Do You Know What's In Your Dog's Food?

They say “You are what you eat!” That goes just as much for dogs as it does for people! When is the last time you looked at the ingredients list on the pack of dog food you give to your beloved pet? We know it’s a minefield when choosing the best food for your dog, so we’ve put together the good, bad and downright ugly ingredients in your dog’s food and what they mean for your dog.

The Good:

Fresh Chicken, Beef, Turkey etc

The type of fresh meat should be specified – chicken, turkey, lamb etc. Meat is a good source of protein, although red meats are higher in cholesterol and should be kept to a minimum for the health of your dog’s heart.

Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Beef Meal etc.

Again, the type of meat should be specified – chicken meal, beef meal etc. . Meal is a dry form of meat, also labelled as dry or dehydrated meat.

Liver or Heart

In general Liver and Heart are exceptionally beneficial to dogs. They are rich in Copper and Vitamins B12, A, C, B5 and B6. They are easily digested and highly palatable.

Named Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables such as peas, cranberries carrots etc. These provide health promoting antioxidants as well as a spectrum of nutrients including vitamins A, C K and B1 as well as being a good source of fibre.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is easily digested and a good source of a wide variety of nutrients including iron, manganese, selenium, omega 3 oils and 3 B vitamins. It is also a good source of fibre, important for maintaining intestinal health.


The Bad:

Cereals and Grains

The generic terms “cereals” and “grains” can refer to any product of any cereal including wheat, rice, oats and maize. Whilst some manufacturers use this generic term to hide their secret formula, the term is often used for low grade grain products that can be nutritionally poor. Also, as the source of grains is not specified, the manufacturers can change the composition of the dog food between batches.

Meat and Animal Derivatives

This encompasses all the fleshy parts of the animal – fresh or preserved, and all products and derivatives of the processing of the carcass of the animal. Clearly this is a very loose term and gives no clue as to the animals or parts of the animals being used.

Vegetable Protein Extracts

This is another term that sheds no light in what is in the food. It gives no indication of which vegetables are used or how the proteins are extracted. Common sources of vegetable protein extract are soya, maize and wheat which have been linked to dietary intolerance and should probably be avoided for sensitive dogs.

Oils and Fats

This broad term includes all fats from animal and plant sources. Again, umbrella terms like this make it very difficult to know exactly what is in the dog’s food and could include low grade or highly processed or potentially harmful oils.


The Ugly:


Common artificial colourings in dog foods include Sunset Yellow, Tartrazine, Patent Blue V and Titanium Dioxide. The effects of these ingredients are similar in dogs as they are in children, with reduced attention span and hyperactivity being common. It is also worth noting that dogs are largely colour blind, so the colourings are added to appeal to owners rather than the dogs.

Propylene Glycol

This is a synthetic compound that absorbs water and is sometimes used to keep semi moist foods semi moist. It also has antibacterial properties and can be used as a preservative in some foods. Although it has been approved for use in dog foods it has been linked with asthma and allergic reactions. Other common uses for this compound include car antifreeze and in de-icing aircraft!


If your dog is prone to food intolerance it’s best to steer away from non-specific terms such as cereals and animal fats.

Does your dog suffer from digestive issues including loose stools, flatulence or bad breath? Does your dog have dry, itchy skin? Why not come and see us to see if changing your dog’s food could help.

Principal Pets

184 Telegraph Road


CH60 0AJ

Tel: 0151 342 9635



VAT : 178 3864 58 


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Monday        Closed

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Wednesday  09:00 to 17:30

Thursday      09:00 to 17:30

Friday            09:00 to 17:30

Saturday       09:00 to 17:30

Sunday          Closed

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