Some of the most popular mass-market dog foods are also the worst for your dogs.
The catchy commercials on TV might be adorable, and they might persuade you that the food is of good quality, but in reality the most common brands score very low on the nutritional scale.
To illustrate the point, let’s compare the ingredients of a bad dog food — Walmart’s best-selling pet food Ol’ Roy — with the ingredients in a great dry dog food.
Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition
Despite Walmart’s claims that its Ol’ Roy line features “high-quality ingredients” and “quality protein,” this cheapo brand is generally regarded as the worst dog food on the market.
Yes, it’s easy on your wallet, but so what? Would you expect your children to subsist on a diet of McDonald’s? Just look at these awful ingredients:
Ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, chicken by-product meal, wheat middlings, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid), natural flavor, brewers rice, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, color added (titanium dioxide, yellow #5, yellow #6, red #40, blue #2), zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, niacin, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, manganous oxide, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, folic acid, vitamin D-3 supplement, cobalt carbonate
The first ingredient is corn — which dogs have a difficult time digesting. It’s one of the most commonly used fillers in low-quality food. (Why? Because corn is cheap, and big companies make more money by being cheap.)
Next up is an unnamed “meat” and unspecified bone meal, which could be anything from goat parts to road kill, or worse. The soybean meal is put in to boost the protein content — yet more filler. As for chicken byproduct meal, well it could pretty much mean anything… except a quality protein source.
Middlings are essentially floor sweepings with no nutritional value. The last main ingredient is animal fat (yuck), just as nebulous as chicken byproduct meal.
Orijen 6 Fresh Fish With Sea Vegetables
Now let’s examine the ingredients list for a high-quality dog food, Orijen 6 Fresh Fish. Feast your eyes on this:
Fresh boneless salmon, salmon meal, herring meal, fresh boneless herring, fresh boneless walleye, russet potato, sweet potato, peas, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), fresh boneless lake whitefish, sun-cured alfalfa, fresh boneless flounder, fresh boneless northern pike, pea fiber, organic kelp, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, apples, cranberries, blueberries, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine, folic acid, biotin, -vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, lactobacillus acidophilus, enterococcus faecium
The differences between Orijen and Ol’ Roy are immediately noticeable. Besides the six different types of fish, there’s good meat in meal form (salmon meal, herring meal). There are zero grains, which is great because grains are not a natural part of the canine diet. There are quite a few fruits and vegetables here as well as probiotics.
Though you won’t find this info on the label, Orijen products are free of China-sourced ingredients, another huge plus.