What is Hiding in Your Dog’s Food?

Do You Know What is Hiding in Your Dog’s Food?

Over and over again there are TV, radio, and various media commercials for the next best brand of dog food. A lot of companies claim that “meat is the first ingredient” in their food. That’s great, but what about the rest? More dog foods contain cheap ingredients that are just fillers with that “meat” source thrown in. Yuck!

I agonize over every label I give my dog. What can I say? I’m a fretful dog mom. I can stuff a huge piece of cake in my gob but she better not suck up that crumb that was over there, by golly!

It is strange, though, how many people don’t really care what is in their dog’s food. They think that because they like the taste or that they are “always hungry” that the food is good enough. This, unfortunately, is not true. Just because the dog doesn’t like the taste, doesn’t mean the food is bad. It’s like a kid trying broccoli for the first time.

They bite it, make a face, and spit it out. It’s good for you, but it is gross.

Kind of the same thing here.

Let me explain a few of the scary ingredients lurking in your dog’s food that may open your eyes a bit to how important it is to check labels and nutritional value the next time you go to pick out a bag of food for your best friend.

Corn, Wheat, and Gluten

Ah, yes. The triple threat…corn, wheat, and gluten. Dogs’ bodies are not made to digest wheat or corn; this should be at the very bottom of their food pyramid, so to speak. A little in very small, healthy doses is okay. Brown rice, oats, barley, and millet are just a few of the grains that can be a healthier alternative to wheat.

Grain and corn can cause severe allergies in dogs and often times do. This is usually the culprit behind your dog’s itchy paws and dry skin.

Many dog food companies now make “grain-free” alternatives; but make sure that actually is grain free before giving it to your dog. A lot of grain free foods can be more expensive, so if your dog does not have a legitimate allergy to grains, try finding a food with the aforementioned grain alternatives that will be less likely to upset your dog’s system.

Animal By-product and Meals

This is probably the most gruesome thing lurking in your dog’s food bag. Meat by-product is a fancy way of saying “chopped up animal stew” basically. Meals can be a good source of protein, but not usually. You are better sticking with real meat; and meat meals are not real meat.

Animal by-products are dangerous because not only do you have no clue what part of the animal or what kind of animal is in the food, you have no definite sense of what kind of protein your dog is getting. Also, those animals are sent through a rendering plant with no concern of how they died, what chemicals were in them, etc. Not really something you would want your plate filled up with, is it?


Its shocking to me how much is allowed and passes in pet food but is not acceptable for humans. There are so many chemicals and preservatives pumped into dog foods; it’s a wonder they aren’t walking around as clouds of poison.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), and Ethoxyquin are the three biggest chemicals you will find in commercial dog food brands. BHA and BHT are both known carcinogens, yet they still get slapped in there like it’s a tasty seasoning.

Ethoxyquin is a chemical that is entered into dog food by fish meal; another good reason to avoid meat meals. It is completely prohibited to be put into human food as it can be toxic upon ingesting; but for some strange reason, it is perfectly acceptable for our fur babies.

There are a few more chemicals to avoid such as Propylene Glycol (PG) and other sulfates that have similar effects and nasty secrets behind them.

Food Coloring

While not that healthy for humans either, food coloring gets added to many products we consume without a bat of an eye. Unfortunately, food coloring is in many dog foods; disguised as green squares, red triangles, and orange X’s. There is no real point to having food color in dog food. It doesn’t appeal to them; they are color blind for crying out loud!

It  only attracts humans because we like color. However, this attraction is unhealthy. Food coloring carries chemicals that are the cause of many allergy, behavior, and even cancers in humans. This effect trickles down to dogs as well and should be avoided.


Corn Syrups and Xylitol

Unhealthy in any form, sugar can be lurking in different disguises in your pet’s food. Xylitol is a deadly artificial sweetener that can be in our own products, most commonly peanut butter. Corn syrup is not suitable for dogs as it is a very sweet ingredient that can lead to diabetes and obesity.

Sugar kills dogs’ natural flora and can make them have an addiction to it, just like humans. Make sure you thoroughly check your dog food label to make sure there are no sugars hiding deep in there.


Used as a cheap protein booster, soy is found in many dog food products. In very small doses, it can be healthy for dogs. But not when it is packed in to a million pieces of kibble. It is extremely high in fat and not digestible by dogs. This causes bloating and gas, which we all know can be unbearable. Like corn, gluten, and wheat, it is best to find soy-free brands of food for your pet so that they will not have upset tummies.


There are a huge list of disgusting chemicals that are on bags of food that are used as preservatives. These preservatives just help extend the shelf life of the product, but really are dangerous and unhealthy ingredients in your dog’s food. Just to name a few of the big ones:

-Sodium Nitrate

-Sodium Tryphospholate (STPP)



What you can look for instead is dog food that contains Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and rosemary. These are all natural preservatives that won’t cause harmful side effects. They will boost your pets immunity, in fact, and help keep their coat shiny.

There are several more ingredients that could be scrutinized. However, this is a pretty thorough list. Most of these are found in every commercial dog food brand, which is terrifying to pet owners. A good rule of thumb is to find brands of dog food that strive to have all natural ingredients or to go raw. You really want your dog to look and feel their best, so try hard to find a food that works for them. They live their life giving their all to us, it is the smallest return we can do to feed them like royalty!

When looking for a healthy dog food, check for brands that have real meat in their ingredients, fruits and vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. Some good brands to check out are:

-Honest Kitchen



-Primal Instincts

I know I speak a lot about food but this is a huge deal! What we feed into our own bodies and in turn our dog’s bodies really effects the way we live and feel. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to feel pretty great AND enjoy a tasty meal!