Crunchy Carby Kibble Count
Carbohydrates. We know that in our bodies, carbs turn into sugar and we use that sugar to give us energy. Awesome. We also know that too many carbs place a massive metabolic load on the body. With constant high levels of blood sugar, we can gain weight, have increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and more. Well, it’s kind of the same for dogs. Our maximum intake of carbohydrates a day, is 45%-65%, while a dog’s is 5%. Yeah, you read that right. For a dog’s daily intake, carbohydrates should make up maximum of 5%. Now, that makes sense when you think to yourself, a dog in the wild is mostly getting those carbs from fruits and vegetables, but that’s not how the majority of our pet population is getting it. Today we’re getting into the nitty gritty and looking at some of the top selling dry food brands in Australia. Buckle up, because we’re going to be doing math.
P.S Did we tell you that putting the carbohydrates percentage on the nutritional label for pet food isn’t a legal requirement? Yeah…That’s where the math comes in!
Figuring out the percentage of carbs in a bag of pet food is actually pretty easy. Let’s walk through it for this first one together.
Royal Canin Maxi Adult
To start with, we’re going to look up the “Guaranteed Analysis” which generally has “Crude Protein”, “Crude Fat”, “Ash”, “Crude Fibres”, and a couple more. So let’s look at that list from Royal Canin.
We’re going to start by adding all these percentages together.
26% + 17% + 6.7% + 1.3% = 51%
Now take the 51% from 100% and your left with the percentage of carbohydrates. There will be a percentage or two of difference, but that’s as correct as can be.
49% is a lot more than the maximum of 5%, but let’s keep going. Grab a calculator and follow along!
Next up is Black Hawk Adult Large Breed- Chicken & Rice
When we add all these together, we get 65.23% and that would make the carbohydrates 34.77% of the mix. Doing better than Royal Canin, however it’s still six times the amount a dog should be having. Let’s look at the first five ingredients.
- Chicken Meal
- Ground Rice
- Fish Meal
- Chicken Fat
Chicken and fish meal are meats that have been dried and ground up and include meat, bone and skin. It’s not so bad on its own, but in kibble, it’s been cooked twice, so would there really a lot of natural vitamins and minerals dogs are getting from that? The other two ingredients are carbs, and they’re not from vegetables or fruits, but simple refined grain.
Above is the analysis of Supercoat Smartblend Adult with Chicken. Almost 40% of this mix is carbohydrates, and when you look at the ingredients list, you can see that each individual vitamin and mineral listed is one that has had to be added back into the mix to reach those “minimum requirements” from AAFCO, a group that has no power in Australia because it’s an American standard. The first five ingredients in this mix is:
- Meat & Meat By-Product
- Poultry By-Products
- Wholegrain Wheat & Barley
- Sorghum & Corn
- Cereal By-Products
The amount of by-products in one bag is astonishing. Remember that by-products are essentially the bits unfit for human consumption that are rendered down to cook away all the water, fat is skimmed away and what’s left is baked down and added to the kibble mix which is again baked down. They’re not nutritional, they just take up space.
Now, you might be thinking “We’ll I feed grain free, so this doesn’t apply to me” and you would be wrong. Let’s take a look at two grain free standard options on the market.
A standard grain free option is Ivory Coat’s Lamb and Sardine.
Our carb counters are seeing a total of 48.5% in a bag of Ivory Coat. You may be wondering why and how a grain free option could have a higher total than something with grains, but let me list the first ten ingredients and it might make more sense.
- Dehydrated Lamb
- Dehydrated Poultry
- Sweet Potato
- Pea Protein
- Chicken Fat
- Beet Pulp
Out of the ten there, four of those are proteins and fats, and six are carbohydrates. Just because something says grain free, doesn’t mean it’s low in carbohydrates.
I’m going to get a bit cheeky here and look at Scratch, a new online, subscription based Australian dog food company. They’ve recently become popular and when people ask me about it, I can’t say much about it, but that’s going to change. Let’s see what we can dig up. We’ll be looking at their Grain Free Turkey, Lamb and Beef mix. You can find the ingredients for each recipe on their website, and they also include a Guaranteed Analysis but it only includes Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates. We’re still going to use our calculator here though…
It looks as though there’s a lot of info here but it’s actually quite sparse of what we need. Adding together the fat, protein and carbohydrates there’s a whopping 21.5% missing! Not a very good analysis. In order to hunt down that missing percentage, I’m going to take a closer look at their ingredients list, which they’ve provided percentages for in the name of 100% honesty.
It’s concerning the only meat in this list is actually meat meal. The three protein meals make up 33.5%, so let’s move on. The list of vegetables looks impressive, but out of them, only broad beans and chickpeas have percentages. According to their page which I’ve directly quoted from, “Doesn’t have a percentage shown? That means it is included at 1% or below.” Which makes the chickpeas and broad beans 54% of vegetables included. Moving on to fats and oils, we’re given beef fat, and sunflower oil. They’re the last percentages we’re given, so once we’ve added everything together, we have 97.2%. The last couple of digits we’re missing will be the ingredients without percentages, but at least it’s not missing 21% of the total.
So what does that mean for Scratch? To be honest, it’s hard to say. It’s marketed as being 100% honest about what they include, but with a Gauranteed Analysis as sparse as that it makes me wonder if that’s true, not to mention what is going on with the ingredients list.
It might seems like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel but I want to take the quickest look at Ziwi Peak and their Lamb and Mackerel recipe. In their core range, Ziwi Peak states that 96% of every bag is meat, offal and bone, so let’s look at that analysis.
We’re adding together the protein, fat, fibre, moisture, ash and taurine in this list. The cab count here is 3.69% and wouldn’t you know, it’s UNDER the daily intake limit for dogs.
There’s only one thing I want you to take away from all the numbers, by-products, carb counting and dubious honesty. Read the label. Take the time to read the label on your dog’s food. You read them for yourself, so why not your dog? We’ve done the math together, I know you can do it on your own, so next time you walk into Big Corporate Pet Shop, take a minute to check that label and decide if you’re happy with that.