7 worst dog food brands

7 WORST DOG FOOD BRANDS 2016 are: BENEFUL, ALPO , OL’ ROY, KIBBLES N BITS, DOG CHOW, PEDIGREE, & HILL’S SCIENCE DIET  * NOTE: These Top 7 Worst Dog Food Brands have not changed since I originally wrote this post IN 2011 !! 



Any dog who is fed a consistent and regular diet of corn will be more prone to illnesses, allergies and a shorter life. The worst dog food for your dog has corn as the # 1 ingredient, along with other harmful, cancer causing ingredients, including chemicals, preservatives and unnecessary additives.


See the list of worst dog foods here.

Bad dog food ingredients = Shortened life span for your dog

Worst dog food brands for your dog listed here should be avoided if possible. They all use corn as the main protein source.

This top 7 worst dog food list is as relevant today as it was during the recall of 2007. Not much has changed.

Below is a listing of some of the worst dog food brands, which contain harmful, unnecessary and outright dangerous and deadly ingredients.

Use the list below as a guide on what bad dog food ingredients to avoid when buying commercial dog food.

If a specific brand of food is not listed here it does not mean it is bad or good brand.

You can find the complete ingredient listing and nutritional analysis on any of the dog food manufacturers websites. An ingredient list like the worst dog foods on this page should always be avoided.

All these examples have corn as the main ingredient. Use these foods as a comparative guide to see what you should NOT be feeding your dog.

Worst Dog Food Brands Listed in no particular order:



Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), rice flour, beef, soy flour, sugar, propylene glycol, meat and bone meal, tricalcium phosphate, phosphoric acid, salt, water, animal digest, sorbic acid (a preservative), potassium chloride, dried carrots, dried peas, calcium propionate (a preservative), L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 2), DL-Methionine, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, *menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), , calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.


Ground yellow corn, corn germ meal, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed tocopherols (form of vitamin E), animal digest (source of chicken flavor), salt, potassium chloride, beef & liver meal, dried cheese powder, dl-methionine, added color, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, vitamin A supplement, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, brewers dried yeast, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin d-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, *menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), ,, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.




Ground yellow corn, soybean meal, ground whole wheat, corn syrup, poultry fat, Meat and bone meal, Animal Fat Preserved with BHA and Citric Acid, Chicken by-product meal, Rice, Animal Digest, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin D and E Supplement, Niacin, Copper Sulafate, Manganous Oxide, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, *menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), , Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Cobalt Carbonate, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid

kibbles n bits |WORST DOG FOOD BRANDS

Corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat flour, animal fatbha used as preservative, corn syrup, wheat middlings, water sufficient for processing, animal digest (source of chicken flavor), propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, caramel color, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), calcium sulfate, titanium dioxide, yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, BHA (used as a preservative), dl methionine





Whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn gluten meal,meat and bone meal, brewers rice, soybean meal, barley, whole grain wheat, animal digest, calcium carbonate, salt, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Yellow 6) , DL-Methionine, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, *menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), ,, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.



INGREDIENTS (Puppy Food) :

Ground Whole Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Rice, Corn Gluten Meal (Source of Lutein*), Animal Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Source of Vitamin E), Natural Poultry Flavor, Wheat, Potassium Chloride, Wheat Flour, DiCalcium Phosphate, Salt, Brewers Dried Yeast, Carmel Color, Vegetable Oil (Source of Linoleic Acid), Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Vitamins (dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [Source of Vitamin E], Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [Source of Vitamin C*], Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement [Vitamin B2], Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Marigold Meal, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Added FD&C and Lake Colors (Yellow 6, Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5).

hills science diet - WORST DOG FOOD BRANDS

Ground Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal,Soybean Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Soybean Oil, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Iodized Salt, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Dried Chicken Cartilage, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.


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  1. My dog is 14 years old and I have always fed her kibble n bits mixed with and an all natural soft food. I don’t believe that these types of dog food shorten a dogs life span. Heck iv been feeding her this way for as long as I can remember and she is health and has tones of energy and again my dog is 14! ( sometimes i think she believes she’s still a pup) I have never been told to change her diet even by my vet. My point to this story is that not everything you read is true yes these products have grain and by products. But if you think about it even people food is processed and is full of fake nutrients. These days the only way for you and your dog to eat health would be make everything from scratch. even the brands that are on the safe list are processed and still are not good no matter how you look at it BECAUSE ITS PROCESSED.

