Talk 2 The Animals: The Most Common Toxic Ingredients in Store Bought Dog Food

As a dog owner, you may think that all dog food is healthy and good for your dog. And while for the most part that is true, just like in some human food, there may actually be some toxic ingredients. Of course, you’ll have a hard time getting any dog food maker to admit as such, and some studies out there may absolve all ingredients as being non-toxic in the amounts added. So, use this information, provided by, as an overview and make any decision on what to feed your dog based on what has been working, what feels right and what works best for you and your budget. (NOTE: Be sure to scroll down to see The 10 Most Dangerous Ingredients in Pet Food Infographic.)

BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin 

These nasty chemicals are all preservatives, and although BHA and BHT are actually allowed in human foods, BHA is a known carcinogen. Ethoxyquin, on the other hand, has been banned from human food consumption because it was originally developed as an herbicide and is considered harmful if swallowed or if it contacts your skin! Yuk! Do you really want that in your pet’s food?

Your best choice is to get a dog food that has zero preservatives, or at the very least, a dog food that uses vitamin C or vitamin E to preserve the freshness and flavor.

Artificial Food Dyes

Think about this. The only colors your dog can see, besides black, white and shades of grey, are yellow and blue. So if your dog food has any other color besides those, your dog will never know. So why is dog food colored in pleasing hues of red, green, orange and others? It is because the more appealing it looks to you, the better the chances that you’ll purchase that brand.

Colored dog food is made by adding in artificial dyes like Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6 and Blue 2. These dyes have been proven to cause allergic types of reactions, behavioral problems and cancer in humans, so goodness knows what it will do to dogs.

The reality here is that all non-colored dog food will be a shade of brown after cooking, much like any meat you may cook in the oven. But be aware, even brown colored food can have caramel coloring added to enhance and give the food a uniformly looking and appealing color shade, so caramel coloring is out too. Besides, your dog is going to eat it no matter what, and doesn’t much care about what color it is or how appealing it looks.

Propylene Glycol

Yes, it is true, anti-freeze is added to dog food to slightly sweeten it and keep it moist. That is amazing in itself, since propylene glycol-based antifreezes are some of the deadliest substances that your dog can ingest.

Actually, this stuff is in a huge amount of foods, both human and pet food alike. Those ultra-soft and yummy cookies you get are probably fortified with propylene glycol to keep them moist, just like those moist and meaty chunks of kibble in some of the most popular dog food brands. Obviously, your dog won’t drop dead from eating it in food, but propylene glycol also inhibits good intestinal bacteria growth, so it may cause lesions or intestinal blockage over time. That’s not something you or your pooch needs to look forward to in the future.

By Products

You’ll have to ask yourself this. What actually are the by-products that are added to dog food? Once you think about it then ask this, does anyone really know? How’s that for an answer.

Just like Coke’s secret formula that does not have to be listed, neither do dog food by-products. In the most general of terms, by-products are usually scraps of meat, pieces of intestines, skin and what have you. If the by-products came from a diseased animal, who cares. Pieces of bone, brain tissue, scraps of paper, dust and dirt from sweeping the floor, and whatever else that makes its way into a batch of dog food, who knows. It is labeled as a by-product, and because of that, does anyone truly know what they are?

Corn Syrup

Some dog food formulator decided that sweetening up dog food would make dogs eat more. That may be true, but dogs are going to eat as much as they want whether their food is sweetened or not, and if you only give your pet a limited amount of food every day anyway, having sweetened dog food just won’t matter.

What will matter may be the fact that your dog may require dental work or need to have their teeth pulled from rotting teeth. They may even become obese or diabetic, they may be more prone to hyperactivity, and their overall attitude might change. Is there any reason you want your best friend to experience any of these things? Probably not.

Check the Label 

Now ideally, you’ll want to check the label to make sure any dog food that you are feeding Fido has none of the ingredients on this list, but no one wants to knock any brand of dog food either. Most dogs tolerate any type of food, and in a pinch, dog food is still dog food and will supply basic nutrition, guaranteed by the FDA. But for the healthiest pet out there, try and stay away from foods containing the ingredients listed, and even if you have to pay a little extra money for dog foods without any toxic ingredients, and virtually any organic dog food fits the bill, it is going to be worth it in the long run for both you and your 4-legged buddy.

Click here to see the infographic The 10 Most Dangerous Ingredients in Pet Food.

If you found the above helpful, check out these other posts…..

Pet Food, By-Products and Red Jello

Pet Obesity: Remedies for an Epidemic

Natural Nutrition: The Raw Food Diet

Your Pet’s Diet

from Janet Roper, Animal Communicator & Educator


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