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Dog Food Brands to Avoid: FDA Reveals Dangerous Pet Food Ingredients (2024)

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dog food brands to avoidIn the realm of dog food brands, it’s wise to steer clear of Ol’ Roy, Gravy Train, Dog Chow, IAMS Dog Food, and Beneful.

These brands have been associated with inferior ingredients, product withdrawals, safety concerns, and health problems in dogs.

Ranging from heart disease to kidney failure and digestive issues.

Opt for brands that prioritize high-quality, recognizable protein sources and minimize fillers.

By scrutinizing ingredients and manufacturing processes, you can make an informed choice about what’s optimal for your canine companion’s well-being.

Further investigation may reveal insights into other brands that warrant caution.

Key Takeaways

  • Avoid dog food brands that use low-quality ingredients, such as Ol’ Roy, which has been criticized for its use of corn, soybean meal, and meat and bone meal.
  • Be cautious of brands with a history of product recalls, such as Gravy Train, which has faced recalls due to pentobarbital contamination and salmonella contamination.
  • Watch out for brands that have been linked to health concerns, such as Dog Chow, which has been associated with allergies, digestive issues, and weight problems.
  • Opt for dog food brands that prioritize high-quality protein sources and minimize fillers, such as Orijen, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, Jinx Dry Dog Food, and Nature’s Logic Dry Dog Food.

Ol’ Roy


Ol’ Roy Dog Food, a brand owned by Walmart, has been criticized for its low-quality ingredients and controversial additives. The first five ingredients in Ol’ Roy dog food formulas include ground yellow corn, soybean meal, ground whole meat or meat and bone meal, corn syrup, and poultry fat or chicken by-product meal. Corn is a common first ingredient but isn’t ideal for dogs, as it’s often of livestock feed grade and can be linked to food allergies. Meat and bone meal is made from rendered animal products and has a lower digestibility than other meat meals, while soybean meal is a by-product of soybean oil extraction and is considered of low biological value. Chicken by-product meal is also used, which is made from dry rendered products of slaughterhouse waste.

Ol’ Roy has been involved in several product recalls, including one in 2006 due to lining separation in cans, and another in 2007 due to potential salmonella contamination. In 2008, a recall was issued due to melamine contamination. These incidents raise concerns about the safety and quality of the food produced by Ol’ Roy.

The brand has also been criticized for using artificial colors, which are suspected carcinogens, and preservatives like BHA, which has been identified as a carcinogen in both humans and animals. Ol’ Roy dog food has received mixed reviews, with some customers praising its affordability and others expressing concerns about the quality and potential health risks associated with the ingredients.

Gravy Train

Gravy Train
Shifting gears from Ol’ Roy, let’s delve into the substantial concerns surrounding Gravy Train, a brand that’s encountered its fair share of obstacles in its journey. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Gravy Train Recalls: In 2018, a recall was issued after pentobarbital, a euthanasia drug, was detected in their products.
  2. Gravy Train Lawsuits: The presence of this drug resulted in lawsuits alleging that the food was harmful to pets.
  3. Gravy Train Ingredients: The brand has faced criticism for utilizing low-quality fillers such as corn and soybean meal, which lack nutritional value for your furry companion.
  4. Gravy Train Heart Disease: The pet food industry is under examination, and components in brands like Gravy Train have been associated with health problems, including heart disease.

As you traverse the aisles dedicated to dog food, it’s prudent to adhere to the truth. Keep in mind, not all that appears appealing in a gravy boat is of value. In regard to your pup’s well-being, you hold the helm, guiding away from treacherous waters and avoiding dog food brands that should be shunned.

Dog Chow

Dog Chow

Avoiding Dog Chow: A Cautionary Tale

Dog Chow, a popular dog food brand, has been linked to several health concerns, including allergies, digestive issues, and weight problems. The brand’s ingredients, such as whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, and chicken by-product meal, have been associated with these issues, leading to concerns about the overall quality of the food.

Allergies and Digestive Issues

Allergies can manifest in various forms, including digestive symptoms like vomiting or chronic diarrhea. Dog Chow, with its ingredients like chicken by-product meal, has been linked to food allergies in dogs. Additionally, the presence of whole grain corn and other grains in the formula can contribute to digestive issues, such as constipation or diarrhea.

Weight Problems

Weight problems in dogs can be a significant concern, and Dog Chow’s high-calorie content may contribute to this issue. The brand’s recipes are formulated to provide the nutrition adult dogs need, but excessive calorie intake can lead to weight gain and associated health risks.

Recall History

Dog Chow has had its share of recalls in the past, which further raises concerns about the brand’s commitment to quality. In 2013, the brand experienced a mold growth recall, and in 2018, it faced a pentobarbital recall, which is a potentially deadly substance for dogs.

