5 Dog food ingredients to avoid

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Written by Pure Pet FoodPure Pet Food are the experts in healthy dog food and healthy dogs featured in media outlets such as BBC, Good Housekeeping and The Telegraph. Working with high profile veterinary professionals and nutritionists, Pure Pet Food are changing dog food for the better. - Our editorial process

Some dogs will eat anything, and by anything, we do really mean anything. Grass, dirt, rubbish from the bin and even their own poo, yep, our pups can be pretty gross! So, the point is, since our dogs don’t really care what they’re eating, they don’t really know, or attempt, to eat what they need to keep them fit, active and healthy.

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As a result, it’s up to us pooch parents to make sure they’re getting the right nutrients they need to thrive. But it can be super tricky to know what’s right and wrong in the ever-growing pet food market, so we’re here to try and make things a little bit easier.

Keep reading to find out what ingredients you want to avoid when choosing what’s best for your furry friend, and then ultimately what ingredients you should be looking for to make up a healthy dog food dish.

What dog food ingredients should I avoid?

Artificial colours and preservatives

Your dog should be eating real, natural, high-quality food, not food packed with nasty artificial colours and preservatives. We know this isn’t good for humans, so why would it be good for our dogs?

For example, if your dog is tucking into kibble biscuits that are brightly coloured red, yellow and whatever else, stay well away. This colouring isn’t natural, it’s just dyed to make the food stand out more on the shelf for you, as after all, your dog doesn’t care what colour their food is, they only care if it tastes good!

The only bright colours you should be spotting in your dog’s dinners are from real chunks of proper ingredients, like fruit and veggies that provide an actual purpose in your dog’s food, not just to make it look pretty!

Avoid artificial preservatives like BHA and BHT as these are piled into many dog foods and treats to prevent the fats from spoiling on the shelf. They’re known carcinogens and should be avoided.

On the other hand, food such as Pure for example doesn’t require any of these nasty preservatives or colourings, as we gently remove the moisture from all our meat, fruit and veggies, which naturally preserves the food and locks in all the nutrients. As a result, we can deliver tasty, healthy food that’s packed with loads of goodness, no need for any nasties.

Meat meal

Everyone knows that dogs not only love meat, but it’s also a crucial component of their daily dinners. However, if the label states that the food includes ‘meat meal’, then this isn’t the high-quality protein source that they need. Unspecified ‘meat’ means that the protein could be coming from any animal, or any mixture of animals, meaning that even though you might be buying the same bag of food each and every time, the contents inside might be totally different every time.

And not only that, but the term ‘meal’ also means that your dog isn’t eating the same type of whole, high-quality meat that we’d eat ourselves. Meat meal refers to a ground-up powder of loads of unspecified bits and pieces of an animal, including bones, feet, beaks and so on. Definitely not the types of things we’d want to be eating ourselves!

Instead, look out for high-quality, real protein sources that specify exactly what type of meat it is, for example ‘Chicken’, ‘Duck’, ‘Salmon’ and so on. Here at Pure, we use proper, high-quality sources of meat, to make sure your dog is getting the very best. A high-quality protein source is exactly what your dog needs to support their growth, tissue repair, energy and promote healthy skin and a glossy coat. And of course, it tastes delicious too!

Corn syrup

Made from corn syrup and glucose, corn syrup is a super sweet flavouring that’s often used in various dog foods and especially in many dog treats.

It’s truly a sweet treat that’s incredibly addictive for dogs, used to add flavour. However, it’s super unhealthy, contributing massively to obesity and diabetes  as it can cause a dangerous dip and spike in your dog’s blood sugar levels, and these sugar rushes are extremely harmful.

Luckily, if your pup is eating high-quality food made from naturally tasty ingredients, like real meat, fruit and veggies, they won’t need this flavour enhancer, their meals will be tasty enough as it is!

Nondescript fats

As you’ll likely already know, every dog needs fat in their diet. Although there’s a huge difference between healthy, good fats and then the bad, harmful fats that can lead to various health problems, such as weight gain.

Some cheap mainstream kibble manufacturers will spray a nondescript animal fat onto your dog’s kibble biscuits, to enhance the flavour and make those boring brown balls a lot more appetising to your pup. This isn’t healthy or natural, and any oils or fats in your dog’s dishes should be specified on the label.

For example, healthy fats such as omega-3, which can come from salmon, algae and various other natural sources is a key dog food ingredient to keep your pup happy and healthy all round.

All in all, when the pet food label goes into more detail about where their ingredients come from, it’s likely to be of a much higher quality than those that don’t.

Added salt

Salt, or sodium chloride, is an essential part of both a human and a hound’s diet, as it helps keep the cells functioning properly, maintains proper electrolyte balance and works as a flavour enhancer. After all, we humans love a bit of salt on our chips, crisps and to generally season our food.

However, too much salt can cause severe problems for your pup’s health and wellbeing, and it’s the same for us too!

Generally, the ingredients in your dog’s diet should already contain sufficient levels of salt to pack in enough flavour and provide all the nutrients your dog needs, so adding extra salt isn’t essential at all, and in turn can lead to problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, strokes and various other heart problems. So, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for this pesky addition on your dog’s food label!

So, what ingredients are essential in my dog’s food?

A healthy diet for pooches is pretty similar to a healthy diet for people. Look out for ingredients such as meat, fruit and veggies, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and then finally, vitamins and minerals. Yep, that all sounds delicious!

We’ve got a full blog that talks all about the 5 essential dog food ingredients that you need in your dog’s dinners. And of course, we never include any of the nasty ingredients we’ve mentioned here, instead our food is simple, nutritious and perfectly balanced with all the essential ingredients.

Here at Pure, we’re all about providing healthy, tasty dinners made with only the best, high-quality ingredients. We use loads of natural ingredients, like real meat, fruit and veggies, alongside added vitamins and minerals to give your dog total nutrition that’ll help nourish them from the inside out.

And to make sure we’re really here to support your dog’s health, we tailor all our recipes to your dog’s individual needs, taking into account their breed, age, weight, allergies, ailments and activity levels. This way, we can give your dog the very best nutrition that’s totally suited to them.

We don’t use any of the harsh processing methods that kill vital nutrients, and we never include anything weird or peculiar like nasty preservatives, additives or colourings. It’s just healthy, tasty food, made simple!