As a general consensus, I have found that many pup parents are under the assumption that all dog food is created equal. Well, I want to set the record straight and tell you something that ALL dog owners need to know: All dog food is NOT created equal. In fact, there are a lot of foods on the market that are downright bad and even dangerous for pups to consume.
How can that be, you ask? Well, because, sadly, many companies that manufacture dog food are trying to make the products they create as inexpensive to manufacture as possible so that they can make the most money, and unfortunately, this means that many companies decide to load their food with poor quality – even dangerous – ingredients.
I learned the hard way that a lot of commercial grade dog foods are loaded with preservatives, additives, dyes and other processed ingredients, and those ingredients were taking a really big toll on my Daisy and Sammy. Their fur was falling out, they were almost lethargic, and they were having serious digestion issues.
When a friend of my mother’s suggested that the issues my pups were having could be related to the food that they were eating, and she recommended a healthy food that I should try – Orijen – and thank goodness she did, because it has made a huge difference, I decided to do some research to find out what types of ingredients are used in commercial grade dog foods that are actually bad for dogs.
I was completely blown away when I found that there are actually several ingredients that are used in cheap, store brand dog foods that can be downright dangerous to dogs – and I was horrified to learn that I was feeding my dogs some of those ingredients.
What types of ingredients am I talking about? Here’s a look at some of the terrible items that can be found in a lot of commercial dog foods, and that you should avoid at all costs:
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated Hydroxytoleune (BHT) and Ethoxyquin: These are three nasty chemical preservatives that are often found in commercial dog foods. BHA and BHT are both carcinogens and reproductive toxicants, both of which can cause kidney and liver damage. Ethoxyquin is actually illegal to use in foods that are made for human consumption, but is often added into dog food (why anyone would think it’s OK for dogs to consume this preservative when it’s not OK for humans to is beyond me!)
- Dyes. A lot of commercial dog foods use food dyes in their formulas, and these dyes can cause serious harm to dogs. Blue 2, Red 40 and Yellow 5 and 6 have both been found to cause hypersensitivity, behavior issues, and even cancer in humans. Carmel coloring has also been found in dog food, and it contains an additive that is a known carcinogen to animals.
- Rendered Fat. A lot of companies add rendered fat in their formula, which does add flavor to the food; however, rendered fat is also a source of microorganisms, such as Salmonella, as well as toxins, like heavy metals. These are bad enough alone; however, if the food is penetrated by moisture, mold and other harmful bacteria can begin to grow and spread like wild fire.
- Corn and Wheat Gluten. While these ingredients may not be harmful for humans, for dogs, they can be incredibly harmful. Most dogs can’t properly digest corn and wheat gluten, which means that they may have a lot of gas, inconsistent bowls and even diarrhea when they consume these ingredients.
- Meat Byproducts. These byproducts are derived from the non meat parts of an animal, and can include things like fatty tissue, kidneys, bone, brain, blood, stomach and intestines (gross, I know, but you have to know this, because these byproducts can be extremely hazardous to dogs!)
Please, do yourself – and more importantly, your dog – a favor right now: Go and check the ingredients in the food you are feeding your dog. If you see any of these ingredients listed, ditch it immediately!
Head to the store and buy your dog a food that contains all natural ingredients (organic, if you can,) ideally, has no preservatives, or all natural preservatives, if it has any, and has human grade ingredients (things that are safe for people to eat.) You should also make sure that all ingredients and food is made in the USA. Knowing these facts will help you choose the best, most nutritious – and healthiest – food for your dog.