Posts Tagged ‘dog food’

Treats? Think again.

I don’t claim to ever be a food expert – but have always respected those who are.

This week, Mark from Doggie Steps Dog Training came by to meet my ROCCO the Rockstar. He saw the Bil-Jac Liver Treats for Dogs that I was using for Rocco’s potty reward (he goes potty outside all the time!) and did a “tisk tisk” shaking his finger at me.

I was like, “WHAT??? He (Rocco) likes them!”
“Danielle,” he said, “these cause cancer. Check out this BHA thing…and he points to the ingredients.”
“Huh?” I said.
Concerned mother instinct kicked in and I started my research.

Are you hearing what she is saying?

One google search of BHA resulted in all I needed to know. These “treats” just got a one way ticket to the trash can. I posted on our Bella’s House & Pet Sitting Facebook Fan Page and Sabine added to my discussion. What I found out from her site has been so valuable and I wanted to encourage you all to take a serious look at what is in your pets food and treats. When they are being fed the same thing, day in, and day out… well – I hope you catch my drift.

For instance…. According to here is what I was feeding Rocco with these treats:

Chicken Byproduct Meal
AAFCO: Consists of the dry, ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines — exclusive of feathers except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices.

Chicken byproducts are much less expensive and less digestible than the chicken muscle meat.The ingredients of each batch can vary drastically in ingredients (heads, feet, bones etc.) as well as quality, thus the nutritional value is also not consistent. Don’t forget that byproducts consist of any parts of the animal OTHER than meat. If there is any use for any part of the animal that brings more profit than selling it as “byproduct”, rest assured it will appear in such a product rather than in the “byproduct” dumpster.

Phosphoric Acid
A clear colorless liquid, H3PO4, used in fertilizers, detergents, food flavoring, and pharmaceuticals. A harmless but unnecessary ingredient, used in inexpensive, poor quality dog food as flavoring, emulsifier and discoloration inhibitor. Used for example as a flavoring for Coca Cola.

Propylene Glycol
A colorless viscous hygroscopic liquid, CH3CHOHCH2OH, used in antifreeze solutions, in hydraulic fluids, and as a solvent. Used as humectant in semi-moist kibble to keep it from drying out. May be toxic if consumed in large amounts, and should definitely not be an ingredient in a food an animal will eat daily for weeks, months or even years of its life. In countries of the European Union, propylene glycol is not cleared as a general-purpose food grade product or direct food additive.

Butylated Hydroxysanisole – a white, waxy phenolic antioxidant, C11H16O2, used to preserve fats and oils, especially in foods. Banned from human use in many countries but still permitted in the US. Possible human carcinogen, apparently carcinogenic in animal experiments. The oxidative characteristics and/or metabolites of BHA and BHT may contribute to carcinogenicity or tumorigenicity.

Still think this is a TREAT? Think again. I bought this at PetSmart.  I think I will be going back to FETCH Doggie Store later this week. I am grateful to have such wonderful friends and resources in my life to help make sure that my FUR CHILD stays happy and healthy.

Curious to know if you are feeding your pets any ingredients that are on the AVOID list as seen on the Dog Food Project? Check it out here.

Pet Food Nutritionist – Sabine, The Dog Food Project
Dog Trainer – Mark, Doggie Steps Dog Training
Pet Food Store – Dawn, Fetch Doggie Store and Kitty too

This information has been provided to you from Bella Vasta, the Pack Leader for Bella’s House and Pet Sitting in Scottsdale AZ. For more information please call 480.330.4552 or go to


A few years ago at a pet sitting conference I met the author of The Dog Bible, Tracie Hotchner (, and she sparked my interest in understanding what was really in our pets food. She even introduced me to the head of the National Canine Cancer Foundation located here in Scottsdale. Note: Did you know that 3 out of 4 Golden Retrievers will develop cancer and the closer we come to finding a cure for canine cancer the closer we come to finding a cure are for humans too? ( 


When I began this journey I wanted to know what ingredients really are good, what are bad, what brands are healthy, and which well…can end up hurting your pet. It always never seizes to amaze me that the commercials are catered to the human pet owners, which after all, are the buyers. Having dog food bits in different colors, saying that whole grains and vegetables are a good thing, and appealing to our human emotion can be so detrimental to any pet if their human does not do their homework.

