Four Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food
When you’re shopping for dog food, look out for these ingredients. If you see them on the label, you can put the bag down and move on to the next.
1. Corn Syrup and Artificial Food Coloring
The sweetness from corn syrup and the artificial coloring from food dye are completely unnecessary and unnatural in dog food. The addictive corn syrup can cause dogs to eat too much, and some artificial food colorings can cause allergic reactions.
2. BHA, BHT or Ethoxyquin
Just say “no” to these artificial preservatives. They extend dog foods’ shelf life, but they shouldn’t be a part of your dog’s life, as they can have harmful effects.
3. Rendered Fat
Rendered fat is a mystery ingredient that enhances flavor. Since its sources are unknown, rendered fat can contain toxins and host mold and harmful microorganisms.
4. Propylene Glycol
While propylene glycol is FDA-approved and safe for human consumption, it may not be the best ingredient for dogs. A big reason to avoid this artificial additive in dog food is because it’s known to be toxic to cats.
Below are a few more ingredients to avoid in dog food:
While you shouldn’t fear the ingredients listed above, you should be aware of them and their potential risks. Ultimately, the dog food you choose comes down to what works best for Fido. Be sure to do your own research when choosing a dog food.
Five Beneficial Ingredients in Dog Food
While there are ingredients to avoid in dog food, there are also ingredients you want your pooch to consume! According to the American Kennel Club:
While meat makes up the majority of their diet, domestic dogs can also derive nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. These non-meat foods are not simply fillers, but can be a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A good dog food will contain meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits. The best dog foods contain high-quality versions of these ingredients that are appropriate for your dog’s digestive system.
Let’s dig into some doggone good ingredients!
As a general rule of thumb, meat should be the first ingredient listed on the dog food bag. It’s essential to your dog’s diet and a grrreat source of protein.
2. Vitamins and Minerals
We all know that vitamins and minerals are good for hoomans, but they’re also good for doggos! In the blog, The 10 Best Ingredients For Dog Food Every Pet Parent Should Know, Dog-Eared author Danil Ovechkin writes:
Dogs require that their food sources contain vitamins, including vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and choline.
Ovechkin later adds:
Minerals in dog food are sometimes referred to as “trace minerals,” because your dog needs them in such small amounts. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important! A mineral deficiency can lead to health problems including bone and joint disorders, impaired immunity, and anemia. Trace nutrients to look for on labels include zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate (iron), and manganese sulfate.
3. Healthy Carbohydrates
Hoomans are often taught to avoid carbs, but healthy carbohydrates are beneficial to both pet pawrents and their woofs. Carbs found in fruits, vegetables and rice provide dogs with energy – which they will promptly burn by playing.
4. Healthy Fats
Fats get a bad rap, but they are actually essential to your dog’s diet – and they keep his or her coat healthy and shiny! In their post, The Top 10 Dog Food Ingredients For Your Dog’s Good Health, Dog Food Insider notes to “[l]ook for high quality fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, fish oils, canola oil, chicken fat, and olive oil.”
You heard it here furrst: Grains are good for dogs! According to the AKC, “For most dogs, grains are actually a source of wholesome nutrients.” While grain-free dog foods have gained pawpularity, they should only be served to dogs with grain allergies.
Below are a few more beneficial ingredients to look for in dog food:
- Superfood additives such as pumpkin, kale and blueberries
If your dog food includes these beneficial ingredients, Fido’s likely following a great diet! However, some pooches might have food allergies or restrictions that limit what they are able to eat. Read about alternative diets below.
Alternative Diets for Dogs
It’s a big deal to change your dog’s food and, even more so, their diet. Before starting any of the diets below, you should first have a discussion with your veterinarian.
Sensitive Stomach Diet
If your dog has tummy troubles, they might need to be put on a special diet. In their article, Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs, the AKC explains how to start the search for a sensitive stomach-friendly commercial dog food:
The first thing to look for is a food that claims to be “complete and balanced.” This statement means that the food is specifically formulated to provide your pet with all of the nutrients known to be necessary for dogs. Choosing a complete and balanced diet helps eliminate sensitive stomachs that result from nutritional deficiencies, and ensures that your pet is getting the nutrition he needs for healthy digestion.
After finding a complete and balanced dog food, the AKC recommends that you look at the ingredient label to help you make your decision. They also note that, “Finding the optimal diet for your dog’s sensitive stomach often takes time. You might end up transitioning him through several different foods before you find the one that works.”
If your dog’s tummy troubles are not remedied by commercial dog food, home cooked meals are another option. This leads us to our next diet…
For some dogs, the cure for their upset stomachs is a simple, homemade dinner of unseasoned, fully cooked chicken and rice. Some pet pawrents are beginning to feed Fido this kind of dish for every meal. A homemade diet can be a good option for pooches, but it’s important that all of their nutritional needs are met.
If you choose to be Fido’s chef, you absolutely must make a meal plan with your vet. It’s non-negotiable. To get the fur-one-one on which hooman foods are healthy for dogs to eat, check out our blog, Can Dogs Eat Table Food?
Impawtant Note: Because raw meats can contain harmful bacteria, dogs should only eat meats that are fully cooked.