Thursday, February 20, 2014

If a cricket chirps in a can,

Can anyone hear it?

If you thought kibble was problematic, my furry friend, you ain't seen nuthin' yet!

Ms. X, your intrepid writer, enquired in a health food store once "Why is it impossible to buy a can of dog food with actual animal fat in it, and without carrageenan?"  For a response she got... you guessed it... crickets chirping.

Do you know what the ingredients are in a can of cricket? Just one.  Crickets.

Do you know what the ingredients are in a can of cat food?  (No, it's not cat.)  Or a can of dog food?

Keep reading.

Ms. X doesn't want to tell people what to put in their AAFCO approved dog food, but she doesn't mind telling them what not to put in.

The list of no-no's are pretty much the same as the kibble.  No vegetable oil, no grains (no soy), no carrageenan or gums.  And then the other, lesser stuff, which in the case of canned food includes, of all things, dirt.  (That's not even in the canned cricket ingredient list).

Gaining in popularity as a health supplement, "Montmorillonite Clay" or "bentonite clay" will show up on the ingredient labels of canned pet food from time to time.  Bentonite is an aluminum silicate that will dissolve in the stomach or intestines (according to Dr. Ray Peat) thereby increasing the body's aluminum burden.

Just what little Fluffy needs.

As with the kibbles, I have a sampling of canned foods to review ingredient-wise with you.  Let's start on the cheap end, with Pedigree Choice cuts this time.  Amazon sells a case for $1.31 per 13.22 oz can.
Ingredients for the choice cuts with beef:
Sufficient water for processing, Chicken, Meat By-products, Wheat Flour, Beef, Liver, Wheat Gluten, Salt, Caramel Coloring, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Natural Flavors, Guar Gum, Vegetable Oil (source of Linoleic Acid), Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Copper
Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Sodium Alginate, Natural Smoke Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Onion Powder, Bay Leaves, Vitamins (Vitamin E, A & D3 Supplements, D-calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate {vitamin B1}, Biotin), Garlic Powder, Sodium Nitrite (for color retention).
That's a lot of wheat.  And vegetable oil.  And thickeners, though guar gum may be somewhat less problematic than carrageenan or xanthan gum.

Let's move up the price curve a bit.  Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements canned dog food, $3.17 per 13 oz can (per Amazon).  Ingredients are:

Lamb, lamb broth, turkey, turkey broth, chicken, peas, sweet potatoes, suncured alfalfa, cassia gum, carrageenan, salt, guar gum, choline chloride, minerals (dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium
selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid). 

Whoa!  Triple whammy on the thickeners.   Now, I realize I haven't gone into much detail about what exactly I find so objectionable in these "no-no's", other than to put lots of links up.  My goal here is to get through the problem statements and onto the solution, then we'll come back and analyze the problem in more detail.

So in the Canidae above, we see a lot of cheap protein (peas and alfalfa) and a lot, lot, lot of thickeners.   It is impossible to get away from the thickeners in canned pet food.  Even the Wysong Au Jus line, which has so few ingredients that puts a disclaimer that it is a "supplement only" and "never intended to be fed as a complete and balanced canine diet", has guar gum.

Yup.. Duck Au Jus - Ingredients: Duck, Water Sufficient for Processing, Animal Plasma, Guar Gum.

Bloody thickeners Batman!

Now the Canidae is pricey.  $3 per can may not sound so bad, but if you have your average 80 pound dog you will need to feed it 4 cans a day.  $12 a day to feed the dog.  Now if a dog eats 2-3% of his body weight in meat each day, our 80 pound dog is going to eat about 2 pounds of lamb, which Ms. X priced at the bulk goods store recently in the $4 per pound range.  Still cheaper than Canidae.   And please, the food quantity numbers are only to play the pricing games.  Ms. X is not advocating here any sort of feeding style.

Now just in case you are made of money, or you are caring for Leona Helmsley's dog (which only lived to 12, btw, despite being a small breed and having - one presumes - the most expensive food in the world), let's look at the upper echelon of canned foods.

Addiction New Zealand Venison and Apples EntrĂ©e, $4 per 13.8 oz can on Amazon.  Ingredients?
Venison, Apples, Carrots, Potatoes, Peas, Carrageenan, Cassia Gums, Dried Seaweed Meal, Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Sulphate, Ferrous Sulphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Sulphate, Manganese Sulphate, Niacin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid

Now I know there is probably not a dog alive that doesn't want to sink his fangs into some New Zealand deer (or bushtail, they offer that too, you know), but look at this for a second.  Just like we saw in the kibble realm, the more expensive the more it looks home made.  Deer meat, apples, carrots, potatoes and peas.  Stew's On!   Is it deer season yet?

What was that T.C. Hawley said?
The dog will thrive on any diet which will keep man healthy.

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