Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid in Pet Food
We love our dogs and want to give them the best, healthiest lives we can. Maintaining a healthy diet for our dogs and ourselves is one of the keys to a long and happy life.
However, choosing the right foods for our pets can be challenging with so many kinds of dog food available. The good news is that by reading the ingredient list, you can see past all the advertisements and branding and discover what's in the food your dog is consuming.
A helpful hint - the ingredients listed first comprise the most weight.
What Dog Food Ingredients Should I Avoid?
1. Bad Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates can be eaten and digested by dogs, but they shouldn't be the first item listed. Dogs and cats require more protein in their diets than carbohydrates or fiber to promote optimum growth and metabolism. Animal protein has health benefits in addition to being more palatable to animals.
2. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
BHA is an additive to fats and oils that acts as a chemical preservative. BHA is legal to use in most countries in relatively small amounts.
Unfortunately, even the smallest quantity, if consumed, can harm your dog's health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classifies this substance as a human carcinogen. In dogs, it can be just as lethal. It can irritate your dog's skin and eyes and negatively impact their kidney and liver.
3. Meat Meal
Everyone knows that dogs adore meat and depend on it for daily meals. But "meat meal” isn't the high-quality protein source they require. Unspecified "meat" means that the protein may come from any animal or a combination of species. Even if you purchase the same bag of food repeatedly, the contents may be completely different each time.
Additionally, "meal" indicates that your dog isn't consuming the same kind of real, premium meat that we would. Meat meal is a term used to describe a powdered mixture of several unidentified animal parts, such as bones, limbs, etc. Definitely not the kinds of foods we'd choose to consume ourselves!
Carrageenan is a substance made from red seaweed used as a thickener to preserve consistency, particularly in wet dog food. The "degraded" version, known as poligeenan, which is not allowed in food, has been demonstrated to be potentially dangerous. Still, carrageenan is safe as a food additive. According to studies, however, it may cause gastrointestinal inflammation and cancer.
5. Artificial Food Coloring
Though adding colors to human food can be fascinating, doing it for animal consumption is not as beneficial. Dogs shouldn't eat food that has artificial coloring added to it. These hues are intended to draw pet owners' attention, not the pets'.
Dog food shouldn't be colored for animals. The color of your dog's supper doesn't really matter. Additionally, the most popular food colorings (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5, and 6) have been linked to hyperacidity and severe allergies to food. Just buy naturally colored dog food.
6. Corn Syrup
Does your dog enjoy eating sweets? It would be wise to stand back and reconsider. Corn syrup is frequently used as an inexpensive source of flavoring when making dog treats. Once it has been extracted and processed from corn, this concentrated sweetener has a thick, viscous consistency. Dogs are addicted to it, so they keep returning for more.
It's not a requirement for your dog's diet, though. A sudden surge and decrease in your dog's blood sugar can result from eating these in large quantities. Adding corn syrup to your dog's diet increases its risk of developing diabetes and being overweight.
Melamine is a plastic that contains nitrogen. It is usually put in dog food to give the impression that it has more protein. Melamine is undoubtedly hazardous when consumed. Depending on the dog's size and the dose, it can result in kidney failure and even death. In fact, it was to blame for one of the worst dog food disasters ever. Even now, melamine testing is not required, so if you are unsure of the ingredients in your dog's food, always ask.
8. Sodium Hexametaphosphate
If you have trouble pronouncing an ingredient, you might want to think again before giving it to your dog to eat. To prevent tartar buildup, sodium hexametaphosphate is an ingredient used in dental dog meals. Most dogs require anesthesia for even regular dental cleanings, this may seem enticing, but there is a catch. Taking it in can have negative repercussions, including, pale and swollen kidneys, increased kidney weights, bone decalcification, muscle fiber size changes, hyperplasia, and severe skin irritations. If you are concerned that it might cause more harm than good, think about selecting foods that don't contain them and brushing your dog's teeth instead.
9. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil appears to be a relatively healthy substance at first appearance. However, the nutrients in this kind of oil vary depending on their origin and level of processing.
Corn and soybean oils are used to make vegetable oil. It has omega-6 fatty acids, which are considered beneficial for dogs. However, when added to processed pet diets, it is added in excess, not to mention the other fatty additives in pet food.
Inflammation is frequently brought on by omega-6, especially when taken in excess. This can increase your dog's arthritis, hip and joint discomfort, and other related conditions while harming their joints.
10. Nitrates & Nitrites
A class of compounds known as nitrates and nitrites is used as a preservative to increase the shelf life of food. It is frequently used in processed meats such as deli, bacon, ham, hotdogs, and sausages.
However, it can harm your dog's health if consumed in large doses. The most popular preservative for cured meats, sodium nitrite, has been related to cancer and a blood condition in dogs called methemoglobin.
What Ingredients Are Essential in My Dog's Food?
We'll list some of the most crucial elements your dog requires in their food here but remember that each dog is different and has different nutritional requirements. Dogs with sensitive stomachs, diabetes, pancreatitis, and others could require different ingredients and minerals than the typical dog.
Here are the 7 items that your four-legged companion will always need:
It shouldn't surprise you that meat is the most crucial element of your dog's diet. There's a good reason why dogs have a meat-crazed gene! Although every dog is unique, dogs won't survive on an all-meat diet. Therefore, as a general rule, your dog food should contain 30% lean protein. Meat keeps dogs' muscles and joints strong as they mature and helps them maintain a healthy weight.
2. Good Carbohydrates
It's common to assume that carbs in your dog's food are wrong. However, this only applies to simple, sugary, low-quality carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are essential, just after animal sources. Carbohydrates, such as those in fruits, vegetables, and rice, give dogs quick energy and are a necessary component of a healthy diet. The lower-quality parts of soy, corn, and wheat are problematic for many dogs. Look for carbohydrates like kale, grains, pumpkin, squash, and berries.
3. Healthy Fats
Fat is not your enemy! They are crucial to a dog's nutrition. Healthy fats, such as those in meats, promote healthy cell function and even enhance your dog's coat. Sunflower oil, coconut oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil, and olive oil are other sources of healthy fats.
Both soluble and insoluble fiber keep a dog's digestive system running smoothly, support a healthy weight, prevent anal gland disease, and reduce obesity. Looking for the right amount of fiber for your dog can be challenging. You should look for fiber-rich ingredients like grains and vegetables and avoid products that list "powdered cellulose," a term for components that could include shredded paper, cotton, and tree pulp. These are essentially useless fillers made of cheap, starchy carbohydrates.
Vitamins such as vitamins A, B, D, E, K, and choline must be present in a dog's diet. Most of a dog's vitamin requirements can be supplied by natural food sources. Still, occasionally dog diets will also provide an extra boost. You don't need to supplement with additional vitamins if your dog food is "complete and balanced" unless your veterinarian advises you to do so.
Because your dog only needs traces of these minerals, they are commonly referred to as "trace minerals" in dog food. But that does not imply that they are not significant! Anemia, immune system deterioration, bone, and joint abnormalities, and other health issues can be brought on by a mineral deficit. Zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, and manganese sulfate are examples of trace elements to look for.
Superfoods for dogs aren't a very novel category, but they should nonetheless be highlighted. Superfoods are the Marvel characters of canine nutrition. These will be listed among the ingredients of the very most fantastic foods. Chia seeds, blueberries, pumpkin, kale, and quinoa are some canine superfoods.
Proper nutrition for dogs is comparable to a good diet for humans. Keep an eye out for ingredients like meat, fruit, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals. Yes, everything does sound great! Always remember to select the best dog food ingredients for your furry friend.