Bad Ingredients in Kibble: How to Avoid Them

In this article, you’ll learn how to avoid 24 bad ingredients in kibble. If your reading this article, I know you’ll want to avoid them and make the best choices for your dog. Above all, they’re family, so we want to feed them like family!

However, that’s hard to do. For instance, when there is conflicting and misleading information in the marketplace. Like, a long list of bad ingredients in kibble. Which are not only questionable but also dangerous, in some cases.

First, it’s extremely challenging, for pet parents to make good decisions on what a nutritionally complete diet is. Second, but of no less importance, is choosing safe options!!! Similarly, pet parents have a difficult time deciding on how and what they should feed their dogs.

3 Reasons Kibble is Not the Best Choice for Health & Longevity.

  1. Questionable & Dangerous Ingredients
  2. Highly Processed = minimal nutrient value
  3. Pro-inflammatory =  health problems

feed your dog a balanced diet

Unfortunately, there are too many bad dog food ingredients to list them all. Even more, it’s nearly impossible to avoid them in the commercial pet food industry 🙁

How to avoid bad ingredients in kibble

You can do it!! Either by:

  1. Choosing healthier commercial alternatives. With a better ingredient profile, AND which have been minimally processed.
  2. Prepare your own nutritionally complete meals at home.
  3. Or, a combination of the two, some fresh is better than no fresh.

Thankfully, you have alternatives

fresh is best vs. kibble

Choose fresh ingredients including eggs, vegetables, raw meat, and offal, vs. kibble

Bad Ingredients in Kibble to Avoid

1. Questionable & Dangerous Ingredients:

Some of the top offenders:

See the sited article link below this list, which explains in detail why you should avoid them, and suggestions for better alternatives. Source:

  1. BHA/BHT (chemical preservatives)
  2. White Flour
  3. Un-named Meat & Meat Meal (ingredients can be diseased, from dead animals, from expired meat sections in grocery stores and can even include tumors)
  4. Artificial Colors
  5. MSG
  6. Gluten
  7. Corn Syrup
  8. Farmed Salmon
  9. Xylitol & other Sugar Alcohols
  10. Nitrites or nitrates (sodium nitrite)
  11. Soy
  12. Sodium Tripolyphosphate (STPP)
  13. Salt
  14. Rendered Fat (4D – dead, diseased, dying, or disabled – animals)
  15. Propylene Glycol (a toxic ingredient found in anti-freeze)
  16. Vegetable Oil (pro-inflammatory)
  17. Animal By-products (are all the remnants of the animal carcass after all the meat and bones have been removed)
  18. Cellulose (powdered Cellulose is, wood pulp (sawdust)!

    Powdered Cellulose Can DangerousOur Story

    1. Keeps your pet from absorbing vital nutrients.
    2. Excess amounts can cause intestinal blockages
      powdered cellulose, sawdust

      Pile of wooden sawdust otherwise known as powdered cellulose

  19. Brewers Rice
  20. Corn
  21. Sodium Hexametaphosphate
  22. Flavor
  23. Animal Digest
  24. Pea Protein

Sited Source: See the sited article link, which explains in detail why you should avoid these ingredients, and suggestions for alternatives visit: Home AlivePets

2. Kibble is Highly Processed

Kibble is processed at excessively high temperatures. Similarly, the process used to make kibble is called the “extrusion process”. It’s not pretty.

Because of the high heat, any starting nutrients that are in the food are “denatured”. Meaning, the nutrients that were in the food prior to being processed, are destroyed and altered.

By definition  “denatured”  means – destroy the characteristic properties by heat, acidity, or other effects that disrupt its molecular conformation.

I told you it wasn’t pretty. That can’t be good! Right?

In addition, even the best kibble on the market, with the best ingredients and none of the bad stuff, becomes “denatured” if it’s made the way kibble is typically made. Unless you can find one that has been minimally processed.

3. Kibble is Pro-inflammatory

One example, Vegetable oil found in kibble, like other non-specific ingredients such as unnamed-meats, contains high levels of omega 6 fatty acids. These EFA’s (essential fatty acids) are essential for dogs and humans. However, pets eating a processed commercial diet already have too many Omega 6 fatty acids in the food.

Omega 6’s generate inflammation. So it is critical they are in proper balance with *Omega 3’s. When Omega 6’s are in excess they are pro-inflammatory, making conditions like arthritis, hip, and joint problems worse, and create many other health issues. Including a shorted life span.

Benefits of Omega 3’s for your dog

*Omega 3’s = anti-inflammatory and include named fish oils like anchovy, sardine, mackerel.

I supplement with high-quality fish oil. You can read more about how to choose a high-quality Omega 3 on my supplements page.

Omega 3 Fish Oil

Omega 3 Fish Oil Capsules

Multiple clinical studies have shown that Omega 3’s are beneficial:

  1. Reducing Inflammation, therefore, assisting with good joint health. Helps with conditions like osteoarthritis
  2. Helps with neurological health
  3. Promotes cardiovascular health
  4. Improves cognitive health especially as your pet ages
  5. Alleviates inflammatory skin disorders


There are some higher quality commercial dog food options on the market. Minimally processed is your best choice, with only the good stuff and none of the bad. Or, maybe you’re ready to take the next step? To start preparing nutritionally complete meals at home! Yaass!!! High five!!!

Or, perhaps you are somewhere in between? Finding the best food on the market that has been minimally processed AND starting to feed some fresh ingredients in your bowl.

The end goal always: Creating optimal health and longevity for your cherished hound.

In this Blog Series:

  1. Why choose fresh food vs. kibble for my dog? Why no more kibble?
  2. What abruptly opened my eyes, our story
  3. Why kibble is not the best choice for health & longevity

    24 Dangerous & questionable ingredients in kibble. Kibble is not a species-appropriate diet.  Kibble causes inflammation & disease.

  4. The basic guidelines of feeding a fresh, species-appropriate, nutritionally complete diet. Including, the hardest vitamins and minerals to fill in a home-prepared diet. What to watch for.

It’s my sincere hope you will find something that resonates with you! And helps move you forward to making, even more, good choices for your Cherished Hound.

About the author: Cherished Hounds Person I’am a dog health blogger and devoted dog mom with 14 years of experience creating optimal health for her dog. My goal is to help fellow dog owners manage an IVDD diagnosis, prevent IVDD episodes, make healthy diet choices and lifestyle changes with the goal of creating optimal health for your dog!

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