Alpo Dog Food Ingredients

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Alpo manufactures roughly 35 different dog food products. Each product utilizes a unique set of ingredients to achieve a desired nutritional profile.

In this article, we'll explore Alpo ingredients and answer many of the most common questions.

As of right now, our records indicate that Alpo uses roughly 132 different ingredients.

First 5 Ingredients

Dog food ingredients in the United States are listed in descending order of pre-cooked weight. The first 5 ingredients typically constitute a significant portion of the recipe.

For Alpo, these are the most common ingredients found within the first 5 dog food ingredients.

  1. water sufficient for processing
  2. chicken
  3. liver
  4. wheat gluten
  5. soybean flour

As you can see, the most common first ingredient in Alpo is water sufficient for processing. The most common 2nd ingredient is chicken, followed by liver, wheat gluten, and soybean flour.

Artificial Food Coloring Dyes

Our records indicate that Alpo does use artificial food coloring dyes. More specifically, we've identified 10 artificial food dyes used by Alpo.

Although these food dyes are classified as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, we recommend avoiding them when possible.

According to the Center For Research In The Public Interest (CSPI), there are many potential health risks associated with the consumption of artificial food coloring dyes.

Given that most pets consume the same products for prolonged periods of time, these concerns should be taken seriously. In general, we recommend pet owners avoid feeding products which contain artificial food coloring dyes.

For more information regarding the CSPI's findings, read our artificial food coloring article.

Yellow 6 Lake is a non-soluble form of yellow 6, an artificial dye. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 6 can cause adrenal tumors in animals.

The following recipes contain yellow 6 lake:

Blue 2 is an artificial dye which can increase the likelihood of tumors according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Like other dyes, blue 2 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain blue 2:

Red 40 lake is a non-soluble form of red 40, an artificial dye. Studies have shown that red 40 may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice, cause allergy-like reactions, and trigger hyperactivity in children.

The following recipes contain red 40 lake:

Yellow 5 Lake is a non-soluble form of yellow 5, an artificial dye. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 5 may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. Like other dyes, yellow 5 lake does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain yellow 5 lake:

Animal By-Products

Alpo does indeed use animal by-products. More specifically, 2 animal by-product ingredients were found during our analysis of Alpo dog food ingredients.

According to AAFCO, by-products are defined as the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. In other words, animal by-products are the leftover ingredients that humans typically do not consume (lung, heart, tongue, stomach, intestine, blood, etc).

Many consumers have equated animal by-products with slaughterhouse waste. Animal by-products are still very controversial. Most premium brands have abandoned them in favor of specific named organ ingredients (duck liver, chicken heart, etc).

If you must feed a product with animal by-products, ensure that the specific animal source is specified. In other words, avoid ingredients such as meat by-products or poultry by-products.

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, meat by-products contain nearly all parts of the animal which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the meat source is not identified. Anonymous ingredients such as meat by-products are typically very low quality additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the animal source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat by-products:

Chicken by-product meal is produced by cooking chicken by-products using a process called rendering. By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, chicken by-products contain nearly all parts of chickens which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, chicken by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that "named" by-products, such as chicken by-products, supply many important nutrients required by dogs.

The following recipes contain chicken by-product meal:

Anonymous Meat Ingredients

Anonymous meats are animal-based ingredients which do not provide the source animal's name. These ingredients are controversial because they can come from almost any animal.

In addition, anonymous animal-based ingredients are very inexpensive and often the lowest quality meats that are still allowed to be used in pet food.

In general, we do not recommend feeding any products which contain anonymous meats. When in doubt, always contact the brand's customer service desk for further clarification.

Unfortunately, we've identified 5 anonymous meat ingredients used by Alpo.

Animal fat is a by-product of tissue rendering. The source animal is not specific and therefore we cannot be certain that the source does not include diseased animals or even euthanized dogs and cats.

