By Nancy Kerns -Published: January 18, 2022

Dear Fellow Dog Lover,

You likely know dogs shouldn’t have chocolate. You may have heard that onions, grapes, and even raisins aren’t good for your pup either.

But did you know there are three common dog foods you don’t want to feed your dog?

For example, take those popular dried jerky treats. As early as 2006 reports were coming in that linked dried chicken jerky treats to illnesses and even fatalities in dogs.

Most of the cases are linked to chicken jerky, but duck and sweet potato jerky treats have also caused health problems. The cause is still a mystery—but the solution is simple—Don’t feed your dog jerky treats.

Here’s another shocker. Dry foods that are “meat only” may not be the best food for your dog. Meat-only foods may sound great—but they aren’t necessarily healthy for your dog.

Here’s why. Ingredients are listed on the label in order of pre-processing weight in the food’s formula. Meat contains about 70% moisture and is very heavy, so if it is included in a large enough quantity to be the first or second ingredient listed, it probably isn’t supplying the majority of the product’s protein. This is because the meats that are used in pet food – which actually contain quite a bit of skin, fat, connective tissue, and bone – may contain as little as 8% protein.

A healthier food for your dog will be one that contains both meat and meat meal high on the ingredients list, it’s the meat meal that supplies most of the protein in the product. If there is no meat meal in a dry dog food, it probably contains plant protein sources, which aren’t as nutritionally complete for your dog.

Sometimes our own good intentions get in the way of appropriate nutrition. Let’s say you’re trying to feed your dog “the best” food possible, so you buy the most expensive food on the market, which is high in protein and fat. That might be terrific for a field-hunting German Shorthair Pointer – but could trigger a fatal attack of pancreatitis in your Miniature Schnauzer or Cocker Spaniel.

Be aware that poor-quality foods are far more common than good foods in stores (and the poor-quality products are not always the cheapest!). A poor-quality diet can cause everything from persistent licking and scratching to ear infections, red, goopy eyes, to lackluster fur and even cancer.

To set the record straight and help you choose the best foods and treats for your furry friend, the editors of Whole Dog Journal release two annual issues focused on the top dog foods for total wellness. Like everything we do here at Whole Dog Journal, it’s a comprehensive, brand-by-brand, eye-opening evaluation of the top wet and dry dog foods available today.

Just as eating healthier foods can help your health, switching your dog to a healthier food can add years to his life.

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