What The Big Corporations Would Rather You Didn’t Know….Part V of V

Categories:Pet Food
Nancy Secrist
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
  • diabetes

At the same time, high quality fats in the diet provide:

  • energy
  • 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.

Look for:

  • 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.