How to choose a quality kibble for Dogs, Cats

Speaking of kibble, before taking into account the various brands, it is always good to remember that in every case it is processed food, which was cooked, ground, worked. Although the starting ingredients were excellent, after all the machining process, are not comparable to fresh ones. It's inevitable that the nutritional value of the ingredients is lost during processing, and that's why in the food industry have always added vitamins and minerals in the end, to replace what has been lost.

So this is synthetic supplements and vitamins, whose usefulness to the organism has been refuted by experiments conducted by doctors Key-Tee Khaw and Aisla Welch (Cambridge, 2000), which, at the end of a search term 20 years, claimed that the only way to get all the vitamins and minerals we need, is to get them from fruits and vegetables fresh.

If the artificial supplements cannot replace and replace a power supply of fruits and vegetables true for us humans, the same goes for our dogs, that with the feed industry can not avoid nutritional deficiencies.

In view of this, if you cannot opt ​​for a natural diet because it lacks the time, or we have more dogs, how to choose a good kibble?

The pet food industry offers us a wide range of products, from the most specific to those from more exotic names, each of which promises benefits and health eternal. Not be fooled by advertising, we try to analyze the ingredients, then that is what we will eat our pet. What's in the dog food?

Here we must make a big distinction between foods and premium ones from the supermarket, not exactly the best for our friends, for the very poor quality of the ingredients and colorants and additives. To understand each other, with croquette from the supermarket, are all brands and products that we find in the stores of large retailers, such as Friskies, Beneful (both of Purina), Pedigree, Cesar.

Carryover for example the ingredients of "FRISKIES Balance/Complete"Dry food for dogs: Cereals, meat and dairy products (chicken 4% and 4% in fresh meat croquettes semi-moist), vegetable protein extracts, derivatives of vegetable origin, oils and fats, sugars, minerals, vegetables (carrots 0.3% and vegetables 0 , 3%). Cupric sulfate (Cu 10 mg / kg). With preservatives, dyes and antioxidants: EC additives.

Let's see how to interpret the label: the ingredients must be listed in descending order by weight. Here are the first ingredient cereals, but it is not specified which (rice? Corn? Barley? Oats?), Then we have the meat and dairy products, of which 4% is chicken, and the rest come from other animals not specified. The vegetable protein extracts could mean corn gluten or wheat, which are economical sources of vegetable protein. There are also certain sugars that are not good for our dogs, and unfortunately, preservatives, dyes and antioxidants.

In essence, this is croquette consisting mostly of cereals, a portion of meat and meat derivatives, and other ingredients such as sugars and unhealthy additives.

Same goes for the wet that we find in supermarkets. We see for example the ingredients of " Cesar - The Delights ™ Steamed with chicken stew and the Julienne Carrots": Meat and animal derivatives (of which chicken min. 4%), vegetables (carrots min. 4%), Cereals, Minerals.

Here also interpret the label is not easy: we know that the box is made from meat and dairy products, of which only 4% of these are chicken, then by unspecified vegetables of which only 4% are carrots, and the usual mineral additives.

What are the "meat and meat products"? The law says that the words "Meat and animal derivatives 'stands for' the fleshy parts of slaughtered warm-blooded land animals, fresh or preserved, (meat) and all products or by-products (derivatives) ... ''. In other words, derivatives are intended for slaughter waste, what may be the guts of cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, chickens, hens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, chicken heads and legs, lungs, breast, spleen, liver , kidneys, stomach and tendons., but also beaks, claws, feathers. With meat products, individuamo a mix of animal waste unspecified, of which we cannot precisely know the nutritional value.

A moist, distributed in the most common supermarkets, that exception is ADOC bluegrass Delic: contains no preservatives and dyes, and the ingredients are clear and free of grain. "ADOC chicken fillets with rabbit": 61% chicken, rabbit 4% minimum, gelling plant out. EC.

Eliminating from the count of possible choices all products cheaper supermarkets / discount, there remains to orient the feed less economical so-called "premium". This term usually individual those products, sold in specialty pet, offering more and better amounts of animal protein.

