Keven Law - originally posted to Flickr as On the lookout... cc2.0
Bounce and Bella Blog Health

Weasel Words

Weasel Words


Hello, you lovely Pet Parent, you!


A little break from the games today, I’m not sure what got me thinking about Weasel Words this week but someone did.

It’s an odd phrase. I thought the origin was maybe ‘Wind in the Willows’ with those shady weasel characters, but no, it came from the belief that weasels sucked out the insides of bird’s eggs while leaving the shell intact.

Empty words that no longer have their true meaning.


No doubt you already know, but these kinds of words are used extensively within the dog food industry.

I was misled by flowery promises and empty words when buying our first dog Sorrel’s food.

What happened to Sorrel is why we sell simple treats and food with no nasties. 

It’s also why we try to be clear and up front about ingredients.


It’s vital you have the correct information so you can make the right choices for you and your dog. 

However this is far from the norm in the pet food world…


Weasel Word Leader


I think I’ve found one of the clearest examples of weasel words in the UK dog food market.

It’s riding high in the UK Amazon dry dog food charts and is titled, ‘Adult 100% Complete dog food, Rich in Chicken with Country Vegetables’. 

It even has a bold sticker on the front of the pack saying ‘Now Rich in Chicken’

It sounds a lot like our dry food… ‘Aromatic Chicken and Veg – ADULT – Complete Grain Free Dog Food’.


There are lots of things I could talk about regarding the ingredients.

However I want to highlight the title of both foods and the main ingredients that should be in both.


And clearly both titles suggest the main ingredients are Chicken and Veg.

Let’s find out how true that is…


How rich in Chicken and Veg?


First, our very own Bounce and Bella ‘Aromatic Chicken and Veg’

Chicken total: 55%
Veg total: 40%

95% in Total

(If you’re interested, I’ve added the complete ingredients of both recipes in the PPS at the bottom of the email – I find it fascinating but according to at least two of my kids I’m a nerd.)

Second, the big brand ‘Chicken and Country Vegetable’.


Think of two numbers before you scroll down…

1. The percentage of chicken you think makes up the big brand food.

2. And the percentage of veg.




Have you thought of them?

Here they are:

Chicken total: 4% (It may even be as low as 0.8%) 

Veg total: 4%

8% in Total

It’s possible the total is less than 5% – see PPS below


Adult 100% Complete dog food, Rich in Cereals with Derivatives


The big brand food is mostly cereals and derivatives.

Here are their top 6 ingredients in weight order…

55% Cereals
20% meat and animal derivatives (of which 4% chicken)
Derivatives of vegetable origin
Oils and fats,
Vegetables (1% dried spinach, 0.3% dried pea and 0.3% dried carrot)

Vegetables are below added oils and fats which are used to flavour the food.

Veg is even below something called glycerol which is used to keep food moist.


The big brand has called a food that is mostly cereals and derivatives – Chicken and Veg.

Yet, and being generous, it’s only 4% chicken and 4% veg.


Take Care!

Whichever food you use or are considering using – take care!

Ignore all weasel words and go straight to the ingredients, it’s the only way to be sure you’re buying food that won’t go on to cause health problems.

That’s all this week – have a lovely weekend and watch out for the weasels!


This has got my dander up so next week I’ll let you know why a dog food made up of 55% cereals is such a terrible idea.


Ingredient details legally are always in weight order:

Big Brand ‘Chicken and Country Vegetables’

55% Cereals
20% meat and animal derivatives (of which 4% chicken)
Derivatives of vegetable origin,
Oils and fats,
Vegetables (1% dried spinach, 0.3% dried pea and 0.3% dried carrot)
Vegetable protein extracts,

See what I mean about the weaselling language with the chicken? This is a section that should legally be clear yet the amount of chicken depends on how you interpret their language – it could even be as low as 0.8%

Is it 4% of the 20% or 4% of the entire total?

Bounce and Bella ‘Aromatic Chicken and Veg’

55% Chicken (Includes: Freshly Prepared Chicken 31%, Chicken Meal 21% & Chicken Stock 3%)
40% Veg (Sweet Potato 26% Peas 6% Potato 5% Beet Pulp 3%)
5% Added Goodness – Linseed, Omega 3 Supplement, Minerals, Vitamins, Vegetable Stock, Herbs (Marjoram, Basil, Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Parsley), Prebiotics.

My queries on this would be that I’ve gone slightly poetic with ‘Added goodness’ although they are all good things meant to help.

And the beet pulp in veg is for digestive help rather than for any nutrients (dry food eaters need a bit more help here).
You could argue about the chicken being partly fresh and partly meal but retail price comes into play here and we’ve been direct and called it meal rather than trying to wriggle out of it by calling it dried chicken.

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4 months ago

if i don’t answer i am not very well okay sorry about all the texting i just feel lonley

Last edited 4 months ago by bella
4 months ago

i have just subscribed to you please talk to me tommorow at around 8am

Last edited 4 months ago by bella
4 months ago

my name is B
ella. Could you find some more titles for the animal weasels

Last edited 4 months ago by bella
3 months ago
Reply to  bella

please speak to me