This is a starting point in identifying substandard ingredients in commercial dog food. The following is a list of food to avoid and how they can affect your pet.
Meat by-products: The “by-products” from the meat, but not including meat: lungs, spleen, kidneys, brains, liver, blood, bone, intestines, none of which are fit for human consumption. Livers can be infected with worms (liver flukes), lungs with pneumonia, kidneys and brains can be cancerous. – Ann Martin, Foods Pets Die For, (New Sage Press, 1997.) According to Dr. Martin Goldstein, D.V.M. in The Nature of Animal Healing (Alfred A. Knopf, NY, 1999): “We like to think that commercial brands of dog food contain at least some decent meat or fish. The truth is that they contain none.
Meat meal: Meat meal can consist of just about any conceivable meat source. If the meat is named i.e. chicken meal or beef meal it is a good source but be weary of meat meal or poultry meal. Even destroyed dogs and cats are rendered into meat meal for several name-brand animal foods. Liz Palika, The Consumer’s Guide to Dog Food (Prima Press, 1998) states: “Sodium pentobarbital, which is used to euthanize dogs and cats, survives the rendering process and will remain in the meat that is sold to the dog food manufacturers.”
Corn/Wheat: Corn or wheat should not appear as the first ingredient in your dog food. “Corn can cause common allergies such as skin disorders, increased chewing on paws or ear infections. Most corn and wheat that are used in dog food are very low grade and often linked to food recalls.” Liz Palika, The Consumer’s Guide to Dog Food.
Corn gluten meal: Corn gluten meal is by by-product after the manufacture of corn syrup or starch. The nutritional bran, germ, and starch has been removed.
Soy: Found in treats, vitamins, and some commercial dog foods. Soybeans are planted to draw toxins from the soil. “A dog’s digestive system cannot utilize the amino acids from soy.” Dr. Mindel, Nutrition and Health for Dogs.
Beet Pulp: Beet pulp is the dried residue from the sugar beet. It is a source of sugar and fiber. However, it can seriously bind a dog’s digestive tract. It draws moisture from the intestines, absorbs the moisture, swells to ten times its dry state. The effect is a slowing of the dog’s natural elimination process, which can lead to very hard stools. – Dr. Mindel, Nutrition and Health for Dogs.
BHT, BHA: Chemical preservatives such as BHT and BHA have caused some concerns when tested on laboratory animals. “Both have been associated with liver damage, fetal abnormalities, and metabolic stress and have a questionable relationship to cancer.” – Liz Palika, The Consumer’s Guide to Dog Food (Simon & Schuster/Macmillan Company, NY, 1996).
Ethoxyquin: Ethoxyquin is a chemical preservative used to prevent spoilage in dog foods. It is a 1950’s Monsanto product manufactured and sold as a chemical for making rubber! It is listed as a pesticide by the USDA and has not been approved for use in foods slated for human consumption. The Animal Protection Institute of America has reported that ethoxyquin may be associated with infertility, neonatal illness and death, skin and hair coat problems, immune disorders and thyroid, pancreas, and liver dysfunctions. – Dr. Goldstein, D.V.M., The Nature of Animal Healing.
Propylene glycol: Propylene glycol is a preservative found in rawhide and dog food. It is also a component of antifreeze and can cause the destruction of red blood cells.
Dyes: Unnecessary additions to dog food or treats: Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 2. “All are inorganic or toxic.” – Dr. Goldstein
Sodium Nitrate: “ Sodium nitrate is also used as a food coloring and preservative. In the dog’s body, sodium nitrates can produce carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines.” Liz Palika, The Consumer’s Guide to Dog Food.
Kibble/Burger-shaped: Made to resemble real hamburger. “According to Wendell O. Belfield and Martin Zucker, How to Have a Healthier Dog, these are one of the most dangerous of all commercial pet foods. They are high in sugar, laced with dyes, additives, and preservatives and have a shelf-life that spans eternity.” – Ann Martin, Foods Pets Die For (New Sage Press, 19)
Brewer’s Rice: According to AAFCO, brewers rice is small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. Brewers rice is a processed rice product that is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice thus reducing the quality
Distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS): DDGSs are left-over from ethanol production and are extremely prone to a deadly mold that is known to be a killer of pets. Extensive research has shown it’s very risky but it’s lower in cost than whole grains and therefore to some companies may be worth the risk.
Note: If your dog is also allergic to grains avoid not only corn, wheat, and soy, but also rice, bran, oats, millet, barley, and any foods with containing those ingredients (bread, pasta, etc.)