingredients label for Iams. Hope you can see on top line, Chicken By-Product
Ingredients label for Beneful. Also on top line, Chicken By- Product
Ingredients label for Beneful. Also on top line, Chicken By- Product
Ingredients label for Kibbles and Bits. So sorry it is hard to see, Soy meal, beef and bone meal, chicken flavoring
Ingredients label for Kibbles and Bits. So sorry it is hard to see, Soy meal, beef and bone meal, chicken flavoring

While at my favorite local pet store, Petsmart, I once again browsed the dog food isles. Everyone always says that knowledge is power but with all I have learned about the commercial dog food industry, I feel crippled. Specific brands that my dog, Daisy, has eaten and enjoyed turned out to have that one ingredient on the list that I now refuse to feed her. I speak of the 'by-product meal' which you will see attached to different proteins like chicken, beef, salmon, and lamb.

It is easy to get confused when reading ingredient labels. Most everyone knows that the ingredients are listed by the quantity of the ingredients, most to least. So many of us, myself included, will scan the list of ingredients, see beef or chicken in the first items listed and think...Cool, this one must be a good one. The truth of the matter is that if the protein is listed alone on the ingredients list, it refers to 'muscle', fit for human consumption, meat. Chicken meal or any other protein combined with meal is made from proteins, cooked to remove water and fat. The result is a highly concentrated source of high quality protein from meat and minerals such as calcium from bone. This is a great thing to appear on a label. This is a protein source, fit for human consumption and concentrated for maximum nutritional value. It is also important to mention that if the protein meal if found a little further down on the list of ingredients, that is fine. Just think of a can of orange juice concentrate. That one little can make a full gallon of juice. Where in a whole chicken is great, it is also of greater mass and weight that the meal concentrate. Meal has a greater quality of protein and minerals than the actual muscle mass of the same protein. Chicken by-product meal is made with all of the other parts that are unfit for human consumption. Most commercial dog food companies are connected to the human food companies. Once the human food companies use everything that is fit for human consumption from the protein source, they sell the left overs to dog food companies. I am talking about entrails, beaks, feet, and all sorts of things that are not fit for human consumption. Probably not very high in nutritional value either. If your label says bi-product, it is time to look for another dog food. Another thing to look for on food labels is the nutritional adequacy statement which specifies canine life stages appropriate for the food being sold. The difference between the two is really just that of preference. Verbiage like 'formulated to meet nutritional profiles' simply means that laboratory experiments were performed on the food to determine it's make up and nutritional value. Verbiage or phrases like 'animal feeding tests have confirmed the nutritional value' means exactly as it sounds. One was tested by science and the other on living animals. You should also be warned that packaging that is full of statistics, percentages of nutritional content, guarantees of any kind are required by law to be substantiated, while the plain packaging with little to no additional information could have just about anything in it.

While at Petsmart, agonizing over the things I was finding while reading labels, I was approached by a representative from the Nutro Natural Pet Food Company. This is what I learned from her and followed up with some additional research at home.

The Nutro Company has been making natural pet foods with added vitamins and minerals since 1929. They are located in Franklin, Tennessee near Nashville. They do not have any connection to the human food industry and only uses farm raised, or grain bred animals to make their product. They also only use natural ingredients that are naturally preserved with Vitamin E. No chemical preservatives are ever used. They hold themselves to a higher standard of quality and their Company Philosophy is Pets First. They hold the standard of delivering healthy, superior nutrition with no compromises. They also offer a 100% guarantee of satisfaction or your money back.

The Nutro Company safety and quality standards:

  • Production of all dry pet foods in their own facilities right here in the United States.

  • All industry food safety and quality standards are met and exceeded through regularly on-site audits at the ingredient suppliers.

  • Testing of all fey ingredients before they are used.

  • Testing for mycotoxins in grains before they are even unloaded from the delivery trucks.

  • Testing on each and every batch of finished product to confirm microbiological safety, nutritional compliance and shelf stability through oxidation before it is shipped for sale. (they even reduced production during the last year due to difficulty obtaining key ingredients which met their strict quality and safety standards)

  • Every seven days, an in depth cleaning and sanitation break of production occurs.

Daisy is currently starting her second bag of Nutro Ultra Dog Food, A Holistic Super food for small breed adults. Along with this second bag, I am treating Daisy with the Nutro Ultra Pate three times a week to help with her immune system and healthy skin and coat. I have already noticed that her coat and skin have improved and her eyes are brighter. She has stopped random scratching which had been increasing prior to starting the Nutro Ultra dog food. With summer approaching, heat can cause itch dry skin and I am hoping to find that Daisy won't have that problem now the she is getting a much more nutritionally balanced diet. I don't think I will ever need to use the 100% refund guarantee.

