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Dear Purina, your Bakers dog food Is still awful. Here's why.

9 CommentsThursday, 22 February 2018  |  Kate

A few months ago, Pooch & Mutt, an independent dog food and healthy dog treat maker, hauled Purina over the coals for the quality and ingredients of their Bakers dog food (see image right). They did quite the number on Pedigree's Dentastix too, owned by Mars. And good on 'em I say, these giant companies spend way too much money on marketing and far too little on ingredients to make them nutritionally worthwhile to your dog.

Pooch and Mutt made some good points; Bakers were adding colours to their Meaty Meals which dogs can't even see and certainly don't need, to their recipes. They're their purely to appeal to humans. Adding BHA (linked to cancer) and BHT (messes with your liver enzymes) to dog food recipes went out years ago, but Bakers were still doing it up until recently. Because it's cheap. 

However, Bakers came out fighting and responded thus:

"As a responsible pet food manufacturer we are concerned the campaign will cause pet owners unnecessary worry about the quality of food they are feeding their pet."

I don't think you are responsible Purina. I think you make a range of pet foods at different price points to suit a variety of pet food owners, but that your ingredients are mostly lacking in quality nutrition no matter how much dog and cat owners pay for it.

"All Purina products comply with the strict UK and EU legislation for pet food to ensure they are safe to feed your pet and are nutritionally balanced."

Purina is right, the UK makes some of the best pet food in the world, but they only reason Bakers is a complete food is because of the minerals added after cooking. It's got nothing to do with the quality of ingredients.

"The production of pet food is highly regulated to ensure that it is of the utmost quality. The colours and all other additives that we use are carefully regulated by a number of authorities and are permitted for use in cat, dog and human food in all EU member states."

Pet food production is highly regulated to make sure it's safe to eat and a complete food. Just because you can use colours doesn't mean you have to, many other pet food companies don't and you are way late to the party.

"Purina is committed to creating nutritious foods that will keep pets happy, healthy and content."

If that's really the case please can you spend less money on your marketing and more on quality ingredients, there's a love.

So now we have a new recipe

Bakers have now 'improved' their recipes and now boast "no added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives." This is emblazoned along the bottom of their bright blue bags and boxes in wholesome green and beige. I almost wouldn't mind if Bakers had missed the point entirely in making these changes if it weren't for the fact that their food is still about as low rent as it gets.

It's all smoke and mirrors. All you need to do is watch any of their ad campaigns to see the healthy dog food message unravel.

A Baker's advertisement is like a day out at the fair. Fit, healthy dogs, groomed to perfection belt along a grassy meadow in a race to get to the bright blue (but achingly cool) Purina Piaggio Ape vans. These retro vehicles are packed to the rafters with the familiar Bakers boxes, and the dogs are racing towards them as if their little lives depended upon it. The dogs (because this is real life) jump into the front seat and drive off to deliver new and improved Bakers, with no artificial ingredients, to healthy, happy dogs all over the land. We know this because the voiceover is delivered in a wholesome northern accent (I'm from Yorkshire, stop it, it's patronising) so it must be true!

Read The Ingredients

All one needs to do is turn the packet over and read the ingredients list to realise how much Purina spends on the hype compared to ingredients.

Too Many Cereals

You're shelling out your hard earned cash for a dog food which is over 50% cereals. You'd be better off giving them porridge and a bit of actual chicken than Bakers. Cheap Protein The meat is listed as meat and animal derivatives (chicken 4%) so you have no idea what other animals are in there; pork? Lamb? Also, it doesn't have to be flesh when listed like this it can be other animal parts too. I don't mind that it's a dehydrated meat source per se but it does mean it could have been stored like that for months or years before it's used. To get the protein levels up the third ingredient listed is 'vegetable protein extracts'. So some of the protein is coming from vegetable extracts not meat. When you consider that most dog owners don't, and shouldn't have to, spend much time scrutinising the label I call that misleading.

So, Bakers, just because you've now caught up with the rest of us by removing artificial colours from your recipes doesn't mean your food is marginally any better than it was before.

I fail to see how a dog can thrive on a food so high in cereals unless it's super active with a working sheepdog's requirements for carbohydrates. And even then the paltry amount of animal protein would leave the poor thing wanting.

I get it, you're making a cheap dog food at a price point where it can fly off the supermarket shelves but please stop making it out to be something it really isn't. You're certainly never getting a whiff of my dog or a penny off me.

If you want to try a good dry food have a look at:

  • Simpsons
  • Feelwells
  • Arden Grange
  • Aatu
  • Millies Wolfheart

To name but 5, or ask your local pet shop what they recommend, assuming their shelves aren't loaded with Bakers, Pedigree, Eukanuba, Royal Canin and Iams. If that's all you can see shop elsewhere.


