Myths about Fillers, By-Products and Grain Free Diets

Myths abouth fillers and by-products in pet food.Every time you turn on the television or open a  magazine there are ads bombarding you with myths of how pet foods contain Fillers and By-Products that are bad they for your pet.  These ingredients are actually very beneficial to the nutritious wellbeing of your pet.


Corn as a filler comes in many forms all of which can contribute to a nutritious diet and is easy to digest.  Corn gluten meal contains 60% -70% protein and is an excellent source of essential amino acids. 

 Corn does not appear on the list of most common food allergies in dogs or cats.  The most common food allergies in dogs are beef, dairy and wheat.  In cats the most common food allergies are beef, dairy and fish so corn as a filler is quite safe.


A by-product is any ingredient left over when some other product/ingredient is made (ex: broths and gelatins are by-products of human foods).

By-products are that are thought to be of low quality actually have to meet the guidelines of the American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).  These by-products come from clean animal parts other than meat, such as liver, kidney and other organs.  Calcium and other minerals and vitamins are abundant in meat or poultry by-products.  They also contain essential protein and amino acids that are highly digestible.


We keep hearing about grain free but properly cooked grains in pet food provide a source of carbohydrates which is a good source of fiber for gastrointestinal health and decreases total fat and calories in pet food diets. Healthy dogs and cats digest these carbohydrates with 90% efficiency.  The essential fatty acids in grains contribute to healthy skin and coat.  A completely grain free diet can lead to distress in a dog or cat’s digestive tract.

 As far as gluten free diets go gastrointestinal problems associated with gluten are rare in dogs and corn gluten does not cause problems even in pets with celiac disease.  Wheat gluten is added in small amounts to help kibbles, treats and canned food hold shape.

 All the hype and advertising out there are great marketing ploys but we need to recognize that for overall quality pet food some fillers and by-products are needed for a nutritious healthy diet.  If your pet is not doing well on a regular diet it is best to consult with your veterinarian to find out what other diet options are best for your pet.

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