Marketing and economics get in the way of what's healthful for your pet. Pet food companies may use tricks to make their food appear better than it actually is. The package and the commercials can be misleading, but the ingredient list offers the clearest truth of what is actually in there.
These chemical preservatives are used to preserve fats in foods for humans and pets. Banned in some countries, BHA and BHT are approved for food use in small quantities in Canada, the US, and Europe. Studies have been inconclusive so far, but BHA and BHT have been linked to hyperactivity and even cancer. However, until more research is available, avoid these potentially harmful additives whenever you can. Artisan Raw Dog food will NEVER have this nor any of the below bad ingredients.
Gluten, found in grains, is not a natural food for dogs or cats to consume. In dog food, gluten can be found in any gluten-containing grain, such as wheat, corn, or oats. Also, corn gluten and wheat gluten can often be found as an ingredient on their own, used as binders to form the kibble shape and texture.
Dogs are considerably more receptive to dietary grains than cats are, but many still develop allergies and suffer from digestive distress due to an overkill on grains in the standard processed kibble diet. Gummy ears and chronic ear infections, itching, and hot spots are all common signs of gluten sensitivity or allergy in your pet.
Artificial colours make things look more visually appealing. However, artificial colours have been linked to hyperactivity as well as several biochemical processes within the body. The only reason artificial colours are used in any food is to make the food look better to you. Completely unnecessary for people and pets. And there's no reason to use artificial colouring in food. There are many naturally-derived colours available to manufacturers.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) is ubiquitous in many prepared foods. But as common as the flavour enhancer is, MSG can cause troubles for humans and pets alike. In pet foods (as well as human foods) it is used to make up for the lack of flavour in low-quality ingredients. Aside from being nutritionally unnecessary, MSG also happens to be a very common allergen in humans and pets. Why risk it?
While MSG by law doesn't have to appear on pet food ingredient labels, you can often find it in these ambiguous ingredients: hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed protein, protein isolate, texturized protein, natural flavors (like chicken flavor), autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extracts, soy extracts or concentrate, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, monopotassium glutamate, glutamate or glutanic acid, disodium inosinate or guaylate.
We all know that corn syrup is bad for our health. But did you know this cheap, sweeter-than-sugar sweetener can be food in pet food and treats, too? Corn syrup, much like refined sugar, causes spikes in blood sugar and contributes to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. It's also addictive, and the more your dog eats, the more he'll develop a taste for all things sugary sweet.
While corn itself is a whole grain, there are a number of things wrong with it as an ingredient in pet foods. Corn is notoriously hard to digest. Many pets have digestive sensitivities related to corn. Also, since it has a high protein concentration for a grain, it is often added to dog food to raise the protein percentages. However, this protein does not contain all necessary amino acids and is not nearly as bioavailable as any animal source, such as chicken or eggs. Lastly, corn is a subsidized, very cheap grain, so its inclusion is a marker that your pet food is looking to cut corners on nutrition for profit.
Salt is usually found in sufficient quantities in your pet’s food without adding it directly. Manufacturers add salt to pet food for flavour and to encourage drinking (although salt consumption can lead to dehydration). High levels of salt can contribute to high blood pressure and other suspected health conditions including stomach cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
Once again, if your pet food contains plenty of real, quality meat, your dog or cat won't need any added flavour enhancers.
Salmon is healthy for both you and your pets, but the wrong salmon can include harmful toxins. Farmed salmon, which is listed just as salmon, salmon meal, and salmon oil in your pet’s food can add mercury, PCBs, and other fat-soluble toxins to the diet. According to a farmed salmon brochure by David Suzuki and the cited Journal of Nutrition (2005), levels of 13 fat-soluble pollutants are almost 10 times higher in farmed salmon than in wild salmon. The cancer rate for consuming farmed fish can be up to 3 times that of wild fish.
Vegetables and fats: two things your pet needs, right? Yes, but not in the form of vegetable oil, which is primarily composed of cheap corn and soybean oils. Vegetable oil, like most non-specific ingredients, often contains high levels of omega 6 fatty acids. While these fatty acids are essential, pets eating a processed commercial diet often have way more of these EFAs (essential fatty acids) than is healthy. Since omega 6 EFAs are responsible for inflammation, these excess fats can exacerbate arthritis, hip and joint problems, and many other medical conditions.
A common ingredient in newer antifreeze. While not as toxic as its relative, ethylene glycol, FDA approved propylene glycol is still of questionable safety. In fact, it's been banned in many countries or is at least tolerated at much lower levels.
