Last updated on April 23, 2020
What is premium dog food? There isn’t one. Knowing the truth about premium dog food is not as easy as reading a package or ingredient label. Premium dog food today is not what premium dog food once was. Premium dog food was expensive and sold only in exclusive dog food stores. Our dogs were promoted from guards-in-the-yard to family members. With this came the explosion of pet product sales. Today pet products are a highly competitive $26 Billion dollar a year industry. And every dog owner strives to understand; what is premium dog food?
The question “what is premium dog food?” requires a little background to answer that you can find on M-Dog.org Guide on dog foods for large dogs.
Packaged dog food sales started at the end of World War II. Commercial dog food was not created as a means to improve our dog’s health. Born out of a surplus of grain products, it was found that these grains could be made into various commercial animal feeds. Dogs began suffering health problems from a lack of nutrition. The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) created standards for dog food ingredients. Then the question arose, “what is premium dog food?” Premium dog food was food formulated to meet or exceed AAFCO standards.
The science of dog nutrition has advanced beyond the basic AAFCO standards. After the 2007 pet food recalls dog owners gave more attention to what was in the premium dog foods. The question was asked again; “What is premium dog food?”
What is premium dog food? It is not one labeled “complete and balanced”.
Dog foods labeled “complete and balanced” must meet AAFCO standards with a nutrient profile or a feeding trial. The nutrient profile that ends up in your dog is affected by the cooking process, manufacturing, distribution, and storage. Dog nutritionists explain feeding trials as the equivalent of feeding a number of dogs for a specified amount of time. If the dogs do not die, the dog food passes. With today’s scientific understanding of what is good nutrition for a dog, the AAFCO’s definition of “complete and balanced dog food” is deceptive. The answer to, “what is premium dog food?” changes again.
What is premium dog food? It is not one labeled “premium dog food”.
There is no legal definition for terms like premium, ultra-premium, natural, holistic or human-grade. As dog food owners read labels and search for premium dog foods; dog food manufacturers go to greater lengths to hide the truth. Premium dog food terms are used to make you think the other guy’s food is junk. Do you buy premium dog food? Mine is ultra-premium. The proof is in the higher price! Now you know the manufacturer’s answer to, “what is premium dog food?”
What is premium dog food? It’s not the ingredient list.
The ingredient list shows what is in the food by weight before processing. It does not answer the question, “what is premium dog food?” The first ingredient weighs more than the second. But different cooking processes do different things. Meats lose water and are no longer the first ingredient. Nutrition value is lost. The manufacturer is not required to list the chemical preservatives in the ingredients used in the premium dog foods. A dog food advertised as “no preservatives” means the manufacturer did not add the chemicals. It is not a guarantee that their ingredient supplies did not add it.
What about all that cheap surplus grain? It’s still in there. You learned to look for grain in the first 5 ingredients. The manufacturers learned to use several grain sources instead of just one. Now the grains appear lower on the ingredient list. You learn to look at the guaranteed analyses for percent of protein. All those grains are protein. You get fooled again! Do you still want to ask the manufacturer the question, “what is premium dog food”?
Then; what is premium dog food?
It’s not the price. It’s not the packaging. It’s not the term “premium”. What is premium dog food? Premium is a quality, not a label. If you want truly premium dog food then you need to be shopping in small pet stores with an owner that is knowledgeable about the dog food industry. Ask them, “what is premium dog food?”
Most off-the-shelf premium dog foods have spent 2 years in the distribution process. No one is responsible for the quality control of the food after manufacturing. This is now part of the question, “what is premium dog food?” I avoid this by buying premium dog food by direct distribution. Direct distribution means the food is sent directly to me from the manufacturer. My dog food is only 6 weeks from manufacturing by the time it goes into my dog. Out of all the premium dog foods on the market I find only about 10 formulated for good health and longevity of life. Out of those, there are only 3 manufacturers I trust to deliver the product safely.
The big dog food manufacturers have made it easy, convenient and guilt-free for you to feed your dog poorly with their premium dog food. They don’t what you to ask, “what is premium dog food?” They separate you from your money. Then they separate you from your dog when he dies before his time.