The following recipes contain animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols):

Meat and bone meal is produced by cooking meat and bone using a process called rendering. The rendering process dramatically reduces the natural moisture of meat and thereby results in a highly condensed protein source.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the source animal for the meat is not specified. These type of anonymous ingredient are typically very low quality and certainly inexpensive additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the meat source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat and bone meal:

Poultry is a controversial ingredient because the source animal is not specified. Anonymous ingredients such as poultry are typically low-quality ingredients in comparison to named protein sources (e.g. chicken, turkey, duck).

The following recipes contain poultry:

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, meat by-products contain nearly all parts of the animal which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the meat source is not identified. Anonymous ingredients such as meat by-products are typically very low quality additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the animal source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat by-products:

Animal digest is the result of undecomposed animal tissue after hydrolysis, a chemical reaction. It is typically used as flavoring to improve taste. Animal digest is considered by many as an undesirable low-quality ingredient. What's more, the source animal is not specified and therefore animal digest can contain almost any animal, including dogs and cats!

The following recipes contain animal digest:

Controversial Ingredients

In most cases, ingredients which are given the controversial classification can be substituted with higher-quality alternatives. You should evaluate each controversial ingredient independently to see if there is truly a valid cause for concern.

Keep in mind, certain sacrifices often must be made to produce dog foods at a reasonable price. In general, the more expensive the product, the fewer controversial ingredients you'll find.

In our analysis, we've identified 18 controversial ingredients inside Alpo products. These controversial ingredients are listed below. Click on each ingredient for more information.

Corn germ meal is a high protein by-product of the oil extraction process from corn (maize). It's considered controversial because plant based protein does not contain all of the necessary amino acids required by dogs to sustain life. Therefore substituting corn germ meal protein for meat based protein is an unsuitable substitution and actually degrades the overall protein quality of the product.

The following recipes contain corn germ meal:

Hydrogenated corn syrup is made from corn starch and it's typically used as a thickener, sweetener, and humectant (keeps the product moist). The term hydrogenated means the syrup was treated with hydrogen. It's considered controversial because it can raise a dog's blood sugar to unhealthy levels. Of course this concern may be nullified if the syrup is used in very small quantities.

The following recipes contain hydrogenated corn syrup:

High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn starch which has been processed to convert glucose into fructose. High fructose corn syrup is simply an unhealthy sweetener used to improve the taste of low quality pet food. This ingredient does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain high fructose corn syrup:

Animal fat is a by-product of tissue rendering. The source animal is not specific and therefore we cannot be certain that the source does not include diseased animals or even euthanized dogs and cats.

The following recipes contain animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols):

Meat and bone meal is produced by cooking meat and bone using a process called rendering. The rendering process dramatically reduces the natural moisture of meat and thereby results in a highly condensed protein source.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the source animal for the meat is not specified. These type of anonymous ingredient are typically very low quality and certainly inexpensive additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the meat source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat and bone meal:

Corn syrup is made from corn starch and it's typically used as a thickener, sweetener, and humectant (keeps the product moist). It's considered controversial because it can raise a dog's blood sugar to unhealthy levels. Of course this concern may be nullified if the syrup is used in very small quantities.

The following recipes contain corn syrup:

Corn gluten meal is a by-product from the production of various corn products (corn starch, corn syrup, etc). It's very high in protein (nearly 60% protein) and therefore can significant boost the protein content of the product. Because plant based proteins such as corn gluten meal are inferior to meat based proteins (lack many essential amino acids), they are not suitable substitutes.

The following recipes contain corn gluten meal:

Soybean hulls are a by-product of soybean oil and meal processing. They are typically regarded as low quality and inexpensive fillers which lack any significant nutritional value.

The following recipes contain soybean hulls:

Ground wheat is regarded as an inexpensive and low-quality filler in pet food. However, wheat does provide plant-based protein and makes pet food more affordable for consumers. It's important to note that plant based protein does not provide the same amino acid profile as meat based protein.

The following recipes contain ground wheat:

Garlic powder in very small quantities can be an acceptable addition, however, garlic can also be toxic. Therefore many pet owners choose to completely avoid garlic.

