Pet Food Formulator Ranks 570 Pet Food Ingredients

Pet Food ingredientsConsumer Wellness Center has posted a nutritional review of 570 pet food ingredients commonly found in pet food products, canned and dry. The list was created by a joint effort between pet food formulator Dr. Lisa Newman, consumer health advocate Mike Adams and the Consumer Wellness Center. (Conflict of interest: Dr. Newman sells her own line of dog food and cat food which is why we would take a cautious approach with the review.)

The ingredients of 448 popular pet food products sold in the United States were analyzed and organized by frequency of use and rated from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the best.

What’s on the 1-star list? Wheat gluten, corn gluten, ground corn, rice, and many others. Rice protein concentrate received 2 stars.

More on the nutritional review after the jump.

From the press release:

“Given the atrocious track record of pet food safety in the United States, we felt an urgent need to publish a tell-all reference guide that had the courage to reveal the truth about commonly used pet food ingredients,” said Mike Adams, the executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center. “Consumers need to know what’s really in their pet food, and there is an urgent need for the pet food industry to clean up its act and stop poisoning dogs, cats and other pets with toxic ingredients that cause cancer, diabetes and other diseases,” Adams said.

Here is the complete nutritional review.

(Thanks menusux)

34 Responses to “Pet Food Formulator Ranks 570 Pet Food Ingredients”

  1. Canadianna says:

    While I disagree with a few of his rankings, I think it’s a great start for people who want to learn about pet food ingredients.

  2. Lynne says:

    “garlic oil (5 stars) found in 6% of pet food products analyzed
    Excellent antioxidant, antibiotic.”

    I thought garlic and onions were toxic to dogs. Are they not?

  3. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    Well, ( and Orange Villa Veterinary Hospital in Orange County California ( both say onion and garlic are both toxic to cats and dogs. will bring up many other references.

  4. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    Does this site allow any HTML in the comments? I hated to stick the links straight into the text, but it wasn’t clear if we could embed them in the text like normally or not.

    Anyone know for sure??

  5. Booster says:

    Reading the link you posted, I see “The very small amounts of garlic that are present in some commercial pet foods have not been shown to cause any problems.”

    I can say that my two cats have been eating one of the Wellness canned foods that has garlic as an ingredient for almost a year now, and they are both in absolute perfect health, too.

    I’m not going to be feeding them chopped garlic in the amount I had in my dinner last night, to be sure, but I don’t think the small amount present in foods is really a problem - from what i’ve read it would take a massive amount, especially with a dog.

  6. Takami826 says:

    I think the onion / garlic thing must be partially related to potential allergies? my cat steals onions, eats my fresh chives right from the pot, and there is garlic in our food that they get sometimes. Not huge amounts, but I have seen no ill effects. My Husky used to get people food more than dog food as his diet and we ALWAYS had onions and garlic and such in all our foods and he was in great health and lived a long time (16 yrs)

    I wouldn’t outright give them a lot or often, but perhaps it’s more cautionary

  7. Katie says:

    Thanks Itchmo, very interesting reading. Sure shows how my OLD commercial food ranked. Better yet - my home cooked meal is mostly 5 stars! now that made my day!


  8. sandi says:

    Onions can cause is it hemolytic anemia in dogs??

    I have seen it in dogs, home made food or leftovers loaded with onions, I would err on the sid e of caution, also, rember garlic is a good additive, but, too much can also thin blood in humans and canines. I see this with elderly. Also with dogs.

    Just be moderate with garlic


  9. JJ 2 says:

    Lynne, garlic is closely related to onions and therefore potentially toxic but it’s not illegal to put in pet foods so in spite of the controversy many brands still put it in. However, I have read in several sources that there is no safe level for garlic, especially in cat food. I would advise not taking the chance and just avoiding it…it is not a necessary ingredient for either dog or cat nutrition and really isn’t worth the risk.

  10. shibadiva says:

    Is Lisa Newman an advisor to Azmira holistic foods or does she own it?

    Reference on their website is: The word “Azmira” derives from Dr. Newman’s early years when people referred to her expertise and products as the “Arizona Miracle”. She’s written quite a few books.

    Who is Mike Adams? Mike Adams is chief contributor and editor of NewsTarget, a leading independent news source for consumer health, nutrition, medicine and other health freedom topics. NewsTarget is one of the leading online resources for independent information on nutrition and drug-free wellness.

    What is NewsTarget? Is that a magazine, like Vitality, that is free at a health foods store, except that you get an email subscription? Anyone here who subscribes?

    Mike Adams is also the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center.

    Sounds like a publishing/selling joint-venture.

  11. JJ 2 says:

    It’s a shame though, because a lot of otherwise great food like Wellness and Spot’s Stew use it. I’m sure the amounts are not likely to cause problems, but I worry that they might change the formulation and amount at any time.

  12. Booster says:

    However, I have read in several sources that there is no safe level for garlic, especially in cat food. I would advise not taking the chance and just avoiding it…it is not a necessary ingredient for either dog or cat nutrition and really isn’t worth the risk.

