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What is a "filler"?

Neither organization that provides ingredient and nutrition guidance has a definition for filler ingredient. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) defines many animal feed and pet food terms.  The organization also works with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state governments to define ingredients used to make pet food and other animal feeds. However, nowhere in AAFCO’s Official Publication will you find a definition for filler listed in the section of official feed terms.

In general fillers in pet food are ingredients that don't add any nutritional value since dogs are mainly carnivores, but simply increase the volume of the food you're purchasing.  Fillers are typically made up of grains and by-products that aren't suitable for human consumption but can add a lot of bulk to a bag of dog food.

Are Fillers Bad?

Fillers aren’t always necessarily bad for dogs, but they don’t provide any benefits to your dog’s diet. Since fillers are not really useful food ingredients, they can also be harder for your dog’s body to process. This can lead to issues with digestion, skin issues, coat issues, obesity, high blood sugar, and food allergies.

Are Fillers Bad?

Dangerous and disgusting ingredients in dog food

1. Wheat
The number one allergen in dogs and a contributing factor to canine obesity.

2. Corn
Useless filler that is a known cause of allergies and is difficult for dogs to digest

3. Corn Gluten Meal
Patented as a weed killer in 1991. Used as a cheap filler.

4. Soy
Considered a low-quality, incomplete protein well known to create food allergies in pets

5. Animal Digest
The worst of all ingredients. Unspecified parts of unspecified animals

6. By-Product Meal
Heads, feet, feathers, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments

7. Ethoxyquin
Used in the production of rubber and banned for use in human food.

8. Cellulose
Just another name for sawdust.

9. Egg Product
Eggshells are eggs that may have gone rancid or spoiled.

10. Brewers Rice
The broken shells of rice which lack nutrients and have been discarded by other food manufacturing processes. Floor sweepings.

11. Sugar in any form
Unnecessary and adds empty calories.

12. Propylene Glycol
Added as a sweetener. Used in antifreeze solutions, hydraulic fluids, and as a solvent.

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