7 Dog Food Ingredients You Should Avoid

Food Ingredients for Dog

You may be wondering, why would a dog food company put ingredients in their food that are not good for dogs? The answer is that most often they use them as fillers. For example, dog food companies may need to meet a specific protein requirement, so they add a filler to make that happen. Fillers are also used to add texture or weight to make the food appear healthier. Let’s look at several unhealthy food ingredients for Dog that may cause allergic reactions in your dog.

  1. Meat Meal

When meat is unspecified and is called “meal,” it is basically mystery meat. This usually means they are of the lowest quality and have little quality control. Meat meal may be diseased, expired, fatty tissue, and even dead animals. Meat meal is a common ingredient in many dog foods. If you can’t avoid it, it is best to pick a dog food that at least has the specific source of meal such as beef or chicken listed.  

  1. MSG

Also known as monosodium glutamate, on your dog food ingredient list, it may be called a variety of different names. Some of these names are hydrolyzed protein, protein isolate, texturized protein, and autolyzed yeast. MSG is basically artificial flavoring. When MSG is needed to make the dog food taste good, this generally means that the food is low-quality in the first place.

  1. Corn Syrup

An inexpensive food additive with a sweet taste, corn syrup can be found in many dog foods as well. The problem is that it causes your dog’s blood sugar to spike. As a result, diabetes and obesity can become a problem for them.

  1. BHA
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Listed on your ingredient label as Butylated Hydroxyanisole, BHA is a chemical preservative designed to preserve oils and fats. BHA is a known carcinogen that harms the kidneys and liver of animals. Although BHA is banned in some countries, it is allowed to be used in small amounts in the U.S. Even if your dog is only eating a small amount of BHA every day, this can really add up.

  1. Nitrates

Although nitrates have been deemed safe to be added to dog food, they have been linked to cancer development as well as a blood disorder known as methemoglobin. Used to preserve meat products, sodium nitrate is the ingredient you will most commonly find.

  1. Artificial Colors and Flavors

Designed to make the dog food more appealing to pet owners, artificial colors and flavors are usually specifically listed by the type. You may read them as Yellow 5 and 6, Red 40 and Blue 2, for example. Having these artificial ingredients added to dog food is not good, as they have been shown to cause allergic reactions, hypersensitivity, and hyperactivity.

  1. Rendered Fat

When your ingredient label lists rendered fat, this is another vague term. This means it can originate from who knows where. Again, diseased animals can be the source, such as those who died in shelters and even roadkill. These rendered fats are commonly rancid and full of toxins, which is horrible for your dog.


With all of the brands of dog food out there, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to know which is the right one. It is easy to find contradicting information about which one is the best. However, by using this list of Food Ingredients for Dog to avoid, you will be on the right track to giving your dog the best food to support their optimum health. 

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