Do you trust your dog food manufacturer? As a dog owner, we’d like to believe we are feeding our dogs the best food we can give them. And, sometimes the flashy commercials and ads can give us the impression that a certain brand has our dog’s best interest at heart. But often, those large companies with the deep pockets for splashy ads are cutting corners and adding chemicals, preservatives and other dangerous ingredients that can cause our dogs harm.
12 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid
1. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) – a synthetic antioxidant added as a preservative to prevent fats from going rancid. BHA has been shown to cause cancer in both rats and humans.
2. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) – another synthetic very similar to BHA and used to also prevent fats from turning rancid. BHT has been shown to disrupt endocrine balance and cause pulmonary and pituitary tumors in mice, even at a low dosage.
3. Ethoxyquin (“Fish Meal”) – another chemical preservative to preserve fats in pet food. Banned from use in the European Union, but still used in the U.S. Side effects include hemorrhage, liver damage, cancer, kidney and thyroid damage.
4. Propylene Glycol – an ingredient also found in antifreeze, this colorless chemical is used in processed foods and cosmetics. Shown to cause skin irritation, kidney damage and liver damage.
5. Food Dyes – chemical colorings that have no nutritional value and shown to increase hyperactivity, impulsiveness and ADHD symptoms in humans. Could be the source of your dog’s behavior problems and many food dyes are confirmed carcinogens.
6. Rendered Fat – animal fat that is most often obtained from scraps of slaughtered animals that can be contaminated with plastics, antibiotics and even sodium pentobarbital, the drug used to euthanize animals.
7. Wheat Gluten – as with humans, wheat and gluten have been shown to cause gut inflammation, an immune response and thyroid disorders. Dogs are carnivores and have no need for these grains in their diets.
8. Meat Byproducts – animal organs and tissues that aren’t used for human consumption. Most byproducts come from dead or diseased animals and can contain pathogens, chemicals and even euthanasia drugs.
9. Carrageenan – a common thickener, stabilizer and texturizer found in processed foods. Shown to cause intestinal ulcerations, gastrointestinal inflammation and even cancer.
10. Sorbitol – a sugar alcohol extracted from corn used as a sugar substitute. Found to have a strong laxative effect and raise blood sugar in dogs, which could lead to hyperactivity or behavior issues.
11. Xylitol – another sugar alcohol found in many human desserts but very harmful to dogs. Causes hypoglycemia in dogs and acute, life-threatening liver disease.
How to Choose a Healthy Dog Food
1. Look for minimal, quality ingredients. The ingredient panel should look like something you would eat. It should contain whole food ingredients like turkey, chicken, salmon, sweet potato, carrots, berries, etc., and be free of lengthy chemical names. Also, avoid obscure protein terms like meat, poultry or animal which could be an indication of meat byproducts.
2. Avoid grains. Dogs are carnivores and have no nutritional requirement for grains. Processed grains are added to most processed foods to lower production costs. They can cause digestive issues as well as chronic inflammation.
3. Look for natural preservatives. Vitamin C and E, also called “tocopherols,” act as natural preservatives in food. You can also avoid preservatives altogether by purchasing real, whole foods that are frozen until ready to serve, or foods with freeze-dried ingredients which are shelf stable without preservatives in moisture barrier packaging.
4. Look for natural food colorings. Avoid any food containing color names like Red Dye 40. Instead, look for natural food colorings from beet juice or annatto.
5. Research brands before you buy. The best brands have a lot to brag about and will be the most transparent on their websites. They want you to know what’s in their foods, how they are made and why they are better than the competition.
Vote with Your Pocketbook
Unfortunately, many dog food manufacturers continue to use harmful fillers and ingredients to cut costs and increase profits. The trend is moving in the right direction as pet owners become educated and insist on healthy food for their furry family members. Be part of the movement by purchasing healthy, nourishing dog food from caring brands to help drive out the harmful products for good!
This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather®, makers of award-winning freeze-dried bland diets made with 100% human-grade ingredients sourced and manufactured in the U.S.A. All six of our bland diets contain grass-fed beef and bison, free-range chicken and turkey and wild-caught salmon. No preservatives, dyes, flavorings, soy or corn. Only wholesome goodness when your dog needs a bland diet to get through a bout of digestive upset.
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