A healthy diet can help to reduce the risk of your pet developing obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The means feeding your dog the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Many dog foods market themselves as being healthy when toxic ingredients lurk inside. So, what ingredients can be harmful to your four-legged family member?
Here are the 4 worst dog food ingredients to avoid feeding your pet.
1. Plant-Proteins and Fibers
Many food brands turn to plants as a way to boost their protein content. Yet, it’s better for dogs to get their protein from meat-based sources.
Pea-proteins often come from dried or processed peas. These contain lectins, which can disrupt the digestive process for your pet. They also result in absorbing fewer minerals from other healthy ingredients.
Cellulose is another ingredient that can interfere with your dog’s health. It gets made from plant fibers or wood pulp.
This fiber is not the same quality that a dog gets from whole foods. Cellulose can also interfere with bowel movements. Feeding your dog table scraps can also cause similar problems.
The difference in healthy dog food is that it contains whole and natural ingredients. This includes veggies like pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, and greens.
Lentils, eggs, chickpeas, and flaxseed also contribute to a healthier diet. Dog food that contains apples and blueberries also offer a good source of nutrition.
2. Wheat and Corn Products
Dog food ingredients like wheat and corn often get used as fillers in low-quality brands. Corn gluten meal and ground yellow corn provide little nutritional value. This means that corn should never be the first ingredient found in your dog’s food.
You also want to avoid soy products. This includes soy meal and soy protein concentrate. These are harder for pets to digest, causing gas and bloating.
Corn syrup is another ingredient to avoid. It’s high in sugar, contributing to diabetes and obesity in pets. You also want to avoid any sugar alcohols, which affect blood sugar levels.
Vegetable and canola oils get processed using chemicals and often show up in dog food. There are much healthier oils to choose from to get fatty acids, like wild Alaskan salmon oil.
Refined carbs like white flour should also get avoided. They add high levels of carbohydrates to daily meals, with little nutrition.
Brewers rice is one of the worst carbs that shows up in pet food. It consists of the remains of processed white rice. Brown rice and barley are much better alternatives to this.
Some pet owners and veterinarians are also against grain ingredients. Those that contain gluten are causing allergies and sensitivities for pets. Yet, the FDA is currently studying whether there is a link to grain-free dog food and heart disease.
3. Meat By-Products
You won’t find any meat by-products in quality dog food brands. This type of ingredient gets added to increase protein in an unhealthy way.
Be on the lookout for poultry fat, meat and bone meal, and animal digest. These often contain animal waste and remains of dead or diseased animals.
These meat by-products also undergo a high-temperature heating process. This removes much of the nutrients from the food.
There have also shown to be traces of pentobarbital contaminating meat by-products. This shows up from leftover remains of euthanized animals.
Another bad ingredient is fish meal. This often contains PCB’s, high levels of mercury, and other pollutants.
The worst dry dog food may also contain rendered fat, used for flavoring. It can carry toxins and cause bacteria and mold growth in food.
Instead, choose ingredients from whole natural meats, like turkey, rabbit, and chicken. Bison, lamb, duck, venison, and wild-caught fish also provide proper protein and nutrients. Deboned meats and chicken fat are other safe ingredients.
4. Artificial Additives and Preservatives
Bad dog food contains tons of additives to maintain freshness or enhance flavor. These ingredients can trigger allergic reactions and be toxic to pets. It’s also one of the main causes of lethargy in dogs.
Processed dog food gets linked to conditions like diabetes, obesity, and gum disease. Preservatives have also shown to contain carcinogens that increase the risk of cancer.
These chemicals get used in dog food as flavor or coloring additives. This includes yellow, red, and blue food dyes and caramel coloring.
MSG is another harmful preservative that gets used to add flavor. It hides in many ingredients like hydrolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, and glutamate.
Preservatives, like BHT and BHA, can also interrupt your pet’s endocrine system. They may also cause liver and kidney failure.
Sodium hexametaphosphate gets used as a softening agent and for tarter control. It remains bad for dogs, with the potential to lead to dehydration and kidney problems.
Propylene glycol gets used to keep food moist. It’s a dangerous preservative that also shows up in antifreeze products. It’s also linked to causing anemia in cats.
Ethoxyquin is another preservative to look out for. It gets used as a component in making rubber products and in herbicides. Nitrates and nitrites are other preservatives with a strong link to causing cancer.
Carrageenan comes from seaweed and gets used as a thickener. It can lead to digestive problems and inflammation.
Eliminating the Worst Dog Food Ingredients from Your Pet’s Diet
The worst dog food gets made from fillers, preservatives, and poor quality ingredients. It can impact the wellbeing of your pet, causing digestive problems and heart disease.
For better health, you want to choose brands that offer whole meat proteins. Focus on natural foods, with no chemical preservatives. This ensures easy to digest ingredients full of nutrients.
Always be sure to stay on the lookout for product recalls and food contamination news. This includes both dog food and dog treat brands. These are important steps in keeping your dog healthy and safe.
Dogs will often display signs that their food is making them unwell. This shows up in their sleeping, playing, and bathroom habits.
Changes in bowel movements are a big indicator that something may be wrong with your pet’s health. Here are 10 helpful signs it’s time to take your pup to the vet.