Do you have a forever hungry for dog food furry friend at home? Is it the lazy kind that sleeps next to their plate and only gets up at the sound of you opening a bag of yummy treats? All dog lovers are familiar with that “feed me I am hungry stare”. We all know that dogs are always in the mood for a meal, but it is essential to be careful with what you feed your dog, to ensure that it stays healthy and happy.
When you buy food for your dog, how often do you look at the table of ingredients to check whether what you are feeding your precious dog is indeed healthy? ‘Don’t dogs usually eat everything?’ Of course, they would munch on anything they can find, from footwear to cushions, but as pet owners, it is our duty, much like with our toddlers, to make sure that they avoid unhealthy ingredients in their food. Don’t you know which ingredients are bad for your dog? Don’t worry. Here’s a list of Dog food ingredients that you should avoid.
- Corn or Corn Syrup in Dog Food
Corn is usually used by manufacturers as filler ingredient to make premium dog food cheap and cost friendly. Corn can, however, develop fungi and mold over time and can even endanger your dog’s life. Corn syrup, on the other hand, is a sweetener but too much sugar can also cause diabetes, obesity or hyperactivity in your dog.
Instead: Try excellent quality meat with enough protein. Your dog won’t need any additional flavoring with some well-toned meat.
- BHT/BHA Butylated-hydroxyanisole / butylated hydroxytoluene
It is a banned ingredient in some countries. It serves as a food preservative, but studies have shown that it is cancerous and can cause kidney damage and hyperactivity. Food such as butter, chewing gum, beer and dry cereals contain these ingredients, and it is, therefore, advisable to avoid feeding them to your prized dog.
Instead: Try canned food without Carrageenan or natural preservatives such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or rosemary.
- Propylene Glycol in Dog Food
This ingredient is used in dog food to prevent moisture from gathering around the food increasing bacterial growth and resulting in early food spoilage. Your dog needs ‘intestinal’ bacteria to help it to digest its food. Propylene Glycol hinders the ‘positive’ growth of bacteria in its body. It can cause cancers in dogs as well as intestinal blockages.
Instead: Try fresh meat or freshly cooked meals. These food items retain their moisture and would encourage healthy bacterial growth needed for digestion.
- Meat By-Product, Crude Protein, Animal Fat
Animal fat, or crude protein, is derived from the carcasses of euthanized animals for use in beauty and cleaning products. It can even be an extract from dogs themselves. The chemical compound used in the process of euthanizing an animal is proven to be harmful to those who would, by any chance, consume it later on. Therefore, don’t fall for cheap products or cheap alternatives.
Instead: Buy fresh premium quality meat. Your beloved dog is worth it, right?
- Ethoxyquin Listed In Dog Food
Unfortunately, this ingredient is frequently labeled in the ingredients list of dog food products. It served as a preservative but developed initially as a herbicide. It can damage your dog’s liver, spleen, stomach, skin, kidneys and even affect the immunity system, resulting in leukemia or blindness.
Instead: Try the natural food preservatives mentioned above, or buy products that use them. While natural preservatives may give the food a shorter lifespan, it will lengthen your pet’s time on earth. And as we all know, that food won’t last a week with your dog’s appetite!
- Artificial Coloring: Red 40, Blue 2, 4-MIE, Yellow 5 and 6
Dogs cannot differentiate colors. Food coloring is added to make the dog food more appealing to the buyer. It is a marketing strategy with no nutritional advantage to your pet. Research has found artificial coloring links to cancers (Yellow 6) and hyperactivity.
Instead: Try natural food coloring, if you think it is necessary. The dog, after all, would not particularly care, being colorblind.
- Sugar Alcohols
Maltitol, Sorbitol and Xylitol are three main sugar substitutes or sugar alcohols that you should avoid. The last of the three is said to be the most fatal of them all. When frequently consumed, sugar alcohols can cause hyperglycemia, seizure and even liver failure and the subsequent death of your beloved pet.
Instead: Try natural sweeteners like fruits.
- Soy meals
Grain or vegetable based proteins, unlike meat proteins, are not very healthy for dogs. Your pet cannot greatly benefit from a meal with more grains and vegetables than meat. Dogs find it difficult to digest soy-based meals, causing bloating and gas. You don’t want to be around when they start to ‘pass gas’. It would, therefore, be much better to avoid soy altogether.
- Bone Meal and Beef
Much like by-products, beef and bone meal acts as a filler and has little or no nutritional value at all. This meat is declared unfit for human consumption. While it may not be dangerous to your dog, your pet will not get the best for what you pay for it. You might as well buy yourself some premium dog food, instead of wasting money on food with higher filler content.
About 70% of canned dog food contain this ingredient which causes intestinal inflammation and might even lead to cancer. Canned dog food is much better than preserved dog food with ingredients like BHT/BHA.
As you can see, dog food has many ingredients that can be harmful to your dog. Always be careful with what you feed your dog, including the ingredients in human food. You must also remember to supply your precious friend with a balanced diet. Obesity can be life-threatening to a dog. So next time you go shopping for your dog’s meals, make sure that you check the ingredients list. Contact your vet about which ingredients are best avoided in your dog’s food, especially in the case of allergies.
Author: Mathew Bojerski