The following recipes contain garlic powder:

Ground yellow corn is a cereal grain which provides a modest amount of vitamins, minerals, and plant based protein. It also happens to be one of the most controversial ingredients in dog food.</p><p>Proponents of corn claim that corn is highly digestible and an excellent source of protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.</p><p>Opponents however believe that positive claims in regards to corn are either half-truths or completely false, we'll discuss a few of the opposing arguments.</p><p>In regards to digestibility, the claims of "highly digestible" are only true if corn is processed into a meal or flour and subsequently cooked. In regards to the protein contribution, we must note that corn is a plant based protein which does not contain all of the necessary amino acids required by dogs to sustain life. Therefore substituting corn for meat is an unsuitable substitution and actually degrades the overall protein quality of the product.</p><p>Finally, we'll discuss the claims about vitamins and minerals in corn. Although corn does provide many vitamins and minerals, it not necessarily an exceptional ingredient in this regards. There are many other ingredients which are more complete and biologically appropriate. Therefore the usage of corn as the primary ingredient in dog food should certainly warrant further questioning.

The following recipes contain ground yellow corn:

Poultry is a controversial ingredient because the source animal is not specified. Anonymous ingredients such as poultry are typically low-quality ingredients in comparison to named protein sources (e.g. chicken, turkey, duck).

The following recipes contain poultry:

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, meat by-products contain nearly all parts of the animal which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the meat source is not identified. Anonymous ingredients such as meat by-products are typically very low quality additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the animal source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat by-products:

Animal digest is the result of undecomposed animal tissue after hydrolysis, a chemical reaction. It is typically used as flavoring to improve taste. Animal digest is considered by many as an undesirable low-quality ingredient. What's more, the source animal is not specified and therefore animal digest can contain almost any animal, including dogs and cats!

The following recipes contain animal digest:

Chicken by-product meal is produced by cooking chicken by-products using a process called rendering. By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, chicken by-products contain nearly all parts of chickens which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, chicken by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that "named" by-products, such as chicken by-products, supply many important nutrients required by dogs.

The following recipes contain chicken by-product meal:

Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Harmful ingredients are those which have been linked to adverse health effects. In general, we do not recommend feeding any product which contains any harmful ingredients.

There are certain situations where these ingredients may be necessary. We always recommend contacting Alpo for further clarification regarding any harmful or controversial ingredient.

We have identified 16 harmful ingredients used in certain Alpo recipes. To learn more, click on the ingredient's name.

The following recipes contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil:

Bacon fat is not necessarily an undesirable ingredient, however, the artificial preservative BHA is considered to be a possible carcinogen according to the World Health Organization.

The following recipes contain bacon fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid):

Yellow 6 Lake is a non-soluble form of yellow 6, an artificial dye. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 6 can cause adrenal tumors in animals.

The following recipes contain yellow 6 lake:

Blue 2 is an artificial dye which can increase the likelihood of tumors according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Like other dyes, blue 2 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain blue 2:

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is an artificial preservative and possible cancer-causing agent. BHT is banned in several countries, but the FDA has classified BHT as "generally recognized as safe."

The following recipes contain BHT:

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is an artificial preservative and possible cancer-causing agent. Studies have show that BHA can be linked to various tumors in laboratory animals.

The following recipes contain BHA:

Ethoxyquin is an artificial preservative with possible links to cancer and other chronic diseases. Ethoxyquin is not permitted in the European Union and Australia, but considered safe by the FDA.

The following recipes contain ethoxyquin:

Red 40 lake is a non-soluble form of red 40, an artificial dye. Studies have shown that red 40 may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice, cause allergy-like reactions, and trigger hyperactivity in children.

The following recipes contain red 40 lake:

Yellow 5 Lake is a non-soluble form of yellow 5, an artificial dye. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 5 may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. Like other dyes, yellow 5 lake does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain yellow 5 lake:

Menadione sodium bisulfite complex is a synthetic version of vitamin K that has been linked to many health concerns. Research has suggested possible toxic reactions in liver cells and red blood cells among other serious problems. In fact, one large chemical supplier warns, "The substance is toxic to kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage."

The following recipes contain menadione sodium bisulfite complex:

Alpo Dog Food Ingredient Lists