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Why are grains difficult for dogs to digest

5 Ingredients that you don’t want in your dog food

Most dogs will eat pretty much anything you put in their bowl, so it’s safe to say that they’re not the fussiest of diners!

It’s down to you to make sure that what goes in their bowl is both nutritious as well as tasty. Unfortunately, many brands of dog food, and treats, contain ingredients that aren’t good for your dog’s health. Some contain ingredients that offer zero nutritional value, and others have potentially harmful side effects.

Here are some of the most common ingredients you want to avoid when buying food or treats for your dogs.

Non-specific protein source – Meat by-products

If a food or treat lists a non-specific protein source, for example, ‘meat’, ‘meat by-products’ or ‘meat and animal derivatives’, don’t buy it!

These are all the leftover bits of animals which humans would never consider eating – according to some sources, these products could be made from slaughterhouse waste, outdated supermarket meats and even euthanized animals.

If the label doesn’t specify the type of animal, be very cautious, as it could contain any type of meat or parts of an animal that have very poor or zero nutritional value.

Artificial Preservatives

Just as with human food, preservatives and antioxidants are used to preserve fats in dog foods.

These can lead to poor digestion and in turn, have several harmful health effects including skin and coat issues, irregular bowel movements, depression, and more.

Three preservatives that are often used to pet food and should be avoided include:

  • BHT – Butylated hydroxytoluene
  • BHA – Butylated hydroxyanisole
  • Propyl gallate


Food colouring has zero nutritional value and certainly aren’t beneficial to your dog – plus, your dog really doesn’t care what colour their food is!

These have already been banned in human foods because of their link to behavioural issues and it’s thought that these effects are unlikely to differ for our dogs.

Syrups, Sugars

These can often be found in cheap pet food and treats – much like refined sugar, these ingredients can cause spikes in blood sugar and contributes to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes.

Your dog can also become addicted to sugars in much the same way humans do – this can make it very challenging to switch their food.

High Salt Content

Although necessary, salt is generally found in sufficient quantities with the need to add any more.

Just as in humans, too much salt can have poor health implications for your dog, for example, high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.

Other ingredients to avoid:

  • MSG
  • Nitrates (Sodium Nitrate)
  • Sodium Tripolyphosphate (STPP)
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Soy (Soy or Soybean Oil)
  • White Rice

If you having any questions relating to your dog’s diet, or if you would like to discuss how our food could potentially help your dog, please get in touch.