Marketing Dog Food Ingredients and the Direct Impact on Dog Health

Dog health is directly impacted through the daily consumption of both low-quality and high-quality dog food ingredients. On average, more than 90% of commercial dog food manufacturers use by-products in their dog food ingredients. Consider the less than 10% of dog food manufacturers who are more antagonistic to industry standards in the use of by-product ingredients. This is a relatively small number in comparison, which delineates why it is imperative for consumers to select a healthy dog food that
contains wholesome whole food ingredients.

A great number of consumers are unaware of the terminological manipulation of industry standards that generally appertain to substandard dog food ingredients. This is extremely concerning, since dog owners often rely on veterinarian endorsements and brand manufacturers to advocate a dog food that is healthy and contains quality dog food ingredients. This promulgates a misconception in the public eye; consumers believe they are feeding their dogs with healthy dog food when they buy well-known vet recommended commercial brands. 

Below is a schematic outlining the failures of consumers to apply their own sense of collective responsibility as it relates to the standard practices of dog food ingredients:

Injudicious Trust

healthy pet products


Manufacturers market a highlight about the dog food ingredients in their products. Have you ever heard of a manufacturer advertising their product ingredients as mostly by-product fillers, chemicals or incidental additives? Of course not! Even though most ingredients used in commercial pet food brands generally include a substantial amount of by-products, which encompass a vast amount of chemicals and incidental additives, manufacturers tend to diminish these facts and utilize clever ways of listing product ingredients.


Veterinarian recommendations originate from the manufacturers promoting details on a specific product brand. Unfortunately, they fail to include all other relevant information about the product ingredients. Veterinarians endorse manufacturer brands without complete knowledge on the quality of the actual dog food ingredients. Veterinarians in general are NOT nutritionists nor are they educated in standard practices and usage of substandard ingredients in the pet food industry. Veterinarians are only familiar with the elementary aspects of a manufacturer’s product, which is just about as much as the average consumer who reads the same promoted manufacturer data knows.


A dog food product on store shelves may or may not contain quality ingredients that are safe for long-term feeding. The marketplace is not concerned with a product’s quality. It is the consumer’s responsibility to read and research all the content on the manufacturer labels.


Advertising is a tool utilized to persuade consumers to buy a manufacturer’s product. Commercials are designed to promote and sell a certain brand. The information provided is unreliable. They often focus on one positive aspect; for example, prescription diets, grain-free, all natural, free-range, weight control, and nutrition (fortified). Despite the highlighted aspects, a large amount of the dog food ingredients consists of substandard by-products which include chemical elements.


Consumers have the potential capacity to literally be programmed in such a way as to be inveigled into purchasing marketed products. Studies have shown that consumers who see, hear, or smell an advertised product can easily be influenced to buy that product. If a product is cleverly marketed, those targeted consumers will regard its claims as truth.

Welcome to Marketing 101.

Iniquitous Stratagems

The public has intentionally been led to believe certain myths when it comes to many aspects of labeled dog food ingredients. One belief is that if a dog food label has listed ingredients in a fixed order, it means that there is more of the first listed ingredient than the second listed ingredient. As a rule, this is true; however, manufacturer technicalities often prevail over standard industry practices.

One continual technicality in the industry is artificial additives, which are added to by-product ingredients prior to the manufacturing of dog food ingredients. These chemical additives register below a certain government ratio and therefore are NOT required to be systematized or disclosed to the public.

Another frequently applied technicality in the industry applicable to dog food ingredients is called splitting.

Splitting is when components of the same ingredient are listed separately on the label but they are sourced from the same ingredient.

Listed below are typically utilized dog food ingredients of a well-known brand manufacturer.

Can you decipher a dog food label and determine if it contains healthy dog food ingredients?


ground yellow corn, poultry by-products, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, beef tallow, rice flour, beef soy flour and sugar.



Ground yellow corn and corn gluten meal are based from the same source. Splitting is done to mislead the consumer into believing that there are more poultry by-products than corn by-products. In actuality, the weight combination of the corn ingredients together weighs more than the poultry by-products.

By exposing this strategy, we find that ½ to ¾ of these dog food ingredients are actually corn by- products. This places the poultry by-products much lower on the ingredient label. Not a healthy nutritional source.

