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What is really in your dog's food?

Updated on April 10, 2012

My girlfriend loves her animals, especially her dogs, and was doing some research on the contents of their food. She was using Purina and expected it to be healthy considering it is thought to be one of the higher-end brands. However to her surprise, the ingredients of the food were not as expected. This isn’t meant to slander Purina or any other brand; I just simply wanted to inform you of what her research brought to light of what is in the food:

  • Brewers Rice - left over product from milling whole rice, no nutrients, just filler.

  • Corn Gluten Meal - linked to canine food allergies, little nutrition, used as a binding agent. (I know from personal experience, and saw with a friend, switching to a food without this ingredient does a lot for dogs with skin problems).

  • Poultry By-Product Meal - defined as "parts unfit for human consumption," which includes feathers, beaks, undeveloped eggs, etc. It doesn't even specify what animal is being used.

  • Animal Fat - a byproduct of rendering. There is no specific animal source. The animals used can be dead, dying, diseased, or disabled prior to slaughter. They can also include road kill, euthanized animals, restaurant and supermarket refuse, etc.

  • Soy Flour - nutrition is lost when ground from grain to flour form.

  • Corn Bran - filler agent to add bulk.

  • Soybean Meal - poor quality filler.

  • Fish Meal – There is no specific type of fish used. US Coast Guard regulations say all fish not destined for human consumption must be conserved with ethoxyquin, which is considered a hazardous chemical under OSHA's (occupational safety and health administration) standards. Exposure to this chemical can result in kidney, liver, and thyroid problems. After being questioned, Purina WILL NOT answer whether or not their product contains ethoxyquin.

  • Animal Digest – This is broth made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. It can include road kill and euthanized animals.

  • Glycerin - alcohol, used in beauty products and lotions. Also in nitroglycerin form, it is used to create dynamite.

  • Salt - over used in low quality foods to add flavor and make it more desirable.

  • Menadione Sodium Biosulfate - a synthetic Vitamin K. It causes cystotoxicity in liver cells, weakens immune system, has possible mutagenic effects, damages natural vitamin k cycle, and causes hemolytic anemia. This ingredient has never been studied for long term use (such as in pet food), and is banned by the FDA.

These ingredients are used by Purina, IAMS, Eukanuba, Pedigree, and most other grocery store brands. Veterinarians tell people over and over again that Purina is a great food. Of course they do because they get paid to sell their products! Also, most veterinarians’ education includes a two week course on nutrition, usually taught by a pet food company representative. Again, this is just more concern about money than knowledge of the actual product.

Two higher quality foods are Blue Buffalo (found at Petco) and the more affordable Diamond Naturals (found at a local farm and feed store around my area). The choice is up to you as far as what you want to feed your pets. However, I would assume that the ingredients of the food will come as quite a shock to you.


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    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 5 years ago from Ohio

      @thougtforce - It is sad because most people just don't realize. Thanks for reading and the positive response.

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 5 years ago from Sweden

      This was just what I thought but I have never done any research on the ingredients in dog food. It is really sad that this is what most people feed their dogs, and so did I when I had dogs! This is important information! Voted up!


    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 5 years ago from Ohio

      @vicki - Yes, it does seem that dogs will eat anything, and unfortunately that includes trash. However, I think it's important to know what is in their food and attempt to feed them what is healthier. Thanks for the read and comment.

    • vickiturner profile image

      vickiturner 5 years ago

      I've found dogs can eat almost anything so long as they get their fill of meat...The most important thing by far for a healthy dog is exercise and plenty of it. Great hub though...very interesting.

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 5 years ago from Ohio

      @Dragonrain - Thanks for the votes and feedback. It's surprising to most people that the brands advertised as the best really aren't that great. Definitely important information to know.

    • Dragonrain profile image

      Dragonrain 5 years ago

      Glad your girlfriend did her research, I've never considered Purina food to be high quality. There are much better dog foods out there, and also the option of a home cooked or raw diet if you want to do the research into those.

      Voted up! This is important information that all dog owners should be aware of.