Is Bakers and Pedigree Complete Really That Bad?
Behavioural Problems: As a dog behaviourist, I see many dogs that show signs of behavioural abnormalities and stress
Some of these debilitating problems can be caused by what we feed our dogs.
We are all aware of what happens to our children if we feed them food that is full of additives, colourants, and E numbers.
Why do we imagine it is not the same for other mammals, including dogs?
When I get a call from a potential client, and they list behavioural abnormalities, such as hyperactivity, aggression, inability to concentrate, low attention span, and in some cases aggression.
Then I always start with these two questions before I go any further. "If the dog is neutered, then at what age!" and "what are you feeding the dog" The neutering I cannot change.
The fact the dog may have been neutered far too early gives me an insight into why the dog may be having behavioural problems. Though I can still work with the dog and get a fairly successful outcome, as long as clients do not leave it years before taking action.
Early neutering can cause a number of physical and behavioural problems that can include the list of behaviours I have mentioned above. For a rundown on some of the pitfalls of neutering see my Article. (1) Neutering Overview
Dog Food and Behaviour: If they are feeding their dogs on food such as Bakers Complete or Pedigree.
Which may have lots of additives and preservatives.
Then my first recommendation is to try a different brand of dog food, before calling me in.
Sometimes just the change of diet may sort out the behavioural or training problem.
If there is not a marked change in behaviour after two weeks, then I tell them to call me back.
Strangely enough, not that many call me back. Except perhaps, to tell me that a miraculous change has occurred.
I feel it is important to state, that though I am looking at Bakers and Pedigree in this article. That is only because they are the two biggest sellers of pet food in the UK.
It does not mean that other household named brands are not putting in ingredients that could have a detrimental effect on the health and well-being of our pets. It may surprise you to know they include (3) Hills Science Plan, Royal Canin, and Burns.
I have just completed an in-depth article about these three very expensive brands. It will shock you. I believe it is also important to state that the named dog foods here do not always cause behavioural abnormalities. I am not a Vet, therefore, I cannot assume what specific illnesses certain additives and low-grade proteins may cause. I will leave that up to experts far cleverer than myself.
This the breakdown of tests on many of the popular dog foods. And it tells you what I feed all my dogs. (4) Dog Food and Behaviour
|Is your dog pulling on the Lead, Unruly, Bad Recall, Aggressive on Lead, Jumping Up?
See my article and Video Clips on how to stop this. The Jingler
Bakers Complete: Bakers Complete dog food is made by Purina. And is their flagship brand. It is advertised everywhere. Purina is owned by Nestlé. I will say no more about that at present. Walk into almost any local supermarket; you will see the shelves stocked high with the brilliantly branded blue bags. It is a great pity that their branding is not a reflection of the ingredients found inside.
I also believe the Supermarkets like Sainsbury's and Tesco's, should understand the ingredients of the dog food they are stocking. Or does profit come before the welfare of our pets? I would love the Supermarkets and shops that sell these products to write to me and explain why they are selling them, in light of the ingredients and additives.
Open the packet and what do you see? Lovely bright colours and shapes. It looks like peas and carrots and meat. Amazing! You could almost imagine it was made in Sellafield. It looks as though it could glow in the dark. So why have Purina added all the shapes and colours? Dogs are red a green colour blind and see colours in a pastel washed-out shades. Therefore, to dogs the colour is meaningless. Especially as they decide on what they like mainly by smell.
It is patently obvious to me that the colours and shapes are there to attract the owners to buy this brand, simply because it looks so full of goodness.
It appears that Purina is very good at marketing. This is the top selling dog food on the UK market by far. What truly amazes me is WHY?
With contents that include un-named cereals, meat derivatives, sugars, fats, vegetable derivatives, colourants, antioxidants, and preservatives.
The meat content is around the very legal minimum required by legislation
How can Purina describe this as good wholesome food, doggylicious and nutritionally balanced, is totally beyond me?
Do dogs like Bakers? They love it. Why? There is a very simple answer. Oils, fats, and various sugars. These are ingredients added as taste enhancers. But like having them in our own diet, they do us and our pets no favours.
