Beneful Dog Food Ingredients

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Beneful manufactures roughly 40 different dog food products. Each product utilizes a unique set of ingredients to achieve a desired nutritional profile.

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

As of right now, our records indicate that Beneful uses roughly 139 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 Beneful, these are the most common ingredients found within the first 5 dog food ingredients.

  1. chicken
  2. chicken
  3. wheat gluten
  4. liver
  5. meat by-products

As you can see, the most common first ingredient in Beneful is chicken. The most common 2nd ingredient is chicken, followed by wheat gluten, liver, and meat by-products.

Artificial Food Coloring Dyes

Our records indicate that Beneful does use artificial food coloring dyes. More specifically, we've identified 5 artificial food dyes used by Beneful.

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.

red 40
3 Recipes

Red 40 is the most widely used artificial dye in consumer goods. 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:

yellow 6
4 Recipes

Yellow 6 is an artificial food dye which may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 6 can cause adrenal tumors in animals.

The following recipes contain yellow 6:

yellow 5
4 Recipes

Yellow 5 is an artificial dye which may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. Like other dyes, yellow 5 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain yellow 5:

added color
2 Recipes

The ingredient "added color" is ambiguous and may include various artificial dyes. Most artificial dyes have been linked to various chronic diseases.

The following recipes contain added color:

blue 1
3 Recipes

Blue 1 is an artificial dye with serious but unconfirmed health concerns. Like other dyes, blue 1 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain blue 1:

Animal By-Products

Beneful does indeed use animal by-products. More specifically, 3 animal by-product ingredients were found during our analysis of Beneful 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.

poultry by-product meal
8 Recipes

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

The following recipes contain poultry by-product meal:

meat by-products
20 Recipes

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
14 Recipes

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 3 anonymous meat ingredients used by Beneful.

animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols)
5 Recipes

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):

poultry by-product meal
8 Recipes

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

The following recipes contain poultry by-product meal:

meat by-products
20 Recipes

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:

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 21 controversial ingredients inside Beneful products. These controversial ingredients are listed below. Click on each ingredient for more information.

canola meal
2 Recipes

Canola meal is a high protein by-product of canola oil production. This ingredient is marked controversial because it may be derived from genetically modified rapeseed, which is associated with multiple adverse health affects.

The following recipes contain canola meal:

whole grain wheat
8 Recipes

Whole grain wheat contains the entire grain of wheat (the germ, bran, and endosperm). Wheat is the second most-produced cereal grain in the world (corn is the first). Although wheat is a controversial ingredient, it is not necessarily undesirable because it provides dietary fiber and many other nutrients. However, wheat contains a notable amount of plant based protein, which is inferior to meat based protein and therefore an undesirable substitution.</p><p>Wheat is also one of the most common ingredients to cause food allergies or intolerance. However, grains such as wheat are typically low offenders in comparison to certain protein sources (such as beef).

The following recipes contain whole grain wheat:

corn germ meal
1 Recipes

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:

iron oxide
7 Recipes

Iron oxide is an FDA approved natural food coloring agent. It's commonly found in rusting metal and provides a reddish-brown color.</p><p>We believe food colorants are unnecessary ingredients in dog food. Other than potential harm, food colorants do not provide any nutritional value. These type of ingredients are used only to make the food look appealing to humans.

The following recipes contain iron oxide:

soybean protein concentrate
3 Recipes

Soybean protein concentrate is produced by removing the water soluble carbohydrates from soybeans. The inclusion of non-meat protein typically degrades the overall quality of protein in the recipe. This degradation is due to the inferior amino acid profile of plant based proteins.

The following recipes contain soybean protein concentrate:

white rice
3 Recipes

White rice is produced by removing the husk, germ, and bran of rice grains. Unlike brown rice which contains the bran and germ, white rice is nutritionally empty.

The following recipes contain white rice:

hydrogenated corn syrup
1 Recipes

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:

powdered cellulose
2 Recipes

Powdered cellulose is produced from minuscule pieces of wood pulp and plant fibers. Other than its fiber content, powdered cellulose lacks any nutritional contribution.

The following recipes contain powdered cellulose:

animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols)
5 Recipes

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):

brewers rice
2 Recipes

Brewer's rice is the small fragments of rice kernel that are separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. The fragments do not contain the same nutrition profile of the whole kernel and therefore brewer's rice is a lower quality grain. Brewer's rice is typically regarded as an inexpensive and low quality filler.