In this range, in general, are not present dyes, at least not added to the end and therefore not declared on the label.

Also here we can make a distinction between the premium kibble that have a composition of about 20-30% meat and cereals, and the new lines, so-called "grain-free", ie without cereals and grains, composed exclusively of animal protein, fruit and vegetables.

Let's see how we can orient in the reading of a label of a croquette "premium" with cereals: in general, is composed of a 20/30% of meat (which may be a part of a fresh and dried), and the remaining 70 % from what is made?

In a croquette average, the remaining 70% of the ingredients are cereals and meat, meal, maize gluten and wheat, beet pulp and various animal fats.

But what are these ingredients? What match, and especially the dog benefits?

Let's see them one by one:

Cereals : Sometimes in the ingredients of the dog food is not specified what cereal you are talking about. Rice? Corn? Oats? Often the one most used in dog food is corn. We know that for the dog cereals are not essential, being essentially a carnivore, so large amounts of grain can be difficult to digest. In most of kibble quantities of cereals are higher than those of meat.

Meat : Indicates that the raw material is obtained from a recycling process, to be exact the law (Law February 15, 1963 No. 281, as amended) defines the "Product obtained by heating, drying and grinding whole or parts carcasses of warm-blooded land animals. " Basically you recycle carcasses of cattle to extract oil from fat, by merger. It 'clear that the nutritional value depends on the quality of proteins: a chicken breast will be more nutritious and healthful than a flour obtained by recycling of a carcass.

Corn gluten / wheat or corn flour and wheat They are a cheap source of vegetable protein, as an alternative to those who should come from meat.

Beet pulp It is what remains after the extraction of sugar from beets. E 'in the very common dry dog ​​food as it has a power hardener for feces and prevents diarrhea.

Grassi / Proteine ​​hydrolysed : For hydrolyzed protein or hydrolyzate, is meant a protein which has undergone a process of hydrolysis, ie was already digested by reaction with enzymes. In essence they are pre-digested proteins and their use is not useful to trigger allergic reactions in people allergic or hypersensitive to the same.

So much of a croquette media consists of cereals, flour of corn and wheat, minerals and vitamins added and meat occupy only 20% -30% of the composition.

If we seek an encyclopedia of the "dog" we read: The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a carnivorous mammal ascribed to the genus Canis (family Canidae).

According to what he says zoology, The dog is then a carnivorous animal, with a gastro-intestinal tract to digest preoteine ​​suitable short and fat, with sharp teeth to rip and tear the flesh, and with a shortage of suitable enzymes to digest starches. Animals which have necessarily need meat to survive are those obligate carnivores, an example of this order may be felids in general, including the cat. The dog is a carnivore not obliged instead.

In a homemade diet is taken into account of this, measuring meat at least 50% of the ration, where the remaining 50% are vegetables + carbohydrates.

In the food industry instead has dramatically increased the use of cereals, corn, soybeans, wheat that are considered by some mere fillers. The question is, these products are most appropriate for the feeding of an animal essentially carnivore?

Many think that the strong increase of allergies with the emergence of the pet food industry is a result of this type of poor nutrition, resulting from eating a food inappropriate for its own characteristics.

Even in this age of premium dog food can make a big distinction between brands "cruelty-free" or who do not experience with vivisection food products and brands that do not belong to this list, it is usually the most famous brands belonging to large multinationals . For "tested on animals" in the pet food means test is not required by law (not test palatability), aimed at studying the effects of the dog food of dogs and cats with diseases induced in the laboratory. Companies that do not declare their cruelty-free are:

Nestlé: Felix, Friskies, Gourmet, Purina Pro Plan, Affinity Petcare, Purina

Colgate‐palmolive: Hill’s (science diet, canine maintenance)

Mars: Whaltam, Cesar, Pedigree, Chappi, Frolic, Sheba, Whiskas, Kitekat, Royal Canin

Procter & Gamble: Iams, Eukanuba



Across instead we find all the brands "cruelty-free", or that certainly do not do animal testing. Among them we can mention some Italian brands as a Trainer, Monge, Force 10 and others as Almo Nature, Farmina. Generally, all the products that are not in the list above are not tested.