Sugar and fat are very popular with dogs; unfortunately, they are also linked to numerous health problems. There is a well-respected (5) Independent Dog Food Analysis website, that states "This food receives a 1-star rating simply because there is nothing lower"
They go on to say. "We cannot comprehend feeding a dog on cereals and derivatives" and "the food does nothing to decrease our horror at feeding this food to a canine." Pretty damning stuff. The remainder of the review is no less scathing of Purina and their flagship product.
E-Numbers: What about E numbers? We all know that they can cause certain behavioural and medical problems. At the time of writing, I believe there are 13 E-numbers in Bakers complete dog food.
If this is correct, then that is an awful lot of Es. To put this into perspective, the oft-maligned McDonald's hamburger contains 7 E-numbers Ten of these E numbers in Bakers, have been flagged as causes of concern at different levels.
Additives and Preservatives: These E numbers are used for a variety of purposes, such as colourings and preservatives, this list includes:
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) - E320
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) - E321
Propyl Gallate - E310
Citric Acid - E330
Potassium Sorbate -, E202
Propan -1,2-diol - E490
Iron Oxide - E172
Indigo Carmine - E132
Tartrazine - E102
Sunset Yellow - E110
Quinoline Yellow - E104
Titanium Dioxide - E171
Carbon Black - E153
At the time of writing this article, I believe the ten below are still used in the preparation of Bakers Complete.
E320 - has been found to be tumour-producing when fed to rats. In human studies, it has been linked with urticaria, angioedema, and asthma.
E321 - banned for use in food in Japan, Romania, Sweden, and Australia. The US has barred it from being used in infant foods. So bad McDonalds have voluntarily eliminated it from their products.
E310 - Banned from children's foods in the US because it is thought to cause blood disorder methemoglobinemia
E172 - Banned in Germany
E132 - Can cause skin sensitivity, a rash similar to nettle rash, itching, nausea, high blood pressure and breathing problems. One of the colours that the Hyperactive Children's Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of children. Also banned in Norway.
E102 - TARTRAZINE - A trial on 76 children diagnosed as hyperactive, showed that tartrazine provoked abnormal behaviour patterns in 79% of them
E110 - Sunset Yellow has been found to damage kidneys and adrenals when fed to laboratory rats. It has also been found to be carcinogenic when fed to animals
E104 - One of the colours that the Hyperactive Children's Support Group recommends that should be eliminated from the diet of children. Banned in Australia, Japan, Norway and the United States.
E171 - Banned in Germany
E153 - Banned as a food additive in the United States of America. Suspected as a carcinogenic agent.
In a PMFA (Pet Food Manufacturers Association) press release, they state: "In light of recent media coverage about prepared dog foods, the PFMA speaks out on behalf of an industry deeply committed to enhancing pet welfare through optimum nutrition". They trotted out a so-called expert called Peter Neville to confirm these ludicrous statements. I have commented on their press release and Peter Neville in my (6) My Blog. I do not pull any punches, as I believe they are taking the general public as fools. Which I promise you are not.
People are now more aware than ever of the effects of food and behaviour in our children and our pets. You only have to read the above ingredients and additives, to understand that they do not exactly fit the description of "optimum nutrition". Reports by dog owners of aggression, hyperactivity, itchy skin, cancer and other health-related problems. Which they believe was caused by feeding their dog's certain dog foods, have been around for many years.
The first ingredient on the Bakers Complete dog food label is a carbohydrate in the form of ‘cereals’. ‘Cereals’ is a general term for all kinds of grains.
By using the term cereals on the label, the manufacturer can use whatever grain is cheapest at the time.
This is usually used with the manufacturer’s profit margin in mind as opposed to the quality of food for your pet. Cereals are also a common bulking agent.
The protein in Bakers Complete is in the form of meat and animal derivatives.
