The 8 Ingredients To Avoid In Dog Food
As humans, weve been conditioned to read food labels closely We need to train ourselves to look just as skeptically at our dogs food label. Commercial brands often contain ingredients that arent healthy for pupsthey are generally used for one of two reasons, because theyre inexpensive, or because they
As humans, weve been conditioned to read food labels closely We need to train ourselves to look just as skeptically at our dogs food label. Commercial brands often contain ingredients that arent healthy for pupsthey are generally used for one of two reasons, because theyre inexpensive, or because they help the food stay fresh longer. Either way, you dont want your pup to consume these potential toxins on a regular basis. Before you open another bag , review the label and if you see any of the following ingredients you may want to reconsider:
How Much Selenium Is Too Much
According to AAFCO, the maximum amount of selenium used in a dog food should not exceed 2.0 mg/kg on a dry matter basis or about 18 times the recommended minimum of 0.11 mg/kg.
And on a caloric basis, the maximum suggested selenium content is 0.57 mg per 1000 calories of food which is about 19 times the minimum 0.03 mg for the mineral.
Although AAFCO sets a maximum for most minerals, the National Research Council3 has yet to determine the safe upper limit for many inorganic nutrients including selenium.
How Much Sodium Does Your Dog Need
Sodium is an essential mineral and, according to the American Association of Feed Control Officials , adult dogs require a minimum of 0.3% or about 100mg per 100kcal. This essential mineral plays a role in electrolyte balance as well as nerve and muscle cell function.
Some dog food manufacturers use too much sodium in their products, but healthy dogs are able to excrete the excess in their urine. In fact, a 2008 study shows that dogs are able to adapt fairly well to a wide range of sodium levels. The study goes on to stay that, unlike humans, dogs are relatively unlikely to develop hypertension from excess sodium intake.
Natural sources of sodium include meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, but sodium may also be added to commercial dog food in the form of table salt. For most dogs, this isnt a problem, but high sodium levels can be problematic for dogs with certain health issues.
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Dog Food Brands That Use Sodium Selenite
Most dog owners will be completely unaware that their dogs favorite food contains minerals like Sodium Selenite. Many of the larger dog food brands that are well-known use trace amounts of this mineral in their recipes.
You can see a simple example of the use of Sodium Selenite in the ingredient list of Iams Adult Large Breed Real Chicken recipe.
Here Sodium Selenite is joined by several other common minerals in dog food recipes such as Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, and Potassium Iodide.
If, for some reason, you were not happy about the inclusion of Sodium Selenite in your dogs food, we would recommend studying the ingredient list of any potential recipes to see if it is present.
You may also want to contact the manufacturer of the recipes to understand the typical levels of Selenium in the recipe.
What Dog Treat Ingredients To Avoid
Ingredients to Avoid
Is pea protein in dog food safe?
The answer is absolutely not! Peas can be found in many forms in pet food, whether thats in whole form, ground form, pea protein or pea flour. None of these pose any risk of toxicity what so over. Dogs actually even prefer the taste of peas over a lot of other plant ingredients because they are rich in protein!
What is wrong with ACANA dog food?
2019 Heart Disease Investigation We do want to alert readers to the fact that, in late June 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration identified Acana as one of 16 pet food brands that may be linked to heart disease in dogs and cats.
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Se When Making Your Own Dog Food
If you are making your own meat-based dog foods, and your diets contain organ meats, they will contain ample Se. If the diet does not contain organ meats, it may lack Se. This may be especially true if youre feeding puppies game meats without organs.
If you think that your diets may lack Se, add liver if possible. Adding 1 ounce of liver to a diet consisting primarily of 1 pound of 85% lean beef or game meats will provide ample Se. Another alternative is to add 1 finely ground Brazil nut per pound of 85% lean ground beef or per pound of game meats.
For dogs and cats, the Se recommendations are in parts per billion: 80 parts per billion for adult dogs and all cats, and 90 parts per billion for growth and reproduction stages for dogs.
Selenium content of selected foods, all raw unless noted. mcg is micrograms . The middle column is grams of the food that provide 100 mcg.
Steve Brown is a dog food formulator, researcher, and author on canine nutrition. In the 1990s he developed one of the leading low-calorie training treats, Charlee Bear® Dog Treats, as well as the first AAFCO-compliant raw dog food. Since 2003 he has focused on research and education. He is the author of two books on canine nutrition and a 40-page booklet, See Spot Live Longer the ABC Way.
American Journey All Life Stages Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain
Ingredients List: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal , Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas, Pea Protein, Chicken Fat , Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Menhaden Fish Meal, Blueberries, Carrots, Salt, Salmon Oil, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Kelp, Fructooligosaccharides, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols , Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Selenite, D-calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.
