Worst Dog Food Brands And Ingredients. Is Cheap Dog Food Always Bad?

Finding the right food for your dog is an important task as a pet parent. Providing nutritious yet flavorful food is challenging, given that some dogs can be rather fussy eaters. In fact, there are so many dog food brands available in the market that it can sometimes get very confusing as to which one to choose from. For the most part, all these brands make huge claims that will convince you, but doing your own research will easily help you find out the worst dog food brands you should keep away from. For example, although Purina is considered a top brand, many people believe that it does not provide the best dog food. Various systematic studies have been conducted evaluating different kinds of dog diets that you must look into. 

Do you have a specific question about the worst dog food brands? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

What dog food is bad for dogs?

Various food categories are toxic for your dog and must be avoided. The worst dog food is something that can have either poor quality ingredients or cause complications in your dog that are genuinely unwanted. In most cases, dry dog food is made up of ingredients that have been made available from diseased animals that have died from causes other than slaughter. Such dog foods may contain bacteria and viruses that can harm your dog, although they are processed at high temperatures. In addition, when food is highly processed, it can create insulin and glucose that are metabolically complex and stressful for the animal. Such dog foods must be avoided at all costs to keep your pet healthy and happy. 

Puppy food brands to avoid

Puppies are incredibly energetic and excited, which can sometimes be very challenging. Providing particular attention to the kind of food you provide to your puppy is also very important because it can make or break their health. Puppies are also in their training phase, and reinforcement is often provided with the help of food.

So, you also have to make sure that the food brands you are choosing provide good treats that can be used as a reinforcement from time to time. Food brands that are to be avoided have been mentioned below. However, as a general rule of thumb, when choosing food brands for your puppy, remember that you should not feed them anything sugary or difficult to digest. 

What is the unhealthiest dog food?

You must be very aware of the ingredients that are being put in your dog’s food. For the most part, any toxic ingredient to your dogs, such as chocolate or those that are metabolically stressful, is considered unhealthy. Ensure you understand how to read the label properly, which will automatically give you a good idea about the dog food brands to avoid. 

Is cheap dog food bad?

There is no hard and fast rule that cheap dog foods are automatically bad dog foods. Many companies are providing amazing dog foods at a more affordable rate. When choosing dog food, the priority should be on understanding how some brands are understood as unsafe dog food brands. If you can find a relatively cheaper dog food with good ingredients, there is nothing to worry about. 

Worst dog food ingredients

Whenever you are checking the label of a dog food brand, it is essential to keep in mind the worst ingredients in dry dog food. It is the ingredients that are provided in the dog food that can give the worst dry dog food. BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin are often used in dog foods as preservatives.

They have been associated with health complications and dogs and must be avoided at all costs. Melamine is also added to dog food to make it look like it has more protein which is definitely toxic for your dog. Besides, MSG, meat meal, and food dyes are all ingredients that you should avoid in dog food.

What to avoid in puppy food

Any additional source of sugar should be avoided in puppy food. The ingredients mentioned above also make for the worst puppy food and should be avoided at all costs. 

Worst brands for dog food

Some dog food brands have been considered the worst dog food brands owing to the ingredients they use as well as the lack of nutritional value they add to your dog’s life. Some of the most alarming ones are provided in this list of dog food brands to avoid:

Kal Kan

The most basic ingredient used in preparing this dog food is corn. However, corn does not add much nutritional value, and other risks are involved with using corn in dog food. Besides, it also contains bone meal, which, of course, has some kind of protein value but nothing compared to the amount of protein content that real meat can provide. Wheat and soybean meal are also added in the preparation of dog food by this brand which has the same problems as corn. 


This dog food company promotes that it contains real chicken as its primary ingredient, which, of course, is a fantastic source of protein for your dogs. However, looking into the ingredient list, you will understand that it also contains a large amount of sorghum and cornmeal. It provides almost no nutritional value and acts simply as filler. Chicken by-products are also used along with beet pulp which is high in sugar and not good for your dog in the long run. 

Kibbles’ n Bits

The problem with kibbles is that they can never provide the same nutritional value as raw food. Kibble is simply not the answer if you want to provide your dog with a nutritious meal. This is perhaps the worst dry dog food because the primary ingredient is corn, which is a major Red flag in itself.

Along with corn, the rest of the dry food is prepared with wheat flour, soybean meal, and a very little quantity of meat by-products such as a bone meal. Essentially there is no natural meat anywhere present in this dog food which already makes it have very poor nutritional value. Besides that, there is also additional synthetic food coloring as well as preservatives used in the preparation of this dog food which is always something that you should avoid. 


Beneful is a dog food brand manufactured by Purina, which has already been known for producing unhealthy dog food. Although the dog food provided by this company does contain some real meat, as promised, there are some problems with this brand as well.

According to the flavor of the dog food, you will be able to find salmon, chicken, or beef to a considerable extent because it is the number one ingredient. However, the problem is that this company also uses a wide variety of fillers and meat by-products that clearly outweigh the content of real meat. Another particular problem with this brand is that it contains a lot of additional food dyes that have been associated with several health problems in dogs, making it one of the worst wet dog food. 


Pedigree is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and best-selling dog food brands worldwide. While some of the products are not the worst, some of the products produced by this food brand might not be the best for your dog’s health. A variety of the products available under this brand contain whole grain corn as the principal ingredient, which is associated with allergies in many dogs.

Besides, it is metabolically stressful and can be difficult for your dog to digest. Sadly, many products also come with meat by-products, artificial flavors, and colorings, which can be problematic for your dog.

There are undoubtedly many bad dog food brands in the market. Many have been associated with heart disorders in dogs. You must always stay away from the worst dog treats on the market, so your dog has a healthy life ahead. Always do your research to find the worst grain-free dog food so that those can be replaced with healthier varieties of dog food. 

Thanks for the blog graphics: Canva.com

Thanks for the blog graphics: Canva.com

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