Dog Food Ingredients: What To Avoid

The following ingredients are commonly found in commercial dog foods. They can all have an adverse effect on your pet's health, leading to poor general condition, shortened lifespan, pain and even cancers and other diseases.

Whatever food you buy, check the label. Your pet will thank you for it and you will save yourself on vet bills too!


The waste parts of animal carcasses that are unfit for human consumption, including organs, feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs, cancerous tumors from the animal…. these are all put through a process called ‘rendering’ and the whole concoction labelled ‘by-products'. Generic by products where the animal type is not specified (such as in "meat by-product") are even worse.

Effects: By-products are not necessarily bad. However, they are used by petfood companies to lower their costs, which suggests they may also be using other low-quality ingredients.

There is some suggestion that the quality of the protein in by-products is lower, also. Depending on the composition of the by-product (and there's certainly no way of knowing), the protein may not be as well assimilated by some animals, leading to low energy, poor bone development and skin problems.

"Meat meal" or "meat by-product" and "animal fat"

These are fancy names for the waste products of human food manufacturers! Look at this list of perfectly legal ingredients:

  • Dying, diseased and disabled farm animals

  • Road kill (deer, skunks, and raccoons)

  • Spoiled supermarket food

  • Dead zoo animals

  • Euthanized cats and dogs (sometimes also complete with flea collars and the plastic bags they're wrapped in)

  • Restaurant grease

  • Distiller fermentation waste

  • Bread and cereal rejects (cobs, stalks, mill sweepings)

  • Contaminated grain middlings

Effects: May contain chemicals, poisons, carcinogens that can all have a very adverse effect on the dog's health: causing skin problems, cancers, joint and breathing conditions. Reduced life expectancy.


Associated with allergies and skin problems


Associated with allergies and skin problems


Can cause allergies in some dogs

Artificial Flavourings

Usually added to make the other ingredients in the food palatable for the dog. May cause skin problems, cancers.

Artificial Colourings

Added to make the food look more 'natural' to the owner (the dog doesn't care what it looks like! Same effects as artificial flavourings.

Propylene glycol

This has been banned by the FDA in the US for use in making cat food. However, it can still be found in mostly lower quality dog foods. Linked to cancers and other diseases.

Animal digest

A chemically hydrolyzed concoction of unspecified animal body parts… from unspecified animals. This product is usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to make the food taste better for the dog. Can be a factor in allergies, and poor coat and skin.


A highly controversial form of vitamin K. It has been linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

PRO PAC contains NONE of the above ingredients. Many pet owners have reported significant improvements in the health of their dog since moving them onto Pro Pac:

“Just thought I’d give you a bit of feedback.
My dog has had a long standing problem digesting his food and he has been on a prescription diet for over a year now, after checking the ingredients on you sample pack I thought I’d give it a try. I am extremely pleased to say my dog loves it! (his previous food was always a trial to get him to eat) He is actually waiting for dinnertime to arrive now, and he is looking great and has much more energy.
I can’t thank you enough for helping improve the quality of my pooch’s life.

- Kaeli Bunt, Wellington