What’s really in dog food?

PinExt Whats really in dog food?

Have you ever considered the dog food you are buying and feeding your dog?  There are so many choices.  It can be like learning a foreign language with the list of ingredients on the packaging you can't sometimes pronounce.  What about the many recalls that you never hear about and then suddenly the death of a pet maybe not yours, but could be next? Who knows for sure but why chance it?

Honey, our TX granddaughter doggie, with her treat.  

IMG 0275 300x283 Whats really in dog food?


So many choices and it can be confusing: canned, wet, dry, fresh, frozen, organic, raw, homemade or BARF?   I would be confused too just reading these possibilities.  Which company is making it? Has the manufacturer had any recalls? When? These are just a few of the questions you may consider before buying your next batch of food for your animal.  Being educated is the best way to make wiser choices with your money. 


“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms”
George Eliot

We have owned dogs for over 40 years and look to know anything about the food we buying.  We thought all dog food was created equal just  different manufacturer.  About 10 years ago we got serious with our adopted Molly, now 11. I became involved in a food coop helping save money on buying meat products for the dog.  I was exposed to people who knew more than I did about healthy dog food. This is why today I am serious about what goes into her mouth.

Some readers may think that dogs are born to be vegans. I am not here to debate this. I believe it is a choice and I am doing what I believe is best for "my" dog.  I won't judge others choices nor argue  which is healthier: vegan, vegetarian or raw food diets.  Research is always best to help you decide and I suggest never believe just one source. 


Molly's Meal

(Still eating 3 hardy meals daily.)

IMG 0009 300x265 Whats really in dog food?

I knew nothing about caring for a dog other than feeding and walking her.  Both myself and husband were always responsible owners.  Back in the days of our first one, we started off buying dry bagged food and canned meat.  What did we know never exposed to dogs?  We didn't have any guidance other than ourselves and what the vet told us.  I felt like we were like the "blind leading the blind."  Each "pooch" we had responded well to our choices without health problems.  They all lived to be old.However, times have changed, and so has the food manufacturing.  With the massive amount of pet manufacturers recalls we opted to go with a more natural dog approach.  Why? We figured since we ate a natural organic diet our dog deserved this.  It did save us a lot of money in vet bills.  However we don't eat animal products so there is no competition between us or the "angel" as I call her.

An authority speaks out…

According to Dr. Wendell O. Belfield, D.V.M.: "Rendering plants process decomposing animal carcasses, large roadkill and euthanised dogs and cats into a dry protein product that is sold to the pet food industry. One small plant in Quebec, Ontario, renders 10 tons (22,000 pounds) of dogs and cats per week. The Quebec Ministry of Agriculture states that "the fur is not removed from dogs and cats" and that "dead animals are cooked together with viscera, bones and fat at 115° C (235° F) for 20 minutes". 

What does our dog eat?

You can see in Molly's picture above she is enjoying her homemade meal that she finished.  Just reading Dr. Belfield's findings is enough to convince me that preparing my own fresh, raw meats as well as some cooked daily, as my best option. I have been doing this for about 10 years.  She loves fish and gets that too. She eats mainly organics or grass fed meats, organic vegetables, supplements her diet and is monitored carefully by our vet for deficiencies. 

Now that spring is around the corner I am thinking of natural dog gardening for her veggies.  I can grow carrots and beets and keep them in the ground all year.  I can also plant other vegetables she can eat in season right outside my back door.   

I am not saying toss the dog food, but use your own judgment on what you want to expose your animal too.  There are always recalls to be found for dogs, including treats.  Newspapers and online are accessible for these findings.

I love my dog and want the best food to go into her body. It may be more expensive, but it's a choice and/or decision.  I am investing in her great health and longevity.   She recently recovered from Lupus!

       Are you convinced to change or read the labels more often?

It's easier for me to not second guess and making my own is peace of mind at this point. How would you know if they are?   A list of some additives "accepted" in animal feed and pet foods are below. 