Used as a humectant, or to keep moisture in semi-moist foods, propylene glycol may be toxic in large amounts. While it can be safely metabolized by your dog's liver into safe compounds and manufacturers assure us of its safety for use in food, propylene glycol has been found to be toxic to cats, causing Heinz body anemia. So much so that propylene glycol is not allowed as an ingredient in cat food. You're better just to say no to propylene glycol, especially if you have cats in the house.
Meat is healthy for your pet. It should comprise most of your dog's diet. However, if you see “meat”, “meat meal”, or “meat and bone meal”, you know that your pet is getting the worst source of meat he could in a processed food. Meat is another one of those non-descript food items that will keep cropping up in this list of bad dog food ingredients.
When manufacturers include “anything goes”, non-descript terms, such as "meat", it is always a guess at what's in them. These ingredients are always the leftovers, and the only guarantee is that there is no guarantee on any standard of quality. The ingredients can be diseased, from dead animals, from expired meat sections in grocery stores (complete with plastic packaging), or even include tumours – you name it.
Once this Frankenstein concoction is compiled, it is heated extensively to remove any pathogens that might be there (they most definitely are). This process also removes most nutrients that might be in these questionable ingredients. The result is a difficult to digest, nutritionally-void filler that boosts the protein percentage on your dog food bag, but adds little usable protein for your pet.
Sugar substitutes can be deadly for pets, and new research shows that they aren't doing you any favours, either. While sugar alcohols (such as sorbitol, malitol, and xylitol, among others) may have little or no calories, they can still have an effect on blood sugar. Xylitol causes a surge in your pet's blood sugar and then a subsequent drop, which can result in hyperglycemia. Other complications can include seizures, liver failure, and even death.
While only xylitol is toxic to dogs, other sugar substitutes do nothing for your pet nutritionally. Their inclusion in the diet only feeds your dog's sweet tooth, which can make him crave sugar. And truthfully, sugar substitutes will do the same for you.
Sugar substitutes are alternatives, but they're questionably healthy. If your dog doesn't need it at all, there's no need to include it.
Few ingredients are as controversial as soy in both human and pet foods. But, while soy may have some benefits for you, there are few things it does for pets. The truth is, grain and vegetable-based protein sources are just not as usable to pets as their meat protein counterparts. The reduced bioavailability of plant-based proteins, or the ability of your dog's body to process and use the proteins and nutrients, makes these proteins less usable for energy and body processes from immune response to muscle maintenance to metabolism.
While soy is one of those few plant protein sources that actually contain all necessary amino acids, it is often difficult for pets to digest, causing bloat and gas. A cheap ingredient, it is plentiful in many low-quality pet foods as a protein percentage booster. A common allergen, soy is best to avoid altogether if you have pets.
This recent additive in food is being used more and more. Cellulose is plant or wood fibers. What is wrong with cellulose in dog food? Fibre is about all the nutrition cellulose provides. Cellulose is indigestible. While fibre is beneficial to digestion, if you and your pet are eating a balanced diet with whole foods – including fruits, veggies, and unrefined grains – you should be getting all the fibre you need. The real reason cellulose is being added to foods is that is a cheap binder, emulsifier, anti-caking agent, and can be used in diet foods to resemble fats. Oh, and it's dirt cheap. It literally grows on trees.
Brewers' rice is the small milled fragments of ricekernels 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.
While you may not recognize it by its name, sodium tripolyphosphate is the active ingredient in many detergents, as its main use is softening water. So why is it in your dog food? Good question. Sodium tripolyphosphate works as a preservative in your pet's food.
According to a fact sheet by the Food & Water Watch, sodium tripolyphosphate can be harmful if inhaled and is a skin irritant (MSDS). While it is GRAS (generally regarded as safe) to eat, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (a division of the CDC), suspects it may be a neurotoxin. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes sodium tripolyphosphate as an insecticide, fungicide and rodenticide. Let's leave this unnecessary, non-nutritive ingredient out of our dog food.
Watch for STPP in your fish, too. It's used as a soak and can be found in scallops, shrimp, and flaky, filleted fish.
This common additive in dental care dog food diets may be helpful for reducing your pet's tartar, but at what cost? Sodium hexametaphosphate is dangerous in high doses, but can also have adverse effects merely with ingestion. For humans, the chemical is a skin irritant and an inhalation irritant, as well as being hazardous to ingest. While tartar prevention is useful, could this preventative be doing more harm than good as a non-nutritive additive to your pet's food?
Artisan Raw suggest giving bones for healthy Teeth Cleaning!