  2. So I guess I can only speak to my experience with my pup. When we adopted her she had two obstructive struvite stones (very common type of stone according to our trusted vet). She was prescribed Hill’s C/D, and at first we were happy with the brand (not a cheap option I might add, considering it costs $120 at out local vet’s office for a 35lb bag). ($3.4 per pound of food). She was on Hill’s C/D for 6 months and nibbled on it throughout the day with disinterest, ended up gaining weight, and had a decreased amount of energy. I decided to consult an additional veterinarian who is certified and balances holistic approaches.
    I put her on freeze dried Artisan chicken food ($60 for a 10 lb bag which makes 55 lbs of food once re-hydrated). ($1.09 per pound of food).

    The ingredients are higher quality and the price was right considering I am NOT RICH! lol
    Artisan Chicken: $1.09 per pound
    Hills C/D: $3.40 per pound
    Anyway, end of the story is my dog loves this food (licks her bowl clean), and has a dramatically increased level of energy. Her coat also has more shine to it, and no dandruff. The vet verified that her urinalysis indicated this food was maintaining her health. *I also mix her food with filtered water per suggestion a friend who has had dogs with stones in the past. If her kidneys cannot properly filter minerals, than filtered water might help.
    So, that’s my long winded way of saying that getting off of Hills helped me in this circumstance. But every dog is different.

  3. I have 4 dogs, 2 are boxers who are both on Diamond Naturals and doing well. I have tried them on Blue, and Taste of the Wild and both of them had different issues with the food. It took me almost a year to finally find the one food that works well for both of them. They are healthy, shiny coats and at good weights. My other 2 dogs are Rat Terrorists and they eat Taste of the Wild Bison.

    On a side note I have noticed comments that state that Blue Buffalo is grain free food, it has rice and rice is considered a grain so it is NOT grain free.

    • Hi Lisa:

      Thanks for visiting. Good for you and your adorable companions. They are so lucky to have you and vice versa.

      Just FYI: Blue Buffalo does contain grain in the original formula, but also have grain free formulas.

      The Blue Freedom is grain free and also the Wilderness formulas are also grain free.


    • Lisa,

      I have 2 boxers and 2 Great Danes…we have been on Diamond since my Danes were pups (they are 2 and a half now) they love it!!

      I used to have my boxers on Royal Canin…the boxer formula, but it was so expensive!

  4. You know this is good and very bad.. Good that quality foods are available in greater number bad the two 35 year old dog foods that have lead this fight are left off. SolidGold Foods over 35 years old and growing and Dr. Harvey’s same longevity, just because others take the pioneers’ work and put their brand on it doesn’t make it better, but they are not mentioned and that LEAVES A BAD TASTE IN MY MOUTH.

  5. Everybody has an opinion on what pet food should and shouldn’t have. I work in the veterinary industry and it’s disgusting how much marketing comes with feeding your animal! If a food is readily available, provides the fuel your pet needs, keeps them healthy and is in your price range, then it’s the food for your pet. Pets don’t need whole meat…they don’t need grain free or a single grain source…they can have preservatives (just like humans!)…AND it doesn’t have to cost $4.99 a pound!! Rediculous! STEER CLEAR OF THE MARKETING BANDWAGON!!

    • @ Sheli

      I agree wholeheartedly..I have used Purina products my whole lifas did my parents, and my dogs are healthy happy and live long..I had one pass 2 years ago who was 16 years old..It’s a scam to make you buy their expensive people food which every vet will tell you is nad for our dogs!!!

    • I have to warn about defending Purina. My dad raised dogs on it and it might have been good then. Now, not so much. Look at the ingredients and then look at the recalls, and the amound of dogs that have died. It’s a different age. I would never feed Purina to my dogs and that includes the spinoff brands they have purchased. It just isn’t good food.

    • I agree with you…I have used Purina for many years. My vet approves and she goes to classes ( yearly ) to keep updated on many things. My dogs are healthy and NOT over weight. They get vetted yearly and RARELY have to go in between. I was actually shocked to see so many Purina products and few of walmarts brand on the ‘bad ‘ list. Yes, I have tried others, Blue, taste of wild, Merritts, etc. The only two out of many mine would eat was 4health and Merricks….I am sticking to Purina until…???

    • @ Sheli

      The point is that eating shitty food will make your dog live a shorter life. It’s the same as a person eating fast food all the time. Sure it’s legal and it won’t kill you, but eating well sure does feel better.

