Real food.

Yesterday I was out shopping, I had a few bits and pieces to pick up for baking and the holiday season.  I was at Target and as I made my way to the cash I walked by the dog treat isle.  Just as I passed it I put on my brakes, I got my glasses out and decided to read the ingredients on some of the biggies.  Begg'n strips, pup-peroni, Waggin train and the one I've recently seen a big advertising push on Milo's kitchen.  The worst by far is by Purina, Beggin' strips; the following is the list of ingredients.

Ground wheat, corn gluten meal, wheat flour, ground yellow corn, water, sugar, glycerin, soybean meal, meat, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, bacon fat (preserved with BHA), salt, phosphoric acid, sorbic acid (a preservative), calcium propionate (a preservative), natural and artificial smoke flavors, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6), choline chloride.

Just disgusting if you ask me.  I have to say that if Purina does not man up to a major overhaul then it should be placed in the history books with many other companies that were the big ones "back when."  Back when meaning back when it all started; I remember that Purina was one of the very few dog companies.  Many of their products are filled with just that; fillers, crap.  Time to change Purina or move out of the way so that the companies who really care can step up.

But it is not just Purina, all of the treats that were on the shelves there were very substandard.  Another reason why you should frequent the small privately owned pet food stores.  As I read the ingredient lists and viewed all the packaging design meant to draw you in I realized that there are a few "big" words they like to throw around.  One is USA, one of the bags said that the treats are made by a company that is a US company but when I read the very small print it said made in China, disappointing to say the least.   

"Natural" is another word over used and given no meaning once so ever as far as health goes.  Natural stamped all over a bag by no means makes the food something that you should give your dog.  You can go online and read most of the ingredients from treats and foods.  

This is the list of ingredients in the hottest advertised dog treat:  Milo's kitchen - Beef sausage slices.  
Yep, there's beef in there but what else is in there?  Yuck.  FYI, Milo's kitchen is owned by Del Monte.  Interesting.  

Beef, Soy Grits, Sugar, Propylene Glycol, Rice, Salt, Monoglyceride, Garlic Powder, Natural Smoke Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (used as a preservative), Citric Acid, Sodium Erythorbate (for color retention), Sodium Nitrite (for color retention), BHA (used as a preservative), Onion Extract

Dog treats are a huge percentage of what we buy for our dogs.  Whatever you feed your dog, read the labels and if there are ingredients in there that you can not pronounce or know what it is, then move onto something else.

Below is a recent notice from the FDA, taken from the official FDA site. 

FDA Continues to Caution Dog Owners About Chicken Jerky Products

November 18, 2011
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is again cautioning consumers that chicken jerky products for dogs (also sold as chicken tenders, strips or treats) may be associated with illness in dogs. In the last 12 months, FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China. These complaints have been reported to FDA by dog owners and veterinarians.
FDA issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products to consumers in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification in December of 2008. After seeing the number of complaints received drop off during the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010, the FDA is once again seeing the number of complaints rise to the levels of concern that prompted release of our earlier warnings.
Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.
FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.
FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.
The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.