Ingredients to Avoid In Pet Food

Propylene glycol is an industrial solvent used in acrylics, stains, inks, dyes, cellophane, non-toxic antifreeze, airplane de-icers and brake fluid. Side effects on animals include: irregular heartbeat, underdeveloped growth, brain, liver and kidney failure, lowering blood pressure and even death.

Propylene glycol is a sugar, and pets love the sweet taste and smell. And while it’s not as toxic as its cousin, ethylene glycol, it is nonetheless well worth avoiding in your pet’s food.

Artificial ColoringsPet food ingredients to avoid

  1. Blue dye #s 1 and 2 – Found in pet foods and treats; these have caused brain tumors and should be avoided.
  2. Red dye #3 – Has been linked to thyroid tumors in pets.
  3. Yellow dye #6 – Linked to adrenal gland and kidney tumors. Technically, it is a known carcinogen.

Realistically, there is no reason to have any dyes in your pet’s food at all. They serve no purpose but aesthetics, and can only do harm. For our clients who feed commercial dry dog food we recommend all-natural diets with no colorings, chemicals, or synthetic preservatives.

Additives and Synthetics

BHA and BHT – Many studies have shown that the use of these widely used chemicals causes cancer in laboratory rats.

Propyl galate – Is a preservative used to prevent spoiling but has been linked to cancer.

Ethoxyquin – Is perhaps the most widely used chemical and the most dangerous.  Not only does it cause many forms of cancer, but it has been linked to mutations of genes that suppress cancer.  It has been banned as an “additional” additive in dog foods and treats but it is allowed to be used in preserving ingredients in the supply chain.  Unfortunately, since it’s used in the supply chain it won’t be listed in the ingredients on the bag, so avoiding this carcinogen is more difficult than it might at first seem.

Potassium Bromate – Has been banned throughout the world, except in the United States and Japan. It is used in flours and causes renal cancers as well as some forms of lung cancer.

Acesulfame Potassium or Acesulfame-K – Is a chemical sweetener used in human food and pet foods.  Sweetness attracts all mammals which is why it is tossed into the food.  In controlled studies, this chemical caused cancer! These cancers included lung tumors and breast tumors, various types of leukemia and chronic respiratory disease in the animals.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils – This is a butter replacement in the food industry (and a very unhealthy one for us, as well) but it is very high in trans-fats which promote heart disease and diabetes.

Brown Sugar / Sugar/ Molasses – Some of the effects of sugar in pets are: suppression of the immune system, mineral imbalance, hyperactivity, diabetes, kidney distress, weight gain, allergies, excessive pancreatic activity and liver activity, and an increase in “bad bacteria” in the colon. And… sugar is an important nutrient for cancer cells – they thrive on sugar!

Additional items to be wary of: Corn gluten meal, wheat flour and wheat gluten meal, ground yellow corn, sugar glycerin, anything preserved with BHA, soybean meal, artificial flavors, glyceryl monostearate, and any added colors or dyes as reviewed above.

Pet Food Ingredients to Avoid

Since the emergence of the natural pet food market in 2004, pet food has improved markedly.  The focus has shifted from merely sustaining your pet to providing natural health solutions including naturopathic and preventative care.

Wheat Gluten is badA bag of pet food is not just a bag of food, but a bag of ingredients that could easily save pet parents thousands of dollars in out of pocket expenses over the course of their pet’s life.  Furthermore, paying attention to the ingredient panel of your dog’s food should be of utmost concern.  In fact, a pet parent who buys cheap and/or poor quality pet food often spends much more money over their dog’s lifetime, due simply to trying to manage medical issues which can be easily avoided through better nutrition.

As a good rule of thumb, here are THE TOP 10 ingredients to avoid;

  1. Meat By-Products & Bone Meal
  2. Animal Fat
  3. Corn/Wheat/Rice Gluten Meal
  4. Propylene Glycol
  5. White Potatoes
  6. Soy Products
  7. BHA & BHT
  8. Ethoxyquin
  9. Salts
  10. Sugars

Although this list may be daunting, stay away from the following ingredients;

Ingredient Types  Ingredient List
Additives Glyceryl Monostearate, Phosphoric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Bisulfate, Dicalcium Phosphate, DL-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Onion Powder / Extract, Magnesium Oxide, Monosodium Phosphate, Lysine, Phosphoric Acid, Brewer’s Yeast Extract, Dextrose
Binders Corn Gluten, Wheat Gluten, Rice Gluten
Carbohydrate Sources Brewers Rice, Cereal Food Fines, Feeding Oat Meal, Grain Fermentation Solubles, Maltodextrins & Fermentation Solubles, White Potato Product, Soy Flour
Coloring Agents Blue 2, Red 40, Red 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 (artificial colors), Titanium Dioxide
Fat Sources Animal Fat, Beef Tallow, Lard, Poultry Fat, Vegetable Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Tetra Sodium Pyrophosphate, Eucalyptus Oil
Fiber Sources Cellulose, Corn Bran, Corn Cellulose, Oat Hulls, Peanut Hulls, Rice Hulls, Soybean Mill Run, Wheat Mill Run
Fillers Corn, Wheat Flour, Rice Hulls, Rice Flour, Rice Bran, Rice, Soybean Hulls, Peanut Hulls,
Flavoring Agents Animal Digest, Digest, Natural Flavor, Artificial Flavor, Smoke Flavor, Glandular Meal, Bacon Flavors, Chicken Flavors, Artificial Flavors, Yeast Culture
Fruits and Vegetables Beet Pulp, Apple Pomace, Citrus Pulp, Grape Pomace
Preservatives BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Propyl Gallate
Protein Sources Beef & Bone Meal, Blood Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles, Corn Germ Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Fish Meal, Liver Meal, Meat & Bone Meal, Meat Meal, Pork & Bone Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal, Poultry Meal, Soybean Meal
Supplements Bone Phosphate, Salt, Mineral Oil, Yeast Culture, Yeast Fermentation Solubles, L-alanine, Calcium Chloride
Sweeteners Cane Molasses, Corn Syrup, Fructose, Sorbitol, Sucrose (Sugar), DI-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate, Glycerin, Caramel
Vitamins and Minerals Menadione Sodium Bisulfate (Vitamin K3, Synthetic Vitamin K), Sodium Chloride (Salt)

Over the ensuing weeks and months we’re going to cover most – if not all – of these ingredients one by one. We’ll explain what’s in your pet’s food and why, and the negative effects that each of them bring. Then, we‘ll bring you up to speed on the good ingredients that are found in the best foods available, why they’re good, and the positive changes you’ll see when you feed him the best food available. So check back here often for the best information on your pet’s health.    🙂