Misleading Dog Food Packaging

Dog Food Advisor Forums Feedback and Suggestions Misleading Dog Food Packaging

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  • #83919 Report Abuse

    Hey DFA Members,

    A national TV show has contacted me asking for our help. They are doing research on a story about dog food and the pet food industry itself.

    The producer is looking for a list of dog foods that have packaging designs and graphics you believe may be considered misleading.

    He’s looking for dog food packaging, graphic design and/or written text that you believe misrepresents or exaggerates the actual contents of the ingredients list.

    For example, dog food packaging that contains pretty pictures of plump chickens, steaks, vegetables when the ingredients list contains lower quality components or unhealthy items.

    Please feel free to list these products here in this thread. This information is needed soon.

    Thanks for your help!

    Mike Sagman, Editor
    The Dog Food Advisor

    #83920 Report Abuse

    Beneful is an example of an attractive dog food package that could be potentially misleading to consumers. The product only gets 1-star at DFA.


    #83921 Report Abuse

    How very exciting! Congratulations on being asked to contribute. I would definitely add Blue Buffalo Wilderness to the list of misleading dog food packaging- an “evolutionary diet” would never include kibble for the pictured wolf on their dog food bags!

    #83922 Report Abuse

    So many fodds, so little time. Caesars canine cuisine, any of them, but filet mignon flavor really makes me laugh!

    Are they interested in deceptive commercials/advertising as well?

    #83923 Report Abuse

    If Blue Wilderness would count, I suppose I would nominate Orijen since the raw feeders would never use the term “Biologically Appropriate Dog Food” for kibble.

    Kibbles N’ Bits would get a nomination as well.

    #83929 Report Abuse

    Sorry about my earlier post with the misspelling of food. Darn cell phones! 🙁

    I don’t know if I agree with you on the Orijen, Pitlove. It is certainly better and less misleading than many others. It lists most of the proteins used right on the front of the bags along with the percentages of meat/vegetables, etc. and most people are conditioned to feeding kibble.

    I do hate the foods, like Alpo that have captions like “T-Bone Steak & Ribeye Flavor” when the actual ingredients are chicken, unnamed liver and unnamed meat byproducts along with soy flour and rice flour as the actual ingredients. Even though it says “flavor”, most people don’t understand that. It’s a marketing scam, IMHO.

    Among the better foods, I personally dislike when foods call it a particular meat in the label when, in fact, the majority is not. A good example of this is Merrick Grain Free Bison & Sweet Potato. Granted, there is Bison, but it’s followed by chicken, turkey and salmon meal, which by weight would be the actual main ingredients. I and many other posters here, have dogs with sensitivities to certain protein sources and this makes it seem deceptive.

    #83930 Report Abuse

    I still find the food to be misleading in certain ways. The 80/20 ratio is also misleading as it is before the meats are cooked. In fact, brands like Nulo actually have a higher percent of meat than Orijen does.

    Canidae’s brand Under the Sun did what you were talking about with Merrick. Every one of their products had Pork Meal as the first ingredient, yet said “Chicken and Rice”, “Lamb and Rice” etc on the front of the bag.

    #83937 Report Abuse

    How about Chef Michael’s Grilled Sirloin dry dog food?

    #83938 Report Abuse

    Thanks for all your suggestions.

    Please keep in mind that what we’re looking for are dog foods wrapped in packaging you feel could be misleading to unsuspecting consumers.

    This would include packaging that shows whole chickens, whole vegetables, steaks, etc. on the outside when the ingredients list contains MEAL-based ingredients (chicken MEAL rather than the whole, plump chickens depicted on the bag), man-made preservatives (BHA and BHT), etc.

    In other words, please think of average to below-average dog foods you’ve come across that are disguised by colorful yet misleading packaging.

    Products that do not accurately depict the ingredients found on the FDA label.

    Thanks again to everyone for all your help.

    #83980 Report Abuse

    Hi Dr. Mike,

    Pedigree’s “Targeted Nutrition” and “Complete Nutrition” would be good examples of what you’re talking about. It shows a lot of pictures of fresh meat and vegetables on the front of the packages. The steak and vegetables formula shows a fresh grilled steak and vegetables on the front, when the ingredients are poultry by-product meal, meat and bone meal along with corn as the first ingredient. The dried (not fresh) peas come in the middle of the vitamin pack and the dried (not fresh) carrots come in after the vitamin pack, before the artificial colors and BHA.

    Here’s the link to the whole line:


    #84013 Report Abuse

    Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone. Much appreciated.

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