Some people like to think there is an actual ongoing debate between the health benefits of homemade dog food vs that of the big bags of commercial dog food you buy from the supermarket. Um, let me just state for the record, there isn’t.
One is the clear winner, the other is the clear loser. There is no middle ground here. While there are pros and cons to both options — the health side of the debate isn’t even a debate. One side has facts and the other side has, well, “it’s cheap and easy!”
An Unregulated Industry Making Billions
People like to talk about the big banks, the credit card companies, the political arena, the farm subsidies industry, etc. when they talk about corruption. Well, corruption is far more widespread than people think it is and that extends to the pet food market.
The pet food market, and the dog food market specifically, is a BILLION DOLLAR industry. Billions of dollars are spent on dog food and dog treats every year, it’s big money and it rolls in year after year after year. You see commercials, you hear radio ads, you see magazine covers — it’s BIG BIG MONEY.
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this. This is America and we are a capitalist society, so no wrongdoing or hatred for trying to make a buck. Heck, you’re encouraged to do so and applauded when you succeed.
HOWEVER, and here’s the important part, commercial dog food brands are not regulated like human foods are. In fact, the scariest thing to realize as a dog owner is that very little regulation WHATSOEVER goes on in the pet food industry.
It’s true. The SDA, FDA, or AAFCO are not in control of the ingredients found in pet food products across the country. While states have their own laws and guidelines for pet food products, the overall system is severely lacking in keeping companies aboveboard.
We dog owners essentially have to trust that these companies are labeling their products correctly (and not using fancy language). We have to believe that they are telling us precisely whats in their products with no independent verification of any kind.
We have to hope and pray that they are on the up & up — that they aren’t influenced by the bottom line to increase stock prices and investor interests.
Mega Corporations Are The Only Ones You Can Really Trust!
Do you know what happens when you let big, money hungry companies sell us their products without regulating them and keeping them in check?
Absolutely nothing at all. They are completely trustworthy and have your interests (which include your dog’s health) at the forefront of their minds.
Did you feel the sarcasm just now? Well, it was there in spades.
Fact is, companies, corporations, small businesses, whatever you want to call it — they are all about the cash. If they can do it and get away with it and you’re none the wiser, they ARE GOING TO DO IT, period.
Here’s something that is going to anger, shock, and straight up p*ss you off…
In June 2001, Sanimal Inc, a major pet food company in Quebec vowed to no longer use dead dogs and cats in its processed pet food after pressure from concerned consumers. Here’s a very disturbing statement from then Sanimal Inc’s Vice President of Procurement – “This food is healthy and good but some people don’t like to see meat meal that contain any pets.” – Excerpt Taken From Healthy-K9.com
Here’s another gem…
“Euthanized cats and dogs often end up in rendering vats along with other questionable material to make meat meal, and meat and bone meal. This can be problematic because sodium pentobarbital can withstand the heat from rendering.” – Ann Martin, the author of Food Pets Die For.
The first sentence itself is 100% horrifying, but I find the second sentence almost comical. As though the heat resistance of sodium pentobarbital (euthanizing agent) is the primary concern here — not that they are throwing in the corpses of cats and dogs in a vat and turning them into dog food for your own dog or cat to then eat.
These aren’t crazy people on street corners wearing overcoats offering you cheap deals on dog food. These are massive companies and corporations doing anything they can to stretch their dollars and put more profit in their pockets by selling you things you would never DREAM of feeding your beloved pet — a MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY.
As I said, there really is little debate to be had between homemade dog food VS commercial dog food. If you talk to someone that argues otherwise, just ask them where they work before you engage further.
What Happens When Dog Food Companies Go “Bad”
Nearly the same thing that happens when the banks or the politicians go bad — nothing much.
A few fingers are pointed, a few names are mentioned, maybe a few extra inquiries but nothing truly “game changing”. And after a few weeks, business returns to normal. Well, for those of us that didn’t lose our beloved dogs anyways.
Specifically speaking, a few years back (2012-ish, when we started JustJerkyTreats.com and began selling our own all natural chicken jerky dog treats) there was a not-so-small amount of dogs that had been poisoned (many died) by big-brand name chinese imported dog treats.
Several of the big brand names were linked to the poisonings — as reported by consumers — and they were even taken off the shelves of many stores and online retailers. However, the FDA came to the rescue (somebody’s rescue anyway, certainly wasn’t dog owners) and they cleared the slate for all of these companies with a simple bulletin…
“No specific products have been recalled because a definitive cause has not been determined”
Don’t know about you, but that makes me feel oodles better!
“We know somebody did something hugely wrong and we have lots of customers reporting the same thing but we just don’t know the SPECIFIC cause… so, everybody is off the hook.”
These brands are back on shelves and being sold every single day. Isn’t that just… heartwarming?
(And yes, I realize I didn’t mention specific brand names even though many of you really really wanted me to. If you email me,
I can talk about the ones I KNOW were involved and taken off shelves. EDIT: Holy lawsuit cannon batman! I can’t even mention them by name anymore for fear of potential defamation lawsuits. These guys don’t kid around!)
(Google search chinese poison dog treats if you want to know the big brands that many of OUR OWN CUSTOMERS told us they stopped using because their dogs were getting sick. This is not conjecture, this is verifiable with simple google searching.)
They Aren’t All Bad, Are They?