In light of these concerns, it’s recommended to avoid Dog Chow and opt for dog food brands that prioritize high-quality, allergy-friendly ingredients and have a proven track record of safety and efficacy.

IAMS Dog Food

IAMS Dog Food

Iams Dog Food, a brand renowned for its high-protein, low-grain processed dog food, has a checkered reputation. While some users extol the brand for its caliber, others have reported adverse health effects in their pets after consuming Iams products. This section will explore the ingredients, withdrawals, and health concerns associated with Iams Dog Food.


Iams Dry Dog Food is deemed a high-risk dog food, with 12 recipes averaging 25% protein and 50% carbohydrate. The brand employs an array of ingredients, including chicken, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, and chicken by-product meal. Some recipes also include dried plain beet pulp, natural flavor, flaxseed, and dried egg product. However, the elevated carbohydrate content and the utilization of unidentified animal protein such as fish oil may elicit concern among pet owners.


Iams has experienced several withdrawals over the years, notably in August 2013 due to potential salmonella contamination. In December 2011, the FDA recalled Iams products because aflatoxin levels surpassed acceptable limits. In March 2007, during the Menu Foods/melamine recall crisis, various sizes and varieties of Iams dog foods and cat foods were recalled due to potential melamine contamination.

Health Concerns:

Some users have reported adverse health effects in their pets after consuming Iams Dog Food. One user stated that their dog endured bloody diarrhea and vomiting after consuming the product. Another user reported that their dog developed neurological issues after consuming Iams food. These incidents underscore the potential hazards associated with Iams Dog Food.



Beneful is a well-known dog food brand that has faced criticism over its ingredients and their possible health risks for dogs. The brand has been linked to kidney failure in dogs, and some of its ingredients have been prohibited in other countries. The brand’s deceptive marketing has also resulted in legal action, as many consumers have reported negative reactions in their dogs after consuming the food.

The trend towards grain-free dog food has prompted many pet owners to switch to Beneful, but it’s crucial to remember that there’s no scientific basis for eliminating grains from a dog’s diet. In fact, many dogs suffer from grain allergies that are caused by proteins, not grains. The most recommended dog food brands are those that use high-quality protein sources, avoid inexpensive fillers, and are free of artificial additives.

If you’re seeking grain-free options, there are numerous other dog food brands to explore. Orijen, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, Jinx Dry Dog Food, and Nature’s Logic Dry Dog Food are among the top dog food brands. These brands have a strong history and are recognized for their high-quality ingredients and nutritional content.

When selecting a safe and healthy dog food brand, it’s crucial to carefully read labels and investigate the ingredients. Look for brands that are AAFCO certified and avoid those containing fillers, by-products, and artificial additives. Canidae Dog Food is strongly advised by veterinarians due to its high-quality ingredients and nutritional value.



Pedigree, a renowned brand in the pet food industry, has encountered its fair share of disputes. The company has been linked with recalls, legal actions, and health concerns. In 2016, Pedigree faced a product recall owing to possible contamination with pentobarbital, a medication employed in euthanasia. Additionally, in 2008, a study exposed that pedigree dogs are more heavily inbred than previously established, resulting in severe birth defects and abnormalities.

When it pertains to the ingredients utilized in Pedigree’s dog food, there are doubts. For example, their items might contain artificial colors, such as those found in Alpo and Beneful. These additives aren’t required for the well-being of dogs and can raise concerns about the quality of the food.

Furthermore, Pedigree has been scrutinized for using unidentified byproducts in their dog food. Instances include unidentified meat byproducts in Iams Dog Food and unidentified bone meal in Alpo. The absence of transparency concerning the source and quality of these byproducts can be a cause for concern.

In terms of health concerns, Pedigree has been associated with kidney failure in dogs, as witnessed with Beneful. This is a severe issue that can have a substantial impact on a dog’s quality of life.

Despite these concerns, it’s crucial to acknowledge that not all Pedigree products are problematic. For instance, their dry dog food formulations may be a superior option than their wet or canned products. However, it’s always advisable to meticulously read labels and investigate ingredients before choosing a dog food brand.

