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Seven of the Scariest Ingredients in Dog Food

Our last blog post, Finding a Safe Dog Food: Where to start? went over some of the basics regarding label reading and a helpful website where you can search a specific food’s nutritional value and see its ratings based on ingredient purity. Today we’re going to list some of the most important ingredients to avoid and why.

• BHA & BHT - preservatives added to oils in pet food that are both known carcinogens. BHA can cause reproductive harm and BHT causes liver and kidney damage.

• Food Dyes (especially Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, 4-MIE) - known to cause cancer, allergic reactions and behavior problems in humans. 4-MIE is a known carcinogen for animals.

• Propylene Glycol - a moistening agent chemically derived from ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) which is extremely toxic.

• Ethoxyquin – a preservative not always found on labels. Illegal to be put in human food but not yet pet foods.

• Corn and wheat gluten - common causes of allergies and harder for dogs to digest.

• Mean and grain “meals” - can contain dead animals and food waste from restaurants and stores like fats and grease.

• Rendered Fat – intended to improve taste, but can contain microorganisms such as salmonella and toxins like heavy metals.

Another very important point to remember is just like humans, dogs are all different from each other and require different types of nutrition. There is no “one size fits all” for a dog food. Dog Food Advisor recognizes this and goes over their favorite clean-ingredient dog foods. When you think about how a 2-year-old 17lb dog with high energy and a fast metabolism may digest foods compared to a 120lb 8-year-old hound with arthritis, it makes sense that their dietary needs will differ. This also goes for pets with allergies and food sensitivities. Your vet is a great resource for going over your dog’s various needs and deciding what the best food for them would be.

When you introduce a new food, keep a close eye on how your dog is responding to it. Are his bathroom habits different? Is his energy different? Is he drinking more than usual or drooling a lot? What may seem like a symptom from something else going on in his or her life, could very well be the new dog food even if it seems like similar ingredients or ones that you thought would be fine for his digestion. Keep a log to record his feeding times, naps, digestion patterns and anything else you may be noticing. Again, your vet is a really good resource for navigating this!

Sources:  Pet Safe | Dog Food Advisor | American Kennel Club