Ground Yellow Corn (not to be mistaken for corn) is typically composed of ground grain fragments, the nutrient rich properties of which have been removed. It is a cheap waste by-product filler used specifically in pet foods. Unfit for human consumption, it is routinely contaminated with molds and other toxic substances. Notably, these ingredients are known for poor quality, poor practices, and poor handling.

Toxic corn, corn gluten meals, and corn flour by-products contribute to the large agglomeration of pet food recalls. Corn is exceptionally high in carbohydrates and not healthy for dogs.

Poultry by-products

There is no real meat in poultry by-products, just the inedible slaughter house waste by-products which include beaks, feathers, bones, claws, tendons, heads, blood, feces, parasites, cancerous tumors, endotoxins, and other diseased birds. The rendering process may include road kill and euthanized birds of various species and other deadly contaminants that subsume the inedible waste chemicals from anesthetization and euthanasia.

Meat by-products contain high levels of chemical compounds, with very little to no protein.

What do manufacturers do when dog food ingredients contains NO or Low Protein?

Answer: they add Gluten, for instance corn gluten.

Corn Meal Gluten – An inedible residue by-product from the manufacturing of cornstarch and corn syrup with the majority of the starch removed. The end result is a high protein gluten meal that has poor digestibility. Gluten and gluten meals are a cheap way for dog food manufacturers to boost the protein content in poor quality dog food ingredients, which results in an unhealthy incomplete protein and inferior amino acid profile.

Gluten is also commonly used as a binding agent in pet foods. It is highly allergenic and popular for contributing to major negative effects on the GI system, which cause painful gastrointestinal fermentation and other related GI distress.

Pet food manufacturers are not regulated to a label itemization of the complete or incomplete proteins consisting in their dog food ingredients.

Whole Wheat Flour is typically composed of ground grain fragments that are devoid of any nutrient rich properties. Whole wheat flour as applied to dog food ingredients is an unnecessary carbohydrate by- product filler and considered a waste by-product routinely contaminated with molds and other toxic substances along with practices of poor quality and poor handling. Typically deemed unfit for human consumption, it offers zero nutritional value to dogs.

Toxic corn and wheat grain by-products contribute to the large agglomeration of pet food recalls. Wheat and Corn ingredient by-products are known as the main cause of allergic symptoms and other health disorders in dogs.

Beef Tallow is a waste by-product fat source derived from un usable scraps of rendering plants. As inedible scraps cook down in large vats, this grease by-product rises to the surface – called tallow. Tallow is skimmed off the top and applied as a fat ingredient to make cheap low quality grain foods seemingly more palatable. It offers very little in the way of nutrition.

Tallow is stabilized by preservatives. BHA – butylated hydroxyanisole and BHT – butylated hydroxytoluene are added to prevent fats and oils from prematurely spoiling. It is also substantially preserved by synthetic chemicals like ethoxyquin and may contain the commonly used palatability enhancers tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) and propyl gallate.

BHA causes cancerous tumors in animals, acute reproductive toxicity and long term health effects. BHT causes cancerous tumors in animals and other long term ill health effects. It is unable to metabolize in the liver and is capable of inducing significant behavioral modifications.

Ethoxyquin is a quinoline-based (chemical pesticide) that has been widely used as a fat preservative since 1959 in dog food ingredients. Also a form of propylene glycol and ethylene glycol (antifreeze).

Currently found in countless premium dog foods :

Ethoxyquin Ingestion is known to cause hepatocellular carcinoma and contribute to many health conditions such as allergic reactions, skin problems, other cancers, major organ failure, behavioral problems, depression, liver damage, convulsions, coma, and even documented death.

Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) is a synthetic antioxidant, a type of phenol which is a derivative of hydroquinone. It is a form of butane used as a chemical preservative in dog food ingredients to delay rancidness and extend shelf life. It is typically combined with BHA for food preservation.

Just because the FDA allows chemicals in small doses doesn’t mean it is healthy. Studies in long term use of (TBHQ) in animals have shown to produce carcinogenic precursors to stomach tumors, metabolic disorders, genetic damage and compromising of the overall immune system.

Doses of up to 4 grams are reported to cause ADHD symptoms, nausea, vomiting, madness, dizziness, tinnitus, dermatitis, restlessness, hyperactivity, asthma, inflammation of mucosal membranes, and other allergic reactions. 5 grams of (TBHQ) are considered a lethal dose.

Propyl Gallate is an artificial food additive usually used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. It aids in preventing food rancidity by stopping oxygen molecules from mixing with fats and oils in food.