Let's look at the ingredients of a standard premium kibble, a company NOT cruelty-free, such as Hill's. "Hill's Canine Adult Pollo", A kibble for adult dogs with normal physical activity: ground corn, lard (beef min. 14%), chicken meal and turkey, animal fats, protein hydrolyzate, vegetable oil, potassium citrate, flaxseed, calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, hydrochloride, L- lysine, potassium chloride, DL-methionine, L-tryptophan, L-threonine.

We know that the ingredients must be listed in descending order by weight. First ingredient: corn. The meat proteins are from lard, or lard cubes which are usually inserted into the meat to cook or in sausages, to give flavor, so in essence cubes of fat, of which 14% know of beef, and the flour and chicken turkey. Despite the brand's Hill is touted as one of the best, if you rely on the reading of the ingredients does not shine for excellence: it is essentially a croquette corn with lard and meat and vegetable oils.

Moreover, in the Hill's products is using an antioxidant chemical, also used as a pesticide, called ethoxyquin. It has never been proven that it is safe for animals.

Always in the range of premium dog food, try to see another product of another company NOT cruelty-free, for example, Purina Pro Plan: Pro Plan Adult Original Chicken & Rice, for adult dogs in normal physical activity, Ingredients: chicken (20%), rice (7%), wheat, corn, dehydrated poultry proteins, corn gluten, animal fats, meat autolysate, beet pulp, dried whole eggs, fish oil, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, minerals.

Here we got a better rate than the Chicken Hill's, but it is always only a 20%. Good that there is also the rice instead of corn. The rest is the usual, corn, corn gluten, wheat.

It must be said that these big companies are involved in frequent scandals have occurred lots and lots of food that killed dogs and cats, to the presence of toxic substances imported from China. In 2007, melamine was found in wheat and corn flour used in pet food: died in 1950 cats and dogs in 2200 *. In 1998, a study conducted by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration in the US), where they were analyzed the major brands of dog food, (including Purina Pro Plan, Nutro and Heinz) has found this a substance, the Pentobarbital, which is a common agent used to induce euthanasia in veterinary. This may lead you to believe that in meat may have been used even carcasses of pets euthanized, even if it is not possible to know exactly and could also come from other animals euthanized as cattle, or horses *. Even for meat by (labeled meat and meat products, or animal by-products) we know that can also contain beaks, feathers, nails.

Wanting to exclude all croquettes of these companies, we can consider, always in the premium segment, cruelty-free products: here we have a huge choice: in general, the composition does not differ much from other premium kibble. In this range our brands: Almo Nature, Trainer, Monge, Nut, FORZA10, famine, Vet Line and the lines to agriculture and organic farming as Aniwell, Yarrah, DefuBio, FORZA10 Bio.

They are all characterized by the usual percentage of meat or fish and the rest of cereals, usually maize and rice. Some of these lines contain probiotics, plant fibers and natural ingredients such as extracts from medicinal plants.

We see, for example the reading of the ingredients of Force 10 to maintain fish: corn, fish meal, corn oil, fish oil, yeast, beet pulp, minerals, Bio MOS and FOS, Yucca schidigera, choline chloride, vitamins, preserved with extracts rich in natural tocopherols and rosemary.

First ingredient: corn here. But dogs digest corn? To this question there is a clear answer. In nature, it would eat. Asking veterinarians clarification on, everyone has their own opinion: some say absolutely not, and who claims that the dog has adapted. What we know for certain is that the whole maize, the Chicci for interderci, is not digested by the dog. The manufacturers of feed for their part respond that the maize present in the kibble is first subjected to grinding and then to baking, for this is made more digestible.

There are those who think the opposite way, and believes that the dogs do not derive any benefit from eating corn, and the producers of the lines are grain-free, ie without grains, that we discuss below.

One thing you can immediately check that a dog is fed with homemade diet devoid of all those cereals, presents feces minors and smaller in dimensions than a dog fed kibble.

