Killer ingredients Found in Many Pet Foods

September 26, 2016

What Does Lecithin in Pet Food Do for Dogs and Cats?

Do you wonder what all those hard-to-pronounce and impossible to decipher ingredients are at the end of the ingredients list on pet food containers?  Some of them are confusing, and you wonder if they really are necessary. Some are good and some are not so good. Let’s begin with Lecithin. This antioxidant is one of the building blocks to the cell membranes and protects cells from oxidation. Lecithin improves vitamin absorption and contains 3 essential fatty acids that pets need to thrive. Immune function is also improved. Lecithin also stimulates memory and learning ability. Older dogs benefit most from this pet food additive because it helps with skin flakiness and irritations which are common in senior animals.

Some pet foods contain killer ingredients

Before you get too excited about Lecithin in your pet’s food, you should also know that some forms derive from soy and if you are a regular reader of this site, you know that I’m negative toward soy in pet food in any shape or form. The reason soy is a problem is that 95% of the soy grown in the United States in genetically modified. Created by Monsanto, this method of growing plants is supposed to be more resistant to problems from being sprayed with a commercial version of Roundup, a nasty weed killer that is poison to people and pets. You can assume that anything coming from soy in this country is subject to contamination by this weed killer.

Know the origin of the lecithin in your pet food! Soy lecithin is a waste product. Lecithin derived from sunflowers is healthy and provides wonderful benefits for your dog or cat.

Avoid This Killer Ingredient in Your Pet’s Food!

Another ingredient in pet food that is extremely bad for your dog or cat is corn syrup. You’ll find it mostly in cheaper and lower-quality foods. The name itself implies that corn syrup is used in place of sugar as a sweetener. Dogs don’t need sweeteners added to their foods, and this particular one causes lots of problems.

Corn syrup comes from corn starch and encourages a rise in glucose in the animal. Dogs and cats do not need any ingredient that pushes them toward weight gain or diabetes. It is also thought that corn syrup promotes nervousness, tooth decay, cataracts, and allergies.  Pets become addicted to foods containing sweeteners, and it is not always easy to switch them to healthier alternatives.

The other reason to avoid  this ingredient in pet food is that it is most likely a GMO product. This means that the corn from which it comes  was chemically altered as seed to withstand repeated sprayings of Monsanto’s Roundup to ward off weeds. Enough said!

 Artificial Preservatives Can be Dangerous in Dog & Cat Food

Ethoxyquin is an example of an artificial preservative and can be found in the ingredient, fish meal, among other places. Ethoxyquin is also used as a pesticide and a hardening agent for making rubber. It is not allowed in pet food in Australia or European countries.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytolulene (BHT) are two more artificial preservatives that are bad for pets. These chemicals are added to the oils in pet foods and treats as preservatives. BHA is on the list of known carcinogens and toxicants and BHT is a carcinogen that is known to cause kidney failure and liver damage in lab rats.

You know those dog foods that advertise themselves as being soft and chewy and pets are supposed to love that about them? The food additive that keeps that food soft and chewy is propylene glycol. It is chemically derived from ethylene glycol, from which anti-freeze is made. I think we can all agree that there is no way propylene glycol can be good for our pets.

Glyceryl Monostearate is an emulsifier used in lower grade pet foods. It may contain BHA and BHT among other glyceryls and chemicals.  Because of the unknown chemicals, avoid foods containing glyceryl monostearate.

Some Fiber Sources Can be Killers for Dogs & Cats

Cellulose is found as an ingredient in some pet foods. If consumers realized that the source of cellulose is wood, they would never give that food to their beloved pets.  The wood is cleaned and dried and ground to a fine powder to add bulk to the food. As the link says, this might be considered good food for termites but not for dogs and cats.

Peanut hulls are the outer shell of the nut. It has no nutritional value and is used as a cheap filler. Think of all the pesticides that are used on peanuts as they grow!

According to the, citrus pulp is added as a source of fiber in dog foods. Because the peel and some leaves are included in the ground up pulp, there is the possibility of pesticide contamination. Avoid it!

AAFCO defines yeast culture as the dried product composed of yeast and the media on which it is grown. It’s used mainly as a flavor in pet food to make it more appealing to the animals. You have no way of knowing the source of said media, and it is a potential allergen to dogs.

These are just a few of the lesser known killer ingredients in some pet foods. You, the consumer, must ferret out the good from the bad so that you don’t receive any surprises from your pet food purchases. Insist on natural pet foods containing only a few ingredients that are easy to read and understand.

Leave a Comment

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda Bennie September 27, 2016 at 9:28 am

Hi Carol,
Thank you for sharing this invaluable information. We will be sharing it with our followers.
Amanda Bennie
Clear Conscience Pet


Anthony Bennie September 27, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Nice post and thoughtful as always, Carol. One important point though- lecithin can also be derived from Sunflower and we are using sunflower lecithin in all of our new SuperGravy recipes: ARFredo white SuperGravy tecipe with Greek yogurt Parmesan romano and provolone cheese, BARKinara Red with tomato and liver, and PawJus Brown with beef liver. All 3 have chia seed, kelp, probiotics and digestive enzymes, Though not yet officially on the market, all 3 have been sampled by many dogs who love it!


Carol North September 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Thanks, Anthony Bennie, for that bit of info. I did not find it in my research. I’ll add that to the article so people know to look for sunflower as a source of lecithin.


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