Filler Ingredients: What You Need To Know

Have you ever looked on the back of a pet food label, only to find you have no idea what some of the ingredients are? If so, you are not alone. Many of the big-label brands of dog food use “filler” ingredients to bulk up the food and decrease the cost of production, passing the savings (and the nutritional deficiency) on to you.

What are filler ingredients? The definition can vary, but typically a filler ingredient is an inexpensive, low quality food product with very little nutritional value. These ingredients are starchy, high in carbohydrates, and offer very little in the way of health benefits. Here are some of the filler ingredients you need to know about.


Many of the most common fillers are different kinds of cereal grains. These include corn, wheat, soy, starch and the hulls of certain plants. Essentially these are discarded food products not used in human food but deemed acceptable for pet food. There are two major problems with plant fillers. First, there is little to no nutritional value. These ingredients are more or less empty carbs and starch. Secondly, many pets develop allergies to these kinds of filler ingredients over time, which can lead to sores, shaggy hair and other side effects.

Meat Byproducts

If you have looked on a pet food label only to find “Chicken byproducts” or “turkey byproducts” it is another word for “filler.” These are parts of an animal not deemed usable in human foods. As these “byproducts” are often scraps and bits of livestock, the scraps are heavily processed. When you consider these ingredients are substandard for even hotdogs, you can imagine it is not a desirable ingredient.

Look for brands with high protein, vitamins and minerals and minimum filler. If you have questions, feel free to bark at us at 916-432-5418. Additionally, if you’re interested in a Nutritional Consultation for your pet click on this link and find information about our service.