    Do you have links to reliable sources stating this? I’m not accusing you of anything, but i’d like (and others i’m sure) to read this for myself if true.

  13. cats says:

    I don’t know why some pet food companies put garlic and onions into the pet foods.

    I know it lowers their blood health, but I don’t know how. A vet would know, for sure.

  14. cats says:

    This is garlic and onion due to the blood (just talked to a licensed veterinarian).
    It lowers the platelets in the blood and can lead to anemia in cats and dogs.

  15. cats says:

    I meant to say this is what garlic and onion do to the blood–lowering the blood platelets and can lead to anemia in dogs and cats.

  16. Booster says:

    I know it lowers their blood health, but I don’t know how.

    Garlic and onions contain sulfoxides and disulfides that damage red blood cells in cats & dogs, leading to anemia in large enough doses. Onions contain more than garlic, and both are only harmful in massively larger amounts than is put in (high quality) commercial pet food.

    A vet would know, for sure.

    As said above, my vet has had zero complaints about the health of our cats while eating canned food that lists garlic as an ingredient. Ask your vet and take it from there if you’re worried.

  17. Phoebe says:

    Our dog gets a canine Brewer’s Yeast with Garlic tablet every day. She’s happy, healthy, and her coat looks terrific.

  18. Kathy B says:

    I just used this ingredient list as a guideline to check into the ingredients in the bag of food that I believe killed my cat. I had been feeding him this “Veterinary Formula” for years. Basically - I had been giving him his necessary vitamins & minerals buried in a pile of garbage!! The supplements were all ranked 3 stars - there were 3 ingredients with 2 stars & the rest got one star - INCLUDING the 1st main ingredient - corn gluten meal (a waste product!!) Boy - did this open my eyes!! Where the heck have I been? Yes, wheat gluten was one of the main ingredients. I opened the bag on March 15th - I sent him home on March 26th. I’m so sad.

  19. Traci says:

    I understand the issue of garlic is how much of the harmful chemical it contains and how much a dog or cat has to eat of it.

    Garlic (being in the onion family) has much less of the chemical known to cause Heinz-body anemia in dogs and cats. Onion has tons. You might still find onion as a flavor in dog foods–again, it might be such a minute amount of onion that it is safe but I don’t see the point if it is just for flavor.

    Garlic is not just flavor but is believed to prevent fleas.

    I will see if I can find some more links to add to this discussion.

  20. Debra says:

    “Ground whole grain corn” and “Whole ground wheat” are listed as 5 stars, but I thought corn and wheat were 2 of the top 3 causes of allergies?

    Farther down the list, it lists “Ground whole grain wheat” at 3 stars and says “‘grain’ indicates feed-grade.” So is the 5 star “Ground whole GRAIN corn” also indicative of feed grade?

  21. JJ 2 says:

    Hi Booster…unfortunately, I can’t remember the sources…I know it’s kind of vague, and even Dr. Pitcairn, who wrote a really great book about home cooking pet food recommends a little powdered garlic as a flavor enhancer…but still, I just don’t feel comfortable taking the chance. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about pet nutrition after the pet food scare so I don’t remember all the sources….the use of garlic is controversial, but the pet food companies say that the small amounts they use is safe. I don’t really totally trust the pet food companies, though…not anymore. Using commercial pet food with garlic probably wouldn’t cause harm, but adding it while home cooking might be a little risky because the safe level might be harder to ascertain and the potency would change according to the form used. I do remember reading somewhere that no amount of garlic has been proven completely safe for cats, and it was a pet nutrition website so I assume they were objective.

  22. Traci says:

    Just found this one:

    Will look for more later on.

  23. Leslie k says:

    JJ2 & Booster- I remember seeing the garlic on 2 other sites also. I think it was the humane society or a veterinary link.The other 1 was the list of bad pet food ingredrients.Can’t remember the name. All these links & chemical names are overtaxing my aging brain ! I was at my own Dr last week & he said the latest test results show it doesn’t repel fleas or other bugs anyway. Guess I’ll stop wasting my money on garlic pills. I try not to buy pet food with it,& don’t add it to their food. However they do sometimes get leftovers & I cook with it. Their favorite treat[dogs & cats] is pizza crust & that has it. So far no problems.

  24. rescuemom says:

    FAR too many grains with a five star rating. Apparently Azmira missed the memo about dogs and cats not possessing amylase and therefore not being able to properly break down and digest grains.

    I’m not too upset to see barley up there (although it does have its contraindications in certain conditions) but corn and wheat?

    I was so excited when I saw the link, but hugely disappointed when I read the list. :O(

  25. Velvet's Dad says:

    One shouldn’g give cats garlic supplements or feed them garlic powder. I understand the amount of garlic in Wellness is only a trace. But the concern I have with this list is that dogs and cats have very different nutritional needs and I don’t see the distinction made. For example, whole ground corn is rated a 5 but one should never feed corn in any form to cats.

