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If you see any of the following items listed in the ingredients of the food that you are reviewing, then this a tell-tale sign that this is a lesser quality food.
Stay away from foods that contain these ingredients:
- If protein is not the first ingredient on the list, it is tell-tale sign that that a filler (most likely corn) is the primary ingredient in this food.
- Generically labeled Meat Meal – Most likely a combination of random meat cuttings. You have no way of knowing what kind of animal protein your dog is eating. A good food will use specific types of meat and will tell you what they are.
- Specific or Generic Meat By-product or Meat By-Product Meal– tells you that the meat used as the protein source is sub-standard nutritionally and quite often contains meat from 4 D (dead, dying, diseased, disable animals.
- Wheat Gluten.
Products used to bind the kibble together. (adds no nutrition and aids in facilitating Zinc Malabsorption and Zinc Deficiency in Snow Dogs).
- Brewers Rice.
- Cereal Foods.
- Soy Flour.
- Grain Fermentation and Maltodextrins – suspended solids from grain fermentation like Malt.
Cheap sources of simple carbohydrates often used as fillers in dog food. They offer no nutritional value and are used to fill out or fluff up the dog kibble.
Fruits and Vegetables
Any fruit or vegetable pomace is made from peelings and leftover pulp and does not have the same nutritional value as using whole fruits and vegetables.
Rather than using whole fruits and vegetables, they use cheaper sources like fruit and vegetable peelings to make it look like their food contains more natural nutrition than it actually does.
- Unspecified Cellulose.
- Corn Cellulose.
- Corn Bran.
- Oat Hulls.
- Peanut Hulls.
- Rice Hulls.
- Wheat Hulls.
- Soybean Hulls.
Fibre from cheap source fibrous plant materials to add bulk and consistency to food.
Fats and Oils
- Undesignated Animal Fat.
- Lard, Tallow.
- Undesignated Vegetable oil.
- Canola oil.
- Mineral Oil.
This is the source of the fat that is used in the making of this food. Using a mixture of cheap fats results in a listing of Generic fat or oil. You have no way of knowing the source of the fat used in the food.
Preservatives and Colouring Agents
- Common chemical preservatives include: BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Propyl Gallate.
- Common artificial colouring agents used in foods are: Blue 2, Red 40, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5 and 6.
Cheap foods are chemically preserved instead of naturally preserved. These cheap foods also use artificial colouring agents.
Sweeteners and Salt
Common sweeteners that used in cheap food are:
- Cane Molasses.
- Corn Syrup.
Dogs have no need to have sugars, sweeteners, and salt added to their food.
Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements
- Commonly used Vitamins: Di-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate or synthetic Vitamin E , Menadione Sodium Bisulphate or Synthetic K.
- Commonly used Supplements: Zinc oxide (cheap source of zinc not well used by the body, Bone Sulphate (used to balance calcium and phosphorous in the food), yeast cultures and yeast fermentation solubles ( used as a cheap source of Vitamin B)
Cheap foods often use cheap sources of vitamins and minerals and supplements in their food to help give the impression that their food is healthful. Unfortunately, the sources for these additives makes them useless to the body.
- Animal digest.
- Generic digest.
- Generic designations of Flavour (chemical in nature).
- Glandular meal (a cooked source of flavourings obtained from livers and other glands of unspecified animals and sprayed onto the food).
A host of cheap low grade sources used to make the food more palatable.
Meat Meal, Meat By-Product, and Meat Meal By-Product
Whatever protein you choose to feed, the protein must come from a good quality protein source so look for the label to tell you that the protein comes from Whole Meat. If the food label says Meat By-Product, then know that the meat in this food gets its protein from a nutritionally sub-standard kind of meat protein.
The rules for what a food manufacturer can legally use as a meat by-product is staggering. If you see the words meat by-product on the food label, know that this means that the protein comes from the left overs that come from slaughtered animals after the edible parts have been removed as the protein source for their food.
This by-product protein can also includes 4-D animals (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter) animals or other condemned parts of the meat that have been declared inedible and unfit for human consumption. These condemned meats and left over body parts can still be legally used to making dog food.
While using meat by-product allows the manufacturer to produce the food less expensively, it also means that this food is far less nutritious than a food that is produced using only whole meat. There is only one way for manufacturers to produce an inexpensive food and that is to use cheap sources of meat protein and add lots of corn as a filler to the food. I’m afraid to say, cheap dog food means cheaply made food using inexpensive ingredients. In the end, you will get what you pay for.
Some people think that they are saving money from buying inexpensive and nutritionally sub-standard food for their dogs, but unfortunately what they end up paying in Vet visits will more than surpass what ever money they may have saved at the till.
Snow Dogs, Carbs and Grains
Snow Dogs do not require a food high in carbohydrates. A food with about 30% carbs is sufficient and the carbs should come from complex carbs, not simple carbs. Feeding a diet high in simple carbs (like processed wheat or corn) will cause much needed zinc, iron, and calcium to bind to the carbs making them unavailable to your dog. This will eventually cause issues of Zinc Deficiency and Zinc Malabsorption issues that will lead to, but not limited to, Zinc Responsive Dermatosis, a condition of raised patches of itchy lesions that lead to irritated hot spots.
Once ingested, grains such as wheat, corn and soy produce phytic acid that will bind to available Zinc in the body. Snow Dogs already have a higher than average daily Zinc requirement and feeding foods that contain wheat, corn or soy will only end up causing Zinc Deficiency related health issues..
Cheap dog foods often have corn as the first or second item on the ingredient list. That means that corn is the first or second most abundant item contained in that food. This explains why Snow Dogs that are fed low quality foods end up with so many health issues.
Zinc Malabsorption and Zinc Deficiency in Snow Dogs
One of the most misunderstood issues in Snow Dogs is the role that zinc plays in their diet. Zinc is the second most utilized mineral in the body. It is used as a building block for nearly every one of the body processes. Huskies and Malamutes both have a higher than normal daily requirement for zinc in their diet and they have the added complication of having problems being able to absorb enough zinc from their diet. This malabsorption and deficiency will cause a host of health issues that seem to constantly be morphing and shifting into secondary and tertiary health problems.
Some of the most common Zinc Deficiency related ailments in Huskies and Malamutes are:
- Zinc Responsive Dermatosis and other skin and coat issues,
- chronic digestive issues including vomiting and diarrhea,
- anorexic eating patterns,
- failure to thrive,
- thyroid issues,
- immune system issues,
- and even idiopathic seizure activity/epilepsy.
If the food that you feed your Snow Dog has any wheat, corn or soy in it, it is likely to eventually cause health problems in your dog. No matter how healthy the other ingredients in the food are, if it contains grains, it is not an appropriate food for this breed of dog.