What the Fork : The Dog Food Edition

There is so much talk these days about the food we put in our bodies, but often our furry friends get forgotten in the food conversation! We strive to feed ourselves the best food, so it only seems logical to be concerned with what’s best for our fur friends too. Hopefully by now you have become a food investigator and read all the ingredients of your own food, but have you thought about reading the ingredients of your dog’s food?

I decided to do a little digging into dog food and I was shocked with what I found and you should be too.

The below ingredients are from the back of a very popular name-brand dog food, that I will not name. Lets break down some of the more concerning ingredients!

  • Corn: this is the very first ingredient and is nothing more than a cheap filler with no nutritional value. The way to pick a good dog food is by looking at the first few ingredients. If meat is not the first ingredient put it back (so it should be chicken, beef, salmon, duck, lamb etc). Dogs should never be eating corn.
  • Chicken- by product meal: This is not even meat, just chicken by-products meaning any inedible parts that are tossed aside after slaughter, not fit for human consumption. For example: backs, feet, lungs, heads, brains, spleen, frames, stomachs, intestines & undeveloped eggs. You can read more about this here
  • Corn Gluten Meal: More corn aka cheap filler.
  • Whole Wheat flour: Again, more cheap filler to cut cost. Notice how we haven’t gotten any real meat yet. Ingredients are listed in order based on how much of that ingredient is in there. So the lower it is, the less it contains.
  • Rice Flour: Another grain! Still no actual meat yet
  • Beef: Considering the cheap ingredients of this dog food and no labeling regarding the type of meat, you can assume this is poor quality beef, most likely from really sick animals that were tossed aside because they weren’t safe for human consumption.
  • Soy Flour: MORE FILLER. I get progressively angrier as I go on. Dogs shouldn’t be eating soy! (We shouldn’t really either).
  • Propylene Glycol: Now here’s what really gets me. This is the same ingredient found in anti-freeze! A popular dog company, Purina, was sued for killing 4,000 dogs earlier this year, citing this ingredient amongst others as the issue.
  • Meat and Bone Meal: More meal, remember what I said above about rendering facilities?
  • SUGAR: Why in gods name is there sugar in dog food?! Wonder why Fluffy seems to just keep getting “fluffier” and can’t seem to keep the weight off? This is the culprit. (Amongst the other crap ingredients listed above).



1. The first ingredient should be some form of meat. If the first ingredient is corn or some sort of grain, drop the bag and run! Keep in mind dogs are carnivores and should be eating mostly meat (some argue they shouldn’t eat grains at all) and when you see an ingredient like corn on there, this tells you immediately this is a cheaply made bag of dog food. Corn is one of the cheapest crops, so they use it as a filler to keep costs down, corn should not be in your dogs diet.

2. If there are ingredients in there that are not real food, don’t buy it. For example, I have seen many dog food labels with Propylene Glycol, the same ingredient found in anti-freeze. It does not belong in food! Same goes for artificial dyes like Red 40 & yellow 5. These are artificial ingredients that serve nothing more than aesthetic purposes- your pet does not care what color their food is!

3. Avoid GMOs GMOs require tons more pesticides, there are actually pesticides in GMO corn, so there is not avoiding the exposure. Pesticides in our food are being linked to cancer and other awful diseases and you want your pet to avoid these carcinogenic ingredients as well.

4. Find a good brand, with high quality values that you can trust to deliver good food for your dog. How do you find a brand with quality values you trust? Do a little digging! It may take some extra work, but isn’t your pet worth the extra research?

I happened to sit next to two men on a plane a few months ago who worked for a dog company by the name of CANIDAE. They were so full of life when they talked about their dog food, you could tell they really believed in the company and were proud of their ingredients. Their faces lit up when they spoke of the owner, who they spoke of more like a friend than a boss. They explained to me his philosophy around the company and the great lengths he went to ensure that the dog food he provided for his customers was the best food for their beloved fur friends. They were excited to show me this video they were about to release about their company and I have to say it made me really happy!

Now for the true test, lets look at the ingredients in CANIDAE’S Grain Free Pure Land Adult Dog Formula Made With Fresh Bison:

 No fillers, just whole, real ingredients. The way dog food should be!


Canidae is a brand I trust and if I had a dog I would be feeding them. I have teamed up with them to get you a code to receive $8 off their dog food! You can find that here.


I personally spoke with the brand and they instruct their ingredient suppliers to avoid GMO crops.

Your fur babies deserve the best food and lives you can give them, so make sure you’re reading their food ingredients too!

BONUS SUCCES STORY! One of my best friends is the fur mom to a little known dog Doug the Pug and when he was on certain well known name brand he was fat, had low energy & had almost constant skin issues. Not long after I met her she started him on a natural dog food & I saw him transform almost overnight. I can’t even express to you how amazing and different he looks now! He lost weight, without her doing anything differently, he has so much more energy, his skin issues are almost non-existent and his fur is SO SOFT. People are constantly complimenting her on his soft fur and asking what she does. He looks like a different dog than when I first met him! He looks healthy.


For more information on Healthy pet food buying please check out Cornucopia Institue’s “Decoding Pet Food”, they have a ton of great resources.

Courtney SwanComment