To return to our Force 10, the positive thing is that there are no preservatives or artificial colors, good is the presence of natural substances such as Yucca schidigera. Too bad for the proteins that are derived from fish meal, which we know is a process of recycling.

In this segment, products that on paper, based on the reading of the ingredients seem to be pretty good are: Farmina Cibau and nut Valpet.

Farmina Cibau, Ingredients: Dehydrated chicken meat (min. 32%), rice (min. 25%), corn, chicken fat, dehydrated fish, dried beetroot pulp, fish oil, vegetable oil, sodium chloride, dried brewer's yeast, DL-Methionine (2000 mg / Kg), choline chloride (1800 mg / Kg), zinc oxide (Zn 60 mg / Kg), zinc sulfate monohydrate (60 mg Zn / kg), manganous sulphate monohydrate (50 mg Mn / kg), ferrous sulphate monohydrate (20 mg Fe / kg), ferrous carbonate (20 mg Fe / kg), cupric sulfate pentahydrate (Cu 16 mg / kg), calcium iodate anhydrous (I 1.5 mg / Kg), basic cobalt carbonate monohydrate (0.25 mg Co / kg), sodium selenite (If 0.1 mg / Kg), vitamins.

Since,ingredients: dehydrated lamb (min. 27%), corn, rice (min. 8%), oils and fats stabilized, potatoes (min. 5%), chicory (fructooligosaccharides), fish oil (Omega 3), yucca extract, yeast , choline chloride, mineral substances, protected vitamins and trace elements in bioavailable form.

They do not contain gluten, corn and wheat, and have a good percentage of meat, not from flour, provided that it is always produced with a very strong presence of cereals (maize and rice).

As for the Cibau Farmina ingredients look very good, what remains a doubt is the strong presence of vitamin and mineral supplements.

Instead for nut Valpet, all contain a good percentage of meat with always specified from which animal comes (chicken, lamb or fish), do not contain corn gluten or wheat. In any case it is always very present corn, as in every kibble of this band, and the price is very competitive to be a premium kibble (a pack of 15 kg costs about 30 euro), we do not know (as for any kibble) which parts of the animal are used.

In an attempt to learn more, we can try to consider the value of crude ash: What are they? The value of the ash is obtained by burning a sample of the product under certain conditions, obtaining an inorganic compound. In this way you can have an idea of ​​the amount of mineral substance. Here, too, the usefulness of this value depends on the quality of the substances used: some claim to be low because a high percentage of ash would suggest greater use of abattoir (bone, cartilage), which are in fact very rich inorganic compound, but we can not rely only on this, because it is related to too many parameters. Both Cibau for Dado, the value of crude ash is 6.5%, average. Obviously the only final answer on the validity of a product, can give us this our animal with his reactions: a food industry that might sound good on paper, may not be so for our dog.

The other brands of this band (Monge, Almo Nature Holistic, Trainer) are equivalent to the presence of corn gluten and more or less equivalent percentage of meat, good Almo Nature in the use of brown rice. In all of these lines are absent additvi, dyes and chemical preservatives.

In this range are considered excellent wet food: Almo Nature produces a line "Natural", characterized by the use of meat / fish in the rate varying between 50 and 75%, broth and rice. And 'excluding any product and any integration of minerals, vitamins or additives. It is from white and red meat, fish and vegetables possibly, in the parts fit for human consumption but not marketed as such for commercial reasons, preserved in the broth with the addition of a small percentage of rice.

Another wet product is to be reported Forza10 Pâté tuna MONOPROTEICO: tuna 60%, vegetable jelly, minerals, vitamins, preserved with natural extracts rich in tocopherols.

These products are ideal to be mixed with rice and vegetables.

To lines biological, We see the dry dell 'Aniwell, Chicken and Rice ADULT, Ingredients: Fresh chicken (min. 20%), corn, rice, chicken meal, barley, fish meal, corn gluten, egg powder, beet pulp, chicken fat, yeast, flax seeds, minerals and vitamins, rosemary and parsley. It contains natural antioxidants (mixed tocopherols). It contains no artificial colors or flavors.