They are few and far between — but they exist. I personally can’t point you in the direction of a dog food brand I trust because I no longer trust any commercial dog food by the big name companies. (Edit: I do trust a few now and I’m actually looking to partner with one of them. Stay tuned!)
For such companies, it’s all about the profits until something goes wrong… then it’s damage control if something goes wrong (if they get caught, otherwise they don’t care)… then it’s back to profits again when everything dies down and people forget.
“But Wait A Minute! Isn’t Just Jerky Treats a Dog Food Company?”
No, we’re a dog treat company! There’s a big difference!
Okay, so it’s not that big of a difference; lol. However, we don’t use preservatives, chemicals, fillers or “mystery meat” in our natural dog treats. No pets were euthanized in the creation of our treats either (how despicable can you get!?!)
Everything we use is RESTAURANT GRADE, USDA APPROVED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION meats/veggies. Very, VERY, VERY FEW dog food or dog treat companies can actually say this.
The meat/veggies we use to make our dog treats is the same stuff we use to make our own FAMILY MEALS every day of the week. (We don’t really eat sweet potato though. I’ve not found a way to cook those in such a way that I actually like them).
Okay… enough plugging my all natural dog treat products. Let’s continue with the article, shall we?
Pros & Cons of Homemade Dog Food…
- You Know What’s It In.
- You Know It’s Healthy.
- You Know It’s Balanced.
- You Know Dead Pets Weren’t Used To Make It. (Yup, Still Gruesome)
- You Know It Won’t Poison Your Dog. (Antifreeze is an ingredient in some brands!)
- You Can Pick & Choose Ingredients Based On Your Dogs Needs.
- You’re Helping Your Dog To Live a Longer, Healthier Life
- You Get To Have Your Dog With You For Many More Years!
- It’s More Time Consuming.
- It Can Be More Expensive (Not Always If You’re Smart)
- It Requires More Effort From You Each Day / Week.
- Waste Becomes An Issue (With Improper Storage)
- More Trips To Grocery Store (or Just Longer Trips)
- The Convenience of Taking Out a Bag and Filling a Bowl Is Gone Forever
Pros & Cons of Commercial Dog Food Brands…
- Quick and Easy. Seriously, You Take Out the Bag, You Fill a Bowl.
- Super Cheap. Last Time I Bought a Bag, It was Like $20 For 50lbs.
- Go to the store. Put jumbo bag in cart. You have dog food for the month.
- Easy to store anywhere. Doesn’t go bad…. ever. (Is this a pro or a con?)
- Your dog is slowly ingesting small amounts of poison with every meal.
- You don’t know what’s in it. You just know what they tell you and you hope they aren’t lying.
- Could contain dead, euthanized pets.
- Could contain antifreeze. (It likely does)
- Imported from china, which has even less regulations than we do.
- Doesn’t go bad… ever (I decided this isn’t a good thing!)
- Your pet won’t live as long, nor be as healthy.
- The nagging, gnawing feeling that you’re killing your pet out of sheer laziness.
- Overwhelming guilt when your dog dies (could he have lived longer if he stopped eating that daily dose of poison?)
About the Pros & Cons List
Not all commercial dog food is bad or evil — and I know what you’re thinking — DO NOT automatically assume you picked a good one. 10 to 1 odds you are, RIGHT NOW, using one of the brands that are BAD FOR YOUR DOG.
If you can find one you can trust, fantastic. However, even the brands that say they are “all natural” and “organic” — well, they aren’t as good as you think they are. Those terms aren’t regulated and it takes very little to claim “all natural” or “organic” and be able to slap it on a bag of dog food.
All that matters is ingredients, Ingredients, INGREDIENTS. Look at those ingredients. What do they say? Do you need a pharmacological or chemistry degree to get through the list and pronounce those words? Chances are it’s one of the BAD ONES. Don’t risk it!
“Should I Still Buy Just Jerky Treats Dog Jerky?”
Of course you should! Who suggested otherwise! I want names!
Read the labels, visit their sites, talk to their customer service, ask questions.
Unfortunately, I’d bet hard cash that many of you — even knowing what you now know — will still do all that you can to AVOID making homemade dog treats, am I right? I understand 100%, it’s just too much work.
That said, let us do the work for you. Our treats are all natural, they’re healthy, and they’re 100% safe for your dogs.
So, just because you’re ditching the commercial dog food, that doesn’t mean you should cut off your dogs all-time favorite treat — that’s just cruel!
If you made it to this part of the article, email me after your next Just Jerky Treats order with the subject line “Hey Sean. Me Read Many Big Words. Gimme Discount!” and I will apply a 5% discount to your order. (Limit once per customer, direct orders only, and you have to like this page!).
It’s the least I can do to show my appreciation for you having read through this entire article and it tells me I didn’t write all that for nothing, lol!
Okay, well that concludes this monstrosity of an article. Would you believe me if I said I was aiming for just a small article and it turned into this epic essay?
Seriously, it went from a 15 minute short post to a 90 minute adventure into the evils of commercial dog food. I really didn’t expect that — honest! (Oh my….. I just looked at the word count… 2235 words. Wow!)
Also, please remember to subscribe to our mailing list. You’ll get lots more great information about our dog treats, discounts, new product alerts, recipes, dangerous product alerts and more. Scroll UP and look right — it’s in the sidebar. Thanks for reading!
-Sean and the Just Jerky Treats Crew