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A Guide to What Food Ingredients Should Be Avoided for Your Dog

A Guide to What Food Ingredients Should Be Avoided for Your Dog

Dec 14, 2023

You have always cared about the well-being of your dog, and you aim to offer him or her only the very best.

Feeding them nutritiously and deliciously, meaning their food is healthy. However, how much of this do you know?

Can you read an ingredients label and tell the good from the bad?

Dog owners do not know that this kind of food usually contains toxic elements.

One could experience an array of medical conditions such as allergic reactions, digestive diseases, cancer as well and cardiovascular problems due to incorporating those specific ingredients.

                                        Your dog's well-being starts with what's in their bowl.

In several instances, they are even prohibited in other nations but legalized in Canada and the USA.

This article will assist you to have some idea of what not to include in your dog’s diet and the reason why they can be harmful to him.

Additionally, we shall provide you with some suggestions on where to get more natural products for your dogs’ good health and benefits. Let's get started!

Things you need to avoid when making dog food.

Maybe you would want to know what’s bad about some of these ingredients, especially because some of them find themselves in your dog’s food.

The answer is simple: money. Such companies cut costs by utilising cheap and poor-quality ingredients.

Artificial preservatives, colours, and flavours are also used by them to give their products a desirable appeal and long shelf life.

Unfortunately, though they may be regarded as important and necessary ingredients, these substances are dangerous for dogs.

Allergies, inflammation, organ damage, and chronic diseases can be caused by them.

The intestines of a dog can also be affected by fleas such as hookworm, while also impairing its absorption and immunities.

Worst Ingredients in Dog Food

  • Meat by-products 

Remains of these animals’ by-products like neck, wings, feet, internal organs, etc. They are of poor quality and may harbor dangerous bacteria, sex hormones, and other medications.

  • Artificial preservatives

The second one is preservatives. These are the chemicals used to impede spoilage and rancidity of fats and oils. Some of these include BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin among others.

These compounds are associated with cancer, liver and kidney diseases, and behavioral problems.

  • Artificial colors and flavours

They are artificial compounds that add beauty, and flavour to a pet's diet. Such foods do not provide any nutrition and may lead to allergic reactions or hyperactive behaviour in children.

  • Fillers and low-quality grains

These are additive carbohydrates used to fill out the food and offer energy.

Nevertheless, they come from genetically modified plants which may have caused allergic reactions, inflammation, or gastrointestinal disorders due to toxicity. These include corn, wheat, or soy for instance.

  • Sodium hexametaphosphate

It is a chemically formulated oral rinse meant to inhibit the accumulation of plaque on your dog’s teeth. Nonetheless, it may result in skin irritation, kidney disease, as well as stunted growth.

How To Recognize The Potential Toxicities Hidden In Dog Food

However, after knowing the ingredients to stay away from in dog food, the other question might be how do you detect ingredients in the ingredients list?

Here are some tips to help you read a dog food label and identify the bad ingredients:

  • Look at the order of the ingredients

From the highest to the lowest by weight, these are the ingredients. It is important to check the first five ingredients that form the bulk of the food to ensure that they are good quality and nutritious for dogs.

It is not advisable to take products whose first ingredient is meat by-products, artificial preservatives, colours or flavours, and low-quality grains.

  • Look at the source of the ingredients

They must indicate the kind and portion of the animal like chicken breast or beef liver.

Foods containing “meat meal” or “animal fat” of unknown origin are of low quality and are therefore likely to be contaminated – avoid them!

  • Look at the percentage of the ingredients

The list should state the percentage of constituents containing protein, fat, fiber, or moisture. These ingredients are essential in your dog’s diet but only when consumed in their desired proportions.

Such an excessive amount of protein may lead to kidneys’ issues while inadequate quantities of fats could result in skin and coat challenges.

  • Look at the expiration date of the food

There should be an explicit and reasonable best-before date, lot number, and the manufacturer’s address details on the food. Ensure that you feed your dog with safe and healthy products. Do not offer expired foods to your pet since they might damage its health.

Pro-Tip: Fun Fact: The animals with the most odor receptors are elephants, pigs and bears. Dogs rank fourth, just ahead of rodents.

You should also learn how to find better alternatives for your dog’s food.

Given this, you may wonder how to locate alternative good ingredients for dog food.

Here are some tips to help you choose a high-quality and healthy dog food:

  • Look for whole-food ingredients

These are partially processed items with most of their essential nutrients, vitamins, and fiber intact. Unlike powdery or artificial components of the nutrients, fresh meats, fruits, and veggies are what make up the best diet for your mutt.

  • Look for natural preservatives

These include vitamin E, vitamin C, and rosemary extracts (from nature). They are generally safe and they contain antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Look for whole grains or grain-free options

These are essential components of nutritious, high-energy energy sources with fibers for their energy boost and digestion process. They rank above low-grade grains that usually do not cause allergic reactions and inflammatory responses.

Examples include oats, barley, and quinoa. You can also go for grain-free options such as sweet potatoes, peas, and lentils.

  • Look for natural flavours and colours

They include all-natural food items like fruits, vegetable extracts, herbs, etc. Phytonutrients and antioxidants that improve the health of dogs besides being more appealing and nutritious.

Selecting the right food for dogs is no mean task; however, it is imperative.

You need to give your dogs a balanced and healthy meal that suits them, however, it should not contain unnecessary harmful substances like those in their kibbles.

Knowing which ingredients are harmful in dog food and why they affect your dog poorly can help you as a responsible owner or pet parent to choose right and educate yourself appropriately.

Also, you may choose alternatives such as natural, healthy, and nutritious foods for your dog.


The dog’s diet determines the basis of life-long wellbeing. Therefore, ensure you give your pet mate nothing but the best. They deserve it!

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