                                                                    cat eating food

This article is intended to spark your interest to DO YOUR HOMEWORK! 


A good place to learn is from Sabine at She is not a representative and does not get paid by any pet food company. She is completely independent and a national expert. Something which Bella’s House & Pet Sitting always trys to provide our clients with…experts.


For instance….Hills Science Diet. I have been told that this food is one of the WORST, yes WORST foods you can feed your pet. It is like feeding them McDonald’s every meal of the day for the rest of their life! Lets take a closer look…after all it is all right under your nose. Read the label and know what you are reading. Also commonly known in the pet world are low quality brands including Purina and Iams. Although they are endorsed by many…so they must be good, right?


Do your own research!


How about the fact that AAFCO is regulated by….(drum roll please) THEMSELVES! If I remember correctly from the congressional hearings about the pet food recall – there are less than 10 people in the office. But somehow they manage to get their “seal of approval” on a bag of food. This is ridiculous!


Friends, Clients, Pet Parents, Bloggers… I encourage you to do your own research to find out what you are really feeding your fur kid. How what you feed could be causing the allergies, cancer, or obesity.


It is not true that the “high quality” foods like Innova, Eagle Pack, Halo… cost more. You feed LESS! The low quality brand has lots of fillers and you have to feed more to make your pet full. This is just the tip of the iceberg… please visit Sabine at:


If you want cliff notes please view this pamphlet:

You know and care what you put in your own body… you should know what you are doing for your pet as well! Please do your homework!


This information has been provided to you by

How to Grade Your Dog’s Food


Start with a grade of 100:

  • For every listing of “by-product”, subtract 10 points
  • For every non-specific animal source (“meat” or “poultry”, meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points
  • If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points
  • For every grain “mill run” or non-specific grain source, subtract 5 points
  • If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (I.e. “ground brown rice”, “brewers rice”, “rice flour” are all the same grain), subtract 5 points
  • If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points
  • If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points
  • If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3points
  • If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points
  • If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points
  • If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points
  • If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points
  • If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog is not allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points
  • If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog is not allergic to beef), subtract 1 point
  • If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:

  • If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points
  • If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points
  • If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points
  • If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points
  • If the food contains fruit, add 3 points
  • If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points
  • If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points
  • If the food contains barley, add 2 points
  • If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points
  • If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point
  • If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point
  • For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count “chicken” and “chicken meal” as only one protein source, but “chicken” and “beef meal” as 2 different sources), add 1 point
  • If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point
  • If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
78-85 = C
70-77 = D
69 and below = F






Here are some foods that have already been scored.Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Ultra Premium – 122 A+
Authority Harvest Baked – 116 A+
Chicken Soup Senior – 115 A+
Innova Dog – 114 A+
Innova Evo – 114 A+
Canidae – 112 A+
Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken – 110 A+
Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables – 110 A+
Dick Van Patten’s Duck and Potato – 106 A+
Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult – 106 A+
Foundations – 106 A+
ProPlan Natural Turkey & Barley – 103 A+
Royal Canin Bulldog – 100 A+
Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula – 99 A
Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice – 97 A
Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold – 97 A
Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold – 93 B
Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice – 92 B
Nutrisource Lamb and Rice – 87 B
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy – 87 B
Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium – 73 D
Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies – 69 F
Bil-Jac Select – 68 F
Diamond Maintenance – 64 F
Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+ – 63 F
Purina Dog – 62 F
Pet Gold Adult with Lamb & Rice – 23 F
Purina Beneful – 17 F
Purina Come-n-Get It – 16 F



Source is unknown. If you are the author, please let me know. I received this from a collegue. I have seen it before and know it is accurate. THis information has been passed onto you by Bella’s House & Pet Sitting ( ) in Scottsdale, AZ


Another good source for infomation on dog food can be found at:

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