This sounds low-quality protein as it comes from the less desirable parts of an animal such as the feet and guts. It uses the minimum level of protein. It is recommended by nutritionists to provide a higher level of protein in your dog’s diet than Bakers currently provide.
it contains various sugars. It actually contains more sugar than most dog foods on the market. Although sugar is vital to your dog’s health, too much sugar is very bad. The level of sugar in Bakers could explain the complaints of hyperactivity from some dog owners.
Bakers also include unspecified artificial preservatives and antioxidants yet another group of ingredients that the majority of nutritional experts recommend avoiding due to their links to health problems. With all low-grade foods, the amount you need to get a reasonable amount of nutrients in your dog is quite high.
That suggests that a bag will not last very long. Therefore, the price per day goes up considerably. In fact, Bakers could cost about as much per day as many higher quality dog foods.
Pedigree Complete: I feel it is important to state that Bakers is not the only dog food that uses E numbers, animal derivatives, and unspecified ingredients. Another leading brand that comes to mind is Pedigree, which also uses bulking agents, like cereals, and animal meat derivatives, antioxidants, artificial colourings, and preservatives.
Pedigree also got a 01 out of 5 ratings on the (6) Which Dog Food Website. In the site (3) Dog Food Advisor, they have stated the following:
"The first ingredient in Pedigree dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog. For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food."
"The second ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it."
"Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins, lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life. This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food."
"The third ingredient is poultry by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of slaughtered poultry after all the prime cuts have been removed."
"In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat)".
Look carefully at the labels of any dog food you feed your dogs. Though the problems with labelling like Bakers and Pedigree, is there are often unspecified ingredients, so we do not get anywhere near the whole picture.
(2) There are 350+ reviews and many concerns regarding Pedigree on this one site alone. (8) Consumer Affairs. Not a good advertisement for one of the largest sellers of dog food on the market.
On the (9) Dog Food Analysis site they state "Overall this is one of the lowest quality products reviewed on this site. It receives a 1* rating due to the unavailability of anything lower" Says it all really. I believe the law should be changed, so we as the purchaser, know exactly what is going into many of today’s popular dog foods.
Some of these dog foods could be doing far more harm than good. I wrote an article on (11) Dog Food and Behaviour where it lists the best food manufacturers in my opinion, after testing them on my dogs over a 14 month period. Look out for the following and avoid. Low meat content, artificial additives, unclear labelling. By-products/derivatives, grains or wheat and gluten, un-named cereals, meat derivatives, sugars, fats, vegetable derivatives, colourants, antioxidants, and preservatives. The meat content is around the very legal minimum required by legislation
In Conclusion: There are numerous brands of pet food. Many purport to be hypoallergenic, wholesome and the best money can buy. Unfortunately, the advertising hype does not always stand up to close scrutiny. Always read the labels and check online to see if there are any articles or recommendation for your brand of dog food. Do not take anything at face value. Please note all the costs, ingredients and additives is in my belief correct at the time of writing this article in 2013.
There is another area that can cause severe behavioural and medical problems and that is (13) Annual Dog Vaccination Dangers. This a national disgrace and must be stopped for the sake of our dogs and cats health and wellbeing.
I started my own range of Doglistener Premium Treats in Autumn 2018. I did that because I wanted to be absolutely certain that the treats I was selling were ethical and truly natural.
I needed to be able to guarantee their provenance and I needed them to fulfil ethical criteria that I personally believe in.
For them to fulfil those requirements, they had to be from free-range animals, all grown as nature intended with no growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics and non-halal and from EU regulated livestock. They also had to be totally natural without any additives colourants or even spices.
They also must be from human-grade animals, not the so-called 4-D meat that gets its name from diseased, dying, disabled and dead livestock, deemed unfit for human consumption.
Once I had found suitable suppliers from only EU countries which have stringent requirements regarding animal husbandry I had one final condition and that they should not be stuck in warehouses for years which is often what happens before they are packed and sent off.
©Stan Rawlinson October 2013
Last Updated December 2019
My thanks to the websites below, especially Which Dog Foods who have done exhaustive research.
(8) Consumer Affairs
(9) Independent Dog Food Analysis Bakers
(10) Dog Food Analysis Pedigree