The truth about the ingredients of some commercially processed dog food?

I started to wonder if there are ready-made dog food delivery and ingredient service. Well, what do you know there are.

I started down this train of thought when trying to think of the most efficient way to prepare healthy meals for myself.

I work long hours and sometimes get home late. Mental fatigue and a desire to just chill and relax makes it hard for me to consistently put in an effort to cook meals for myself.  How will I cope when I get a dog? Furthermore, even when I work from home and get into my workflow mode, I find it difficult to break that flow, even when I’m hungry. So I started considering dog food delivery services.

There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of, “You are what you eat.” For this reason, I try to eat healthily. Therefore, I would want my dog’s diet to be balanced healthily because I’m aware of the health and nutritional benefits of good food.

a collection of food ingredients

I  know that there are companies that supply ready-made meal delivery or recipes and ingredients. These services can usually be subscribed to, and are useful for someone who works long hours.  It’s good to know that there are plenty of companies that offer services like this, especially with some of the controversies that are associated with some commercial dog food brands.

After discovering that ready-made dog food delivery services do exist for dogs, I then questioned whether I could be confident about the ingredients in the ready-made meal for dogs, and would I be confident to give it to my dog. 

This led to me considering the ingredients of dog food. What goes into it, and what do dogs actually like to eat? What is the difference between wet and dry food? If I’m going to be looking after a dog soon, it’s best I get on the right side of being informed about how to feed a dog.

What is dog food made out of?

An idea of mine that started off with me considering the most efficient way to prepare meals for myself seems to have spiraled into an amateur attempt into investigative journalism; let’s see where this goes.

I accept that humans have been domesticating dogs for centuries, but when and how did we create an accepted standard that defines what is safe and healthy to feed dogs?  Furthermore, what’s the origin of dog food ingredients, and how is dog food really made?  How did humans learn what to feed dogs?

I then started to consider how dog food is made in the first place. There’s wet food and dry food, so my logical brain concludes that there are two different processes for the manufacture of two different types of food. Conveniently, I was able to source the video below that presents how dry dog food is made.

I must say that going down this route and trying to learn about how dog food is made is a process that anybody who cares for a dog should endeavor to understand, and what a learning process it has been so far.

I’m no expert, I don’t claim to be, nor do I intend to be an expert anytime soon. I’m just an average joe who will soon be introducing a dog into my family. For this reason, I am doing research, so I’m in a position to make the best possible decisions for my dog so he can have a long life span, and my family and I can enjoy the wonders of having a dog. Ultimately, I’m hoping that my findings help people in the same position.

appy dog, running and having fun

Nutrition is obviously important, but what constitutes good nutrition for dogs? Is good human food suitable for dogs? Well, I’ve always known that dogs can’t eat chocolate, that’s about it. But now I know that dogs can’t eat raisins, onions, grapes, and artificial sweeteners. lists some other foods that are unsafe for dogs to consume and include foods like cooked bones, condemned corn found in some kibble, and rawhide, just to name a few.

According to, humans share approximately 75% of the same genetic makeup as dogs, and, as we know, there is a link between what we regularly eat and our health. Now while attempting to understand how dog food is made, I surprisingly discovered from the Dog Food Advisor that dog food manufacturers knowingly use condemned ingredients like deceased animals to produce dog food. Yup, you read right.

The concerning practices of the commercial dog food industry

According to the Daily Mail, “Big business sells food unfit for dogs to eat.” The article titled “How pet food is killing your dog – and why you should be feeding it parsnips and yogurt” speaks volumes about the impact of bad dog food on a dog’s health

two dogs with cash in their mouths

Given the fact that there is so much money to be made from the dog food market, it doesn’t surprise me when trying to learn what is dog food made out of that  I discovered that some dog food manufacturers are prepared to go to deplorable lengths to get their hands on some of this cash. The Daily Mail stated that  “The dog food industry began as a way of making money from unwanted products.”

The Daily Mail also goes on to add that “processed dog food came into existence 153 years ago and only became popular after the end of World War II.” This statement is also backed by the Pet Food Institute, claiming that a businessman in England by the name of James Spratt was an inventor and founder of pet food recipes and business around the year 1860.

Reports claim that after seeing dogs being fed leftover biscuits from a ship, Spratt formulated the first dog biscuit: a mix of wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot, and beef blood.” It was out of this business opportunity that mill owners found a way to make extra cash from offcuts and waste that was swept from the mill floor.

butcher cuts meat

Writing about it almost provokes annoyance in me, because I sense that the production of dog food comes with some lack of regard for the well being of the dog. It is alleged that the industry has been unchanged for the last 150 years.

My question in all this is, if, as a responsible dog owner you have an additional member in the family, in that your dog becomes a member of the family, you have pet insurance for your dog, and have gone the full nine yards to give your dog a good home, why then stop short by providing your dog an inadequate diet?

These are the rhetorical questions that I’ve pondered over since starting to explore the origin of dog food and the source of dog food ingredients. The diet my dog consumes will be the biggest contributor to his long and short term health and well-being, so why would I knowingly feed him a diet that is alleged to include meat by-products such as hooves, tails, testicles, ears, and so on. No, no, no. I can’t knowingly do it. Only the best for my Rover.