E 'equivalent to a croquette premium for similar percentages of meat and for the presence of corn, corn gluten. All ingredients are however orgine controlled organic, very positive especially for meat that theoretically are free of hormones and medicines like antibiotics that we find in animals reared intensively.

Another producer of organic food for dogs is the Yarrah,their dry food leaves something to be desired (Crispy chicken Yarrah: Cereals * (wheat *, corn *), 23% meat and animal derivatives * (chicken *), oils and fats *, minerals *. * = From controlled organic farming, Skal 1301.

It seems the best wet: * 47% meat and animal derivatives * (of which beef * min. 14%), minerals. * = From controlled organic farming, Skal 1301.

Surely the derivation from organic farming is considered the most significant aspect, although biological tells us something about the origin, but not the quality, because we do not know which part of the animal are used.

The top of the range, a wet product that looks really excellent is Terra Canis Cenpura Bio , A complete wet food completely from biological sources, and ingredients are also appropriate parts of the animal used! Ingredients: Bio-Beef: Beef muscles (27%), beef heart (27%), beef liver (16%), pumpkin (8%), carrots, celery, millet (7%), elderberry (1, 3%), basil oil, rapeseed oil (1.1%), seaweed * (0.4%), rose hips (0.2%), egg shells (0.2%), Andean salt.

Bio-turkey: turkey muscles (61%), stomach turkey (6%), turkey liver (6%), zucchini, amaranth (7%), apple (5%), tomatoes, canola oil (1, 1%), dandelion, chamomile (0.5%), basil, dill, seaweed * (0.4%), rose hips (0.2%), egg shells (0.2%), salt of * Andes.

Bio-Chicken: chicken muscle (73%), pumpkin, quinoa (7%), zucchini / 5%), broccoli (7%), rapeseed oil (1.1%), fennel seeds (1%), parsley, basil, seaweed * (0.4%), rose hips (0.2%), egg shells (0.2%), Andean salt *.

It seems really optimal, are mentioned all parts of the meat used, there are no corn and other cereals except only in very small quantities, the vegetables are very important and here are present in variety and everything comes from biological sources.

The Terra Canis, A German company, also produces a dry magime that a reading of the ingredients is more than excellent, called Area, ingredients:Muscle beef, beef heart, beef liver, white cattle rumen, a mixture of dried vegetables (carrot, apple, parsnips, courgettes, fennel, berries, tomatoes, chamomile, Oragenschalen, rose hips, parsley, basil, greek hay, millet, seaweed, egg shells, the ratio of raw materials in the = wet weight of meat by 55% to 30% of vegetable / fruit / herb mixture: 10% of Millet: 5% of seaweed and shell egg, ratio of muscle meat content = 50%: 25% heart of flesh: 12.5% ​​of the liver: 12.5% ​​White rumen

It 'an excellent product, available online, with clear, high-quality ingredients, no corn and other fillers. The present is the only cereal millet in small quantities. It seems the only product on the market for animals where there is a clear indication of the parts of the meat used. The cost is prohibitive: a 5 kg pack costs 50 €! So at this point, is to ask, but why not cook for your pet?

This product includes both the biological origin of the ingredients, both philosophy grain-free, we see what it is specifically: for grain-free (no cereals) are those lines of kibble that do not use wheat, corn, wheat, rice , but for the greater a composition of animal protein, and the rest is vegetables, fruits, herbs and small sources of carbohydrate such as potatoes.

These feeds are born according to the conception of the dog as essentially carnivorous animal: in the wild would eat mostly meat, they do not need a lot of carbohydrates or feed on cereals, confirm the short length of the digestive system, the shape of the jaw and teeth. On this basis, some companies have developed free food grains. Let's talk about Orijen, Acana (Champions petdood), N & D (Farmina). These feeds are characterized by a 70% animal ingredients, for a 30% fruit, minerals and vegetables, and 0% of cereals.

