5 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Dog's Food

Many of us make conscious healthy choices for the foods we consume, but do we give as much consideration to the things we feed our pets?

Most of us know that foods like chocolate, onions, or garlic can be harmful to our furry friends, and we would avoid giving them those foods.

We should just as diligently keep them from harmful ingredients in the bagged or canned food we purchase.

Whether you leave food out for you dog all day, or you feed him/her when the rest of the family is at the dinner table, here are some ingredients to avoid when buying food for your pet:

1. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is used in pet food to keep semi-moist foods moist. It's also found in antifreeze. While studies show that your dog's liver can metabolize propylene glycol, it can be toxic in large amounts.

Also, it's very toxic to cats, so if you have cats in the house, it's best to avoid any pet foods containing the ingredient. To avoid propylene glycol, your best bet is to avoid semi-moist foods altogether.


BHA and BHT are chemicals that are used to preserve fats in foods. The chemicals have been completely banned in some countries. Some studies link them to the onset of cancer in children and animals.

Choose foods with natural preservatives like vitamin E, vitamin C, or rosemary instead of ones using BHA/BHT. To avoid preservatives completely, you could consider opting for canned food instead.

3. Gluten

Dogs don't naturally eat foods containing gluten. Gluten is found in grains like wheat, corn, or oats. Sometimes manufacturers include corn gluten or wheat gluten as ingredients on their own.

Gluten is used in dog food to bind ingredients together into the shapes of the kibble. It's also used for texture.

Common symptoms of a gluten insensitivity include itching, hot spots, ear infections, and gummy ears. If your pet has a gluten insensitivity or allergy, you may want to choose a grain free food.

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4. Xylitol

Sugar substitutes and pets are a deadly combination. Xylitol causes your pet's blood sugar to surge and then drop. The pattern of surges and drops can lead to hyperglycemia in your dog.

Xylitol can also cause seizures, liver failure, or death in your dog. It's best to choose foods that are full of natural foods rather than sugar substitutes.

5. Sodium Tripolyphosphate (STPP)

Sodium tripolyphosphate is used in detergents to help soften water. In pet food, it's used as a preservative. It's suspected that STPP could be a neurotoxin.

The Environmental Protection Agency lists STPP as a rodenticide, insecticide, and a fungicide. Use foods with natural preservatives if you must use preservatives.


Your dog's nutrition is in your hands. Choosing a food that avoids chemical preservatives and sugar substitutes is better for your dog's overall health. Take the time to read the ingredients list before buying your dog's food.

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