As chloes calorie requirements seems to have gone for the time being I thought i would post this interesting post sent to me by someone who runs agility classes,
Here is the scoring mechanism. I've done it a few times so if you need a hand give me a shout. Hope the ops goes well for the wee one:
You will need your kibble’s list of ingredients, as found on the label (or sometimes reproduced on their website). This is intended to help you evaluate the ingredients, but the food has to be appropriate for your dog. If your dog is allergic to an ingredient, or doesn’t like the taste, then it doesn’t matter how good the kibble is – it isn’t appropriate for your dog. Whatever you pick must also be appropriate for your dog’s breed, life stage, and lifestyle, so check the guaranteed analysis, first.
You have a right to expect good ingredients, so start with a grade of 100.
Things that detract from your kibble:
If there are no specific meats or meat meals, subtract 25 points.Why: Meat protein is the most important part of a canine diet. A dog’s digestive tract is designed to process mostly meat and fat. You want to see a specified meat meal as the first ingredient, or a specified meat, first, followed by a specified meal (doesn’t have to be the same meat) among the main ingredients. If there are no specific meats or meat meals, the manufacturer either doesn’t know or doesn’t want the consumer to know what is in the food.
For every listing of "digest", subtract 15 points.
Why: Digest is a reduced broth of specified or unspecified parts of specified or unspecified animals broken down by chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis. The source is unknown and could include any kind of animal protein – 4-D, roadkill, euthanized animals, supermarket and restaurant refuse, and according to eyewitnesses sometimes includes leather collars. Not something you would probably freely choose to feed your dog.
For every generic meat or meal that does not indicate a species (meat, meat meal, meat byproducts, meat byproduct meal, meat and bone meal, fish, fish meal, poultry, poultry meal, poultry byproducts, poultry byproduct meal, liver, liver meal, glandular meal, blood meal, etc.), subtract 10 points.
Why: Generic products are an unknown quantity. You don’t know what they are made of, or where they came from. Further, the AAFCO definitions of some of the ingredients are not what the consumer would intuitively expect. For instance, “poultry” isn’t just chicken and turkey, but is any kind of fowl, including, potentially, euthanized pet exotic birds, or even roadkill. Not necessarily, but the problem is, you don’t know and have no way of telling, and the worst offenders do include the worst ingredients in their products. The AAFCO definitions are only available to the public by purchasing the AAFCO official document at over $50 per copy. That should also tell you something.
For every specific meat byproduct meal (beef/lamb/turkey/chicken byproduct meal, beef and bone meal, pork and bone meal, etc.), subtract 5 points.
Why: Although byproduct meals can include quality protein sources and nutrients, byproducts, by definition, are the things left over after everything useful has been removed – only if it can’t be sold at a higher price is it relegated to the byproduct bin. Specific byproduct meals are not as bad as generic byproduct meals, because, at least, you know what kind of animal was used, but a manufacturer that relies on byproducts as an ingredient is putting ingredients of marginal nutritional value into the food, and that is less than optimal. If you were feeding your dog whole animals, it would get some of this stuff, but you wouldn’t make a steady diet of just the dried and ground byproducts.
For every specific fresh meat byproduct (not meal, listed as beef/lamb/turkey/chicken byproduct, etc.) appearing as a main ingredient, before the first listed fat, subtract 5 points.
Why: Fresh meat byproducts lose 50-75% of their weight in processing, so they do not comprise as much of the product as they might appear. A little fresh meat byproduct included as something less than a main ingredient may add a little flavor and nutritional value, and is acceptable. Again, a product that relies on byproducts as a main ingredient is relying on an ingredient of marginal value.
For every grain "mill run" (e.g., wheat mill run, or rice mill byproducts), grain middlings (e.g., wheat mids or wheat middlings), or generic grain source (cereal food fines, grain fermentation solubles, maltodextrines and fermentation solubles, etc.), subtract 10 points.
