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The 7 Sketchy Ingredients That Are Probably Lurking in Your Dog’s Food

by Caitlyn Neier 2 months ago · updated 2 months ago
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From synthetic additives to anti-nutrients, what's really in your dog's kibble?

Indy + I

Do you know what’s in your dog’s food? If not, you might be surprised—and not in a good way.

Many commercial pet foods include sketchy ingredients that could harm your furry friend.

In this blog post, I’ll take a closer look at some of the most dangerous ones. But don’t worry—I’m not all doom and gloom. I’ll also give you some tips on what you can do if you’re not too fond of what’s hiding in your dog’s current dish.

After all, there’s a good chance you want your dog to have the best, most nutritious food possible—and weeding out these unhealthy ingredients can help your dog live their very best life. My dog, Indy, is just like any other member of my family. She needs to eat the very best food in order to be her very best self!

So read on to learn more, and then make sure to check the ingredients list on your dog’s food bag before you do anything else!

It’s no secret that many commercial dog foods are made with low-quality ingredients. Here are seven of the most common offenders:

1. Melamine

Some brands of dog food have been found to contain melamine, a chemical that can be dangerous to pets. Melamine is a nitrogen-rich compound that is used in the manufacture of plastics and other products. It has also been used as a fertilizer and as an additive in animal feed.

When ingested by animals, melamine can cause kidney damage and other health problems. While the exact reason for its inclusion in some dog foods is unclear, it is believed that melamine may be used as a way to inflate the protein content of the food. This is potentially dangerous for dogs, as consuming too much protein can lead to serious health problems.

For this reason, it is important to check the ingredients list of any dog food before feeding it to your pet. If melamine is listed as an ingredient, it is best to avoid that particular brand.

Instead, choose a dog food that ACTUALLY has a high level of protein. For example, Sundays for Dogs (my all-time favorite dog food—more on this below) has protein-rich ingredients you’ve actually heard of.

We’re talking things you’d actually be comfortable eating yourself, like USDA-Grade beef, beef heart, beef liver, chicken, and more.

Actual protein—not plastic.

2. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is an additive commonly found in many processed foods. It is used as a preservative to extend the shelf life of products. However, propylene glycol has also been linked to health problems such as cancer, kidney disease, and birth defects.

While some pet food companies claim that things like propylene glycol and melamine are safe for pets, there is no scientific consensus on their safety. As a result, it is best to avoid dog foods that contain these additives.

Instead, look for one that contains mixed tocopherols, which are a family of vitamin E compounds that are naturally found in fish, green vegetables, vegetable oils, and nuts. These help slow dog food spoilage—without all the unpleasant side effects.

3. Meat Meal

Meat meal is a dry, powdered product made from rendered meat. It is typically used as a food ingredient or animal feed. Meat meal is made by cooking muscle tissue and organs with steam or dry heat to break down the connective tissue. The resulting product is then ground into a fine powder.

Meat meal has been found to be an important source of protein and essential nutrients for dogs.

However, it has also been linked to health problems such as cancer and kidney disease. In addition, some studies have suggested that meat meals may contain harmful chemicals that can be toxic to dogs. The reason for this is that meat meal is mostly dergulated, meaning it can come from just about any source (including roadkill or even animals killed via euthanasia, which involves some nasty chemicals).

As a result, many pet owners are now choosing to avoid dog foods that contain meat meal. The better alternative is, again, a dog food that contains actual meat that you would eat yourself.

4. Food Dyes

Food dyes are added to dog food for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they are used to improve the appearance of the food or to make it look more appetizing.

Other times, they may be used to mask poor quality ingredients or to add extra nutrients that are not naturally present in the food. However, there is little evidence that food dyes provide any benefit to dogs, and some studies have linked them to health problems.

For example, food dyes have been linked to cancer in rats, and they may also be harmful to dogs with allergies or sensitivities. In addition, food dyes can make it difficult for owners to know if their dog is getting enough nutrition from their food.

Skip foods with dyes—instead, stick to all natural ingredients.

5. Antinutrients

This one can be tricky.

Antinutrients are a group of compounds found in certain plant-based foods that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients. While antinutrients are present in a variety of foods, they are particularly common in grains, legumes, and nuts. These are foods that seem like they’d be okay, but can be dangerous in excess. Keep an eye out for dog food with high levels of antinutrients like peas, potatoes, and lentils.