  26. Sandy says:

    Wellness hit my s(&*t list when they did NOTHING but give me the run around by phone and email..I would never use their products now….EVER

  27. JJ from IL says:

    Sure have lots of fish listed in the ingredients. Are these fish full of mercury? Lecithin another name for soy which they state dogs cannot digest, causes bloat and they can die from it. So why is soy showing up in more and more food? The rate some really good things as a 1? Sounds like a biased list.

  28. Debi says:

    also, why does menadione appear on the toxic list, yet it is in every Azmira dry food?? also, about garlic, the allacin contained in the garlic is supposed to, over time, change the blood activity of dogs in a negative way, so I don’t believe that one either, another thing I heard on the national news was that China produces 73% of the worlds garlic supplies!! Not me, no way. Strictly here for obvious contradictions!!!!!! Deb.

  29. Betty says:

    This is nutritionist territory not veterinarian. Obviously not a piece of ’science’ for the better part. I am glad to see your readers are hard to jerk around. It’s a shame that you posted this with credibility. This *knowledge* would make me question Azmira products.

  30. Cathy says:

    They are so off base with those ratings. Wheat gets a 5 star rating? Give me a break. I’ve never seen a holistic food that doesn’t have too many grains in it.

  31. Lou Beauregard says:

    imo…’THE LIST’ is nearly unusable ‘as is’, in addition to being a whole bunch of puffery/filler-type prose (again, just in my opinion). I mean, come on, this is not exactly homeopathy here, with the inclusion of all the 1% items.

    Initially, due to the Mike Adams endorsement/inclusion, I had high hopes for this list. For education & learning. Because, you see, for way too many years I, too, had been feeding commercial catfood. Fooled by the bright pretty pictures of happy beautiful cats, yummy appearing food and, overall, the beguiling advertizing prose.

    Perhaps the following ‘comment/snips’ from a very informative website (found via this site, btw) is just ‘preaching to the choir’ being included here. My impression, after reading the comments to date, is that it appears a few folks are still in the dark like ’shrooms’, confused &/or still bemused by clever profit-driven advertizing. Or perhaps many ‘awake & aware’ folks are just not as ‘wordy’ as self.

    Wake-up information: WHAT’S REALLY IN PET FOOD-;more=1
    -What most consumers don’t know is that the pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agriculture industries. Pet food provides a convenient way for slaughterhouse offal, grains considered “unfit for human consumption,” and similar waste products to be turned into profit. This waste includes intestines, udders, heads, hooves, and possibly diseased and cancerous animal parts.

    -Many major pet food companies in the United States are subsidiaries of gigantic multinational corporations. From a business standpoint, pet food fits very well with companies making human products; those that make human food products have a captive market in which to capitalize on their waste products;

    LABLE basics–Ingredients must be listed in descending order of weight.
    -25% rule:“dinner” “recipe,” “platter,” “entree,” and “formula”.
    - 3% rule: the term ‘WITH’
    - 0% possibly when the term ‘FLAVOR’ is used. ie:a “beef flavor” food may contain a small quantity of digest or other extract of tissues from cattle, or even an artificial flavor, without containing any actual beef meat at all.

    -While feeding trials are sometimes still done, they are expensive and time-consuming. A standard chemical analysis may also be used to make sure that a food meets the profiles. (pssstttt…the complaint ingredient, melamine [waste product], was added to UP the protein chemical analysis.)
    -Meat meals, poultry meals, by-product meals, and meat-and-bone meal are common ingredients in dry pet foods. The term “meal” means that these materials are not used fresh, but have been rendered.
    -“4D” animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled) were only recently banned for human consumption and are still legitimate ingredients for pet food.
    -“co-packing.” One company makes the food, but puts someone else’s label on it. … a very common arrangement in the pet food industry.
    -Are one company’s products — made in the same plant on the same equipment with ingredients called the same name — really “better” than another’s? That’s what the makers of expensive brands want you to think.
    -Whatever the differences are between cheap and high-end food, one thing is clear. The purchase price of pet food does not always determine whether a pet food is good or bad or even safe. However, the very cheapest foods can be counted on to have the very cheapest ingredients.

    Just Lou’s comments, in closing, -consider the term ‘obligate carnivore’. Look it up. Please do. And think about the creatures so described. And then investigate the link and article info:;more=1
    “Get The Facts:What’s Really in Pet Food”.

    Consider:-just maybe…MOUSE is the neatly perfectly packaged whole food product for CAT. (lol)

    Very Sincerely
    (concerned catperson, , braincellshakerupper, cheerfulrabblerouser)

  32. AJ in AZ says:

    I see that others are as skeptical about this list as I am. What I’d really like to see is an unbiased list that can be trusted.

  33. Candy says:

    I disagree with a lot of the findings, they rate corn higher then chicken? Thats unheard of, dogs and cats don’t even need grains in there diet. Thank god for Orijen. lol

  34. Nell Liquorman says:

    Is it even a good idea that veterinarians sell medications, flea remedies, or food products? When you think about it - medical doctors do not do this. Do vets sell these things just because they are profitable? Would they really recommend them if they did not sell them? Would you trust your veterinarian more if his focus were only on your pet’s physical condition and not on the sale of pet food industry products, drug industry products, or chemical industry products?

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