Horrifying! The Truth About What May Be Inside Your Dog’s Kibble or Canned Dog Food!

by | Jul 29, 2023

Pet Parents Beware! The Shocking Truth About What’s REALLY In Your Dog’s Food

When buying food for your furry family members, we all want to provide our dogs with the very best nutrition possible. However, the pet food industry is filled with dubious ingredients and misleading marketing claims that can confuse even the most discerning pet parents.

This article will reveal the truth about common dog food ingredients to watch out for, so you can make informed choices to give your pup the healthiest diet. Keep reading to discover the disturbing secrets the pet food giants don’t want you to know!

CANNED OR KIBBLE, ALWAYS READ THE INGREDIENTS!

Protein First

Protein should always be the number one ingredient and building block of any high-quality dog food. Look for whole, identifiable protein sources like beef, chicken, fish, lamb, or egg listed first. Things like “meat meal” or “meat by-products” are vague protein sources to avoid. High protein levels are especially important for active dogs and puppies.

Some top-notch proteins to look for include:

  • Deboned chicken – Provides complete nutrition from meat, including the bone. More expensive than a chicken meal but higher quality.
  • Turkey, salmon, or duck – Meat protein alternatives to standard chicken or beef. Provide variety.
  • Cage-free eggs – Highly bioavailable protein source when properly cooked.
  • Sardines or mackerel – Small fish packed with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Beef liver or tripe – Organ meats offer dense nutrition.
  • Lean bison or venison – Game meats make novel protein options.

Avoid non-specific meat sources, meat by-products, and protein concentrates like powdered chicken or egg products. These inferior proteins provide less nutrition.

Whole Carbohydrates

After protein, look for minimally processed carbohydrate ingredients from whole food sources. Complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, barley, or oats provide steady energy and essential nutrients.

Some healthy whole-carb sources include:

  • Oatmeal or rolled oats – Rich in fiber to support digestion. Look for gluten-free oats if allergy issues.
  • Quinoa – A superfood whole grain full of antioxidants.
  • Buckwheat – Provides protein, fiber, manganese, and magnesium. Gluten-free.
  • Sweet potatoes – Packed with vitamins A, C, fiber, and potassium.
  • Chickpeas or lentils – These legumes boost plant-based protein.

Avoid refined grains like white rice or flour that spike blood sugar. Say no to mystery ingredients like “cereal products,” which could be high-glycemic junk carbs.

Nutritious Fruits and Vegetables

In addition to grains, quality carbohydrates can come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce provides essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds.

Some healthy fruits and veggies to look for include:

  • Pumpkin – Rich in fiber, beta carotene, vitamin A, and potassium. Supports digestion.
  • Blueberries – Bursting with antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and phytochemicals.
  • Carrots – Full of beta carotene for eye health. Provide crunch factor.
  • Broccoli – Packed with vitamin C, K, and cancer-fighting compounds.
  • Apples – A good source of vitamin C and quercetin. Scrub plaque off teeth.
  • Sweet potatoes – Provide vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber.

Say no to artificial flavors like “apple flavor” or anonymous “botanicals.” fruits and veggies should be clearly identifiable whole food sources.

Healthy Fats

Dogs need a balance of quality fats for energy metabolism, skin/coat health, and to support the immune system. Look for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from fish, flax and canola oils.

Some excellent fat sources include:

  • Salmon oil – Provides anti-inflammatory omega-3s EPA and DHA.
  • Sardine oil – Rich in omega-3s and vitamin D for immune support.
  • Flaxseed – Contains ALA omega-3s along with fiber and antioxidants.
  • Canola oil – A plant-based source of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid.
  • Coconut oil – Provides lauric acid to support the immune system.

Avoid generic fats and oils from unnamed sources that could oxidize and become rancid. Limit corn and soybean oil which skew omega-6 levels.

Digestive Support

Prebiotic fibers and probiotic ingredients promote good gut flora and healthy digestion. Look for soluble fibers like psyllium husk, inulin chicory root or fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Quality probiotic strains include Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.

Specific ingredients to look for:

  • Chicory root – Prebiotic fiber that feeds healthy gut bacteria.
  • Dried chicory pulp – Adds prebiotic fiber and soluble inulin.
  • Psyllium husk – A soluble fiber source that supports regularity.
  • Bifidobacterium – A research-backed probiotic strain.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus – Boosts beneficial bacteria levels in the gut.

Avoid foods with beet pulp as the primary fiber source, which is less soluble—isolated plant gums like guar gum or cellulose act as cheap thickeners, not quality prebiotics.

Vitamins and Minerals

Dogs require a broad spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals. Quality ingredients like whole foods, fruits, and veggies provide natural sources. But a multivitamin is beneficial to fill any nutritional gaps.

Essential vitamins and minerals dogs need include:

  • Vitamin A – Supports vision, growth, reproduction, and immunity.
  • Vitamin D3 – Critical for bone health and calcium absorption.
  • Vitamin E – An essential antioxidant for immune function and healthy cells.
  • Calcium – Essential for musculoskeletal health throughout life.
  • Zinc and iron – Important minerals involved in metabolism, DNA synthesis, and oxygen transport.

Avoid foods listing only “vitamins and minerals” generically without detailing the specific types. This indicates lower-quality nutrient supplementation.

The Verdict: Choose Quality Whole Food Ingredients

When choosing a healthy dog food, the bottom line is to look for quality animal proteins, digestible carbohydrates, and fresh fruits and veggies at the top of the ingredients list. Avoid vague, non-specific ingredients that could be from questionable sources. Steer clear of artificial additives, cheap fillers, and refined carbs. Feed your pup like family with real, whole foods!

For more guidance when deciding what dog food to buy, partner with your veterinarian and consult resources from pet nutrition experts. Every pup has unique nutritional needs based on breed, age, and health status. With so many options on shelves, selecting the proper diet for your dog can get overwhelming. But armed with the facts about ideal ingredients, you can provide tasty meals your furry friend will savor, and that will keep them in tip-top shape!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some high-quality dog food brands I can trust?

Some reputable dog food brands that use quality whole-food ingredients include Wellness, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, Nature’s Variety, and Merrick. Always check the label, though, as formulas vary.

Should I look for organic or non-GMO ingredients?

Organic and non-GMO ingredients are ideal for avoiding pesticides or genetically modified sources. However, these premium ingredients will increase the cost. Focus first on meat-first recipes with whole foods.

Are grain-free diets better for dogs?

Despite marketing claims, there is little evidence that grain-free diets are healthier unless your dog has a specific grain allergy. Look for whole-grain carbohydrates rather than eliminating them.

Is a raw dog food diet more natural?

Raw diets can mimic a wolf-like ancestral diet but carry risks of bacteria if not handled properly. Consult your vet before switching to raw. High quality cooked dog food is often a safer option.

Should I make my dog food at home?

Homemade dog food allows you to control ingredients, but meeting all nutritional needs requires research—partner with a vet nutritionist to develop balanced homemade recipes before switching your dog’s diet.

How can I compare dog food brands and formulas?

Look up detailed dog food reviews on wholesome brands to compare the quality of ingredients, protein sources, carb sources, actual nutrient percentages, and the presence of artificial additives. Pick the optimal recipe for your dog.

What changes if my dog has allergies or a medical condition?

Dogs with allergies or conditions like diabetes need specialized food. Consult your vet to identify allergy triggers or specific nutritional needs, then find a food that addresses those needs.

You can find the perfect dog food to keep your pup healthy and happy by carefully checking ingredients and selecting high-quality whole food sources. Partner with your veterinarian and do your homework to make the best choice!

Legal Information

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