George
Wednesday, 9 May 2018  |  17:48

None of the good foods you listed are available near me . Please tell me where i can get some near GU22 8SP


Kate
Monday, 4 June 2018  |  11:51

Hi George

Try online: Fetch, Pets At Home, or My Itchy Dog for Feelwells treats.

Also try the individual websites: Arden Grange for instance.

Kate


Rachel Ireland
Thursday, 14 June 2018  |  12:09

Millies Wolfheart you can get online. I would also highly recommend Akela too which you can get online. Both Companies provide samples for a small fee so you can get a few for your dog to try.


Pete
Monday, 23 July 2018  |  18:12

having read this.i will no longer getting bakers for my dog.although he like it. I noticed some thing was making him too active. now i no.why.


Michelle Wilson
Monday, 20 August 2018  |  17:37

What do you think of Natures Menu mighty mixer as a dry food? I was feeding my dog Butchers tinned lean and tasty, mixed with Tesco dry biscuits/kibble. But recently my dog has been having some digestive issues, mainly diarrhea, with mucus and the occasional vomiting, he is otherwise fine, eating, drinking, playing, happy, bouncy, normal self. Thus the vet is not too concerned that it may be something else, and we have put it down to possible diet. As a result, I then started researching more into dog food and came across many sites expressing a dislike to commercial foods, tinned and kibbled, which made me look further into what we have been feeding him. After several days researching and having dog food on the brain for about a week, I have finally settled on Natures Menu. I am a little wary on going down the raw diet route, mainly due to possible bacterias, especially with the possibility of young kids playing with doggy after a meal (I am not completely against the idea of raw, but due to bacteria, would like to try alternatives first, if possible). So I wanted to give a good quality tinned and maybe mix with biscuit. I have gone for Natures Menu tin chicken and salmon and was thinking of mixing in Natures Menu mighty mixer, salmon and potato. (along with YuDIGEST probiotics) So I was wondering if you have any thoughts on these foods?


Kate
Tuesday, 21 August 2018  |  11:32

Hi Michelle

I like Natures Menu. My cats lived off their pouches for a decade and lived at a good weight and good health until old age claimed them.

I home cook for my dog, a rod for my own back! But it suits her. I like raw and my new kitten is fed on Natural Instinct weaning paste at the moment but I completely see your point about bacteria and it's an individual choice based on your circumstances. There are no children in my house but I don't want him licking my face that's for sure!

If you're feeding their tins there is no need for a mixer, it's just your preference. It won't go any way to cleaning his teeth so don't do it for that but it would add interest. If you want a bit of crunch give him raw carrots or broccoli, or apple as a crunchy treat.

Overall I think Natures Menu are a good food and a good company.

Kate


Michelle Wilson
Thursday, 23 August 2018  |  13:47

Thank you for your reply Kate, it is greatly appreciated.

He is currently on the bland, boiled rice and chicken diet to try and sort out the diarrhea issues, the annoying thing is, just as it starts to solidify, it then goes back to puddles a couple of days later. It is also yellow, so I am hoping this is just due to it passing too quickly or an intolerance, rather than liver or pancreas issues. As I say, he is fine every other way, so I am wondering if maybe it is grain intolerance and the rice I am giving is not helping. So will be giving just boiled chicken for a couple of days to see if that helps. If not, then back to the vets we go (for the umpteenth time this year) Once his diarrhea is sorted, then I shall try him on the Natures Menu tins and see how he gets on with those and maybe consider the mixer for a little crunch.

If the tins fail, as I have seen they contain rice, trust me to pick the 1 type/flavour that they do, with rice in. So if it is a grain intolerance, then will have to try something else, maybe a different flavour/grain free. If all else fails, then I shall reconsider giving raw a go, I am swaying toward the Nature Menu pellets or their Natural Instinct raw bites, and would just have to be vigilant as to cleaning his mouth/face after dinners, I guess.

I also wonder if the freeze dried raw treats that they do, could still contain bacteria, or if the freeze drying process would eliminate the possible bacteria.

Thanks for the advice on carrots, broccoli and apple, instead of the mixer, I shall certainly keep that in mind, if he gets on ok with the tins.


Mike
Wednesday, 29 August 2018  |  16:10

So you've changed the recipe recently?. That would explain why recently our dog has been scratch scratch scratch, and noticed flakey skin. As he also eats raw food ( pm feed time) we will be withdrawing the Bakers, a.s.a.


John
Friday, 28 September 2018  |  12:58

For me if there is digest or derivatives, animal or vegetable i wont touch it , or grains ......its vile and not fit for any animal to eat in my opinion i would rather spend money on decent dog food .