What’s Up With These 6 Controversial Dog Food Ingredients?

The first way to raise a healthy dog is by feeding them a healthy diet. As dog owners, we should always be taking the time to check out what ingredients are in our dog’s food to make sure that our dogs are only eating healthy, nutritious food.

Sometimes, however, the answer isn’t as simple as “good” or “bad” when it comes to an ingredient. From beet juice to pea protein, these 6 controversial ingredients might be in your dog’s food.

1: Garlicis garlic toxic in dogs?
Why It’s Controversial:
Some dog owners give their dogs garlic supplements to help them repel fleas and ticks, but others believe this is too dangerous.

The Real Facts:
Garlic can be toxic to dogs and has even been linked to the development of more serious disorders such as Heinz body anemia.

Since it is still unclear about what kind of damage garlic may cause to red blood cells, it is best to avoid this ingredient in any dosages.

2: Pea Protein
Why It’s Controversial:
Some owners avoid pea protein because they believe it contains lectin, which can be dangerous for dogs.

The Real Facts:
While there is lectin in raw peas, the cooking process used to prepare dog food deactivates the lectin, so there is no danger.

Pea protein is a great, concentrated source of protein that will boost your dog’s diet with many essential amino acids. The best way to make sure your dog gets all the amino acids they need is to feed them a combination of both animal and plant protein sources.
3: Beet Pulp
Why It’s Controversial:
There are a number of claims about what beet pulp can cause:
Red tear stains on light-colored dogs
Ear infections
Digestion problems

The Real Facts:
In all my time researching dog food, I’ve never found any studies that accurately link beet pulp to any of these issues.

Beet pulp is an incredible source of fiber that is digestible by your dog, so there is no reason to avoid dog foods which include this ingredient.
4: Yeast
Why It’s Controversial:
Some critics believe yeast causes allergic reactions. Others are certain that yeast increases the chances of bloat in some dogs.

The Real Facts:
High-quality yeast is good for dogs unless they have an allergy to yeast.

Brewer’s yeast has been shown to help aid digestion as well as promote healthy skin, hair, eyes, and activity levels in dogs. Nutritional yeast adds many beneficial nutrients including B12 to a dog’s diet.

5: Rosemary
Why It’s Controversial:
There are rumors in the dog food world that rosemary can cause your dog to have seizures, making many people avoid foods with rosemary in them.

The Real Facts:
There have been no studies linking rosemary to any type of seizures in dogs, nor could I find any record of this happening.

Rosemary is a great, natural preservative that is often used in dog food to keep it fresh. It is also considered to be a great anti-cancer additive.
6: Corn
Why It’s Controversial:
Corn is a common ingredient in many great dog foods, but some owners believe it is just a cheap filler with no real nutritional value. Some believe that corn has lower sugar levels and higher protein levels than other cereal grains, making it a good source of energy.

The Real Facts:
According to Labrador Training HQ’s best dog food guide, corn does not have a lower glycemic value, and it is not a great source of any vitamins or minerals. It is a cheap carbohydrate source used in inexpensive dog foods.

While this cereal grain is digestible as long as it is finely ground before it is cooked into kibble, there are better carbohydrate sources that you could choose for your dog such as sweet potatoes.

Grain-free is becoming the norm in the dog food industry, but foods containing corn as one of the ingredients is not necessarily bad for your dog. I would not recommend any foods that have corn or corn meal as the first or second ingredient, but there is currently no scientific evidence that confirms that a grain-free diet is a must for dogs.
Feed Your Dog The Right Food For Them
When it comes to these controversial ingredients, there are pros and cons no matter how you look at them. If you’re still not sold about any of the ingredients, simply choose a dog food that does not include them.

The only one of these controversial ingredients that I would recommend always avoiding is garlic – the risks of using this potentially toxic ingredient are simply too high for dogs.

What matters is that you pay attention to what you’re comfortable with feeding your dog and to what they are comfortable eating.