Everyone knows Bakers. Their trademark blue bags can be found everywhere from the local pet shop to petrol filling stations and its cheerful adverts brighten up our TV screens from dawn 'til dusk. Add to that the fact that the food looks great and that dogs really enjoy eating it and you won't be surprised to find that Bakers Complete is the UK's second most popular dog food.
Unfortunately, the adverts and packaging don't tell the whole story.
The ingredients list reads like a 'who's who' of terms we recommend avoiding. Not a single ingredient (apart from '4% beef in the brown and natural kernels') is named on the label. Instead, broad terms like 'meat and animal derivatives' and 'derivatives of vegetable origin' are used making it completely impossible to know what you are giving your dog - have a look at our ingredients glossary for more information on these terms.
As mentioned above, a big part of Bakers' popularity boils down to it looking good. With bright red 'meat chunks' and fluorescent green 'vegetable kernels', it does indeed look very appetising (for a dog food!), but these colours come form artificial additives which have been consistently linked with behavioural problems amongst other health issues. It is also worth mentioning that most studies indicate that dogs are largely colourblind so the colours are only added to appeal to the owner and not the dog.
Anyone who's ever seen their dog eat Bakers would agree that it also tastes very good. Dogs really do love Bakers. But why? Take a look through the ingredients list and it all becomes clear. 'Oils and fats' and 'various sugars' are two ingredients specifically added to improve food palatability but neither do the dog much good. As everyone knows, too much sugar or too much fat is not healthy and can, in-fact, play a big part in the development of a wide range of health problems. Excessive levels should therefore be avoided.
To top things off, Bakers includes unspecified artificial preservatives and antioxidants - another group of ingredients that most nutritionists recommend avoiding due to their links to health problems.
As with all low grade foods, you have to feed quite a lot to get enough nutrients into your dog. This means that a bag doesn't last very long and the price per day goes up considerably. In fact, Bakers cost about as much per day as many far higher quality dog foods.
Conclusion: Packed with controversial ingredients and artificial additives and expensive to-boot.