Top 5 Dog Food Ingredients to Avoid

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Top 5 Dog Food Ingredients to Avoid

The greatest way to select a food for your dog is to read the ingredients label. You can utilize this article as a future reference to verify the ingredients on your dog’s food label.

The following list includes five ingredients that if found on the dog food label, you should avoid purchasing:

1. Ethoxyquin

Ethoxyquin is used as a preservative and a pesticide. In dog food industry it is typically found in meat and fish based ingredients. Ethoxyquin has been forbidden from use in human products because it has been linked with the development of kidney and liver disease, cancer (liver, spleen, stomach, and skin), immune deficiency syndrome, blindness, and leukemia.
It is essential to remind that when a producer obtains an ethoxyquin preserved ingredient from a provider, the producer is not required to list ethoxyquin on the pet food ingredient label.

Ingredients to Avoid

2. Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is found in anti-freeze. This product is included in dog food to help decrease moisture and avoid bacteria growth. Your dog requires intestinal bacteria to help absorb and digest the food. This ingredient inhibits bacteria growth in the gut. As a result, some dogs may develop tumors within their intestines or develop intestinal obstruction.

3. Butylated-hydroxyanisole (BHA) or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are petroleum derived preservatives used in food and hygiene products. In dog food industry, BHA and BTH are used as chemical preservatives which are dangerous for your dog. BHA is associated with kidney damage. BHT has been directly connected with cancer for both dogs and humans.

4. Menadione Sodium Bisulfate

Menadione Sodium Bisulfate is a synthetic form of vitamin K. It is an avoidable ingredient in dog food. This synthetic form of vitamin K has been linked to many serious health issues, such as, toxic reactions in liver cells, weakness of the immune system, allergic reactions and abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

5. Cellulose or Powdered Cellulose

Cellulose or Powdered Cellulose is basically nothing more than 100% filler. “Powdered cellulose is purified, mechanically disintegrated cellulose prepared by processing alpha cellulose obtained as a pulp from fibrous plant material. In other words, it is sawdust. This is an ingredient that regularly is included in veterinary prescribed diets.

My advice is:

You should begin to investigate and analyzing your dog’s food labels.

There are so many ingredients used in dog food industry that need to be reviewed carefully. The list above includes bad ingredients, not matter how you look at them.


About the Author:

Hi! I'm Dora Mancha, DVM. I am graduated for the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Lisbon (2009). My degree is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). I completed my degree in Veterinary Medicine in July, 2009. Over the first years as a veterinarian my work was closely related to the animal health field. I have gained some average experience having worked in Barcelona University (UAB) Equine Hospital and by working with veterinarians in Portugal. In addition, in 2009 - 2010 I was in Madrid at the University Alfonso X el Sábio doing an internship in the equine service. I am also very interested in small animal medicine and surgery. In fact I worked in several small animals clinics in Portugal improving my knowledge about small animal behavior and health. Dogs always have been present in my life, since I was a child. At the present moment I have four dogs a Labrador, a Epagnheul Breton, a Whippet and a mixed breed dog.


  1. Sandra Christman May 3, 2015 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    can you please give me the names of dog foods that do not use these ingredients. I have 2 shortkies one is white and black and she has skin problems. I have tried so many different things but to no avail. Maybe this is the problem

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Why was the Dog Food Selector created?

Each dog has unique needs... The approach "one food for all dogs" isn't the more suitable. Dogs have different sizes, different life stages, unique breed characteristics, health conditions and a few other factors... Choosing the right food for your dog may help him or her life a longer and healthier life! We exist to make that task easier for you.

How does the Dog Food Selector work?

It's quite simple... It's a 1-2 step process. You just have to fill in the form with your dog's characteristics, like gender, age, size, activity, health conditions and a few other important data and click "search". Then, you'll see a list of dog foods with the highest review score. If you wish you can see all the detailed review of each individual dog food.