E Orijen Acana are both produced by a company in Alberta, Canada, says that the use of meat from chickens from farms regional outdoors, not treated with antibiotics or hormones, high quality food, processed daily fresh and never frozen. The fish used (lake whitefish, pike Canadian) declared caught and fresh. It 's definitely a good thing, but the end result is always a croquette, and food that has undergone various processes, at this point it makes little difference that the ingredients have never been frozen!

In any case, products are certainly very valid. Let'S See Orijen adult dogs: Fresh chicken boned, dehydrated chicken meat (low ash), turkey meal, russet potato, fresh white fish from the lake without bones, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), sweet potato, fresh whole eggs, fresh deboned turkey meat, dehydrated salmon, salmon and anchovy oils, fresh salmon without bones, natural flavors of chicken, sunflower oil, sun-dried alfalfa, dried brown seaweed, carrots, spinach, peas, tomatoes , apples, psyllium, dulse seaweed, chicory root, licorice root, root of Curcuma longa, hay greek, cranberries, currants blacks, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, beards corn, peppermint leaves, chamomile flowers, tooth lion, savory, rosemary extract, rosehip, sea salt, dried fermentation extract of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Enterococcus faecium. Botanical inclusions: chicory root 700 mg / kg, Licorice Root 500 mg / kg, Hay greek 350 mg / kg, flower calendula 350 mg / kg, Sweet fennel 350 mg / kg, leaf peppermint 300 mg / kg, chamomile flower 300 mg / kg, Dandelion 150 mg / kg, Savory 150 mg / kg, Rosehip 150 mg / kg

Good ingredients, high protein content and total absence of grain. Certainly the only care is to evaluate whether your dog has indicated a food protein as well, according to the lifestyle and climate. And 'advisable to use it in the winter.

The difference between Orijen and Acana, is mainly in the amount of meat / fish / eggs and consequently in the amount of protein. Orijen has an average of 40% protein, Acana about 30%. The line ACANA is recommended for less active dogs.

The Farmina offers N&D,crocchetta grain-free:Fresh boneless chicken (26%), dehydrated chicken meat (25%), potatoes, chicken fat, dried whole eggs, fresh herring, dehydrated herring, fish oil, vegetable fiber pea, dried carrots, alfalfa meal dehydrated, inulin fructo, mannanoligosaccharides, pomegranate powder (0.5%), dehydrated apple, spinach powder, psyllium (0.3%), blackcurrant powder, dehydrated sweet orange, cranberry powder, sodium chloride, yeast dried brewer, turmeric root (0.2%), glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate.

For those who do not want to opt for a diet completely free of grain, there are optimal choices:

Acana also has a line with cereals very interesting, the only grains present are oats and brown rice, no corn, wheat. It 'also characterized by a high percentage of animal protein. Acana Adult Dog:Ingredients: dehydrated chicken meat (40%), powdered oats, peas, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and rosemary), fresh king salmon (without spines), chicken liver, fresh whole eggs, dried alfalfa sun, salmon oil, pumpkin, chicken cartilage (natural source of glucosamine), red delicious apples, carrots, turnip leaves, cranberries, Amelanchier (berries), seaweed biological (zostera, brown algae, red algae), roots Arctium, roots of Altea, juniper berries, hay greek, sweet fennel, angelica root, sallow thorn, chicory root, nettle, raspberry leaf, milk thistle, peppermint leaves, marigold, chamomile, Lactobacillus adidophilus, Enterococcus faecium.

Or there is another product always Canadian, "Pro Nature Holistic", to take into account for the quality of the ingredients, for the absence of gluten, corn and wheat, for the high percentage of animal protein, and the use cereals such as rice, oats and millet.

All these products are cruelty-free, free from additives and chemical preservatives, and their cost is roughly about 70 euro for a pack of 13.5 kg.

In conclusion, we have seen how the advertising and the names emblazoned not always correspond to quality, and to choose a good kibble we must pay attention to the ingredients. Last band treated belong the best choices, always keeping in mind that it's kibble, the counter is that they can be very expensive, and we always talk about food processed and not fresh.  source

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