Manufacturers use all sorts of tactics to keep the costs down and profits up in pet food. We see it in the use of rendered material included in dog and cat food, in the low quality meats used the foods, and in the use of what I refer to as “trash grains,” often called “floor sweepings.” Just as with meat, the better parts of grains (like whole corn, wheat, rice or barley) are used for human food. The leftovers, or sweepings, often become pet food.
Here is how it works: In an article on truthaboutpetfood.com, the author writes “Those whole grains (used in pet food) have the starch removed for corn starch powder and the oil is extracted for corn oil or they are just hulls and other remnants from the milling process.”
“Grains used that are truly whole have likely been deemed unfit for human consumption because of mold contaminants, poor quality, or poor handling practices…Pet food is one of the world’s most edible products containing virtually no whole ingredients.”
Why, you may ask, would manufacturers include such poor quality fillers in the pet food products? It’s all about the money! It certainly isn’t about making nutritious food for our dogs and cats.
Many of the cereal grains used in pet food are leftovers from the human food industry and declared unfit for humans. These are lower quality ingredients that the Food & Drug Administration won’t approve for human food. Why the FDA believes it is acceptable to use this trash in dog and cat food is beyond me. Dogfoodadvisor.com lists some of the offending grains: Corn cobs, peanut hulls, rice hulls, soybean hulls, Brewer’s rice, almond shells, grain fragments, powdered cellulose, fermentation waste, and “cereal fines,” the parts of breakfast cereals “that become a by-product of their processing.”
Other common grain fillers include wheat middlings and shorts and waste products from the corn industry such as corn bran. Also considered trash grains are wheat germ meal and soy flour, which can be the sweepings from the manufacturing plant’s floor.
Aside from knowing that you are paying for ingredients in your pet’s food that aren’t worth the money you spend, there are health hazards to such grains. Because those leftover grains so often become contaminated with molds, insects, or bacteria, a dog or cats is at risk when eating them, day after day. There are some experts who insist that neither corn nor wheat cause allergies in pets, but I beg to differ. We went through 12 years of dealing with our Weimaraner’s food issues and corn was one huge culprit. Logic tells us that if the dog breaks out in hives and suffers major intestinal issues after eating a dog food containing various types of corn and then heals up once placed on a grain-free food, followed by another trial of the food with corn with similar results, the dog is allergic to or sensitive to corn.
The solution to all of this is to feed your dog or cat food containing zero grains. Look for real meat in the first 2 or 3 ingredients, followed by healthy vegetables and fruits instead of grains. A healthy fat and vitamins and minerals should also be included in a pet’s healthy diet. Don’t allow your pet to become victim to poor nutrition.