Both my sister-in-law and one of my close friends from college are now veterinarians, and they have both said that the education they got in canine nutrition at veterinary school (Virginia Tech and Tufts University) was far from comprehensive. It is a fact that most of the nutrition education is sponsored by dog food companies that have a stake in selling their products.
Here’s the ingredient list for Pedigree Healthy Start Puppy food:
INGREDIENTS: GROUND YELLOW CORN, CHICKEN BY-PRODUCT MEAL, RICE, CORN GLUTEN MEAL, ANIMAL FAT (PRESERVED WITH MIXED TOCOPHEROLS, SOURCE OF VITAMIN E), NATURAL POULTRY FLAVOR, WHEAT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT, BREWERS DRIED YEAST, WHEAT FLOUR, CARAMEL COLOR, WHEAT GLUTEN, VEGETABLE OIL, CALCIUM CARBONATE, TAURINE*, VITAMINS (DL-ALPHA TOCOPHEROL ACETATE [SOURCE OF VITAMIN E], CHOLINE CHLORIDE,L-ASCORBYL-2-POLYPHOSPHATE [SOURCE OF VITAMIN C*], VITAMIN A ACETATE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], D-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT [VITAMIN B2], BIOTIN, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT), MARIGOLD MEAL (SOURCE OF LUTEIN*), TRACE MINERALS (ZINC SULFATE, COPPER SULFATE, POTASSIUM IODIDE).
Corn is a cheap protein source, and you will see that it is in the top spot. It is not as digestible as meat sources or some higher quality grains.
The second ingredient, chicken by-product meal, is also inferior because it is basically a lips-and-assholes type of ingredient. It’s a little better than if it just said “poultry by-product meal”, the vaguer the ingredient name, the more of a mystery what’s really in there.
The next 2 ingredients, rice and corn gluten meal, confirm that this is a mostly cheap grain based food. The mysterious “animal fat”, which could contain ANYTHING (including boiled down euthanized pets, I kid you not), is pretty icky. The only thing it has going for it is at least they are using a natural preservative for the fat rather than BHT.
This is the kind of food that leads to greasy, dandruff filled coats, bad gas, and eye boogers. Also, many dogs are allergic to corn. I don’t know what breed of pup this is, but many Golden Retrievers have legendary corn based allergies leading to all sorts of skin problems and ear infections.
Here is a great page to help youevaluate commercial dog foods. You might also want to subscribe to The Whole Dog Journal, they do a yearly review of the top dog foods.
Good luck with your puppy!