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6 Bad Ingredients Found In Commercial Pet Food

Have you ever had a look at the ingredients in your pet’s food?   When I say “had a look” did you really look at those ingredients?

Well go on….go and have a look. 

We are going to identify 6 bad ingredients that you do not want to find in your pets food.


1. Ethoxyquin 

Ethoxyquin is often used as a preservative and antioxidant in pet food.  It was developed as a pesticide for scale on fruit.  However now a number of Government agencies have issued warning over the use of the preservative.

Dangers: Ethoxyquin has been associated with the development of kidney and liver damage, cancer (liver, spleen, stomach, and skin), immune deficiency syndrome, blindness, and leukaemia.

2. Propylene Glycol  

Not something found often in Australia, but if you live in a country with freezing winter conditions you will likely use this in your car to stop it from freezing; commonly called “anti-freeze”.

It has been found in semi-moist kibble to prevent the food from drying out and bacteria growth. This means it also destroys any “good” bacteria left in the product.  Good bacteria are essential for gut health.

Dangers: Some dogs may develop lesions within their intestinal tract which in time can become cancerous. 

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

Both are used as a preservative and can be found in some pet food and human food, cosmetics and even in petroleum.
Dangers: BHA and BHT have been known to impair blood clotting when consumed in high quantities, and promote tumour growth.  BHT is considered more potent than BHA and has been directly linked with cancer for both dogs and humans.  BHA is often responsible for kidney damage.

4. Corn Syrup/Corn 

Corn syrup is a sugar often used as a sweetener and used as cheap filler in pet food.  Making your pet feel full but offering minimal nutritional value.

Dangers: Weight gain, diabetes and hyperactivity. 

5. “By Product” 

This could be any animal product such as chicken, lamb; beef etc. “By products” are the internal remains of an animal. These “by products” can and have been discovered to have been sourced from already deceased animals from farms and feedlots that can not be used for human consumption.  They could contain diseased tissues and organs.

Dangers: Your pet could potentially be eating something that has been contaminated, contains diseases and as reported by the FDA may even have traces of pentobarbital used to euthanise animals.

6. Food Dyes (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE)

Animals don’t care what colour their food is.  Its sole purpose is marketing.  The aim is to make products more attractive to the purchaser; YOU.

Dangers: Food dyes have the same reaction in dogs as they do many humans they are linked to allergies, hyperactivity and behavioural issues. 4-MIE is a known animal carcinogen.


Pet food is a multi-million dollar industry.  There is no strict legislation when it comes to pet food like that compared to food for human consumption, no wonder more and more companies are jumping on board.  But not all foods are the same.  Some just have a great marketing team! 

What can you do to be sure you are giving your pet the safest food and treats available?


If you are buying a commercially prepared product flip it over and read the ingredients listed.  What are the first 5 ingredients?  Are any of the above listed?

The safest option is to look for a product supplied in it most natural form with minimum human intervention and processing. Such as organic raw, air dried or freeze dried meat with vegetables.  It may also contain other naturally healthy additives such as flaxseed, omega oils, green lipped mussel etc.  Australia and New Zealand have some of the best commercially prepared raw pet foods in the world!


Maybe even try cooking your own pet food and treats such as a bone broth.  At least you know what is going into it!