Pet food was once a by-product of the human food industry, but this has changed over the last decade as pet owners are becoming increasingly aware of the long-term health effects of quality dog and cat food. There are several healthy, alternative dog food brands currently on the market. One of these is Blue Buffalo, a brand whose dog food does not contain chicken or poultry meal, by-products, glutens or artificial additives.
In 2007, a Food and Drug Administration investigation resulted in the recall of over 150 pet food brands containing wheat and rice products. These items were possibly contaminated with melamine, a nonedible chemical that caused kidney failure and death in some animals. Blue Buffalo brand items recalled included their "Health Bar" dog biscuits and "Homestyle Recipe" canned foods. The Blue Buffalo Company voluntarily recalled the products and stated that the manufacturer may have added rice protein concentrate to the products without the company's consent. No fatalities resulting from Blue Buffalo consumption were reported in the investigation.
Blue Buffalo's website states that the company did not "purchase any ingredients from the Peanut Corporation of America," the producer of salmonella-contaminated peanut products recalled in 2008. Blue Buffalo's Peanut Health Bars do not contain peanut butter or peanut paste; the ingredient list states that it contains "natural peanut butter flavor." However, the company has since removed the Peanut Health Bars from their line of products on their website.
Many commercial dog foods contain grain and meal filler products, including corn, wheat and soy. These are common allergens for many dogs and can cause dry, itchy skin. As a result, allergic dogs often gnaw their skin and feet and rub their face and eyes excessively. The Blue Buffalo Company claims that it uses no corn, wheat or soy in its dog and cat foods.
Blue Buffalo's "True Blue Promise" states that their pet food contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. These additives are common in commercial pet foods to make the products look and smell more appealing, but many such items can have toxic side effects over the long term.
Because pet foods are manufactured in one plant and distributed by another, there is always a chance of contamination with products not listed on the ingredients label. The only way to know for certain what is in your pet's food is to make it yourself at home. For most people, this is not a practical option. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog's specific dietary needs to determine whether Blue Buffalo dog food is the right choice. When switching dog foods, gradually integrate the new food into your pet's diet over a period of 10 to 14 days. Observe your dog for signs of allergies or digestion problems, including vomiting, diarrhea and itchiness.
- samoed"s dog image by Alexander Maksimov from Fotolia.com