(Click on the Ingredients List to Read More Easily)
Some of you may wonder why I would compare 2 such different pet foods to each other. The truth is, there is no better way to show the extremes to be found in commercial dog food. Before we begin, let me assure you that I am well aware of the huge difference in retail pricing of these foods.
How about meat? Fromm® Mature Adult Dog Food’s ingredients list begins with fresh chicken and is followed by chicken meal, another strong protein source. Further down their list is Menhaden fish meal, yet another source high in protein.
Purina® Active Senior 7+ Brand Adult Dog Food doesn’t have any meat. Instead, the company used corn and corn gluten to replace real meat and provide protein in their food.
I also take exception to Purina’s inclusion of meat and bone meal. Yes, it is a source of calcium, but there is no way to tell the source of the meat that was turned into meal. It could include 4D meat (dead, dying, diseased, and disabled animals).
The Fromm’s food includes chicken fat, a healthy choice. A named meat is always the way to go, because you know its source.
On the other hand Purina’s choice, animal fat, could come from a 4D animal or any poor origin. Then, they follow it with animal digest.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials defines animal digest as “a material which results from chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed.”
Animal digest is used to flavor dog food and is prepared as a broth from numerous sources. A respected website describes it this way: “The animals used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: 4-D animals (dead, diseased, disabled or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, rats, misc. roadkill, animals euthanized at shelters, restaurant and supermarket refuse and so on.”
To be fair, the Purina website insists that it creates pet food flavoring in their own kitchens “to help ensure that all products meet the highest standards of palatability.” They add that their animal digest is produced “from striated muscle and soft tissue supplied by USDA-inspected facilities.”
That is good as far as it goes. However, it does not address the actual source of that muscle and soft tissue, and that is my problem.
Then, Purina added propylene glycol to the mix! This is the toxic substance in antifreeze that we are warned to keep away from children and animals. A small amount used in some pet foods to keep semi-moist food fresh probably won’t hurt an animal. However, if it is used in food that the animal consumes every single day, would it build up into a toxic amount? That part is controversial and I don’t have the answer. Propylene glycol is not allowed in pet food in countries of the European Union, according to the Dog Food Project website. Why would a pet food company risk even a small amount of it in their products?
The Fromm’s dog food sticks with all natural flavors and preservatives and includes a ton of vitamins, minerals and probiotics. While Purina mixes some natural ingredients in, they also used artificial colors.
Studies of these artificial colors are inconclusive. The Food & Drug Administration has admitted that some tests are “inconclusive.” Other tests found the colors to be “reasonably safe.” Still others believe the colors are potentially carcinogenic and should be avoided at all costs. You, the consumer, can decide for yourself.
Obviously, if the Fromm’s food is in your budget, it is by far the better choice. Otherwise, I suggest you keep looking for a healthy senior food for your aging dog. There are many options on the market that won’t break your budget.