As any parent will testify, certain foods can have a dramatic effect on a child’s behaviour. As early as the 1950’s, artificial colourings were being linked with behavioural issues amongst other health problems in people and several recent scientific trials have shown a clear link between food additives and ADD (attention deficit disorder) and hyperactivity in children. Unfortunately, the effects of these ingredients seem to be exactly the same for our dogs with reduced attention spans and hyperactivity regularly reported.
Common colourings found in dog foods include sunset yellow, tartrazine, ponceau 4r, patent blue V and titanium dioxide, although they may also be listed by their E numbers or simply as ‘colourings’. It is also worth mentioning that most studies indicate that dogs are largely colourblind so the only role of the colourings is to appeal to the owner and not to the dog.
A preservative is any ingredient added to a food to slow down spoilage. Antioxidants are an important branch of preservatives as they inhibit the oxidisation process which turns fats rancid. Both preservatives and antioxidants can come from natural sources (such as vitamin E and rosemary oil) or be artificially created. Here we will talk only about artificial preservatives and antioxidants.
Although artificial preservatives certainly work at slowing down decomposition, there are wide ranging concerns over their effects on health. Ethoxyquin (E324), for example, has been linked to the development of allergic reactions, skin disease, behaviour problems and far worse conditions. Likewise, the antioxidants BHA (E320) and BHT (E321) have long been suspected of contributing to cancer. Another common preservative, potassium sorbate (E202), is listed as a skin, eye and respiratory irritant.
Needless to say, while there is any uncertainty over their side effects, these ingredients are certainly best avoided.
If a food contains artificial preservatives or antioxidants it must be stated somewhere on the label. They may be listed in a number of ways and are not always easy to spot: ‘preservatives’; ‘EU permitted additives’; ‘BHA and BHT’; and ‘E320 and E321’ are all ways of listing the same preservatives. They may also not appear on the ingredients list at all but be found at the end of the typical analysis. If you want to be completely sure, look for foods that clearly state ‘no artificial preservatives’.
Meat and Animal Derivatives
According to European law, ‘meat and animal derivatives’ is defined as “All the fleshy parts of slaughtered warm-blooded land animals, fresh or preserved by appropriate treatment, and all products and derivatives of the processing of the carcase or parts of the carcase of warm-blooded land animals”.
Clearly this is very loose and does not provide any clues as to what parts or even what animals are being used.
It must be said that the presence of this ingredient is not necessarily a bad thing as it encompasses all meats, from the very best, to the very worst. For example, some producers of good foods use broad terms like this in order to not give away their ‘secret formula’ and some imported foods list very high quality meat as ‘meat and animal derivatives’ simply because the laws or customs in their home country are different. At the opposite end of the scale, the term can be used for very low-grade animal products including some that are nutritionally very poor. Also, because the species isn’t specified, manufacturers are able to change their meat source between batches depending on what is available at the time.
The problem with broad, vague terms like this is that you just don’t know. Where you do see it, make sure it states what animal it comes from, and ideally what parts of the animal. If your dog is prone to food intolerance, it is certainly wise to steer away from meat and animal derivatives and all other non-specific ingredients.
Does your dog suffer from this? There have been clinical trials to try and establish what would be the best diet to feed, lower on fibre and grain/cereal free, not all dogs with the problem will benefit from this but studies undertaken are now showing that these foods could be beneficial Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency has a wealth of information. Simpsons sensitive range has been recommended in the fight against this condition.
I have recently been asked if we are able to provide trade prices for the pet trade market. We welcome any enquiries and believe that with all the changes in bag sizes with some premium companies , Arden Grange being one of the latest , we can still remain competitive with the 15kg bags. Please get in touch.
Dont forget that you can also get your Simpsons Premium food from Dawn Kithill Kennels
This particular sensitive food is having great results on dogs with allergies and upset tummies. If all else has failed then at least give this a try. 45% Salmon has to be good for your dog and at only £39.45 for a 12kg bag I think you will struggle to find a product at this quality for less money.
This range of food is becoming very popular,especially with skin problems and sensitive stomachs. The messages I am getting from customers are very positive with many of the problems clearing up after a few weeks. It’s not a miracle food and won’t solve all the problems, some of which may need medical attention from a vet. Get in touch if your dog has similar problems and I will do what I can to advise you on which food to try .
I am often asked about the amount of cereal in dog food, the rule of thumb is that the low to mid range products contain a considerable amount. While the inclusion of some cereal is a good energy booster, many products use it as a filler to bulk out the lack of meat and other quality products like rice. The body does not absorb this amount of cereal so there is only one place for it to go !! those of you who use foods like Bakers/Wagg/Beta, which all contain low, poor quality amounts of meat derivative (who knows what they grind in to that !) as low as 4%, would see a huge difference in the amount of waste in a better single sourced higher meat content product with less cereal. The body absorbs much more of the content because of its high quality. Not to mention the subtle changes in your dogs health and well being, and possibly behaviour. I accept that cost at times will be an issue but just because you feed a better quality food it does not have to be expensive. I welcome any views dog lovers may have.
As far as the majority of the pet food industry is concerned, your pet food will be preserved with one or more different antioxidants – either natural (Vitamin E, C or Tocopherols) or not (BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin or similar) or a mixture of both types – and the pattern will be something like this:-
Meat Meal and Fats pre-treated with BHA, BHT by supplier.
During processing, BHA, BHT or similar anitioxidant added
…Contains permitted EC preservatives
Meat Meal and Fats pre-treated with Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Tocopherols or similar by supplier
During processing, additional Vit E, C or Tocopherols added
‘… naturally preserved with… ‘
Meat Meal and Fats pre-treated with BHA, BHT or similar by supplier
During processing, Vitamin E, C or Tocopherols added
‘… naturally preserved..’ or ‘no added preservatives’