What Dog Food Ingredients Should I Avoid?

Why should you stay away from some ingredients in dog food?
Why would things your dog shouldn’t eat be in dog food? Most of the time, fillers are to blame. Companies that make dog food need to meet a certain amount of protein, so they add fillers to meet that need. This may sound good, but this protein filler doesn’t add anything to the nutritional value. Fillers can also be used to change the texture or density of food so that the consumer thinks it is healthier.

These things can just be bad for your health. New research shows that many of these unhealthy ingredients can cause your dog to have allergies.

What should you never put in dog food?


Butylated Hydroxyanisole, or BHA, is a chemical that is used to keep dog food and treats fresh. It helps keep fats and oils fresh.

The CDC has said that BHA is a known carcinogen that is bad for animals’ livers and kidneys. It is illegal in some places, but the United States lets people use it in small amounts. Even if your dog’s food only has a small amount of BHA, if you feed it to your dog every day, it can be bad for its health.


Flour, White

Most dog food is held together and filled with white flour. It is bleached flour that doesn’t have much if any, nutrition.

Even though white flour may seem like a safe filler, it has been shown to cause blood sugar to rise quickly and then drop quickly. This means that they will satiate your dog, but not for long. This can cause dogs to gain weight. One of the biggest health problems our pets face today is that they are too fat. Our dogs’ weight problems have long-term effects, like diabetes.


Meat that isn’t named or “meat meal”

If the meat in your dog’s food is “unspecified,” you may not know what it is. Most of the time, these meat meals are made from low-quality leftover meats that haven’t been regulated or checked for quality. Some of these things are old or sick meat, fat tissue, grease, and fats from restaurants, and even dead animals from shelters and feedlots.

Most dog food has these things in it, but if you can, try to avoid them. At least choose food that tells you what kind of meat it is. Since there aren’t many rules about these meat products, they have to go through a lot of processing to be “safe” for your dog to eat. All around, they don’t add a safe source of protein that could be used.


Colors and flavors created in a laboratory

Artificial colors and flavors are added to dog food so that it looks and smells better to pet owners. They are usually named, and Blue 2, Red 40, and Yellow 5 and 6 are the most common dyes found in dog food.

We don’t need these artificial ingredients. They are chemicals that are put in food to make it look better. They have also been linked to hyperactivity, irritability, and food allergies.



MSG, or monosodium glutamate, doesn’t usually show up on lists of what’s in pet food. It is most often found as hydrolyzed protein, protein isolate, texturized protein, natural flavors, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extracts, soy extracts or concentrate, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, monopotassium glutamate, glutamate or glutamic acid, or disodium inosinate or guanylate. These things are added to dog food to make it taste better.

The ingredients in dog food shouldn’t be so bad that they need to be flavored with chemicals. MSG is added to food because your dog wouldn’t like the taste of the low-quality ingredients on its own.


Corn sugar

Corn syrup is a sweetener made from very sweet corn. It doesn’t cost much to make, so processed foods for people and dogs often include it to add flavor without spending too much money.

Like white flour, corn syrup makes your dog’s blood sugar go up. These spikes are bad for your dog’s health and can lead to problems like obesity and diabetes in the long run.


Salmon from farms

Salmon that is grown in man-made environments on land is called “farmed salmon.” These fish aren’t from the ocean, and they’ve never been there. Instead, they’re grown to be eaten, and they’ve never seen or been in the ocean. If they are in the food you give your dog, they will just be called salmon, salmon meal, or salmon oil. If the salmon in your dog’s food came from the wild, it will say so on the label.

Salmon raised on farms isn’t nearly as healthy as salmon caught in the wild. When it’s listed as a healthy ingredient in your dog’s food, it can be a trick. Mercury, pollution, and chemicals that cause cancer are more common in farmed salmon.



Xylitol is a low-calorie sweetener that is misrepresented as a healthy alternative to sugar. It is a more recent option, so less research has been done on its risks.

Newer studies have shown that xylitol can be harmful to dogs. It makes the blood sugar rise very high, which can lead to obesity and diabetes. But more serious side effects have shown that xylitol’s toxicity can cause seizures, liver failure, and even death in dogs.



A common preservative in dog food is sodium nitrite, which is made from nitrates. It is used to keep meat from going bad.

Even though these preservatives are safe to use in dog food at the moment, they have been linked to cancer and a blood disorder called methemoglobin.



STPP, which stands for sodium tripolyphosphate, is a common softening agent found in laundry detergent. It is another way to keep dog food from going bad.

Since it is a chemical that isn’t good for your dog’s health, you should try to avoid putting it in his food. This ingredient is bad for the health of your pet.


Rendered Fat

Like meat meal, rendered fat is a generic ingredient, which means it can come from several questionable places. It can contain fat from sick animals from places like zoos, shelters, roadkill, and animals that have been put down.

Most of the time, these rendered fats have gone bad and can have a lot of toxins. These poisons are bad for your dog and can be found in large amounts of fat in his food.


Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is often found in foods that are wet or almost wet. It is also a common ingredient in the antifreeze we use today.

Antifreeze is something that pet owners should stay away from. It is well known that it is very dangerous for dogs. The FDA says that small amounts of propylene glycol are safe, but why take a chance?

Vegetable Oil

Most corn and soy oils are used to make vegetable oil. There are a lot of omega-6 fatty acids in these.

Most dog food already has too many essential fatty acids, so adding this won’t help. Too much omega-6 fatty acid can cause inflammation in your dog’s joints which isn’t good for him.



A lot of the time, animal by-products are used to make dog food. This term is a catch-all for a wide range of ingredients used in dog food to meet nutritional needs.

These things don’t always turn out bad. There are enough rules to make sure that it only has parts of the animal that can be eaten. But because the term isn’t clear, it’s hard to make sure the quality is good. This means that the by-product might not be very healthy.


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