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Having being affronted by adverts from Iams and Whiskas I felt it only fair not to leave out brands from the other two big pet food producers. In a previous post I listed out the big players but as a reminder here they are:

1. Mars Inc. Main pet food brands: Pedigree, Cesar, Goodlife Recipe, Nutro, Whiskas, Royal Canin.
2. Nestlé SA. Main brands: Purina, Purina One, Alpo, Beneful, Busy Bone, Chew-rific, Deli-Cat, Dog Chow, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Gourmet Gold, Mon Petit, HiPro, Kibbles and Chunks, Kit ‘N Kaboodle, Mighty Dog, Pro Plan, TBonz, Purina Veterinary Diets, Whisker Lickin’s.
3. Colgate-Palmolive. Main brands: Hill’s Science Diet, Hill’s Prescription Diet.
4. Procter & Gamble. Main brands: Eukanuba, Iams.

I can’t bring myself to face looking at Hills Science Death yet so I thought I’d pick a Nestlé brand for today’s post. I’ve selected Beneful because one of tinkerwolf’s facebook followers drew my attention to their facebook page. I didn’t feel that the comments section would suffice for what I had to say so I thought a post was in order instead.

Their adverts seem to focus on anything but their food, where’s one on play, so I turned to their website.

Beneful seem to focus on a dog’s need to play, their line being “Your dog loves to play so we make Beneful® brand dog food to feed the need to play as well as great tasting snacks.” Is it just me or does this seem a bit strange? Dog’s generally seem to have an inbuilt need for play and many owners don’t particularly want to feed that need! Yes, they want their dog to be healthy enough to enjoy play, but they don’t want a dog that doesn’t have an off button.

Many behaviourists know that changing a dog’s food to a better brand, or better still to raw, can bring behaviour changes as the artificial and poor ingredients can cause hyperactivity and inability to pay attention, much like we see artificial ingredients causing behaviour problems in children. So it seems to me that Beneful’s aspirations are somewhat strange.

I struggled to find much in the way of information about health and nutrition on their website but I did find this little gem: “One common misconception is that dogs are carnivores. The reality is that even their wolf ancestors eat only 70 percent meat. Today’s dogs are omnivores, built to consume a more balanced diet – and that’s a good thing. Depending on the breed, dogs can live twice as long as wolves.”

Any pet food manufacturer who either doesn’t understand that dogs are carnivores, or is prepared to lie about it is surely one to avoid at all costs. I’m not sure where they got the wolves only eat 70% meat from, here is a study where although they were focussed on prey it suggests Beneful’s 70% is wishful thinking on their part. Oh and, of course, they throw in the dogs live twice as long as wolves point, totally forgetting to mention the vastly differing lifestyles which contribute to life expectancy. And although they do reference breed making a difference they fail to note that therefore perhaps size heavily influences longevity.

With the ingredients from from Iams and Whiskas fresh in my mind though, 70% meat would be bl**dy fantastic so *sarcasm alert* I was excited to check out their ingredients list! I picked a random product to take a closer look:

Beneful® Healthy Fiesta
Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), chicken, soy flour, rice flour, water, propylene glycol, sugar, tricalcium phosphate, salt, phosphoric acid, animal digest, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, dried carrots, sorbic acid (a preservative), dried tomatoes, avocado, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, Yellow 5, ferrous sulfate, Red 40, manganese sulfate, niacin, Blue 2, Vitamin A supplement, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, Yellow 6, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.

Now is anyone else wondering how far away from 70% Beneful have drifted? Ignoring chicken by-product meal as basically cr@p, chicken is way down the ingredient list which is headed, surprise, surprise, by corn.

It’s a far cry from how Beneful describe their product: “Beneful® brand Dog Food Healthy Fiesta provides balanced nutrition to help keep your dog happy and healthy. It’s made with real chicken and wholesome rice, and accented with vitamin-rich vegetables and avocado.”

Chicken and rice are ingredients number 6 and 8 on the list, which as we know has to be listed in percentage composition order. Perhaps instead it should say “It’s made with real corn and wholesome chicken by-product meal, and accented with vitamin-rich corn gluten meal and a load of ingredients that you have no idea what they are.” Not so appealing is it?

But is anyone else freaked out that not only do they include advocado but that they draw attention to it? Avocado is hazardous to dogs! Even if they have somehow made it safe (perhaps this is part of the reason there are on-line rumours circulating regarding the safety of this brand), it is irresponsible to not make it clear that you should not feed dogs advocado, and even worse to draw attention to it in their product description.

I’m pretty freaked out, what next? Chocolate, onions, grapes?

Please if you have a friend who feeds this junk to their beloved pet please pass this on.

As always I leave you with Ted 🙂

Over we go!