Nearly all premium "natural" dog foods are actually loaded with synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. You might be surprised to hear that, but there is no requirement to disclose the use of synthetic ingredients on pet food packaging (even if the brand has NATURAL in the name) unless certain requirements are met. As a result, these synthetic ingredients are rarely disclosed as being from a lab despite being used in nearly every premium dog food (in many cases to make up for the use of low-quality ingredients).
There are two problems with dog foods that rely on heavy use of synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to meet nutritional standards:
- In the wild, dogs ate a variety of natural foods: meat, bone, liver, fruits, and vegetables—NOT synthetic ingredients made in a lab. Logically, their digestive systems are designed to process ingredients from natural sources, not labs.
- Synthetic vitamins and minerals are NOT the same as their natural counterparts. Some of these vitamins and minerals are manufactured using industrial processes that involve chemical solvents like ammonia and methanol, while others are created in a way that changes the molecular structure of the substance. Dogs don’t digest these synthetic ingredients the same way they do natural ones.
WHY THIS MATTERS:
Synthetic supplementation matters because a dog’s digestive system was designed for foods from nature—not foods loaded with vitamins and minerals made in a lab. Given the natural variability of nutrient levels in key dog food ingredients from season to season, it is understandable that a pet food company would have to use one or two vitamin supplements, but not the dozens of supplements we see in most premium dog food.