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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

Ingredients to Avoid in Your Dog's Food

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Choosing the right dog food is crucial for your furry friend's overall health and well-being. With numerous options available, it's essential to be aware of certain ingredients that can potentially harm your dog.


Let's explore key ingredients to avoid when selecting your dog's foods, helping you make informed decisions to provide your pet with a nutritionally balanced and safe diet.

Healthy Dog Food
Dog food

Artificial Preservatives: Many commercial dog foods contain artificial preservatives such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), ethoxyquin, and propylene glycol. These artificial preservatives are often used to extend shelf life and as a moisture-retaining agent. However these additives have been linked to potential health concerns, including allergies, organ toxicity, and carcinogenic effects. Opt for dog foods preserved with natural alternatives like vitamin E (tocopherols) or rosemary extract.


Artificial Colors and Flavors: Artificial colors and flavors in dog food serve no nutritional purpose and are added solely to enhance appearance or taste. Some dogs may develop allergies or experience adverse reactions to these artificial additives. Choose dog foods that rely on natural ingredients for color and flavor, ensuring the focus remains on providing essential nutrients.


Fillers: Excessive amounts of fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy in dog foods should be avoided due to their limited nutritional value. These ingredients primarily serve as inexpensive bulking agents and lack essential nutrients that dogs need for optimal health. Additionally, fillers like corn, wheat, and soy can be common allergens and may contribute to digestive issues in some dogs. By focusing on high-quality protein sources and minimizing fillers, you can provide your dog with a balanced and nutritious diet that supports their overall well-being.


Added Sugars and Sweeteners: Added sugars and sweeteners are unnecessary in dog food and can contribute to weight gain, dental issues, and potential blood sugar imbalances. Keep an eye out for ingredients like corn syrup, cane molasses, and other sweeteners on the label. Opt for dog foods that prioritize natural, whole food ingredients without the need for added sugars.


Unspecified Meat or By-Products: Steer clear of dog foods containing unspecified meat or by-products, both of which are low-quality, rendered animal parts that may include heads, feet, and internal organs. Instead, select dog foods that prioritize high-quality animal protein sources and nutrient-rich ingredients. Lack of transparency regarding the specific protein source can indicate lower quality or potentially inferior ingredients. Opt for dog foods that clearly specify the animal protein source, such as "chicken," "beef," or "salmon."


Excessive Salt (Sodium) Content: High sodium levels in dog food can contribute to various health issues, including dehydration, kidney strain, and hypertension. Check the sodium content on the label and select dog foods with moderate levels to promote optimal health.


Being knowledgeable about the ingredients to avoid in dog foods is essential for promoting your pet's health and well-being. By steering clear of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors, fillers, added sugars, and unspecified or low-quality ingredients, you can make more informed decisions when choosing your dog's food. Prioritize high-quality, natural ingredients, and consider consulting with your veterinarian for specific dietary recommendations tailored to your dog's needs. Remember, a well-balanced, nutritious diet is key to ensuring a happy, healthy life for your beloved furry companion.


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