Which Dog Food Brands Should You Avoid?

Which Dog Food Brands Should You Avoid?

Author WDF Staff


Choosing the right dog food for your beloved pet can be tricky. You can quickly check our list of best dog foods, and hopefully, make a great decision for your dog. However, knowing which dog food is acceptable is not enough; you will have to know which dog food brands to avoid. Here is our quick list, and we will explain our decision a bit later;

  • IAMS
  • Ol’ Roy
  • Cesar
  • Gravy Train
  • Pedigree

What makes a dog food brand worth avoiding?

There are many things you should look for when choosing dog food. Look for ingredients, protein sources, supplements, and other things you’d want to see on the ingredient list. Just like there are things you want to see, there are things you don’t want to see on the ingredient list. Those are the things that make a dog food brand worth avoiding. Here is what you should look for;

Protein source

The first thing you should look for is the protein source the brand uses in its recipe. Next, look for meat by-products and avoid them. Meat by-products are the parts of the animal that remain after it has been prepared and stripped for human consumption. Things like bones, organs, hooves, or anything else left can be considered a by-product. Since dog food production is not as regulated as human food production, manufacturers can get away with using these by-products.

Popular food fillers

Using food fillers is a popular way of getting the weight and volume of the dog food but keeping the production costs low. Manufacturers use corn, soy, or other grain to fill the food and provide a reasonably large calorie count. Dogs might feel full after eating this type of food, but fillers are known to cause all sorts of health issues.

Artificial ingredients

Artificial ingredients are not healthy for humans nor dogs. If you avoid artificial ingredients in your diet, why would you include them in your dog’s diet? Some preservatives, taste inhibitors, and artificial colorings can be cancerogenic, so you should avoid them as much as possible.

Here is why we have selected the aforementioned dog food brands to avoid;


We have selected IAMS as a dog food brand to avoid because of the low-quality ingredients the company uses for their dog food. It might be a good-selling brand, but its promises are rarely met. Our main issue with IAMS is the amount of fillers they use in their dog food recipes. They use cornmeal and sorghum, which provide little to no nutritional value. Another thing many IAMS products contain is beet pulp which is high in sugars and can lead to canine obesity.

iams logo

2. Ol’ Roy

Ol’ Roy is Walmart’s brand, so don’t be surprised if you find it in your closest Walmart. As a general rule, you should avoid using brands made by retail chains. They don’t know anything about proper canine digestion, and they made the brand simply because they can push it in their stores. Always look for dog food made by companies with a tradition in animal food production and avoid store brands. Ol’ Roy contains corn, soybean meal, meat by-products, and ground wheat. Plus, it uses citric acid as a preservative. You can read more about the effect citric acid has on the dog’s body here - Can dogs eat lemon?

ol roy logo

3. Cesar dog food

Cesar dog food, especially their filets, is considered one of the worst dog foods you can give to your dog. Many dog owners already know this, but you can’t be wrong if you mention it again. Cesar filets have a considerable amount of salt in them, meat by-products, liver, and worst of all - artificial coloring. Their dry matter analysis shows an above-average protein content. Still, the problem is that these proteins come from lousy sources. This is a product you should avoid as much as you can.

cesar dog food logo

4. Gravy Train

Like any other dog food, Gravy Train includes real meat in its recipe, but the amount is questionable, to say the least. This dog food contains crazy amounts of soy, cornstarch, artificial colors, and preservatives. The number of lousy ingredients in this dog food is staggering. The company did the bare minimum the FDA requires for dog foods, and they are counting on dog owners’ lack of interest. Luckily, dog owners are more aware of their own diet and their dog’s diet, so lousy dog foods are not in the best position.

Gravy Train logo

5. Pedigree

Pedigree might be one of the best-selling dog foods in the world, but the reason for their success is not their quality. Pedigree offers budget-friendly prices, and its products have fantastic distribution channels. Their marketing team is amazing, and the commercials are fun to watch. However, they have to make all that effort to make up because their dog food is simply not that good. Three main ingredients we don’t like to see in dog foods that are present in Pedigree are soy, artificial flavors, and meat by-products.

Pedigree banner

In conclusion

Dog food industry is constantly growing and evolving. Just because one company or brand is on this list doesn’t mean it won’t improve. Whatever dog food you pick, you should look at the ingredient list and make sure your dog is not eating unhealthy things.

World Dog Finder team

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