Dog Food Ingredients to Avoid

Have you ever read the labels on the side of a bag or can of dog food? Do you know what all those ingredients are? Do you understand the nutritional values or why the ingredients are even present? If not then you need to continue reading.

I was amazed to learn what these ingredients were and more importantly why they were even in the food I was feeding my Shih Tzu. You can make your own judgment but I felt inclined to at least educate you on what I learned so you can make your own decisions.

Now, I realize there will be times when you may not be able to avoid all harmful ingredients found in some common dog food brands. However, you should definitely try and avoid any dog foods that have a high number of the following ingredients:

  • Corn and Wheat Gluten – Serves only as a binder and has no nutritional value
  • Brewers Rice – Low nutritional value
  • Feeding Oat Meal – Low nutritional value
  • Soy flour – Low nutritional value
  • Potato Products – low nutritional value
  • By-products such as meat by-product and chicken by-product. These by-products may contain low quality products such as feathers, hair, feet and beaks.
  • BHA and BHT – Research suggests these have been known to cause liver and kidney problems as well as bladder and stomach cancer.
  • Animal Fat – Animal source is not specific and does not require the source originate from “slaughtered” animals. As a result, the source could come from any of the following animals: dead, diseased, disabled, dying prior to slaughter, pigs, horses, rats, road kill, or euthanized.
  • Poultry Fat – Animal source is not specific and does not require the source originate from “slaughtered” animals. As a result, the source could come from any of the following: dead, diseased, disabled, dying, turkey, chicken, geese, buzzard, seagulls, or euthanized birds.
  • Cellulose – Is made from dried wood and processed into a fine powder to add bulk and consistency to pet food.
  • Oat, Peanut, and Rice Hull – Used primarily as a filler
  • Animal Digest – A broth made from unspecified animals and animal parts. As a result, there is no control over quality or contamination.
  • Ethoxyquin – Has been used as a pesticide for fruit. While research has not conclusively proven this to be unsafe, it has been linked to serious illnesses such as kidney, thyroid, reproductive, and immune related illnesses as well as cancer. Therefore it is best to avoid it all together if possible.
  • Propyl Gallate – Used in food packaging material and cosmetics. While conclusive research has not proven this to be unsafe it has been linked to causing cancer and liver diseases. Again, avoid if possible.
  • Beef and Bone Meal – Used to increase the protein percentage in dog food. However, it is a by-product made from beef parts which are not suitable for human consumption.
  • Blood Meal – Used to increase protein levels in dog food. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing what type of animal the blood came from or what other substances are in the ingredient.
  • Liver Meal – A protein source made up of ground hepatic mammal glands. Since the source of the animal is not specified, there is no way of knowing which kind of animal the source came from.
  • Sugars and Sweeteners – These are added to make the product more appealing. Continuous use can cause obesity, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis, and allergies.
  • Citrus Pulp – Used as a source of fiber. Since twigs, leaves, and peels are used there is a possibility residue from pesticides and fertilizers are present.
  • Grape Pomace – Used as a fiber source but has little nutritional value. Moreover, since grapes are considered toxic to dogs, you should avoid this ingredient at all costs.

I realize you are now saying to yourself – okay now what?  If commercial foods are so bad for my dog what can I feed him? Well, I would suggest you look into organic, natural products as well and preparing your own homemade dog food dishes.

If you are unable to feed your Shih Tzu an all-natural diet then choose commercial diets that are USDA inspected and made for human consumption.