Again, I hear an inner voice that pushes me to consider how grey wolves in the wild, which are related to dogs,  are potentially eating offcuts and leftovers from a deer they have hunted, and are known for eating. I considered the dietary habits of the wolf in the wild.

a white wolf howling in the forest

Wild wolves aren’t picky about which parts of the deer they want to eat or discard. They go all in; meat is meat. Now I’ll attempt to play devil’s advocate. If a wolf, who is the ancestor of the dog, eats every single part of the animal that it has hunted and killed, why then should offcuts be a problem for domesticated dogs.?

The cheaper the food, the cheaper the ingredients.

Did you know that dog food may legally contain 4-D? What is this 4-D meat, is what I hear you ask. Well, according to Grey2k USA Worldwide,   4-D meat, in some places known as knackery meat, is meat from dead, dying, diseased, and disabled animals. What the… #£*$. Yup, you read right. Would you willfully  give your dog food in the form of meat from dead, dying, diseased, and disabled animals?

carcas of a dead cow

How can this be allowed to happen? Am I overly sensitive because I live in the western world? Am I overreacting? Some people could argue that some dogs, or dogs in the developing world, don’t have the privilege of a western dog food diet, and any food for dogs is good food.

Well, my response to this line of thinking is aimed at the dog owner, and asks, why bring a dog into your family and not give it the proper care it requires to have the best possible life it can have. I’m no expert, nor do I try to be one, but the laws in place seem to do little in terms of enforcing the rules around the inclusion of 4-D meat in dog food products.

Let me be realistic, as much as some people love dogs and are passionate about their well-being, there will always be some individuals or businesses looking to exploit this by monetizing the pet nutrition market, based on the awareness that there are many people who have genuine passion and love for their pets.

A good way for a dog parent to have a degree of control over what their dog eats and what contributes to good nutrition is to first educate themselves on the contents of dog food ingredients by asking how is dog food made? This will position a dog’s caregiver to be able to make informed decisions about a diet that will contribute toward good nutrition for their dog.

The Greyhound Racing Victoria Organization issued a statement advising that an appropriate diet should be fed to racing greyhounds.

Participants are strongly encouraged to consider feeding meat that is fit for human consumption, cleaner meat that is unlikely to have been treated with prohibited substances (e.g. chicken or kangaroo), or a commercial complete dry food.

Another shocking revelation from the Greyhound Racing Victoria Organization is the fact that knackery meat can contain traces of the medication that dead animals have consumed. This is saddening to read, and statements like the below shock me.

Some drugs (eg euthanasia solution that has been administered to livestock) may be detectable for several weeks after feeding and others (eg anaesthetic agents) are permanently banned and must never be present in a greyhound,

My concluding thoughts regarding the 4-D and knackery meat debacle are, if greyhound racing participants are encouraged to consider feeding meat that is fit for human consumption to their dogs, then why in the world do you find 4-D meat and knackery meat in commercial dog food? Round where I’m from, we call this “taking the piss.” Google the term, and you will find it to be as much of an eye-opener as I have found the whole dog food industry.

Why is there coloring in dog food anyway? 

According to market research, when choosing pet food, Millenials are checking labels for more meat. Pet food companies are aware of this and have in turn updated this by changing their packaging to boost their sales and increase their profit margins.

commericaial-dog-food-Background of different colors dry dog food

But according to Dog Food Advisor, some of these brands contain hardly any meat. Companies use artificial coloring to make dog food more appealing to humans. Furthermore, some pet food brands contain coloring that can cause cancer in animals. The question is, what is the purpose of food coloring or some other type of coloring? Dyes supposedly have no value to food apart from making them more eye-catching.

Below are some user comments and responses to the video. The fact that people are able to share their experiences and the steps they have taken helps others in similar positions to make informed decisions. Who would have known that dog food could cause a Doberman to lose its fur, and switching to a natural diet would make a difference? Check out the comments below.

comment about the pet food brand recall

comment about regulating the pet food industry

comments about commercial dog food

comment about the pet food industry

So what do you do? Huh? Huh? What are you gonna do?

Now, knowing what you now know, what then is a dog owner to do? What are your options? It seems like the majority of companies are contributing to the problem, and if that is the case, where does that leave me, the consumer, and dog owner.

a man holding chin and musing

I think it’s useful to get the opinion of the masses and use this to discover the best way to approach the problem. Below are reader comments to the Dog Food Advisor post titled The Shocking Truth About Commercial Dog Food. It’s really insightful and in some places amusing to see people going back and forth with their opinions. Hehehe.
corum comments about commercial dog food

Positive reasons for ready-made dog food delivery  and ingredients services

After all, is said and done, I’ve concluded that ready-made dog food delivery and ingredients service could be a good solution. This option may also help to ensure that your dog eats right. Why would I go for this option? Ready-made dog food delivery meals are a good option because you can be assured that your dog will be consuming quality dog food consistently. For me personally, It comes down to giving my dog the best. I know this may sound slightly idealistic, but if you can afford to, then why not?

However, this may not be the most cost-effective solution for everyone. So, the next best thing to do as a dog owner is to become educated and be in a position to scrutinize food packaging labels. The profits companies generate by selling dog food are plentiful, and in many cases, the evidence I’ve presented suggests that the well-being of dogs doesn’t get factored into how some commercial dog food is produced.  

Final Thoughts

Finally, there is the option of making your own dog food. This is something that I will possibly attempt when I get my dog. But, like the above options, this option also comes with the requirement to commit to becoming informed and educated about what a dog can and cannot eat. The learning never stops.

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