Do you really know what you are feeding your furry friend?

New research from Paws.com found that a staggering 95% of dog foods owned by big brands don’t reveal their exact ingredients.

The study looked at over a thousand wet and dry dog foods across Britain’s supermarkets and Amazon’s bestseller list. It found four common trends in a lot of dog food that lead to hard to decipher dog food labels.

Mystery meats

85% of supermarket own-label dog foods and almost two-thirds of big brand dog foods list ‘meat and animal derivatives’ as an ingredient. This ambiguous term doesn’t really tell you what part of the animal your pet is eating and could include feathers, beaks, wool and even hooves. These are unsurprisingly harder for your pup to digest.

Vague vegetables

Over half of big brand food labels and two-thirds of supermarket own label dog food lists ‘derivatives of vegetable origin’ as an ingredient. This does not inform you as to what vegetables are being used and may even contain by-products from human food production such as seen and corn husks, twigs and leaves which are obviously not a nutritious treat for your dog.

Fuzzy fats

‘Oils and fats’ is another vague term found on dog food products. When this appears, it is unclear exactly what is being used. Dogs need fats in their diet but get more nutrients from fats that are rich in healthy omega 3 and 6. The generic term of ‘oils and fats’ may be leaving your dog open to eating highly processed fats from any animal. 68% of big brand dog food lists unspecified ‘oils and fats’ as an ingredient.

Unclear carbs

Many dog food labels list ‘cereals’ as an ingredient which could refer to any food that contains any number of grains in any form. Highly processed flours have very little nutritional value and can cause your dog’s blood glucose levels to massively fluctuate. This increases the risk of diabetes, weight issues and inflammatory conditions.

Dr. Steph Wenban, Paws.com’s vet and pet wellbeing specialist, said: “Many owners want to treat their pet like a family member and give it the best food possible, but a lot of people are unaware of exactly what is in their dog’s food. Confusing labels with ambiguous ingredients make it difficult for people to ensure that their furry friend is getting the essential nutrients to help them develop and grow.

“At Paws.com we recognise this trend and ensure that all of our food comes with our innovative traffic light labelling, this tells pet owners exactly what is in their loved animal’s food so they can be sure that they are feeding their dog the best ingredients.”