Chinese Ingredients in Dog Food – A Pets Adviser Investigation

Chinese ingredients in pet food In 2007, roughly 17,000 pets were sickened — and 4,000 dogs and cats died — from tainted commercial pet foods made with ingredients imported from China.

The culprit? Melamine, a chemical made from coal. For years animal feed producers in China ground it into a powder and mixed it into dog food and cat food. Why? To save money, of course.

Melamine looks just like protein on inspection results, so it’s a cheap way to make the food look like it has more protein than it really does. Unfortunately, melamine (also used to make those ubiquitous plastic chairs seen on front porches everywhere) had the nasty little habit of killing dogs and cats by the thousands.


China’s food manufacturers operate in a culture of cutting corners and compromising safety. If it’s not melamine, it’s another dangerous additive just like it. For example, the newest cost-saving scheme is to sometimes mix in a hydrolyzed leather protein additive (made from scraps of cow skin). The curing chemicals used to make that leather can kill our pets in high enough doses.

Here’s the thing, though: U.S. manufacturers are utterly dependent on Chinese ingredients. In the past 10 years, food imports to the United States from China have tripled. China now supplies 70 percent of dog and cat food imports to the United States.

This growth is happening so quickly, and on such a massive scale, that inspectors in China openly concede they’re unable to keep pace. And if you think the U.S. is looking closely at this stuff, think again. Just 2 percent (or less) of food imported from China is ever inspected when it reaches our borders. That’s right: 2 percent.

Does My Dog Food Have Chinese Ingredients?

Take a look at the label on your dog food and treats. Does it say “Made in China” anywhere? If so, toss it in the trash.

Your run-of-the-mill dog food very likely does have Chinese ingredients in the mix. It’s up to you to decide if it’s a risk you’re willing to take. But you’re not off the hook even if you’re faithfully buying a high-end brand. The FDA does not require “country of origin” statements on pet food; and, well, US manufacturers aren’t going out of their way to blatantly advertise a China link to their “premium” food.

I decided to contact the manufacturers of 10 of the best dog food brands on the market to inquire about Chinese ingredients. I sent an email to the makers of the following products, which I consider to be some of today’s “best of the best” of the commercial dry dog foods:

  • Artemis Fresh Mix Maximal
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness Duck
  • Canidae Grain Free pureSKY
  • EVO Turkey & Chicken
  • Go! Natural Grain Free Endurance Formula
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck Meal & Turkey Meal
  • Orijen 6 Fresh Fish with Sea Vegetables
  • Taste of the Wild Wetlands with Roasted Fowl
  • TimberWolf Wild & Natural Canid
  • Wellness CORE Original

I asked them all, “Can you please tell me if any ingredients are sourced from China?” Their answers, overall, were shocking, and you need to see what they told me…

Read Our Free Report!

This is only an excerpt. But there’s much more, and it’s free. Here is the full report [PDF].

Top photo: klynslis/Flickr

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