I was very skeptical at first but am now a believer after just one bag. Try a one bag challenge. Let me know what you think.

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    • JubePlaysGames profile image

      JubePlaysGames 5 years ago from Canada

      I can appreciate that you've done a lot of research to come to the conclusions that you have (ie. the meat by-products), and that's truly awesome!

      I hope you will continue your research. I started off where you were, not fully understanding the contents of the kibble. It took several years and tons of research to try everything and come to the conclusions that I have.

      The healthiest food for pets rank in this order:

      1. Raw

      2. Cooked meals

      3. High quality canned food (like Wellness brand)

      4. Kibble

      You ask people to give Nutro the one bag challenge. I have a challenge for you. Try Raw for one month to see how happy and healthy your pet will become. No more vet bills, no more diarrhea, no more middle of the night puking or gas / other stomach upsets. Healthy coat, healthy bones.

      Have you ever fed your dog kibble only to have it throw it up an hour or two later? See how bloated the kibble had become? All that sits in your dog's stomach every time you feed him / her.

      I will admit that Nutro is not the worst kibble out there. But there really are a lot of way better alternatives beyond kibble.

    • Dog Advisor profile image
      Author

      Sarah Falkner 5 years ago from www.facebook.com/Family Dog Advice

      JubePlaysGames, Thank you for your comment. I have conducted so much research and I agree with you. I have been trying to incorporate raw foods into Daisy's diet. I have the understanding that it should be done in increments so her system will become accustomed to the change.

      There are so many people out there that do not have the time or desire to switch to the commitment of providing a raw diet for their animals. My hope is that my hub may reach some and at least bring awareness to the flaws of most commercial kibble and give an example of a better choice among the them. In retrospect, I guess I should have made my hub a little longer and included other alternatives to kibble.

      Do you have a raw food diet in place now? and if so, I would love to gain some of the knowledge gained from your research as well. I am continually looking. Thanks again for your comment.

    • JubePlaysGames profile image

      JubePlaysGames 5 years ago from Canada

      Howdy, yes I feed both of my dogs raw. One of my dogs has always been sort of sickly. He's had joint issues, weight issues, hypothyroidism and he had chronic diarrhea. Most vets will tell you to go to a food such as Hill's Diet for problems like this.

      I was lucky enough to find a country vet that was a little less traditional. Her first suggestion was to feed raw, and I was ready to try anything at this point. I had already gone though all of the premium brand kibbles, and spent thousands on vet bills for x-rays and blood tests.

      I made the switch to raw right away, I didn't do any sort of slow transition, and I've never looked back. I can't say enough about raw. My dogs have been healthy and satisified ever since. :) No more huge vet bills. Also, their coats are shiny and soft and their teeth have whitened up! No more diarrhea, no more vomitting, it's really been an amazing ride.

      A friend of mine went raw at the same time (about 2 years ago). Her dog is going on 9 years old and he actually looks better than he did 5 years ago. He suffered two torn ACLs (prior to going raw), he had surgery on one and a brace on the other. He started raw right after his surgery and you wouldn't believe the recovery he made. It was amazing, he runs full out again, you would never know that he had two blown out knees.

      A lot of people think raw feeding is gross, too expensive or too timely. But I don't find that to be the case. Raw feeding is really popular now so there are lots of places to get quality food at cheap prices. You can buy ground meat with organ and bone in it, freeze into portions and just plop it in their dish like you would kibble. If you're brave you can feed full pieces (it took me two years to work up to that). Like a raw turkey neck, raw chicken pieces with bone in, raw meaty bones, carcass.

      When I first started it was a bit expensive but since then I've found sources for purchasing the food, now I get it for no more than a $1 a pound, It works out cheaper than kibble for me now. I feed raw fish, turkey, chicken, beef, lamb. Depending where you live certain types of meat might be more readily available, like goat, rabbit.

      Sorry for being so wordy. :D It's just been like a miracle for me. My dog was sick for years, it was so depressing, and now it's all gone. He's tip top! :)

    • Nature by Dawn profile image

      Dawn Ross 5 years ago

      Very good information to know!!! When I first got my dog Pierson a couple of months ago, I bought Nutro. He had been living as a stray for nearly a month so PawshWash, the place to took him to get a bath on his first day home, recommended it. Having now been educated from your hub, I will stick with Nutro.

    • Dog Advisor profile image
      Author

      Sarah Falkner 4 years ago from www.facebook.com/Family Dog Advice

      Nature by Dawn, unbelievable, but I don't ever remember reading this comment. I just want to thank you for trying and using Nutro. I have several friends that have also tried it and are satisfied with the results. I have also started implementing some of JubePlaysGames ideas about the Raw Food Diet and have found a great balance of the two that seems to fit my dog, Daisy.

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