What The Big Corporations Would Rather You Didn’t Know….Part V of V
How to Read the Ingredient Labels and Buy a Better Dog Food for the Dollar, Part V, Good Fat—Bad Fat
In our human foods, we get bombarded with low-fat this and that in the grocery aisle but our pets are very different. Dogs and cats do not develop high cholesterol or heart disease from a high fat diet. In fact, fats are a very important part of their diet. Fats provide protection from:
- dry, itchy skin (dandruff)
- dull, dry coat
- diminished immune system
- heart disease
At the same time, high quality fats in the diet provide:
- absorption of the fat soluble vitamins
- normal development and function of body cells
- stimulated appetite as foods taste good and smell good too.
What makes a fat high quality? Two main points–essential fatty acids must be provided in a specifically balanced ratio. They are essential because the body cannot make them. Secondly, the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is vital to health also.
- High storage temperatures–foods stored in high heat and humidity will be rancid sooner due to the breakdown of fatty acids.
- The generic term “Animal fat;” unspecified ingredients can be changed from one batch to the next.
- Blended fats, vegetable fats or oils as the primary fat source; beef tallow, such as beef tallow and lard are very tasty to dogs, but are low in essential fatty acids. These are unbalanced animal or vegetable fats, along with non-specific fats and oils like “vegetable oil” or “animal fat.”
- Preservatives such as BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin, and sodium metabisulphite; colorings, digests and sweeteners should also be avoided.
- Common sources of omega-3 fatty acids used in quality dog foods are fish oils (herring, salmon, etc.) and flaxseed and canola oils.
- Commonly used omega-6 fatty acid sources include pork fat, chicken fat (or any poultry fat), safflower and sunflower oils, as well as vegetable oils such as corn and soybean oils.
- Preservatives such as mixed tocophterols (variations of Vitamin E) and Vitamin C are best.