Issues with the Dog Food Advisor Website (part I)
The Dog Food Advisor (DFA) maintains a large community blog. I have disagreed with many of their comments. My information is taken from well-respected resources and are included in my article footnotes. There is so much more to analyzing dog food than merely looking at the label.
So why do I have such an issue with the Dog Food Advisor?
Mike Sagman is the writer and editor of Dog Food Advisor. He is a dentist and admits that he has no veterinary training. That’s ok though. No issues there. He states “I’m considered an authority on reading and interpreting pet food labels.” Considered by whom? This is misleading. He might be a self-proclaimed expert, but he is certainly not considered an authority by anyone who is legitimate. I checked Amazon for books he had written, but guess what? There were none!!! I searched and searched for ANY legitimate organizations including the AVMA and found NOTHING. I suppose he is as much of an authority relating to pet food as I am an authority of dentistry. Now if he stated that HE considers himself to be an authority of the subject, that’s honest and truthful, but he didn’t make that claim.
He admits that one of the sources of his information comes directly “current research” provided by the manufacturer’s research and information. Of course the research that the manufacturers provide is funded and conducted by the manufacturer as opposed to impartial third party testing.
He admits that “Dog food reviews have at least three valid shortcomings. They can never reveal the true quality of the raw materials that were used to make the products they attempt to judge. Or the important research and nutritional design effort that went into making these products. And they cannot evaluate the safety with which the raw materials and products were handled by a company when manufacturing, storing and shipping the finished goods.” Wait! He also states that he uses manufacturer’s information and research. He can’t seem to make up his mind.
He states, “…we also believe in the commonsense logic of mimicking a dog’s natural ancestral diet — in modeling a dog food after what an animal would naturally consume in the wild.” Kibble and canned dog foods do not even come close to mimicking a dog’s natural ancestral diet. The BARF diet, which is raw food that is combined in specific proportions creates a Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet (BARF).
He has a list of the “best” foods and makes no mention of raw, freeze dried, or dehydrated food. He only refers to processed commercial dog foods.
He states that his reviews are based upon the first 5 ingredients and the meat content. What about the toxins and contaminants that are further down on the ingredient label? He also states that he “evaluates” the meat content. He merely discusses it here. He leaves the research up to YOU because he does not take the quality into account as you can notice in the list of “Nagging Questions” which I have presented further down in this article.
I have normally have no problem with this practice. I am an affiliate of various websites because I work diligently on this blog and the small commissions that I receive help to support me for the time I spend researching and maintaining the best content possible. What I DO have a problem with is when people claim to be known experts and promote products that are not best. He leaves out the smaller companies which produce quality raw, freeze dried, or dehydrated food from his favorites list. Why would he do that? Mike Sagman makes commissions from chewy product sales made via his Dog Food Advisor website. The Chewy website carries freeze dried and dehydrated food (NO raw). There are only 71 of freeze dried and dehydrated dog food sold on that website. Sounds like a lot? Let’s put this into perspective. The website sells 1015 dried foods and 772 wet foods. There is a significantly higher earning potential for him if he excludes the healthier foods. So you can see how his ratings and recommendations encourage readers to choose from the huge selection of pet foods from large commercial manufacturers which are big money-makers that the chewy website carries. I refuse to take advantage of my readers by recommending products that are not superior in quality, let alone unsafe. I choose to educate my readers.
Here is the list of his additional concerns and questions that he “kindly” provides. The webpage section is located in his website at: Nagging Questions Persist.
Nagging Questions Persist:
Of course, like everyone else, we still yearn to know more…
• Where do the ingredients come from?
• Are they food grade? Feed grade? Or agricultural rejects?
• Are they fresh?
• Will my dog like the taste?
• Is the kibble the right size for my pet?
• Have they been tested for chemical or biological contamination?
These are all legitimate questions. Some of them can be answered by simply visiting a company’s website. Or calling their customer service number.
Why doesn’t HE contact manufacturers and have some of those questions for us, but he leaves these questions unanswered and throws the job over to his readers to do all the hard work. I would think that if he was really concerned and responsible, he would climb mountains to provide information about testing done for chemical or biological contamination. Since he neglects to provide such information to consumers, he omits this criteria from his evaluations so that such a food may earn lots of stars.
Dog Food Advisor makes no consideration with regard to the truth about commercial dog food discussed in What’s REALLY in Dog Food, an article that exposes the commercial dog food industry.
Just a note: I have been trying to contact Hills Dog Food since March of 2014. I asked them where their vitamin premix is sourced from. Most vitamin premix (the long list of vitamins at the end of an ingredient list) comes from China. They forward me to the media department, I have left messages. They will not provide a direct phone number for me. They don’t seem to want to speak with me. Hmmm. I wonder why? What’s your guess?
By including statements like, “We tend to dislike dog foods made with by-products…” he leaves the door open so there is a larger selection of food that can earn high grades even though the food is inferior. That means that he can make higher profits when his readers purchase more products from his affiliate website.
In other words, he provides some VERY basic information without important consideration with regard to contamination, and quality. Instead of educating us about those aspects, dumps us and sends us off to contact the manufacturers.
There is NO mention of aflatoxins, mycotoxins, melamine or other contaminants and toxins that have been found in many dog foods which are causing disease in dogs (kidney disease is rampant) and death. Melamine has been found to cause kidney disease. On Dog Food Advisor I used the search bar to find “melamine” with no results. When I searched for “salmonella,” there were only recalls listed. He neglects to educate people about salmonella and the fact that products are recalled for salmonella because of its danger to humans NOT to normal dogs!
To make matters worse, if you want to see his special editors top picks, you need to sign up and pay a fee. So you decide. Do you think that site is so impartial and ethical? Something just doesn’t feel right to me. To see part II of this article, you may read Pet Food Safety Concerns & the Dog Food Advisor Part II.
*This article is accurate at the time that it was published – August 6th 2014. Website content and products on DFA and Chewy’s might change thereafter.
|“Dog Food Reviews.” Dog Food Advisor. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2014. <http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com>.|