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Ingredients to Always Avoid in Dog Food

Our dogs are members of our families and therefore we want to ensure they live the happiest, healthiest life possible. A major component to living a healthy life is to ensure they are eating a healthy diet.

It's Complicated

There is a plethora of different dog foods on the market and finding the best for our dog is a daunting task. The good news is there is a short cut that zips through all the branding and marketing and allows us to determine what our dog is really eating when we look at the list of ingredients.

Hot Tip: the ingredients that compromise the most weight is listed first.

Avoid Dog Foods with "Meal" Rendered Products

According to the Association of American Feed Controls Officials (, rendered products often contain the term “meal” listed in their title, such as “chicken meal “and “animal by-product meal”. These rendered products can comprise of parts of the animal such as brains, offal, and spleen. It can also include meat from animals that were sick, as well as expired meat from grocery stores. Rendered fat can also be a source of Salmonella. Because the contents of rendered products can vary, the nutritional quality can be low, and thus not very healthy for your pup. In short, rendered foods are considered unfit for human consumption, therefore you might not want to feed it to your dog!

Avoid Artificial Preservatives and Coloring

A lot of dog foods and treats have chemicals and preservatives in them that are extremely dangerous to dogs and can even cause cancer. The most common are Ethoxyquin (is a synthetic antioxidant not approved for direct use in human food consumption yet is still detected in our food), BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole is used as a preservative in foods, cosmetics, rubber, and petroleum products) and BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene is a preservative used to prevent oils and fats in food from going bad). The National Institute of Health has found BHA and BHT to be carcinogenic, and Ethoxyquin is also suspected to be linked to health problems like immune deficiencies, kidney failure, and cancer. When looking at different dog foods, make sure none of these ingredients are included.

If your dog food has bright colors, it most likely has artificial coloring added; the most common are Blue 2, Red 40 or Yellow 5. Although the impact of these dyes hasn’t been researched extensively, they are suspected to cause allergies, hyperactivity, and even tumors in some dogs.

Hot Tip: your dog doesn’t give a rat’s arse what color their food is!

Avoid Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is not only found in some dog foods but also anti-freeze. It is, however, an FDA-approved ingredient for humans and can be found in foods like salad dressing. While Propylene Glycol has been shown to be OK for humans (in small doses) it is known to be highly toxic to cats, so it’s probably best to choose a dog food, and treat, that doesn’t have it as an ingredient.

Avoid Too Much Corn or Rice

Corn and rice are often used as filler in dog foods, and they are used to replace higher quality ingredients. Dogs do not need a carbohydrate-rich diet as it is biologically inappropriate for them and may lead to health and weight problems. Foods with high levels of rice or corn can also cause chronic conditions such as gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Be wary of Grain Free Foods

Grain-free dog foods have become increasingly popular over the last few years, however a recent study by the FDA has shown that grain-free dog food has resulted in fatal heart issues in some dogs. These studies are ongoing, and nothing has been officially concluded yet (

Grain free foods often supplement the ingredients with peas, lentils, and other legume seeds as one of the main ingredients, therefore if one of these is the predominant ingredient in your dog’s kibble you may want to change brands to one that has predominantly real meat.


This may seem like a long list of ingredients to avoid but there are plenty of dog food products available that do not contain these items. Be sure to read the ingredients and ignore the hype and marketing surrounding the brands.

Hot Tip: only feed your dog ingredients that you would eat. Pet food manufacturers cannot legally state that their ingredients are “human-grade” but do your homework because your dog will be healthier, happier, and live longer which will make the hard work worth it.


K9CRACK is with you all the way with our single ingredient dog treats; no sugar, salt, artificial

colors, preservatives or fillers - and that is why they are called one ingredient dog treats. Just pure protein, natural vitamins and minerals, and lots of delicious flavor.

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