Part V – Other Ingredients to Avoid in Your Pet’s Food

Why is it that the things we love to eat the most are often the worse things for our body? Ultimately the answer is simple, we have been conditioned to enjoy these unhealthy foods and let’s be honest, they do taste good! The same could be said for our pets. When given the option between a healthy choice, or a food that has added flavoring and other ingredients, your pet would likely choose the best tasting of the two.

The good news is that you can satisfy your pet’s cravings while providing a food or treat that is healthy and nutritious. We have covered several different topics on what should be in your pet’s food in this series of blog posts and we wanted to follow up with a post that covers a list of other ingredients that you should watch for and avoid.

Avoid Pet Foods with these Chemicals & Preservatives

Many of the cheaper pet food brands that you commonly find in your local shopping center contain preservatives and other chemicals to enhance the freshness of the food and ensure that it can last longer on the shelf. Though on the surface this seems harmless, but that is NOT the case. Here is a list of chemicals and preservatives to avoid in your pet’s food: 

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) & Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) - These chemicals are typically added to the fats and oils in your pet’s food to preserve freshness and can be found in both foods and treats. WARNING: BHA is a known carcinogen and reproductive toxin. BHT is also a carcinogen and has been shown to cause kidney and liver damage.

EthoxyquinIs a chemical preservative can sometimes be found in ‘fish meal’ and may not be listed directly on the food label. Warning: Ethoxyquin is illegal to use in human foods in the United States, however it can still be legally used in pet foods (I know does not make sense at all!) 

Propylene Glycol (PG) - Is used as a moistening agent in some soft dog foods. Though this ingredient is supposed to be non-toxic and non-absorbent for pets, this ingredient is made from ethylene glycol (EG) which is more commonly known as antifreeze. We do not recommend foods with this ingredient.

Artificial Coloring – It is NOT Needed!

Food dyes are quite possibly the single most useless ingredient in your pet’s food. In truth pet food manufacturers only use artificial coloring as a marketing ploy. For example, on foods that say, “Contains Peas” they color some of the kibble green to make you think that those are the peas in the food. Though this may work for humans, cats, and dogs both are color blind and can only see some colors so they don’t care if their food looks like a rainbow or not.

Aside from food dyes being useless, dyes like Blue 2, Yellow 5 and 6, and Red 40 have been proven to cause allergic reactions and even cancer in humans. It is best to avoid any pet food or treat that is artificially colored.

Final Thoughts & Question of the Day

Understanding what is in your pet’s food and treats is important to ensuring your pet lives a long and healthy life. It is easy to get caught up in the marketing techniques used and the way the bags/cans look on the shelf in the store but, the listing of ingredients tells the truth. If you see any of these ingredients in your pet’s food, we recommend that you look for other alternatives.

Do you know what is in your pet’s food? Are any of these ingredients listed there?