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|Dog food 101: What are fillers?|
Dog food 101: What are fillers?
Simply put, a filler is something that has been added to your dog's food to help him feel "full" but contains little to no nutritional value.
Some fillers can actually irritate your dog's digestive system. So, if you have an older dog or an animal with health problems, feeding a food without fillers may improve his or her overall health and wellbeing.
While a food with fillers will temporarily satisfy your dog's hunger, you will likely need to feed more of it. Because of the lack of nutrition, your dog's body will tell him that he needs more food. It's like eating a candy bar. While it might satisfy you for a while, you will likely be hungry again soon as your body craves the vitamins and minerals it needs. Generally, when you switch your dog from a filler-laden food to one free of fillers, you will notice a decrease in the amount needed to keep him healthy and satisfied.
Foods high in fillers are often sprayed with animal fat to make them more palatable to your dog.
Pet food manufacturers will add fillers in order to reduce the overall cost of the food. However, you will likely need to buy the food more often as your dog consumes higher quantities of it. Buying a higher quality food might cost more on the front end, but once your dog reduces his intake, the cost per meal can be lower than that of the low quality, inexpensive food. Generally, foods sold at grocery and several sold at large pet food retailers, such as PetSmart and Petco will contain some level of filler. And, as the price decreases, the amount of fillers will go up. Please note: This is not to say that EVERY food at these stores contains fillers. However, many do, but the amount will vary. Read the label carefully to evaluate the quality of the food.
Some common fillers include:
To avoid fillers, look at the ingredients on your pet food. While some companies may list real meat as their number one ingredient, they may actually have more fillers, which reduces the ratio of quality ingredients to useless ones. The staff of natural pet stores such Mouthfuls or Wag n' Wash are happy to help you better understand fillers and select a high quality food for your dog.
Courtney Taylor is an Examiner from Denver. You can see Courtney's articles at: "http://www.Examiner.com/x-8279-Denver-Dogs-Examiner"