Color additives
Flavor enhancers
Flavoring agents
Pelleting agents and binders


Did you know….

All commercial pet foods must be preserved so they stay fresh. Of course they have to appeal to our animals.

Are you going to change what you are feeding your dog?

TIP: How about thinking of natural dog gardening?  Here's a starter: plant beets.


                   PLEASE COMMENT BELOW.

                              WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.

Wags from Molly,

Carol Giambri, a voice to the dogs and a back to basics natural lifestyle lover


pixel Whats really in dog food?
PinExt Whats really in dog food?

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Avonridge February 24, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Carol, I had no idea that dead road kill and other animals are processed into dog food. Thanks for opening my eyes!!

Carol Giambri February 24, 2011 at 11:51 pm

It’s amazing what we don’t know and I surely don’t know it all–just bits and pieces and the main reason I make my dog’s 3 meals daily in minutes not hours and 2 minutes for her cooked chicken or heating up fish takes alittle longer–regardless all worth it. More need to know what I believe is in most dog or pet foods, not all, is not extending lives. I have been blessed, ignorant for a long time all my dogs lived very long. What’s “love have to do it?” Maybe lots. Thanks for your sharing.

Anonymous February 25, 2011 at 1:09 am

This is mind boggling! Bless you for opening our eyes to this…I had no idea!

Sue Graber February 25, 2011 at 1:54 am

Carol, lots of good information here…every dog owner will say “thank you” upon reading this!!! Keep up the good work in educating us. Can feel your passion in your words!

Carol Giambri February 25, 2011 at 4:21 am

Thanks Sue for sharing. I can only so much to share with people they will go beyond me. I am ready soon to start talking about gardening for that special dog for his organic, fresh veggies…yummy!!

Carol Giambri February 25, 2011 at 4:23 am

Denny, thanks so much for your comment. We don’t know all but what we do know people need to start making their own homemade dog food. It really is a super fast process and then we know what is in the food. This is the exciting part. Of course not raising chickens or fish I do my best but with items I can see what goes into the dogs food. She is doing great from LUPUS recovery.

Annemarie Cross February 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

This is such an important message that all dog owners should be aware of. Thank you for drawing this to our attention Carol!

Debra Pickford February 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I’m trying to get myself on a more natural diet, it only makes since to get my dog on one too. Thanks so much for opening pet owners eyes to what’s in dog food.

Susan McKenzie February 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Carol, I love your passion for helping us to enjoy our dogs and to treat them as they deserve! I’m learning a lot and look forward to more of your articles!

Carol Giambri February 25, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Thank you Susan. Dogs are a delight to enjoy and deserve the love just like any other animal or human deserves. Glad you are continuing to learn something “fresh”. Since gardening season is around the corner I plan on including some of that talk into the dog world as well. Why just fresh veggie gardening for people. What about the dogs? Tune in. Again thank you Susan.

Carol Giambri February 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Debra, Thanks tons for your sharing. Really with decades of eating healthy I can make is super simple without tons of time as a slave in the kitchen cooking away. However stress in life is another story and hopefully that will simmer when the business aspect increases in revenue. As for the dog, basically in the salad area she pretty much eats too although she will never know it. I am shocked just disguising in her meat and yucky supplements she gobbles it down all the time. Oh, talk about what’s in dog food, watch out for drugs given to dogs. Almost killed a healthy dog, mine, but with lots of $, time and great vet she is back to herself. Amazing story!

Carol Giambri February 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Annemarie, I never know a lot of this myself when feeding my dog this way years back, but have learned and still learning more. She recovered from LUPUS based on my knowledge and a great vet who has guided me along the way. Drugs is another culprit many don’t know of that is almost killed my dog recently. However, she is now totally recovered. A nightmare we fought. Imagine going in with a drippy eye, coming out with bad tooth and possible Lupus, scared into drugs when you don’t do drugs, and almost dead from them? Yikes, but a story to be told to lift eyebrows. Thank you for your comment.

james samy February 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Carol, than you for sharomg what really in dog’s food. A thing of concern for all dog lovers to know before getting any food. Thank you

Carol Giambri February 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Thank you James. I hope people will start reading labels and better yet make their own dog food–takes about 2 minutes most times.

