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Is Your Dog's Food Secretly Making Them Sick?

Updated on April 9, 2015


This hub is designed specifically for the loving dog owner wanting to increase the health of their beloved pet. Many of us don't think about what is in dog foods, it's on the shelves so it must be okay, right? Wrong.

Many foods we give to our dogs contain some seriously harmful chemicals, toxins, carcinogens and animal byproducts are are illegal for use in humans and cause serious health risks to dogs. From tumours to pancreatic failure, bowel lesions to blockages, diarrhoea to swelling of the lungs, the risks associated with many of these products goes on and on.

Signs Your Dog Could Be Suffering From Some of these Additives.

Often people don't realise something is wrong with their dog until it is too late or a serious health problem sets in. Dogs don't tend to show illness in the way humans do and can't tell us when something is wrong. Many of these chemicals and additives can build up in the system over time or can cause harmful reactions right away such as allergies, diarrhoea and organ failure.

  1. Is your dog gaining weight despite not being fed table scraps or lots of treats? many of the fats, additives and general rubbish in treats and foods can slow down the metabolism, cause swelling, bloating, intestinal blockages and obesity in dogs. "Just a little one won't hurt" a little one is usually how the problems start, the moment the dog ingests it is too late.
  2. Toilet issues. Your dog may have diarrhoea often, especially of an unusual colour such as bright yellow or may contain traces of blood and have a foul smell. Dogs should never have a runny bottom and many of the colourings, flavourings and preservatives can cause serious complications to the digestive tract. Constipation is another issue as well as vomiting.
  3. Skin problems. Often caused by an overgrow of yeast which can cause similar problems to humans with red skin, inflammation, itchiness, soreness and even balding. Allergies are common to yeast products as well as some types of fish and chemicals.
  4. Pancreatitis. This is a huge issue with dogs, pancreatic problems are very serious and need treatment. There are so many things in dog foods and human meats that can trigger this awful illness and it can be very expensive to treat.
  5. Aggression. A poor diet or an overly rich diet can make some dogs snappy, aggressive, possessive or even unnecessarily nasty. Lots of affected dogs can become increasingly worse, especially after changing diets.

If you are worried about your dogs behaviour or health please take them to the vets to be checked over.

Rusted Metal.

This is a very common addition to many types of dog and cat treats. Scientists have pulled apart some big brands of dog food and treats and found rusted metal or particles of it in the foods. With most companies it is labelled in the ingredients section

Can companies really get away with this? - Yes, as long as the food is labelled "not fit for human consumption" or something of equivalence. As you can imagine, companies selling sweets with rusted metal in them would be shut down with a public outcry, this is not the case for dogs as lots of people don't check what is in the ingredients list past the flavourings. It is not illegal for them to contain even small grains of metal in the foods as long as it isn't shards.

Copper oxide, rusted iron and even titanium dioxide are among the most common in dog treats alone.

Fun fact: tattoo ink is made up of powdered metals and rusts. Titanium is used typically with white ink. Whilst these are not harmful injected into the skin of humans, they are very harmful to the health of dogs. Think of it as your dog getting an internal tattoo.


Deadly dairy is a huge problem in pet foods and most don't know that dogs are actually lactose intolerant. Dogs are unable to digest the sugars that are in dairy and often dairy products are laced with other things such as hormones, treatments and are very high in fat content which can make them very unwell and cause an onset of obesity.

Problems dairy can cause:

  • Severe constipation or even blockages.
  • Gas - often foul smelling.
  • Bowel incontinence.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Bloated or swelling of the belly.
  • Pancreatic diseases/failure.

Dairy is very clearly labelled on the packaging. Eggs are the only "dairy" product that is considered safe in moderation. Milk, cheese, butter, etc are all very toxic and should never be given to dogs.

Yellow 6 Artificial Colour

You've probably heard about this one as it has been in the news a lot in the last year or so mainly due to reactions in children.

Yellow 6 is an additive used in a lot of sweets and junk foods. It is best known for causing hyperactivity in animals and in children, anxiety, allergic reactions and has even been proven to contain carcinogens (cancer causing properties) whilst the risk of cancer from this in humans is not considered high enough to ban it, the risk to animals is much greater. Tests on animals have proven it causes tumours to the kidneys and adrenalin glands.

Blood Meal.

Blood meal is generally a mixture of animal blood that usually comes from unknown sources and may be made up of several different animals. These animals are often of poor quality breeding stock or sickly animals and could contain medications, chemicals, foods and even hormones. There is no way of knowing unless the individual batch is tested every time.

Some studies have shown it makes for a better fertiliser than pet food ingredient and has absolutely no nutritional value.


Shockingly enough, some foods have been found to contain a lot of sugar. Dogs cannot process sugar in the same way we do, their bodies just don't cope and they don't have our complex biology. Sugar can cause heart problems, behavioural issues, hyper activity, the shakes. Eating sugar to dogs is like throwing back a bunch of cans of energy drink and expecting to not feel buzzed.

Sugar itself isn't toxic but in high doses it can cause a lot of problems and if consumed regularly can make them very overweight.

Meat Fat

Meat fat is one of the most common things humans give to dogs from the table. Dogs should not have any fat from bones or meat whatsoever. Meat fat is very hard for them to digest and poses a high risk of causing pancreatitis and other pancreatic problems.

The fats in this type of fat are exceedingly high which over a period of time can cause obesity, digestive problems such as diarrhoea, constipation, blockages and even lacerations. Blockages and lacerations can be extremely painful and turn serious very quickly, they will also cost a lot to have treated by a vet and usually require surgery to repair the damage.

Meat fats should be avoided at all times, especially from ham/pork bones.

Animal Digest

Otherwise known as "Animal broth, digestive broth, AAFCO" and usually labelled as poultry, lamb or cow digest openly on many packagings.

What is it? undecomposed animal tissue, washed up and cooked up into a nice bit of dinner to add to dog foods and treats. YUCK. It gets worse, this "digest" is made up of many parts of the animals from feathers to body parts, meat to intestinal contents, it offers no nutritional value and in many cases it is not specified which animals it has come from or what body part was used.

Sometimes this digest has come from roadkill, euthanised animals in shelters, animals that have died from illness, or even farmed breeding animals. Horses, chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, rats, goats and even other dogs, have been used to make this additive.

BHA and BHT Preservatives.

BHA is a phenolic antioxidant used to preserve fats and fatty oils. It is a known possible carcinogen to humans and a proven carcinogen to animals, meaning it has been proven to cause cancer. This is actually banned from human consumption in many countries, discounting the US.

BHT causes very similar problems to BHA and is banned from human consumption but not always for animal use. It is again a carcinogen in humans and in animal testing.

The list of similar preservatives goes on with varying levels of carcinogens. Most of the preservatives in dog treats are not fit for human consumption, hence the labels warning you not to eat them.

Yeast Products.

These can be a huge problem to dogs sensitive to allergies or with yeast problems such as skin infection and can cause problems for female dogs. The main problem with this is sometimes it can contain traces of fertiliser and pesticides. There is also no way to tell of the origin or quality of the product before use.

Yeast is one of the most common allergies in dogs.


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