What Dog Food Ingredients Should You Avoid?

Dog food is food that has been specially formulated and is meant for dogs. Dogs are generally thought to be omnivores with a carnivorous bent. They have the sharp, pointed teeth and shorter gastrointestinal tracts of carnivores, making them better suited to eating meat rather than vegetables. Still, they also have ten genes responsible for starch and glucose digestion and the ability to produce amylase. This enzyme breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars, which obligate carnivores like cats lack. But what dog food ingredients should you avoid?

The following preservatives are frequently added to pet food and must be avoided: BHA – Butylated hydroxyanisole, BHT – Butylated hydroxytoluene, and Propyl gallate.

Why Should Certain Dog Food Ingredients Be Avoided?

Why would things that your dog should not consume be included in dog food? Fillers are frequently to blame! Dog food manufacturers must meet a particular protein need and will use fillers to do so. This may appear acceptable, but this protein filler adds nothing to the nutritional value. Filler can also provide texture or density to the dish, making it appear healthier to the consumer.

These ingredients can be dangerously unhealthy. According to current research, several of these toxic components can cause allergies in your dog.

What Ingredients Should You Avoid?

As a good pet owner, you should carefully inspect the ingredients of what you feed your dog. To assist you, we have created a list of ten items to avoid in dog food.

BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)

Butylated hydroxyanisole, or BHA, is first on our list. It is a chemical preservative found in fats and oils. BHA is permitted in the United States, Canada, and other European countries, but only in modest amounts.

However, even a trace amount might harm your dog’s health if ingested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies this substance as a human carcinogen. It is just as lethal in dogs. It can harm your dog’s kidneys and liver and irritate its skin and eyes.

White Flour

This starchy component is a simple carbohydrate included in some dog meals as a binding agent and filler. The majority of the nutrients in wheat are removed during the bleaching process.

When dogs consume this flour, their blood sugar levels might substantially increase or decrease. Furthermore, it only keeps them whole for a brief period until they become hungry again. When this occurs, your dog consumes more food than usual, increasing its risk of obesity and diabetes.

Meat Meal

Meat is a good source of protein for your dog. Certain meat products, however, should be avoided since their constituents are doubtful.

This is particularly true of meat meals or undeclared meat additives in some dog foods. It frequently does not mention the beef used, raising concerns about its origins. Scrutiny reveals that these meat dishes typically contain low-quality, outdated, or contaminated meat. It may also have fatty tissues or remnants of deceased animals from shelters.

Meat meals, which have minimal quality control, merely serve as fillers with little to no protein. As a result, it’s preferable to avoid them entirely. If you must feed your dog a meat meal, choose one that identifies the types of meat used.

Artificial Food Coloring

Colors are enjoyable to add to human food, but they cause more harm than benefit in animal feed. Artificial colors are frequently used to make dog food appear visually appealing, but not for dogs! Instead, these hues are intended to capture the attention of pet parents.

Colored dog food, on the other hand, is unneeded for pets. After all, your dog couldn’t give a damn about the color of its food. Furthermore, the most prevalent food dyes like Blue 2, Red 40, and Yellow 5 and 6 have been associated with hyperacidity and severe food allergies. Purchase only naturally colored dog food.

Corn Syrup

Do you give your dog sugary treats? Take a deep breath and reconsider. Corn syrup is frequently used as a low-cost flavor in pet treats. Once extracted and processed from corn, this concentrated sweetener has a thick, syrupy consistency. Dogs find it incredibly addictive, so they keep returning for more.

It is not, however, a vital part of your dog’s diet. Consuming these in large quantities can result in a sudden rise and fall in your dog’s blood sugar. Allowing your dog to consume corn syrup in their diet increases their chances of diabetes and obesity.

Rendered Fat

Rendered fat is a bland component that adds flavor to some pet meals. However, because it comes from unidentified sources, it is one of the low-quality dog food additives. As a result, rendered fat can become a breeding ground for mold and potentially dangerous pathogens such as salmonella. It also has a high concentration of pollutants, such as heavy metals, mainly concentrated in fat content.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil appears to be a somewhat healthy substance at first appearance. However, the nutrients in this sort of oil vary depending on where they came from and how they were processed.

Corn and soybean oils are used to make vegetable oil. It contains omega-6 fatty acids, which are beneficial to dogs. However, when added to commercial pet diets, it is in enormous proportions, not to mention the other rich additives in pet food.

