Dog Food Advisor is an online resource that claims to offer “unbiased” reviews of different brands of dog food. It has been around since 2010 and is one of the most popular dog food review sites. However, there are several reasons why you should not trust Dog Food Advisor.
Melissa Smith, a New York-based pet nutritionist, says that the site’s reviews are not as unbiased as they claim to be. It is the only pet nutritionist that has written an extensive article on why pet owners should not trust dog food advisors.
What Is Dog Food Advisor?
Dog Food Advisor is a website that claims to offer “unbiased” reviews of different brands of dog food. The website was created in 2008 by Dr. Sagman, a retired dental surgeon as per Pethelpful.com
The website is one of the most popular dog food review sites. It has over 3 million page views per month and ranks high for many popular search terms, such as “best dog food” and “dog food brands.”
A Dentist creation:
Dr. Gary Sagman is a retired dentist who now operates DogFoodAdvisor.com.
He has no professional nutritional qualifications but he claims his years of experience as a dog owner and breeder give him the expertise needed to be a reliable source of information on pet food brands.
He is a graduate of the Medical College of Virginia and has a doctorate in dental surgery.
His undergraduate studies include a major in chemistry and a minor in biology.
His background in canine nutrition is a result of his passion. He works with a team of two research assistants.
Why you shouldn’t trust dog food advisors:
There are several reasons why you should not trust Dog Food Advisor.
The website is run by a single person with no professional qualifications in nutrition or pet food. Pet nutritionist, Melissa Smith says “The website is run by a single person with no professional qualifications in nutrition or pet food. The website is not regulated and anyone can leave a review, regardless of whether they have actually tried the product.”
Dr. Sagman’s CV fails to mention any degrees in nutrition, human or animal. He vaguely states that he has done “professional studies in human nutrition” and is also interested in canine nutrition. These claims simply indicate that Dr. Sagman is a former restorative and cosmetic dentist who has studied pet feeding at his leisure rather than going through the rigorous academic process of becoming a veterinary nutritionist.
He, however, cites credible sources such as the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) on his website. He cites peer-reviewed research to back up his ratings and reviews.
He is human and a real dog owner:
Unlike other pet food review sites, Dog Food Advisor is run by a real person. Dr. Sagman is a retired dentist who now operates DogFoodAdvisor.com. He has no professional qualifications in nutrition or pet food, but he does have years of experience as a dog owner and breeder.
Below is his story as a dog owner since 1995;
“My wife and I adopted a precious little shelter dog named Penny in 1995. Her brief yet troubled existence had been a featured story on a local morning television program. Penny was a tiny poodle-terrier mix with brown eyes. The more than two years of daily abuse she had faced under the care of her previous owner were hidden behind her.”
Given that he is a real dog owner, it is likely that he has done extensive research on the subject.
Many individuals who advocate “alternative” information, such as that on Dog Food Advisor, make the claim that veterinarians have little or no training in animal nutrition. People who make this assertion will then visit various internet sites and blogs, including Dog Food Advisor, despite the authors having no veterinary education and certainly nothing about animal nutrition.
Dog Food Advisor Beliefs
Evidence-based research over the years has led to many advances in animal nutrition. However, the information found on Dog Food Advisor is not always based on scientific research.
For example, Dr. Sagman claims that “rendered” ingredients are dangerous and should be avoided. Rendered ingredients are those that are made from animal by-products, such as meat, bones, and organs. These ingredients can be used to make pet food and are found in many popular brands.
The website contains various affiliate links. When readers click on these links and make a purchase, Dr. Sagman earns a commission. This creates a conflict of interest, as he may be more likely to recommend products that pay him rather than those that are the best for your pet.
In addition, the website accepts advertising from pet food companies. This means that Dr. Sagman is paid to promote certain products, regardless of whether they are actually good for dogs.
The site also debunks the pet food industry’s claim that corn has a low glycemic index (GI), when, in fact, individual components do not have bearing on the GI of the finished product and whether or not GI is important to assess in dogs is also questionable. DFA is concerned with ingredients rather than the completed product, which has been found to be more important in pet foods.
The idea that dogs should be fed an “ancestral diet” is also addressed. Not only are dogs not wolves, but they do not live a life similar to that of wild wolves. In addition, in the wild, wild wolves do not have ideal diets.In fact, many wild wolves die young due to malnutrition.
