9 things that could harm your pets

Wolf thinking about corn

We all want what’s best for our pets. But sometimes, our efforts aren’t good enough because we have been lied to by marketers who are trying to sell us on cheap dog food. Here’s a rundown of 9 ingredients that you should avoid feeding your pets.

BHA/BHT
Used to preserve foods. Both are synthetic (man-made) compounds that the FDA considers “safe.” The World Health Organization (WHO) suspects both additives as the cause of health problems. BHA is listed as a carcinogen in California. These cheap but effective preservatives are known for causing physical harm to the body.

Propylene glycol
This preservative is used to help preserve the moisture content and texture in foods and treats. It is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, clear and oily liquid derived from petroleum. Yes, that’s right, folks, manufacturers are putting petroleum in your dog food (and in some of the foods we eat, too)! Because it can cause anemia in cats, it has been banned from use in cat foods by the FDA. Propylene glycol is toxic to dogs at a lethal dose of 9mL/kg. You definitely want to avoid this ingredient if you have a toy breed.

Ethoxyquin
Used to preserve fat in dog food. Often used as a pesticide and in the manufacture of rubber. The FDA deems this additive as safe, but some studies link ethoxyquin to liver problems. What’s worse, ethoxyquin may not appear on the ingredients list for a number of reasons. One reason you would not find it on the ingredients list is because the manufacturer did not “add” it to the mix. However, suppose the “animal fat” or “animal protein” came from a chicken or cow that ingested ethoxyquin. That would still be in the dog food even though it does not appear on the label.

Corn
By far, one of the most difficult foods for pets to digest. As a matter of fact, if you ever fed your dog cooked corn, you may have noticed undigested kernels in the waste. Corn is merely a cheap filler. It can damage the kidneys and is the number 3 allergen for dogs and cats.

Wheat
May cause allergic reaction in dogs affecting skin and ears and causing diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive gas. Susceptible to mold such as aflatoxin, which attacks the liver and can cause death.

Gluten
This is the protein part of a carbohydrate such as wheat or corn. The issue in feeding your pets food that contain gluten is that carnivores like cats and dogs require animal-based proteins to thrive. It’s also possible that your carnivore may be allergic to glutens. According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, reasons to switch to a gluten-free diet would be to correct a poor appetite, excessive gassiness, vomiting, diarrhea, or chronic skin problems and itchiness.

Dye (Artificial color)
Provides no nutritional value to pets. Instead, dyes are often added to make the kibble look better to humans. In children, artificial colors are said to cause hyperactivity. Just what we need in a rambunctious lab puppy!

  • Yellow No. 5 – deadly in cats with extended use
  • Yellow No. 6 – can cause tumors on adrenal glands and kidneys  or occasional allergic reactions
  • Blue No. 1 – produces malignant tumors in lab rats from injection or ingestion
  • Blue No. 2 – possesses carcinogenic (cancer-causing) qualities

Animal by-products
When you see “animal fat,” “animal protein,” or “meat by-products” on the ingredient label, this is a sure fire way of not knowing where the meat comes from. Trust foods that spell it out for you: chicken, beef kidney, etc.

To help you select the best pet foods, we’ve developed a Pet Food Score Card. Download this card and print it off for your next shopping trip.

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