We want our dogs to enjoy their food, but we also want them to be healthy. For that reason, we would like to advise on ingredients to avoid in dog food, treats, and bones. Sometimes, the consumables we give them contain harmful ingredients that can affect their mood, health, and overall well-being. Union Lake Veterinary Hospital wants to help you feed your pups nutritious and delicious food and snacks. Be sure to avoid the following ingredients.

Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food: Nasty Preservatives

Just like many human food options, dog treats, bones, and food are often filled with preservatives that give them a longer shelf life. While they might mean that you do not have to buy new food so often, many of these ingredients are known carcinogens, cause liver or kidney failure, or lead to other serious health problems. Some of these preservatives are used in pesticides, anesthesia, and antifreeze.

Preservatives to avoid include:

  • BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)
  • BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Nitrates/Nitrites
  • Propyl Gallate
  • Carrageenan
  • MSG
  • Sodium Hexametaphosphate

Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food: Corn Syrup, Xylitol, or Food Dyes

Manufacturers often use corn syrup, xylitol, or other dyes to make food and treats taste sweeter. Dogs do not particularly like sweetened food, though, and these ingredients can be harmful to their health. These additives are often high on the glycemic index and offer no real nutritional benefits for your dog. Decrease your dog’s risk for diabetes by avoiding ingredients like corn syrup and food dyes in their treats, bones, and dog food. You can even make some of your own treats and food with a few healthy, simple ingredients. This way, you can keep your pet happy without harming their health.

Xylitol is TOXIC to dogs and will cause potentially fatal hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and /or liver failure, even in small quantities.

Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food: Meat Meal

Food manufacturers will often use this to increase the amount of “protein” in dog treats and food. Meat meal is made from the scraps of animals (who may have been diseased) and heated up to burn off all the fat. Although sometimes meat meal can offer helpful protein, there is no way to tell the nutritional influence it will have on your pup without knowing where it originated. It is best to avoid this ingredient and instead choose natural treat, bone, and food options that have real meat.

Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food: Unhealthy Fats

Rendered fats can be a source of toxins and harmful microorganisms and can promote the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. And there are few, if any, regulations about the source of the rendered fats. Propylene glycol is a mineral oil that may trigger allergic reactions as well as skin, liver, and kidney damage. Vegetable oil is another unhealthy and unneeded addition to dog food. It contains omega-6 fatty acids, which are known triggers for inflammation. It is especially problematic for dogs with arthritis and hip and joint pains.

Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food: Melamine

This ingredient is actually a kind of plastic that some manufacturers will use to dummy the amount of protein in some dog food. Ingesting too much of this ingredient can lead to kidney failure and might eventually be toxic for your dog. If you see melamine on anything you plan to feed your dog, throw it away. There is no scenario in which this ingredient is safe for dogs to ingest.

At your next wellness visit, feel welcome to talk to your veterinarian about delicious and healthy food options to feed your pup that will provide nutritional benefits. And, when shopping, be sure to look at ingredients to avoid in dog food, treats, and bones. Here are a few brands of dog treats you will want to avoid.

At Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, we want to help you keep your pets happy and healthy. From our wide range of veterinary services to our blog filled with care advice, we are always here to help you care for your pets. To learn more about our services or to schedule your next appointment, please call (248) 363–1508.