Common “Fillers” In Pet Food

January 28, 2014

In many articles, I have written about fillers in pet food.  They are usually, though not always, carbohydrates with little or no nutritional value.  Manufacturers use the fillers to take up space in a product.  They are cheap ingredients that help keep the cost down and are most always found in lower quality pet food.

Grains or potatoes are often the filler of choice.  Corn is a grain that, as well as being used in a carbohydrate position, is also used to replace a better quality protein in many low-quality pet foods.

There are some pet food nutritionists who take exception to corn being classified as a filler but like it or not, corn is not meat.  It is higher in carbohydrates and many dogs and cats are allergic to it.  Corn may be found in several forms….corn, corn gluten, corn meal, corn gluten meal.  None of them are particularly good for Fido or Fluffy.

Pet foods containing fillers encourage weight gain and in some cases, diabetes.  They are not healthy options for dog and cat food.  Your dog or cat need protein found in a decent-quality meat, such as beef, chicken, lamb or fish.  The addition of grains of any sort are just not necessary.  Diabetes could shorten your pet’s life.   Choose his food carefully.

Grains such as white rice, brewer’s rice, and rice hulls all contribute to obesity and don’t offer much nutrition.  They really serve no purpose in dog or cat food.

Wheat is another grain that doesn’t need to be included in pet food.  You may see it as wheat gluten or wheat middlings.  There is nothing wrong with wheat but pets don’t need it in their diets to thrive.

Soy flour and soybean meal should be avoided.  Many pets don’t digest soy in any form.

Those are just some of the fillers used in commercial dog and cat foods.  While you don’t have to know the entire list, make sure you understand each ingredient that is listed on the pet food you purchase.  Most importantly, know that manufacturers use fillers to help them keep the cost down so they can sell the food to you at a lower price.  But lower price doesn’t always translate to healthy pet food.  Pay a bit more for dog or cat food and you may see fewer veterinarian bills down the road.

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