Not all dog food supplements are good for your pet. Many sold in the market have ingredients that are even harmful to dogs. Sadly, official regulations regarding the safety of such “vitamins” are sorely lacking. It is up to you, the owner to look after the health and well-being of your pet. You start by carefully reading the label printed on the supplement.
The Difference between Active and Inactive Ingredients
Most dog food supplement makers boast about the active ingredients in the label. These are the ones that are subject to approval from regulators like the American Association of Feed Control Officials or AAFCO. But they curiously silent about the inactive ingredients included in the mix. These are the ones that you should avoid feeding to your dog.
Excipients are usually the inactive ingredients included in dog food supplements. They are unnecessary and could prove dangerous when taken in by the dog. They don’t appear dangerous when you read them on the label. But you can avoid these harmful ingredients once you’re familiar with them and the harm they can cause to your dog.
Avoid Supplements with Fillers
As the name implies, these are meant to increase the volume of the product. They contain little or no nutrition at all. Talc and silicon are the most popular fillers. These two can’t be considered food and talc is deemed as a carcinogen. Some would use food grade fillers such as Calcium Phosphate, Cellulose, Cornstarch, Lactose, and Sorbitol.
Keep Away from Binders
Binders are included in tablets simply to harden them. The usual materials used as binders are Cellulose, Gum Arabic, Honey, Lecithin, and Sorbitol. They are mostly food grade materials but some are unhealthy even for your dog.
Don’t Give These Disintegration Aids
Once the tablet reaches the dog’s gastrointestinal tracts, the disintegration aids swell and breaks the pill apart to make it easier to dissolve. Ingredients include Alginic Acid, confectionary sugar, Crosspovidone, Croscarmellose sodium, starches like potato and corn, as well as Sodium starch glycolate. Most of these ingredients can cause your dog to have allergies, asthma attacks, and rashes.
About Lubricants and Flow Agents
Manufacturers usually include lubricants and flow agents only to increase the dissolving time of the tablets. They are mostly genetically modified vegetables but they are not healthy for both dog and man. These ingredients include Calcium, Magnesium or Vegetable stearate, Silica, Stearic Acid, and Polyethylene glycol. Some of these agents like Vegetable stearate and Silica causes indigestion. One can only wonder why include them at all.
Watch Out for These Flavoring Agents and Sweeteners
Your dog doesn’t need these sweeteners but manufacturers still add them anyway. The most common ones are Fructose, Maltrin, Maltodextrin, Sorbitol, and Sucrose. Flavorings are included in dog food supplements ostensibly to make them taste better. The label usually indicates beef or bacon flavor which means it’s belly fat and synthetic.
Ignore these Coloring Agents
Makers add colors to make the supplements visually pleasing to you. The dog could care less since their color perceptions are different from ours. Some of the agents used are taken from vegetables such as beet, carrot, and chlorophyll. But the ones you should avoid are the synthetics since they are known to cause cancer.
Coating Materials Only Benefit the Manufacturers
There are several reasons why makers add them and they are not for your benefit or the dogs. The reasons range from increased shelf life to masking unpleasant odors.
Manufacturers include a lot of harmful ingredients in dog food supplements. These additions are meant to increase the life of the product, make it taste better or look attractive. It is, therefore your responsibility to look out for the health of your dog. It’s much better to choose natural healthy foods like integratori alimentary than those sold in the grocery stores.