Price: You can buy this product online at Chewy.com for $42.99 . Orders over $49 ship free from Chewy.
Attributes: This premium dog food blend is designed from the ground up for taste, quality, and nutritional value. Featuring deboned salmon as the first ingredient, American Journeys all life stages blend combines the protein and Omega-3s of salmon with sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and other delicious veggies for a great flavor that dogs love. Fortified with vitamins and minerals and ships from Chewy for free if you spend more than $49.
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Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Grain
Ingredients List: Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes, Chicken Fat , Egg Product, Roasted Bison, Roasted Venison, Beef, Natural Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Ocean Fish Meal, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate , Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride , Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin , Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live , Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.
Price: You can buy a 28-lb bag from PetCo for around $48.99. There are also 5 and 14-lb options available.
Why We Need Synthetic Ingredients
In order to gain AAFCO approval, a pet food must meet a feeding trial requirement or a standard vitamin and mineral requirement. The least expensive way to meet this requirement is to add an accepted blend of premeasured synthetic vitamins and minerals to a processed diet.
Another way would be to add large amounts of healthful foods, which would provide enough nutrition despite the processing, but expensive testing or feeding trials would be necessary to prove the foods are adequate. For this reason, most manufacturers add the standard vitamin-mineral mix. This mix may be added to canned, kibble, freeze dried, or even commercial frozen raw diets.
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Safe Brands Of Pet Food
The following lists are from Best Cat Food for Cats: Note that I have crossed out those whose formulas have changed since the referenced article was published.
Wet or dry brands that do not contain sodium selenite:
- BFF All canned and Oh My Hydration pouches.
- Friskies Tasty Treasures line
- Fromm four-star canned.
- Hills Science Diet most canned.
- Natures Logic canned and dry.
- Soulistic Pate & Shreds, and Original canned.
- Tiki Cat all the Grill canned foods. Some Luau.
- Royal Canin Aroma Selective dry.
Brands that contain the safer form :
- Nutro Edit: Nutro changed their formulas. Used to be all dry formulas contained selenium yeast. Now only two dry foods have it. [Cats note: 3/13/18 update: Nutro has replaced the safe selenium yeast with the toxic sodium selenite per email reply from them. I believe this is because they are required by AAFCO* to do so.
* AAFCO is Association of American Feed Control Officials. My take is that they should still remove the sodium selenite.
How Can You Recognize Vitamins And Minerals On The Ingredient Label
Grab a bag of kibble. If it calls itself natural, it quite likely also states with added vitamins and minerals. AAFCO requires this statement because the vitamins and minerals are synthetic, not natural. The group is usually listed in the middle to bottom of the ingredient label, as all ingredients are listed in order of weight. Most of the names will sound like chemicals.
Here is a typical sample natural brand with added vitamins and minerals:
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oats, Barley, Rice, Menhaden Fish Meal, Chicken Fat Natural Chicken Flavors, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Potatoes, Carrots, Herring, Natural Flavors, Whole Eggs, Apples, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Herring Oil, Dried Kelp, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Garlic, Vitamin E Supplement, , Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Iodate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Cobalt Sulfate, Rosemary Extract.
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What Are The Risks Of Sodium Selenite To Dogs
There is documented evidence that sodium selenite is toxic to dogs. Studies have shown that high levels of sodium selenite can cause liver damage, gastrointestinal upset, and respiratory problems.
In some cases, sodium selenite has also been linked to seizures and death.
The FDA has issued a warning about the use of sodium selenite in dog food. The agency recommends that pet food manufacturers limit the amount of sodium selenite in their products to no more than 0.5 parts per million.
Biomarkers Of Selenium Status
The first to try to set reference values for selenium in dogs were Forrer et al. . They measured Se levels in serum of dogs in Switzerland and came with a range of 1.904.31 mol/L for a healthy dog. To our best knowledge, no one else has tried to set reference values since then, but there were studies in which selenium in healthy dogs was measuredoften in a group of control dogs. In a control group of 12 Labrador retrievers fed selenium adequate diet for 16 weeks, serum Se was 2.713.94 µmol/L . Stowe at el. came with a range of serum Se in Labrador retrievers 2.673.10 µmol/L. In their experiment, they used 48 dogs, divided into two groups one fed a normal diet , other getting a 75% restriction of the normal diet . They found that between 5 and 10 years of age, serum selenium decreases, but the lowest mean value was still 2.67 µmol/L for both groups.
Another possibility is to measure selenium levels in plasma. This was done in 49 elderly beagle dogs after being fed selenium adequate diet for four weeks. The range of plasma Se was 2.904.31 µmol/L with a mean of 3.49 µmol/L . Eighteen harrier hounds fed a commercial cat diet containing an amount of selenium slightly above the EU legal limit had average plasma Se 3.50 µmol/L . This is again in agreement with values measured in serum. The measured levels of selenium in serum and plasma are summarized in Table 1.
