This article is taken from our resource guide, How To Make Healthy Food Choices For Your Dog.  

See TABLE 4 as a guide for understanding meat percentages in canned foods. Try to limit to products that are labeled with “Beef”.

Watch out for Denaturing Practices

“Denaturing” is a process required in canned meat pet products to prevent consumption by humans. Methods may be toxic, but allowed, to deter humans from eating dangerous pet foods. Process can include:

  • Add a mix composed of Coal Tar, Carbolic Acid, Citronella and food coloring (all known to be carcinogenic);
  • Add Charcoal, which absorbs not just toxins but also nutrients;
  • Use exclusively human food quality ingredients, in a human food facility, and label them as a pet food product. In this case no denaturing is required because it would not be dangerous if a human consumed the product;
  • Add bone Meal Powder is sufficient for denaturing;

Do not choose foods that use the first two processes.

There is a loophole if a product is manufactured out of the country. It may not need to be denatured as long as the product is labeled for pet food consumption prior to entering the country. (In some cases this makes foreign products HIGHER quality than American products).