Not-So-Secret Ingredients Found In Commercial Pet Foods That May Be Bad For Your Pets

Commercial pet foods might be convenient for you, but did you know that there are ingredients found in those packaged foods that are deemed bad for your little pet babies?

PHOTO: Unsplash/Barking Royalty

These ingredients aren’t hidden from consumers, by the way. They’re all clearly stated in the ingredients included on the packaging or available online on the brand’s website.

If you’re a fan of using commercial pet foods, look out for these six ingredients the next time you buy some for your pets. You’ll probably even find two or more of these included in your favorite brand’s ingredient list.

1. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

This is a mouthful, I know. The two ingredients above are used as preservatives, and they can be found in food products, both pet and human, and cosmetics.

BHT and BHA are widely used in food products across the world, but there have been studies that identify BHA as a possible carcinogen, and long-term, high-dose exposure to BHT was found to be toxic in animal models and cause kidney and liver problems, among other issues.

2. By-Product

This item might be sensitive to some. Please proceed with caution or skip to the next ingredient.

“By-products” in pet foods is used as a general term for, ehem, the internal remains of various animals. Usually, these are innards, and sometimes even the bones, from the food that we humans eat. So think chicken, beef, and so on. (Go past the image below if you want to skip reading the last part now.)

If sourced properly, by-products can be beneficial to our pets, as they provide needed nutrients. But, and this is a big but, other than sourcing by-products from animals that were prepped for human consumption, companies have been known to use restaurant grease, expired meat from supermarkets, and, worse, according to PetMD, by-products can be harvested from “4D” livestock animals, which are dead, dying, diseased, or disabled.

PHOTO: Pixabay/mattycoulton

3. Corn Syrup/Corn

We are all too familiar with this one, right? Our pet’s health can be finicky at times, and watching their sugar level can be a bit hard, especially if you feed them commercial food every day, because many of them contain corn or corn syrup, which is a type of sugar.

Pet foods that have this ingredient are likely to lead to a diabetic and/or obese pet. Although corn and corn syrup are used mainly as sweeteners, they are also known to be used as food fillers.

4. Ethoxyquin

This ingredient is categorized as a controversial but approved food additive. Ethoxyquin is also used as an antioxidant preservative, but outside of pet foods, this ingredient is also used as a pesticide.

Ethoxyquin is said to be responsible for reproductive problems, kidney and liver damage, behavior problems, and various types of cancers in both dogs and cats.

5. Food dyes

This one is also widely used for human food. This is used to make things more appealing to us, to make it look more delectable for us. But it’s been proven that dogs don’t see much color – no they’re not totally colorblind, they do see some colors, just not a lot.

But do they care about their food’s color? No. Food dyes in pet food are purely used to attract owners. Unnecessary. Food dyes don’t provide any additional nutrition to our pets, and allergic reactions to food coloring are possible for some dogs.

PHOTO: Unsplash/Ayla Verschueren

6. Propylene Glycol

Last item on our list! This is basically a “pet-friendly” form of antifreeze. It helps keep semi-wet pet food from drying out, and it also prevents bacteria growth, both good and bad bacteria. A company had to recall one of their cat treats because this ingredient was found in them. If that’s not a cause for alarm, I don’t know what is.

Studies have shown that this ingredient affects the red blood cells in cats, in particular, along with causing other adverse effects. Although this antifreeze ingredient is labeled as safe for dogs and humans, consuming this in a large dose can cause severe sedation, seizures, anemia, and lethargy.

So there you have it! If you want to move your pets to a more natural diet, check out this other list or prepare something a little fancy for your fur baby like this homemade crockpot dog food!

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