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Why Is Sodium Selenite In Dog Food
As we alluded to above, Sodium Selenite is present in dog food for the same reason that several other minerals are included to provide trace amounts of Selenium to dogs.
Selenium is usually present in water and some foods, such as nuts, fish, red meat, poultry, and grain ingredients. However, for certain dog food formulas that have minimal of these ingredients, they may need to boost the natural levels of Selenium present.
Selenium is an important mineral for dogs and humans, and some associate it with benefits such as high levels of antioxidants, a reduction in the risk of certain cancers, and various others such as arthritis.
However, many of the benefits of Selenium are far from conclusive, with many suggesting that boosting the level of Selenium may have minimal effects.
Does This Sound Like Something We Should Eat
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health , prolonged exposure to sodium selenite may cause paleness, coated tongue, stomach disorders, nervousness, metallic taste and a garlic odor of the breath. Fluid in the abdominal cavity, damage to the liver and spleen and anemia have been reported in animals.
Do you know any pets with these disorders?
How many times have you heard a pet owner comment that a change from kibble to fresh raw food improved the pets breath? Interesting!
The selenium we want to eat is a trace element, which is a cofactor for reducing antioxidant enzymes, found in animals and most plants. This biologic source of selenium is crucial to the proper functioning of every cell in the body, especially the thyroid gland. Selenium may inhibit Hashimotos disease, the human version of autoimmune thyroiditis, which has reached epidemic levels in our dogs. Selenium can even reduce the effects of mercury toxicity.
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Why Is Selenium Yeast In Dog Food
Selenium is a mineral that has health-promoting properties, and it must be included in dog and cat foods. Selenium is available in two forms: Sodium Selenite and Selenium Yeast. We use Selenium Yeast in all our premium dog foods because it is thought to be safest for their systems, even though its more costly.
Is sodium selenite toxic?
Sodium selenite is a toxic inorganic salt that is highly soluble in water and insoluble in organic solvents. The crystal structure of the anhydrous salt has been variously reported as tetragonal or monoclinic.
Is selenite toxic to dogs?
Sodium selenite can be controversial substance when its used in a dog food recipe. Thats because although the mineral is essential for normal cell function in all animals, selenium can be toxic in high doses.
Effects Of Diet Supplementation With Sodium Selenite And Selenium
Organic selenium from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and sodium selenite were tested for dry dog food supplementation.
Organic selenium promoted higher weight gain in puppies and thyroid hormone metabolism.
Urinary excretion of sodium selenite was greater than of organic selenium.
Coat quality and hair growth were not affected by selenium source.
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The Best Food For Your Dog
Toxic dog food? How is that even a thing? Is it true that these big name brands which boast about having the healthiest products for every size dog at every stage of life could actually be hazardous to their health? Sadly…yes.
Why is it that dog food, even when regulated by the FDA, can contain such hazardous chemicals? Well, its because most commercial pet food is feed-grade rather than human-grade. Feed-grade is less regulated and lower quality than human-grade. So, even if companies claim that their products are healthy, they may still use subpar ingredients.
Lets examine the ingredients in a popular bag of dog food, shall we? These are the ingredients of Purina’s Beyond Grain Free Dry Dog Food with Chicken and Egg. I picked this brand because it is marketed as natural and going back to basics using real ingredients. The toxic ingredients are italicized.
Chicken, chicken meal , pea starch, cassava root flour, canola meal, dried egg product, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, dried beet pulp, dried yeast, pea protein, natural flavor, dried apples.
Chicken Meal: Meat and bone meal fall into the 4D category of meat meaning: dead, dying, diseased, disabled.
Big Box Store Pet Food: The Harsh Reality
Did you know that over 70% of dog people dont know whats in the food they give their dogs? It sounds crazy, but its true! We love our dogs like family, yet when it comes to their food we trust whatever we find on the shelves. The harsh reality is that many big named dog food brands do not use the best ingredients to make your pups food. Proper nutrition is a vital part of keeping your dog healthy and making sure they have a full life.
Lets look at some of the shocking reasons why your dogs food could be doing more harm than good:
1. Quality is relative: Pet food is regulated by the American Feed Control Officials, which tells what the food should contain, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, which chooses the quality of the ingredients. Quality is relative, so the FDA can approve ingredients that are actually dangerous for your dog!
2. Rendering Facilities: Rendering facilities are where dead animals, such as dead livestock or even expired meat, are broken down for use in other products. This meat can be anything from dead zoo animals to roadkill! Plus the meat can be SPOILED and STILL in plastic packaging. So we are basically feeding our dogs expired meat and plastic
4. No dangerous ingredients such as onion or garlic
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