10 Dog Food Ingredients Your Dog Should Avoid

Ground Corn


Corn is a attractive ingredient to the manufacturer looking to cut costs and increase profit. Corn protein is not a complete protein source and it is essential that the kibble is balanced with amino acid proteins. According to the AAFCO the definition of corn meal is “The dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm.”


wheat-field-0 Just like corn, wheat is found in excessive abundance in many low-end dog food products. This starchy crop is known to cause allergies and intolerances to wheat in many dogs. This low cost alternative resulted in the massive 2007 Menu Foods dog food recall. Wheat gluten contamination caused thousands of dogs to suffer from kidney failure. If you see wheat in your top 5 ingredients AVOID!

Artificial Colors

artcolorors That pretty looking multi-colored kibble often found in many lowed-end kibble products is not so pretty. Kibble is meant to appeal to you the owner, not the dog. Artificial colors contain synthetic chemical dyes that have been linked to cancer and other health effects by the World Health Organization.

Powdered Cellulose

powderglocuosus Cellulose or Powdered Cellulose is essentially nothing more than 100% filler for profit. According to AAFCO “Powdered cellulose is purified, mechanically disintegrated cellulose prepared by processing alpha cellulose obtained as a pulp from fibrous plant material. In other words, sawdust.”


sugar Table sugar is often used to perk interest in the unsavory concoctions pet food manufacturers make. There is no reason for added sugar to be placed in pet food, other than the reason mentioned.

Dried Beet Pulp

SONY DSC Dried Beet Pulp is the fibrous material left over after the sugar is extracted from a beet. Beet pulp has been linked to stomach swelling in dogs. This filler offers little nutritional value and is also known to actually plug the intestines in dogs.

Animal Fat

animalfat01 Rendered animal fat that is deemed inedible for humans often makes it way into many low-end brand dog food products. Some companies have gone as far as using used restaurant grease, rendering the fat and inserting it into the kibble. According to the AAFCO, “Animal Fat is obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial processes of rendering or extracting. It consists predominantly of glyceride esters of fatty acids and contains no additions of free fatty acids. If an antioxidant is used, the common name or names must be indicated, followed by the words “used as a preservative”.

Chemical Preservatives: BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Propyl Gallate, Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate and TBHQ

bh These powerful chemicals are used as preservatives and to prevent rancidization of fats. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are petroleum derived preservatives used in food and hygeine products. BHT has been banned from use in baby products in the United States and both BHA and BHT are banned entirely from use in human products in many countries throughout the world. Our dogs do not receive the same protection. Powerful preservatives provide an inexpensive means of providing long product shelf-life. Naturally preserved products may utilize tocopherols (Vitamin E), citric acid and rosemary extract to prevent rancidity.

Propylene Glycol

madefault Like sugar, propylene glycol is used in many pet foods and treats as a flavor enhancer due to its sweet taste. It is also found in many semi-soft or moist pet products and is another questionable ingredient in pet food. In human uses it is a common ingredient in stick deoderant and make-up. It is interesting to note that propylene gycol is the less toxic chemical sister to ethylene glycol, or “anti-freeze”.

Unspecified Meat Sources

ingredient The problem with unspecified meat sources is we don’t know what type meat it is! Is it beef? Chicken? Or something the manufacturer doesn’t want us to know? These unspecified meat sources are found as “Meat by-Products” “Meat Meal” Meat and Bone Meal”
Exposing the truth, Ann Martin in her book “Food Pet’s Die For”, links the revolting practice and detection of sodium pentobarbital in dog food products. The reason this is such a controversial topic is sodium pentobarbital is linked to a veterinarian drug to euthanize animals! Just recently J.M. Smucker Company said it had initiated a voluntary recall of specific shipments of Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy and Skippy canned dog food that were tainted with pentobarbital.

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Kevin Bentley

Hi, I’m Kevin Bentley, a dog lover and enthusiast. Though I started out as a cat person, my wife quickly set me on the true path of dog love. Now I’m full-on obsessed with dogs and everything related to dogs. I’ve purchased every dog accessory you can think of, so I decided to collect my thoughts about them on this site.

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