I had a fun visit today to Pets Gone Healthy, a pet store on the Marlborough/Northborough border owned by Sts. Anargyroi parishioner Sandie (for a nice article on Sandie and the store click here). PGH specializes in organic and natural stuff for pets – sort of a food movement for animals. Those of us who are into the health and healthfulness of what we put into our bodies no doubt should extend this to our pets as well. Sandie showed me a very scary thing – the ingredient list for Beneful Healthy Radiance, a dog food which purports to be healthful and the right thing to do for your dog. The ingredient list is a horror show – I will post it below – but just to pick a few things: Salmon, supposedly the featured ingredient, is way down on the list. Corn is first (see the movie Food, Inc.). There is also meat meal (yikes) and several artificial colors which wreak all sorts of havoc. We often speak of eating “healthy” food – by this we really mean “healthful” food, which is food that is good for you – healthy food is food that is not diseased. In this case, the food is neither healthful nor healthy.
Sandie filled me in on the epidemic of pet obesity, which is a very real problem that mirrors the larger problem of American obesity. Surely the well-intended use of dog food like Beneful (the name is, I assume, meant to invoke the word beneficial) is a contributing factor.
Here is the ingredient list (emphasis mine):
Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), salmon, rice flour, soy flour, sugar, propylene glycol, meat and bone meal, water, tricalcium phosphate, soybean oil, animal digest, salt, phosphoric acid, sorbic acid (a preservative), potassium chloride, dried carrots, dried green beans, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 2), ferrous sulfate, DL-Methionine, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.