Why: Mill runs, middlings or mill byproducts are also referred to as “floor sweepings”, and whether or not they really are floor sweepings, they are of marginal value, and sold as a way for the mill to reduce its losses in processing. Generics are, again, unknowns, and often whatever is left after processing – after most of the nutritional value has been removed for other products.
If two or more fractions of the same grain (i.e., "ground brown rice", "rice hulls", "rice flour" are all fractions of the same grain, but "brown rice, white rice" would not be fractions) appear as main ingredients, before the first listed fat, subtract 5 points.
Why: Fractioning is an AAFCO-sanctioned practice of breaking a grain down into its constituent parts so that, when listed by weight, it doesn’t appear as high on the ingredient list. That is, fractioning is a practice designed to mislead the consumer under the guise of full disclosure. A manufacturer who does this is misleading its consumers for a reason – they don’t want the casual consumer to realize how much of the product is made up of that ingredient.
If ground corn or whole grain corn and one or more corn fraction (e.g., "corn germ meal", "corn gluten meal") appear as main ingredients, before the first listed fat, or if corn in any form is listed as the first ingredient, subtract 5 points.Why: Corn is a misunderstood product. Its carbohydrates are highly digestible. It’s proteins less so, and its cellulose least digestible. Less scrupulous manufacturers use corn and corn fractions as main ingredients to boost the crude protein of the product, but that protein is not particularly digestible for a dog. So, it passes through as waste. Avoid foods where corn is the first product by weight. Avoid foods where the protein is being boosted by less-digestible ingredients. A note on corn as an allergen: anything can be an allergen, potentially. It only becomes an issue if your dog is actually allergic to it. The fact that corn is sometimes an allergen is not a reason to avoid it, if your dog is not allergic to corn.
If the food contains brewer’s rice or feeding oat meal, subtract 3 points.
Why: While these are generally not floor sweepings, manufacturers who use these products are not being cleverly frugal – they are being cheap. These are lower-quality grains available at low cost, but the manufacturers try very hard to make them out to be quality ingredients. Better quality grains are available.
If the food contains corn gluten, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten, wheat gluten meal, soy or soybean meal as a main ingredient, subtract 2 points.
Why: these are less-digestible binders and sources of protein that pass through a dog’s system mostly unused. Many dogs do not tolerate soy products well. Toxic and potentially lethal adulterants have been discovered in some sources of these gluten meals.
For every generic fat (animal fat, poultry fat, fish oil, vegetable oil), beef tallow/fat or lard/pork fat, or mineral oil, subtract 10 points.
Why: Generic fats are unknown quantities. Beef and pork fat are tasty to a dog, but much lower in quality and nutritional value than chicken fat.
If the food contains corn bran, peanut hulls, rice hulls, soybean hulls, oat hulls, cellulose, or corn cellulose, subtract 5 points.Why: This is undigestible fiber and sawdust. What you want to feed your dog is digestible fiber.
If the food contains carbohydrate fractions like "potato product", or grain flours, subtract 2 points.Why: Potato peelings and grain dust may not be actively bad, but they aren’t good ingredients, either.
If the food contains any of the following preservatives (BHA - butylated hydroxyanisole, BHT - butylated hydroxytoluene, TBHQ - tertiary butylhydroquinone, ethoxyquin, or sodium metabisulfite), subtract 15 points.Why: These products are known to accumulate and cause cancer and other illnesses. It doesn’t matter how much or little is required to do this. There are natural, beneficial, non-toxic alternatives available, like tocopherols and herbal extracts.
If the food contains added sweeteners like cane molasses (not blackstrap molasses), corn syrup in any form, sugar, glucose, fructose, sucrose, sorbitol, ammoniated glycyrrhizin, propylene glycol, subtract 10 points.Why: Dogs, like humans, like the taste of sugar. Processed sugar is as bad for dogs as it is for humans. Aside from damaging the teeth, most sugars are empty calories with little or no nutritional value.
to be continued
What's the difference between a new husband and a new dog? After a year, the dog is still excited to see you.