    • @ Elena

      Thanks for visiting my site and for the succinct and simple explanation of everything I’ve tried to get across throughout this website, since 2008.

      Most people just read the first few top worst dog food brands, without educating themselves on why I am saying these foods are bad for our pets. Angry replies, threats and challenges always ensue.

      I have many articles and information throughout the site from animal nutritionists, vets and specialists, but I think I will use your comment from now on when defending my stance of the dangers of cheap dog food.


      Jane 🙂

    • @ Sheli

      There are breeds, such as boxers, that should not have grains in their food, preservatives should not be in any food-if it can survive a bomb and it’s shelf life is 20 years, it is not good for you or your pet, animal by products are just that-by products. I pretty sure eating chicken feet or hooves is not the best “protein” source available! I don’t care if you work @ the Vatican, if you don’t know what your talking about you should not be advising others. There are good foods that don’t cost a fortune!! There are prescription foods at vet. Offices that are terrible foods for pets ie science diet. If the pet food is mostly fillers (grains and biproducts) they are not digesting any nutrients but pooping out all those fillers and you feed them more to fill them vs a good food that requires less food for your pet to be full. So in reality you spend more on the junky food than you would on a good food!!!

    • @ Andrea – you are soooo right and Sheli is wrong – 100% believe in your comments. For one thing vets do not receive more than an afternoon of training on nutrition in their 7 year professional course and that course is put on by Hills Science who give them incentives to sell their food so it’s about their bottom line and not on what is best for the dogs. They have a lot to learn during their training like diseases and bones to mend and unfortunately nutrition is not high on the agenda. Some vets that are interested in nutrition will continue their learning by taking extra training in this department and kudos to them. Working in the vet industry does NOT give you the information required to dole out information about nutrition.

    • @ Sheli

      Talk about marketing – Purina does the most marketing and sponsorship of dog shows and they create the worst food out there. It’s time people took an interest in the health of your pet and don’t just blindly buy into the marketing. Yes your dog may exist on these foods but as they age the problems will come and their life span will be shortened. Just like letting a kid grow up on candy he will survive for a while but wouldn’t be healthy. Food for Thought…

    • @ Sheli

      You work in the veterinary industry explains everything of you comment. As the medical field for humans, you are not there to help nurture and educate health and good living, but the use and promotion of drugs and prescriptions. By informing better eating habits and the makeup of the food you feed to your pets, you and your industry would rather continue feeding the fillers and 4Ds, so your industry can grow. Where does your industry send the pets that are put down? Yes, to the render who sells to your cheap sub-grade food source, including the collars and flea and tick collar’s not to mention the drugs used to put down the pet. You go right ahead and feed your animals that garbage. If it weren’t for their own willingness to live they would be otherwise.

  6. Education needs to be given too. animal digest does NOT mean what was in the stomach of the animal. “Digest” is the name of the process. Corn gluten meal is a source of 60-70% protein and is not a bad source. By-product is taking the bit left after processing and using it. It is NOT bones, cartilage, beak, etc and again it is 60-70% of the protein. Anything made in a store in “processed” and preserved. Our dogs are not meant to graze on fruits and veggies and they wouldn’t out in the wild. It is healthy and wonderful if your dog enjoys those treats, but it isn’t essential. I agree on many on the bad list but for one, even if not holistic, Pro Plan is one of the better foods out there. Healthy, affordable. This list only includes “yes” and “no”…without any explaination of why those things would be in their food. I want those things in my dogs food. She needs the protein. Raw diets have ruined many dogs’ pancreas’. It isn’t meant to and cannot be broken down by many older, low active dogs. Please be smart and read up and ask your vet before you assume a food is bad. My dogs have thrived on Purina Pro Plan and I will continue to support them and buy thier food.

    • Hi Liberty:

      Education is what this site is about.

      This site is more than this one post.

      I have many articles and posts explaining what and why something is considered good or harmful.

      There are several menus in the right sidebar with all the different categories and topics.

      I have the definitions of what Animal Digest is and why it is unacceptable in our pet’s food. READ ABOUT ANIMAL DIGEST HERE.

      Digest and by-products are both rendered. READ MY ARTICLE HERE ABOUT RENDERING.

      PROTEIN should come from clean, human grade named meat. There are so many good quality products out there to now choose from such as any of THESE. Any dog food that uses corn as the main protein source should be avoided as we now know this is not a good protein source, and is hard on the digestion.