Robert February 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Great site, Carol. Keep up the good work!

Carol Giambri February 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Thanks Robert for your comment. With my love for dogs, adopted ones, I can’t be a “stew” always on simmer, but have a great story to share with the world. Hopefully it will save dog’s lives from premature death via the report their vet gave them of no hope. Also give dog owners hope to not quit on a vet’s voice but go with their heart. I know with my “small” mustard seed faith, it sustained me during the nightmare battle of almost death experience to my active dog. It was one word I said to vet #2 that almost killed her. The word “yes” it was. When I got my got my mind “back” after the initial shock, fired vet #2 and got vet #3. My dog WON the LUPUS battle. CSU diagnosed progressive. Yeah! Her story is on site: No Means…; Please share with all. I am on a mission to help dogs and encourage dog owners of hope, faith and love.

Elvie Look February 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Great article Carol. It is horrible what is being put into pet foods. I feel so much better now that I am making my own dog food too.

Carol Giambri February 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Thanks Elvie. I’m with you making own dog food. We surely know what goes in it then too. What other proof do we have? At least we are in the take “charge” moment. I love being the best caretaker for my dog, Molly, and each one that is now only a great memory. My dog is going to have her own organic veggie and herb garden coming up soon!

Carol Giambri February 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Thanks Elvie. I’m with you making own dog food. We surely know what goes in it then too. What other proof do we have? At least we are in the take “charge” moment. I love being the best caretaker for my dog, Molly, and each one that is now only a great memory. My dog is going to have her own organic veggie and herb garden coming up soon!

Jeannette February 27, 2011 at 12:12 am

Interesting information!

Carol Giambri February 27, 2011 at 3:24 am

Thanks Jennette. Yup interesting for sure.

Carol Giambri February 27, 2011 at 3:24 am

Thanks Jennette. Yup interesting for sure.

Anonymous February 27, 2011 at 8:45 am

yuck. I did not know about the road kill. I think i’ll be changing someone’s diet!

Carol Giambri February 27, 2011 at 9:13 am

Amazing what we don’t know Alisa. Yikes for sure and still learning. I am making dog’s food now and super easy and fast. More to come in future posts. Thank for comment. Yes yuck and we pay for that stuff too. Oh my gosh.

Anonymous February 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Whoa- I had no idea about processing decomposing animal bodies in dog and cat food. Isn’t that illegal? Reminds me of The Jungle.

Carol Giambri February 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Lily, Thanks for your comment. When I show people how fast and easy it is to feed my dog, they may switch over and save money especially on vet bills. At least my experience. Thinking with gardening coming up, going to share more about this for even the dog too–organic veggies.

Anonymous February 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Carol, the first thing I did after reading this was run to my expensive, vet-prescribed dry catfood (that honestly did save my cat) and look more carefully at the ingredient listing. Not as pure as homemade food, but it has “chicken by-product meal” and not the generic “animal by-product meal” that includes dogs and horses. Chicken’s bad enough! Thanks for all the great information! You may get more of us cooking organic/grassfed homemade food for our pets yet!

Carol Giambri February 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Sharon, Thanks for your great comment. How about if I say I can make life even simpler by NOT cooking most meat. My dog is not in love with the slimy raw chicken, but ground up she will eat most things. Even in chunks she would gobble down minus raw chick. I buy her cooked chicken, so that’s done for me and fish I/we do cook. Fish takes a few minutes while I am multi tasking, set timer, done and serve. Super fast to do. Save on vet bills I really believe My dog is living proof these days. From furry to greyhound back to furry and healed of LUPUS. I believe it’s like this: invest in your dog’s health and save $, invest in yours and save your life, a dog’s life and your pocketbook! How’s that for Money Talk among Women?

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