6 Harmful Dog Food Ingredients to Never Feed Your Old Dog


Senior dog owners often have problems controlling their pet’s weight. Not only does obesity limit your senior dog’s ability to stay active; it also increases the risk of developing some health conditions. They already have a higher risk of dangerous health conditions like heart disease and cancer just because of their age. To help keep your dog healthy, start by avoiding any senior dog food with these 6 harmful dog food ingredients.

Some ingredients like Ethoxyquin and propylene glycol are potentially toxic to any dog at any age. They should always be avoided. The food you choose for your senior dog should meet the specific needs of an aging dog. One of the primary goals of senior dog food formulations is to provide balanced nutrition while maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Artificial Colors – There is only one reason that colors are added to any kind of food; to improve its appearance. Since we’re talking about dog food, it really doesn’t make much since to try and make it more colorful. What’s more, some artificial colors have been shown to cause serious health problems in people. For example, Red #40 is a known carcinogenic. Is there any reason to give your dog pet food with an ingredient with no nutritional benefit that can cause cancer? Avoid dog food that contains artificial colors. Don’t worry about the color. He won’t mind.  
  • Corn Syrup – Corn syrup is another ingredient that is harmful to people and pets as well. The reason it is used in pet food is to sweeten it. The ingredient can be addictive, adds unnecessary calories, and can be harmful to dogs with diabetes. If your senior dog maintains his weight or is losing weight in spite of eating more food, it may be a sign of diabetes.
  • Beef Tallow – Beef tallow is fat that is rendered the same way as lard except that it has a softer consistency. It has no nutritional value but is sometimes used in dog food to add flavor. Real meat is a better protein choice.
  • Wheat Gluten – Sometimes pet food manufacturers add wheat gluten to dog food to provide protein. Experts used to believe that senior dogs didn’t need as much protein as younger dogs but they now know this isn’t true. Not only do they need protein to maintain muscle mass, they need quality protein. Wheat gluten is really more of a filler than a good source of protein.
  • Whole Grain Corn – Another health issue that older dogs often have is with allergies. Corn is a common allergen and it offers little nutritional value when added to senior dog food. To make matters worse, the corn used as filler in pet foods aren’t the same quality that you would purchase to feed your family. The only thing corn does in your dog’s food is add bulk and more carbohydrates that could spell trouble for your senior.
  • Bone Meal Bone meal is ground bone that is added to dog food to add flavor. Some dog owners who make their own dog food also use bone meal to provide their dogs with the bone taste they love without the problems whole bones can cause to tender teeth and gums. It may be added to commercial dog food as a filler, to increase flavor, and to add calcium and phosphorous to the dog’s diet. The problem with bone meal is that you never know exactly where it comes from. Bone meal that is sourced overseas can be contaminated. Also, some manufacturers process bone meal using heat. This makes it more difficult for dogs to digest the ingredient and prevents them from getting the nutrients it would otherwise provide.

Although these ingredients may seem like they would be harmless, making the most of every bite of food your senior dog eats is important to his health. Be sure to avoid senior dog food with these 6 harmful ingredients and lean towards a quality food that is formulated for aging dogs. Strive to give your dog all the added nutrition he needs and keep control of his weight so that he will live longer and healthier.

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