Purina Dog Chow

Purina Dog Chow
Purina Dog Chow, a well-known dog food brand, has been examined due to worries about its components and possible health dangers. The brand has been connected to various recalls and accusations of ill animals. Here are three essential points to ponder regarding Purina Dog Chow:

  1. Ingredients: Purina Dog Chow has various components, including whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, chicken by-product meal, and brewers rice. Some of these ingredients, such as corn and wheat, are typical dog allergens. Furthermore, the use of meat by-products and fillers like corn has been a topic of discussion, as many pet owners prefer more natural and grain-free choices.
  2. Recalls: In the past, Purina Dog Chow has encountered recalls due to concerns about the quality and safety of their products. For instance, in 2013, there was a mold growth recall, and in 2018, there was a pentobarbital recall. These events have raised concerns about the brand’s commitment to quality and safety.
  3. Health Risks: There have been reports linking Purina Dog Chow to health issues in dogs, including heart disease (canine dilated cardiomyopathy). While the FDA hasn’t yet suggested that owners stop feeding Purina Dog Chow, veterinarians advise against grain-free pet foods due to their lack of scientific benefits. It’s crucial to consult with a vet if a dog exhibits symptoms of heart disease and to consider switching to brands with established histories if feasible.

Considering these factors, it’s essential for pet owners to meticulously assess the components and safety history of any dog food brand before making a choice.

Twin Pet Dog Food

Twin Pet Dog Food

Twin Pet Dog Food, one of the brands owned by Simmons Pet Foods, has been linked to several health issues in dogs. In 2013, the brand had to recall several varieties of its dog food due to potential mold growth. The recall was initiated after reports of vitamin D toxicity, which can result in vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and eventually kidney failure. Twin Pet primarily uses plants in its dog foods, but a fully plant-based diet isn’t suitable for dogs. The company’s products have below-average protein and fat and are above average in carbs, compared to other dry dog foods.

Twin Pet’s ingredients include ground yellow corn, wheat middlings, meat and bone meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA and BHT), salt, potassium chloride, natural flavor, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper sulfate, niacin, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite.

In terms of quality, Twin Pet Dog Food receives a low rating of 1 star from the Dog Food Advisor. The brand isn’t recommended due to its use of unnamed meat meal as its main source of animal protein. The company’s products have been criticized for their use of low-quality ingredients, including corn, unidentified meat byproducts, wheat middlings, and artificial colors.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your dog’s food, it’s essential to avoid brands like Twin Pet and instead opt for high-quality, reputable brands that prioritize the health and well-being of your pet.

Kal Kan

Kal Kan

Kal Kan is a long-standing brand, established in 1936. However, it’s important to scrutinize the quality of their dog food. Kal Kan Complete Adult Dry Dog Food, for instance, contains a substantial amount of corn, an inexpensive cereal grain that isn’t ideal in dog food. The second ingredient is meat and bone meal, which may have reduced digestibility and is anonymous, making it unclear what type of meat is used.

Kal Kan also utilizes artificial colors in their dog food, which may raise concerns for pet owners. Furthermore, they use menadione, a contentious form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies, and atypical red blood cell breakdown.

Regarding health, Kal Kan’s dog food has been associated with kidney failure in dogs. While they were once a top-selling brand, it’s imperative to weigh the ingredient quality and potential health risks when selecting a dog food brand.

If you seek a wholesome and safe dog food brand, consider options like Orijen, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, Jinx Dry Dog Food, and Nature’s Logic Dry Dog Food. These brands prioritize high-quality protein sources, avoid cheap fillers, and are devoid of artificial additives. Always verify for AAFCO certification to guarantee the brand meets the necessary nutritional requirements for your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the most common symptoms of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)?

The main symptoms of canine DCM you’ll want to observe are lethargy, exercise intolerance, and shortness of breath. Regrettably, many dogs don’t exhibit signs until the disease is advanced, so early detection is paramount.

How can I determine if my dog’s food is causing DCM?

Over 500 dogs have suffered from potentially diet-related DCM. Check your dog’s food for peas, lentils, or potatoes – the FDA warns these ingredients may trigger heart disease. If your pup shows lethargy or breathing trouble, see your vet immediately and consider a diet change.

What are the best protein sources for dog food?

You can’t go wrong with high-quality animal proteins like chicken, turkey, beef, or fish. They provide all the essential amino acids your pup needs to thrive. Just be sure to check the ingredients list and avoid any nasty by-products or mystery meats.

How can I avoid artificial additives in dog food?

Just like you avoid junk food with artificial flavors, skip dog foods loaded with additives. Read labels closely – steer clear of anything with words you can’t pronounce. Stick to simple, natural ingredients for your pup’s vibrant health.

What are the best dog food brands for large breeds?

For large breed dogs, you can’t go wrong with Orijen or Acana. These premium brands use high-quality proteins and are made with zero fillers or by-products that could upset your big pup’s tummy. They’re pricier but worth it for your gentle giant’s health.


Imagine your beloved pup enthusiastically licking a bowl of uncertain kibble, oblivious to the lurking perils. Don’t let that nightmare materialize. Protect your furry companion by avoiding dog food brands to steer clear of, laden with inferior ingredients that endanger their well-being. Prioritize top-notch options, carefully examining labels for optimal canine nourishment.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.