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Bad Dog…Food! Harmful Pet Food Ingredients To Look Out For


You are what you eat, and so is your dog. Unfortunately, the majority of the mass-produced, commercially available dog food products contain ingredients that can be harmful to your dog’s health in the long run. Indeed, as a billion dollar industry, the pet food business certainly seems to be thriving despite the common use of chemicals, preservatives, additives, and synthetic ingredients.

To add insult to injury, here’s what makes this a bit more tricky:
Many dog food brands touted as “healthy” actually contain a lot of these unhealthy substances.
To empower yourself as a consumer and make better choices for your dog, it’s important to be able to recognize a few common ingredients known to be potentially health-harming to your canine companion.

Look Out For These Top 10 Dangerous Dog Food Ingredients

These 10 substances commonly found in pet food products deserve to be in the dog house! Why? They’re believed to contribute to a variety of canine diseases and ailments including periodontal disease, heart disease, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, allergic reactions, skin irritation, kidney failure, liver disease, and more. Watch out for brands that use any of the following:

  1. Carrageenan: may cause inflammation in the intestines and increase risk of cancer
  2. Ethoxycin: potentially linked to leukemia, blindness, impaired immunity, and kidney and liver disease
  3. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT): linked with cancer in dogs
  4. Butylated hyroxyanisole (BHA): leads to kidney disease
  5. Propylene glycol: may damage intestinal health and cause cancer
  6. Corn syrup and corn: significantly increases risk of diabetes and obesity
  7. Food dye: linked with allergies, hyperactivity, organ failure, and cancer
  8. Animal by-products: can lead to tumor growth and organ damage
  9. Xylitol: a known toxic to dogs that can cause vomiting, lethargy, and impaired coordination
  10. Sorbitol: can cause hyperactivity and exhaustion

Interestingly, many of these preservatives, stabilizers, and fillers have the same harmful effects in humans as they do in dogs!

Signs Your Dog May Be Affected By Harmful Pet Food Ingredients

Regular visits to the vet are crucial for ensuring your dog’s health at every stage of life. If you’re concerned about your dog’s well-being, your vet can perform a thorough physical exam and order special tests and lab work to determine if anything is wrong.

Equally, if you notice any of the following symptoms, be sure to speak to your vet, because these could be warning signs of a food-related illness:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Swelling
  • Limping or lameness
  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes)
  • Stomach pain (your dog may growl or yelp when you press on its belly)

So, Is Going Organic Enough?

Health-conscious pet owners are right to seek out higher-quality dog food brands to protect and enhance their pets’ lives. While premium brands generally have a higher price tag, many people often feel that the money they spend on their dog’s nutrition has a great return on investment as it helps to reduce their dog’s risk of developing health complications. After all, organic and natural dog foods tend to contain better quality animal proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats in addition to a more balanced and complete profile of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

That said, it’s still important to thoroughly peruse the ingredients list. Even some “organic” foods contain carrageenan and other less-than-ideal substances.

Your best bet? Get in the habit of carefully reading dog food labels so you know exactly what’s going in to your pup. Who knows – becoming a more conscientious pet owner may even make you look more closely at the foods you’re eating, too!



About Author

Mary Nielsen founded and is a passionate cat lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She founded her blog to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable kittens and cats. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.

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This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!