Ingredients in dog food to avoid

BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) is known to be a carcinogen based off experimental studies on animals. It is linked to cancer. This ingredient should be avoided.    Read more about it our article here:

Caramel color is not necessary as its only purpose is for aesthetics. The downside is it contains advanced glycation end products, which can result in premature aging.

Carrageenans or carrageenins is extracted from red edible seaweeds. For both humans and animal feed it is used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. For humans the FDA regulations deemed it to be considered safe for as a direct food additive, and also safe for infant formulas. The EU takes greater precaution by prohibiting its use in infant formula and organic food claims, but it does permit it for other foods. The potential concern for use of Carrageenan is it may be linked to cancer for humans and various animals, but this is still debatable and not clear. Many companies use it in wet dog food, thus it is relatively harder to avoid if you choose to do so.

Flavoring (non-natural) that is not claimed to be natural are not derived from natural sources. The flavoring is man made. Such an ingredient does not define what chemicals the flavoring composed is off. Thus, why consume something that you don’t know what it is, especially if it is synthetic versus natural

Onion powder. You may know that onion contains thiosulphate, which can cause hemolytic anemia, liver damage, and death for dogs. So why do they add onion powder to dog food? Perhaps it is doe for taste. In low amounts there may be no harm, but then there is really no significant or clear benefit from doing so.

Sugar is essentially a soluble simple carbohydrate. When it is added to dog food as a independent ingredient versus added through some ingredient where it naturally occurs, there is not nutrient value beyond the simple carbs. In excessive amounts over a prolonged time it can lead to diabetes, weight gain, and tooth decay.

Sodium Nitrate additive is a concern for both humans and dogs. For food it is used as both a preservative and color fixative in meats. Nitrosamines are a formed when sodium nitrate is combined with meat protein. This by-product is linked with gastric cancer given enough exposure over time. Do note, for dogs, they typically have a shorter lifespan relative to humans, which you need to factor in. If you want to minimize the risk, then it would be best to avoid a recipe with this ingredient.


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