We all have our little bug bears and things that get under our skin, well one of mine is any of these words - NATURAL, HEALTHY or FULL OF GOODNESS being used in adverts when the items being advertised are not any of those.
We all know that advertising companies will use any method possible to sell us stuff that we either don't really need or make us think something is very different to what it actually is. What is really worthy of being called a Healthy or Natural dog food and what do we consider Full of Goodness?
Well it depends on your point of view, whether you feed your dog a raw based diet or use a complete dry food. Neither method can deny however that the best foods should pack plenty of protein. They should also be free of unnecessary additives like artificial flavours, fillers or extra salt and sugar.
Surprisingly lot's of 'natural' treats and foods out there display they are full of "plenty of protein" and skirt around the fact that vegetable and meat proteins are utilised very differently by a dog's body (carnivore dogs use meat protein much easier, so its typically easier to digest and for the body to use). The only reason to include grain and vegetables is cost, not health !
The first ingredient listed on a product is what it contains the most of. So let's take the Jumbone (Which Pedigree bill as a dental hygiene treat!)
; Cereals,Derivatives of Vegetable Origin,Various Sugars,Meat and Animal Derivatives (including 4% Beef),Minerals,Vegetable Protein Extracts,Seeds,Oils and Fats,Herbs
Forgetting for a moment what your definition of Natural Ingredients are, do you think all of those ingredients are HEALTHY? Would a dentist recommend a Human chews a gum containing sugar to help clean our teeth? If you already understand that dogs came from carnivores only 20,000 years ago and their digestion needs meat protein and fats to operate properly, you are probably avoiding products that contain the sheer number of ingredients any veggie based "dental stick" requires.
Another highly popular range are Bakers, they offer a treat sold to help with Joint Care. They advertise these as Low In Fat and Full of Goodness. 'With just one chew a day, you can help support your dogs joint mobility the tasty way!'
The listed ingredients are; Cereals, Meat and animal derivatives (28 % meat, 4% chicken), Minerals, Vegetable protein extracts, Oils and fats, Vegetables, Glucosamine. Additives: Protein: 15%, Fat content: 4%, Crude ash: 9%, Crude fibres: 1%, Moisture: 22%, Glucosamine 3 000 mg/k Feeding Guide (approx/day): Daily feeding amount: Large Dogs over 25 kg : 1 piece
Take from that what you will but again when judging what is Healthy in human nutrition, it is recommended that we eat foods that are unrefined and have been through minimal processing, it's no different for our pets. If you want to supplement to help with their joints, do just that, supplement. Rather than giving a food that contains fillers and cereals as a carrier for the active ingredient - glucosamine.
In conclusion, of course all companies need to make a profit and it's naive to think that companies will always put scruples above profits BUT the reality is that many of those in charge of advertising campaigns and boosting sales probably don't particularly like dogs or don't even own a dog themselves. I do find that kind of hypocritical if the company is putting out a lot of marketing to pretend how deeply they care or are connected with dogs. It is our responsibility to choose carefully and examine what we are putting in our dogs digestive system especially if we want to give them Natural, Healthy, Full of Goodness options.