Omega-6 is a known inflammatory trigger, especially when consumed in large amounts. This can harm your dog’s joints and aggravate arthritis, hip and joint discomfort, and other related disorders.

Farmed Salmon

As we all know, salmon is an excellent source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids for humans and dogs. The problem is that the wrong type of salmon might be hazardous to your dogs.

Farmed salmon, sometimes known as salmon meal or salmon oil, is harvested in artificial surroundings rather than in the wild. They are not as nutritious as fresh salmon.

Furthermore, they contain hazardous substances such as mercury, pollution, and other fat-soluble poisons. When these drugs are consumed in large quantities, they can cause cancer in your dog.

Nitrates or Nitrites

Nitrates and nitrites are a class of compounds that are employed as preservatives to extend the shelf life of food. It’s commonly found in processed meats like bacon, ham, hotdogs, sausages, and other deli meats.

However, if ingested in large quantities, it might be harmful to your dog’s health. The most prevalent ingredient in preserving cured meats, sodium nitrite, has been related to cancer and a blood disease called methemoglobin in dogs.


Melamine is a filler component in pet food to achieve the appropriate protein level. However, it is a form of plastic that contains nitrogen. This hazardous material has the potential to contaminate your dog’s diet.

This is hazardous to your canine companion if consumed. Its ingestion can cause renal failure depending on its size and the melamine added. As a result, it resulted in one of the worst pet food recalls in 2007.

Why is Limited Ingredient Dog Food Most Ideal?

Dog food with limited components is referred to as limited-ingredient dog food. It is often produced with one or no more than two protein and carbohydrate sources.

It should be noted that there is no regulatory definition for limited-ingredient dog food. As a result, some manufacturers’ restricted ingredient dog food contains fewer ingredients than ordinary dog food.

Despite having fewer ingredients, limited ingredient dog food should supply all the nutrients your dog needs to keep strong and healthy. They are often designed to offer your pet complete and balanced nourishment.

Several restricted ingredient dog diets contain novel proteins and carbohydrates to lessen the possibility of allergies. However, popular proteins that your dog is probably familiar with, such as chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, and pork, may be used. As a result, a restricted ingredient in dog food is not hypoallergenic. (Source: Pet Cubes)

Going Grain Friendly Instead of Grain Free

Many dog owners are curious about the role of grains in dog food and whether Fido needs them. Understanding the differences between grain-free and traditional dog food and the roles those ingredients play will help you decide which option is best for your dog.

Grain-Free Dog Food

Grain-free dog food does not contain cereal grains such as wheat, corn, rice, sorghum, barley, or rye. These grains are frequently substituted with legumes like lentils and peas, as well as white potatoes and sweet potatoes, which are high in fiber and other nutrients while also having a low glycemic index. This diet may be suitable for pet parents who have dogs with food allergies, digestive concerns, or weight control challenges.

However, it is critical to remember that these solutions will not eliminate carbohydrates from your dog’s diet.

Carbohydrates, like protein, are not the essential portion of your dog’s diet, but they are a terrific energy source. Always ensure that their diet contains enough protein, particularly in the first five ingredients, to ensure they receive the essential nutrients first.

Grain-Friendly Dog Food

Grains aren’t all the same, and they’re not all terrible. Depending on the type of grains in your dog’s diet, they can supply additional nutrients and fiber to your dog.

It’s crucial to notice that there isn’t much distinction between whole grains and ancient grains – they’ve both been there for a long time. However, ancient grains have remained practically constant throughout history, whole grains are increasingly popular.

Whole Grains

Grains are divided into three parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. When left intact, they are high in critical vitamins and nutrients like selenium, B vitamins, fiber, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, which promote healthy skin and coat, heart function, digestion, and other health advantages.

According to research, whole grains contain more nutrients than refined grains, which are processed to remove the bran and germ. White flour, white rice, low-fiber cereals, and sweets are examples of refined grains.

Whole grains include, among other things, brown rice, quinoa, barley, rye, and oats.

Ancient Grains

Ancient grains, as the name implies, have been around since the beginning. They are filled with essential minerals and fiber, providing a plentiful source of plant-based protein despite being virtually unmodified during processing. Chia, quinoa, teff, spelt, kamut, millet, and amaranth are examples of these grains.

If your dog is gluten-sensitive, amaranth and millet are naturally gluten-free (fun fact, amaranth is considered a grass, and millet is a seed).

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