Bad Food for Dogs

Finding a proper food for dogs can be tricky, since not all dog foods contain the same ingredients and the labels are written in a rather confusing manner. A dog food high in protein can provide a proper and healthy diet for a dog, in either dry or wet form or a combination of the two.

Dogs Are Meat-Eaters

Dogs are inherently meat-eaters and need the protein found in meat and dairy products. High protein foods include beef, chicken, lamb, fish, eggs and meat byproducts. Depending upon the age and activity level, dogs need varying degrees of protein. In other words, the younger and more active dogs need more protein in their diet in order to maintain optimum health.

A diet in corn and filler is woefully lacking and can result in various health problems. Some manufacturers use corn as a filler along with some meat, bone meal and other ingredients in order to claim that their product is complete and balanced. However, corn being a carbohydrate, contains only four of the ten amino acids, and does not include taupine, which is essential in maintaining canine health. A well-balanced diet must include proteins, fats, vitamins, calories, carbohydrates and minerals. Feeding table scraps or “human food” is not necessarily the healthiest diet for dogs, since they require a different set of nutrients to maintain health than humans do.

Harmful Ingredients

Some manufacturers include ingredients that can be harmful or even deadly to a dog. Some fillers and preservatives can actually cause organ damage or poison a dog. In 2007, there was a recall on dog food that contained the ingredient melamine, which caused renal failure. Another recall of dog food occurred in 2009 and involved the ingredient aflatoxin, which caused permanent liver damage.

Toxic Ingredients

Aflatoxin in a fungus found on crops, such as corn. When used as filler in a dog food, it can cause severe liver damage. A dog is a meat-eater and so his body is capable of breaking down proteins for nutritional use, but not grains.

Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include:

  • Fever
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Persistent, severe vomiting
  • Appetite Loss
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes, gums or belly)

An industrial chemical used in manufacturing plastics, melamine is also used in wheat gluten in order to thicken the gravy in wet dog foods, as well as other dog foods containing corn gluten and rice protein. Cancer, kidney stones and damage to the reproductive system can result with the ingestion of melamine. In order to give an appearance of a high protein level in their dog food products, the Chinese manufacturers were using melamine in conjunction with cyanuric acid.

Signs of melamine poisoning and possible kidney failure are:

  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Changes in water consumption
  • Depression
  • Changes in the amount and/or frequency of urination

Seek Medical Attention

Medical attention should be sought whenever any changes in dog behavior occur, after ingestion of any food for dogs.