Dog foods are not all the same, and with news reports suggesting that some dog foods can cause harm to your pets, it is important to examine the ingredients of various dog food products before your purchase. There are some key dog food ingredients you can look out for and try to avoid when selecting the best dog food for your beloved pup.
1. According to The Dog Food Project, there are two common ingredients in dog food that need to be avoided. These are Wheat Gluten and Corn Gluten. While these two ingredients aren’t directly harmful to a dog, they only serve as binders or fillers in dog food and have no nutritional properties. Especially avoid dog foods that have these fillers listed as the first ingredients-the order of ingredients listed reveals what is most present in the dog food product.
2. In order to preserve dog foods from spoiling, often manufactures will use BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin. These chemicals are known carcinogenic which are identified by the FDA as pesticides. There are other options for preserving dog food, and the FDA requested dog food manufactures to lower their use of these toxic preservatives. Sometimes they are not listed in the ingredients and the packages are simply marked E.
3. No dog food should contain melamine, although it might not be listed as a specific ingredient. Melamine is a chemical used to bind plastics and in fertilizer which causes poisoning and kidney failure. Make sure you are aware of current dog food recalls of known melamine-tainted products, such as the FDA dog food recall list.
4. Corn syrup is used to give dampness and flexibility such as in moist food and treats. It is pure sugar and is harmful to animals. Dogs can also get addicted to the taste and prevent a switch to a healthier brand, so you might need to slowly wean your dog off the food by mixing a bit of this old food with the new healthier corn syrup free brand.
5. Dog foods can include MSG, a known allergen for humans. Pets can also not tolerate the additive which is used to enhance flavor.
6. Meat by products is often used instead of actual meat in cheaper dog food products. These are parts of animals that aren’t really meat left over when it is slaughtered, including blood, bones, eyes, stomachs, etc. The generic term “Meat” is also an ingredient to be avoided since it can be spoiled meat, contaminated meat from unknown sources, and would not be fit for human consumption.
You might want to save money by buying cheaper dog food, but in the long run, knowing that you are doing the best for you dog is priceless. Avoiding dangerous ingredients helps you avoid large vet bills caused by problems with your dog’s digestive health and gives you peace in mind in knowing you are protecting your beloved pet. Becoming educated in what ingredients are in your dog food empowers you as a consumer and pet owner.