Effects of consuming Propyl gallate include liver and kidney problems, skin and stomach irritability, allergenic reactions, and breathing difficulties. Propyl gallate mimics the hormone estrogen, affecting reproductive health and other serious medical conditions. Propyl gallate is considered safe by FDA; however in other countries, it is very limited and the use of it is banned almost entirely.

These chemicals cause symptomatic and long term health problems and should never be fed to any animal.

Rice flour (not to be mistaken for rice) is typically ground grain by-product fragments in which the nutrient rich properties have been removed. It is commonly used as a cheaper filler in dog food ingredients. As in ground corn and whole wheat flour by-product fillers, rice flour used in pet foods is usually deemed unfit for human consumption and considered as an inedible waste by-product routinely contaminated with molds and toxic substances.

Rice flour by-products also contribute to the large agglomeration of pet food recalls. It causes bowel distress, constipation and can lead to diabetes in dogs.

Beef Soy Flour – In pet food, soy flour is produced from low quality waste soybeans and soy by-products that have been shaved into flakes then soaked in the petroleum-derivative chemical hexane. Hexane soaked flakes are then ground into a powder and used as a filler in pet food ingredients. Other additives may include wheat gluten and carbohydrates. And like gluten, beef soy flour is used to raise the overall total protein in low quality dog food ingredients. Soy flour can be made to imitate a variety of meats in texture, color, and tastes. Beef digests or other artificial flavorings may be added to resemble the taste of red meat. Soy flour has high allergenic effects, poor digestibility and a low biological value.

Hexane is a chemically dominant extraction solvent for oil seeds as in soy oil.

Pets commonly exhibit an allergic reaction to soy protein, which can decrease trace mineral availability due to its antioxidant compounds, phytate, and fiber concentrations.

Sugars are added to dog food ingredients to make the food more palatable. Sugars add unnecessary calories offering Zero value in the way of nutrition. Sugars are known to cause a variety of health complications in pets and humans, some of which include nervousness, hyperactivity, tooth decay, and diabetes.

Avoid all sugar in pet food, including xylitol, propylene glycol, sorbitol, ammoniated glycyrrhizin, sucrose, glucose, fructose, corn syrup and commercialized poor quality cane molasses. Some of these sweeteners are toxic and can cause death in dogs.

It is clear that by-products of the grain industry are overloaded with noxious synthetic chemicals. Industry standards allow poisonous waste by-products to be utilized in dog food ingredients as fillers, thickeners , and non-food grade fiber. This enables manufacturers to produce the most toxic synthetic food on the market in the form of pet Foods. Resultantly, these offer virtually NO whole ingredients and non-absorbable fiber, thereby providing no value to pets.

This is exactly why chemical fortification is necessary in these dog food ingredients.

100% of pet food ingredients containing any form of by-product “meals” or “meat meal” have high levels of toxic synthetic chemical ingredients. Meat meals, bone meals, and fats are a product of the rendering plants which pretreat the processed waste products with what’s called “incidental chemicals” in order to render it saleable to pet food manufacturers as cheap dog food ingredients. Rendering plants process all waste by-products together, including the three D’s (dead, dying, diseased), road kill, and euthanized pets from veterinarian hospitals, clinics, and shelters.

The common euthanasia drug, sodium pentobarbital, has been found in dog foods containing meat meal(s) as well as chemotherapy drugs, anesthetizing drugs, and various other drug substances.

Reportedly, an average combination of 200 tons of dogs and cats on a monthly basis were processed through one rendering plant and sold to pet food manufacturers as cat and dog food ingredients. Other rendering plants process another 11 tons or more on a weekly basis as pet food ingredients. Flea collars and other inedible objects are often unnoticed and included.

Euthanizing – Consider taking your loving pet home to bury, perhaps in the flower garden or under that special tree.

Over ¾ of all commercial dog foods contain by-products containing “incidental additives” and synthetic chemical ingredients. These ingredients are already stabilized with additives prior to dog food manufacturing and then preservative additives, bonding agents, flavor enhancers and other unhealthy chemicals are added during the manufacturing process. Not included in this equation is the small remainder of those dog foods which contain the best healthy organic dog food ingredients with NO chemical additives.

This article is meant to be a helpful tool in helping consumers understand the pet food industry and the manipulations employed in marketing as the prime stratagem to overvalue dog food ingredients in a substandard industry. The end result? An injudicious choice in dog food ingredients can result in a negative impact on dog health.