      I recommend reading Ann Martin’s book, FOOD PETS DIE FOR. It is a potential lifesaver.

      <===== Also look for any of these books. Any one of them will help in understanding the pet food industry and what we are really feeding our pets.Jane

    • @ Liberty

      I am not an employee of Purina, just a dog owner on a tight budget. Thank you for your balanced view. I see dogs with bloated little porky bodies that appear to have just a little bit of leg and feet attached to their body. Whether I buy Acana or Orijen or Purina Dog Chow I follow the suggested feeding amount for her weight and she is always the same weight, able-bodied and energetic.

      Attached is Purina’s explanation for corn and by-products. I can’t help but think that people with porky dogs are over-feeding because they want to ‘spoil’ their little friend.

    • @ Wade

      Please read this veterinarian’s explanations of why dogs do not and should not eat a corn based diet.

      “It is insane to have veterinary diet companies defend the feeding of gluten (wheat, barley, rye), dairy products (those from cow’s milk), soy, and corn to dogs and cats as if it was on par with meat. This could not be further from the truth. But…they have to use some carb in order to make a kibble that can sit in the bag unrefrigerated for months on end and still keep weight on the dog Read more from Dr. Symes (Dogtor J) – ….here…. Also See more from Dogtor J ….here….. and …..here…..

      Thanks for visiting


  7. I had a dog on Ol Roy for almost 15 years before we had to put her down. She never had a health problem. Some dogs react differently than others. The two I have now, can’t handle the blue buffalo, however they do fine on the Diamond brand of lamb and rice. I would prefer that they could eat the blue buffalo just because I know it is way healthier, but on it all they do is scratch and whine.

    • @ KFlash.

      I just became aware of the Diamond Naturals lamb and rice. I haven’t started feeding it yet, but am hoping for good things. It came highly recommended, and can be gotten at the feed store, which is a real benefit in these rural areas where none of the fancier brands are available. I appreciate the advice of those who recommended online ordering, but with prices approaching $60 a bag for some types, and having 3 large dogs, I needed a more practical solution. I’m glad to hear that you are having success with this brand.

    • @ Laura Davis.

      I have been feeding the Diamond Naturals for at least the past 10 years, and with very good results…both the chicken & rice, and the lamb & rice. My dogs started on the chicken initially, then switched to the lamb when one Lab had allergy (ear) issues. I currently have a Lab and 2 Mastiffs, so it is an economical way to feed quality food to large dogs!

    • @ KFlash.

      I believe this report was written in cahoots with the more expensive dog brands…I fed our two dogs Purina dog chow all their lives..my vet even told me they were thriving on it. They lived to be 15 and 12, and the thing that finally ended their lives was breed specific kidney failure.. ALL of these so called “best foods for your dog, don’t feed them anything else” think that everybody can afford to pay enormous amounts of money for a small bag of dog food. I would rather give a dog a happy loving home than to say no, I cant afford to feed one. It’s all just crap.

  8. Funny,
    There isn’t an animal I know of that can efficiently digest corn, but we feed it to all of them: cattle, horses, dogs, cats. Even the American pilgrims almost started to dead because they didn’t know how to use corn (maize) properly until the native American’s taught them.

    All those common store brands use corn because it is cheap due to federal subsidies and market control. Corn is not cheap because of market forces. If they could convince you that maple leaves were pine needles were healthy for your dog and cheaper than corn then pine needles would be the #1 ingredient in those foods. ANY food recipe will allow an animal to survive if it has enough vitamins, minerals and calories in it. To thrive they need the correct sources and balance of protein, fiber, etc.

    The “better” brands are more expensive. Your pet will also tend to eat less of it to stay healthy and not gain weight. I’ve fed Blue Buffalo Wilderness to my cats for years after learning about what was really in the Purina, MeowMix, etc. recipes. I can tell you none of my cats have had any health issues since. Their litter box is easier to clean (less poop and always solid) and doesn’t smell as bad as with those brands that use corn, byproducts, meals and fillers.

    So the simple question is: What does your pet mean to you? Do you want to feed it the cheapest, most convenient foods and say it lived a full live at 13 years (and you only think 13 years is old since all the other pets on crap food die by then)?Would you treat your child that way? Or you you want to do the best you can for your pet?

    Rule #1 in my house: I’ll only feed my animals food I would eat myself (not as a staple mind you and the horses are an exception: I don’t do will with grass)

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