When consumed in large amounts, antinutrients can cause nutrient deficiencies and other health problems. They can also cause gastrointestinal distress and reduced absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.

6. Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal

Dehydrated alfalfa meal is a common ingredient in many commercial dog foods. While it is a source of protein, fiber, and nutrients, there are some potential risks associated with feeding your dog this meal.

One of the main concerns is that dehydrated alfalfa meals may contain unhealthy levels of nitrates and phytoestrogens. Nitrates can be dangerous for dogs if they consume too much, as they can lead to methemoglobinemia, or "blue baby syndrome."

This condition reduces the ability of blood to carry oxygen, which can be fatal. Phytoestrogens, on the other hand, are a type of plant hormone that can disrupt the normal functioning of the reproductive system.

Look for dog food that contains fruits and vegetables as a source of fiber and other vitamins. Much better!

7. “Natural Flavor”

Last but not least, my personal favorite—natural flavor.

When you see "natural flavor" on a pet food label, it might make you think that the food is made with wholesome ingredients. However, the truth is that "natural flavor" is a catch-all term for a range of chemicals and additives that are used to enhance the taste and smell of food.

While some of these chemicals may be derived from natural sources, they are often highly processed and can pose serious health risks to pets. In addition, "natural flavor" is often used to mask the taste of poor-quality ingredients, such as meat by-products.

For these reasons, it is best to avoid pet foods that contain "natural flavor." Dog food shouldn’t have to have natural flavor added in. The flavor should already be there!

I’ll Pick Sundays for Dogs Any Day of the Week!

If you’re concerned about the ingredients in your dog’s food, talk to your veterinarian about switching to a healthier brand.

My favorite brand? I mentioned it earlier, but I’ll say it again—Sundays for Dogs.

In today's fast-paced world, it can be hard to find the time to do everything we want to do. From work and family obligations to social commitments and extracurricular activities, our calendars are often full to the brim.

As a result, many of us find ourselves cutting corners in other areas of our lives, including our pets' care. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which pet food is the best for our furry friends.

However, Sunday's for Dogs provides a healthy and delicious alternative to kibble that is sure to please both you and your pup. Made with only healthy, human-grade ingredients, Sunday's for Dogs is perfect for picky eaters and those with allergies.

Additionally, its complete and balanced formula provides all the nutrients your dog needs to thrive.

Sundays for Dogs is a subscription-based dog food company that delivers fresh, real ingredients to your door every week. You can customize your dog's food based on their individual needs and preferences, and you can be sure that there are no sketchy ingredients in their food. Plus, you'll get a personalized dog food plan that your pup will love.

So why not switch to Sundays for Dogs and see the difference it makes in your dog's health and happiness? Indy is absolutely thriving on this brand—and I’m sure your pup will, too.

About the author

Caitlyn Neier

YouTube Vlogger 📷

📍 AZ Wife & Mama of 1

YT: Caitlyn Neier IG: caitlynneier

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Comments (25)

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  • Isabella2 months ago

    Encouraging authors

  • Caprillione2 months ago

    Very well written and detailed!

  • Amy Hall2 months ago

    Oh wow thank you! I try to keep it clean she deserves it so much!

  • Belshaw Sandri2 months ago


  • Marl Gore2 months ago

    Very well written

  • Luo re Luo2 months ago

    Very well written, thanks for sharing.

  • Le do2 months ago

    This brand is absolutely great!

  • Flagler Danzig2 months ago

    Good writing

  • Grady Shah2 months ago

    Very well written, thanks for sharing.

  • Luo Li Ke2 months ago

    Well written

  • Ferrari Ron2 months ago

    The article is very well written, thank the author for sharing

  • Shahroudi2 months ago

    Well written

  • Moe Turner2 months ago

    This brand is absolutely great!

  • Ba Kit2 months ago

    This brand is absolutely great!

  • Kul Dashi2 months ago

    Well written

  • Kulikov2 months ago

    This brand is absolutely great!

  • Hitchinson Metz2 months ago

    Well written

  • Boni Solli2 months ago

    Indy is definitely thriving with this brand

  • Fortis Rakow2 months ago

    Go for it!

  • test2 months ago

    Well written

  • test2 months ago

    Well written

  • Kehinde Olowu2 months ago

    i wonder maybe that is y my dogs are getting shrinked

  • Mccord Kosmatka2 months ago

    Love it by eating it

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