Dogs are also different from wolves in their ability to digest carbohydrates and certain other nutrients. For example, dogs can digest corn, while wolves cannot.
There is no evidence that feeding dogs a diet that is based on their supposed ancestors is beneficial. In fact, there is evidence that suggests that such a diet could be harmful.
A study published in 2015 found that dogs fed a raw meat diet had a higher risk of developing gastrointestinal problems than those fed a cooked meat diet.
Another study, published in 2016, found that raw meat diets are associated with an increased risk of infection with the bacteria E. coli and Salmonella.
These studies show that raw meat diets are not necessarily healthy for dogs, despite what Dog Food Advisor claims.
The website also contains a lot of false and misleading information about commercial pet food brands. For example, the website states that PetSmart’s Grreat Choice Adult Dog Food is “made with low-quality ingredients” and “contains a lot of fillers.”
However, a look at the ingredients list shows that this is not true. The food contains chicken, rice, corn, and soybean meal – all high-quality ingredients.
The website also claims that Purina ONE SmartBlend Dry Dog Food is “made with low-quality ingredients” and “contains a lot of fillers.”
However, the ingredients list for this food shows that it contains chicken, rice, corn, and soybean meal – all high-quality ingredients.
It’s also worth noting that non-evidence-based claims are made by veterinarians in general. They usually describe themselves as “holistic” or “wellness” vets, and they will frequently embrace treatments for dogs that have little or no evidence to support them. Dr. Karen Becker is a well-known advocate of non-evidence-based veterinary medicine, and she has been featured on Dog Food Advisor.
While there are some legitimate concerns about the commercial pet food industry, the website Dog Food Advisor is not a reliable source of information. The website is biased, contains false and misleading information, and promotes unproven theories about dog nutrition.
Change in ratings:
Even though little has changed with the formula in the ingredients list and guaranteed analysis, DFA has drastically improved its rating of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Dog Food.  Why? I believe that a few years ago, rumors about pet food were more common, and veterinarians were not as outspoken online against it. DFA is influenced by current events and the opinions of those in the industry. If a lot of people are talking about a certain product, it will likely reflect in their ratings.
For example, in 2014, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the recalls of Evo Dog Food and Orijen Dog Food. DFA downgraded both products as a result. However, since then, both products have been reformulated and their ratings have improved.
I also believe that DFA is more lenient with big brands than they are with small brands. This is likely because big brands have more resources to defend themselves against false claims. For example, when Blue Buffalo was caught lying about their ingredients, they were able to quickly hire a law firm to defend themselves. Small brands do not have this luxury.
As a result, I believe that DFA’s ratings are biased and not always accurate. I would not trust their reviews when choosing a dog food.
In 2010, by-products were condemned: DFA stated that “we tend to despise dog foods made with low-quality plant or animal by-products,” even though the site promotes meat and by-products are meat. DFA no longer includes by-products as an ingredient that generates controversy.
In 2011, DFA started to allow some preservatives: Prior to this change, DFA did not recommend any dog food that contained artificial preservatives. However, in 2011, the site’s policy changed, and they now allow some preservatives if they are “used in very small amounts and considered safe by the FDA.”
In 2012, DFA began to allow some grains: Prior to this change, DFA did not recommend any dog food that contained grains. However, in 2012, the site’s policy changed, and they now allow some grains if they are “used in very small amounts and considered safe by the FDA.”
In 2013, DFA allowed all meat sources: Prior to this change, DFA only recommended dog foods that contained meat from “named” sources, such as chicken or beef. However, in 2013, the site’s policy changed, and they now allow all meat sources, including by-products.
In 2014, DFA started to allow some fillers: DFA did not traditionally recommend any dog food that contained fillers. However, in 2014, the site’s policy changed, and they now allow some fillers if they are “used in very small amounts and considered safe by the FDA.”
Its possible dog food advisor recommendations are made up
In this essay, Beth and Steve explain their views on pet food. There are no sources cited, implying the entire thing is made up, anticipated, or perhaps based on their intuition. This article also appears on a website that includes other pseudo-scientific issues such as mobile phones causing brain damage and vaccines causing autism.
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Hi there! My name is Alex Landy, one of the co-founders here at Our Pets HQ and a parent to a small-breed Yorkie. I am a published author of two books on dog breeding and currently write on various pet-related blogs about caring for dogs. I am a parent of two daughters and live outside Boston where I spend a lot of time with family and serve in different breeding clubs. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org