The following recipes contain brewers rice:

soybean hulls
1 Recipes

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
5 Recipes

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:

wheat gluten
23 Recipes

Wheat gluten is the main protein of wheat. Although wheat gluten is mostly protein, wheat gluten is considered controversial because it significantly boosts the protein content of the product. This is undesirable because plant based protein does not provide the same amino acid profile as meat based protein.

The following recipes contain wheat gluten:

whole grain corn
8 Recipes

Whole grain corn is the entire corn kernel (the germ, bran, and endosperm). 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 whole grain corn:

ground yellow corn
5 Recipes

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 by-product meal
8 Recipes

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

The following recipes contain poultry by-product meal:

meat by-products
20 Recipes

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
14 Recipes

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 Beneful for further clarification regarding any harmful or controversial ingredient.

We have identified 8 harmful ingredients used in certain Beneful recipes. To learn more, click on the ingredient's name.

red 40
3 Recipes

Red 40 is the most widely used artificial dye in consumer goods. 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:

yellow 6
4 Recipes

Yellow 6 is an artificial food dye which may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 6 can cause adrenal tumors in animals.

The following recipes contain yellow 6:

BHT
1 Recipes

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:

BHA
1 Recipes

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:

yellow 5
4 Recipes

Yellow 5 is an artificial dye which may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. Like other dyes, yellow 5 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain yellow 5:

added color
2 Recipes

The ingredient "added color" is ambiguous and may include various artificial dyes. Most artificial dyes have been linked to various chronic diseases.

The following recipes contain added color:

menadione sodium bisulfite complex
15 Recipes

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:

blue 1
3 Recipes

Blue 1 is an artificial dye with serious but unconfirmed health concerns. Like other dyes, blue 1 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain blue 1:

Beneful Dog Food Ingredient Lists

Beneful IncrediBites Dental Minis Peanut Butter Flavor

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Beneful Grain Free With Farm-Raised Chicken

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Beneful Healthy Puppy With Real Chicken

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Beneful Healthy Weight With Real Chicken

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Beneful IncrediBites With Real Beef

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Beneful IncrediBites With Real Chicken

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Beneful Originals With Real Beef

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Beneful Originals With Real Chicken

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Beneful Originals With Real Salmon

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Beneful Playful Life With Real Beef

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Beneful Select 10 With Farm-Raised Beef

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Beneful Prepared Meals Beef & Chicken Medley

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Beneful Prepared Meals Beef Stew

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Beneful Prepared Meals Chicken Stew

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Beneful Chopped Blends With Beef, Carrots, Peas & Barley

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Beneful Chopped Blends With Chicken, Carrots, Peas, and Wild Rice

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Beneful Chopped Blends With Chicken, Liver, Peas, Brown Rice & Sweet Potatoes

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Beneful Chopped Blends With Lamb, Brown Rice, Carrots, Tomatoes & Spinach

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Beneful Chopped Blends With Salmon, Sweet Potatoes, Brown Rice & Spinach

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Beneful Chopped Blends With Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Brown Rice & Spinach

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Beneful IncrediBites With Real Beef, Tomatoes, Carrots & Wild Rice

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Beneful IncrediBites With Real Chicken, Tomatoes, Carrots & Wild Rice

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Beneful IncrediBites With Real Salmon, Tomatoes, Carrots & Wild Rice

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Beneful Medleys Mediterranean Style With Lamb, Tomatoes, Brown Rice & Spinach

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Beneful Prepared Meals Roasted Chicken Recipe

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Beneful Prepared Meals Roasted Turkey Medley

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Beneful Medleys Romana Style With Chicken, Carrots, Pasta & Spinach

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Beneful Prepared Meals Savory Rice & Lamb Stew

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Beneful Prepared Meals Simmered Beef Entree

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Beneful Prepared Meals Simmered Chicken Medley

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Beneful Simple Goodness With Farm-Raised Beef

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Beneful Simple Goodness With Farm-Raised Chicken

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Beneful Medleys Tuscan Style With Beef, Carrots, Tomatoes & Rice

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Beneful Baked Delights Hugs With Real Beef

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Beneful Baked Delights Snackers With Peanut Butter Flavor

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Beneful Break-N-Bites Crunchy With Real Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

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Beneful Break-N-Bites Tender With Real Beef, Barley & Apples

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Beneful Break-N-Bites Tender With Real Chicken, Carrots & Sweet Potatoes

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Beneful IncrediBites Crunchy Minis With Real Chicken & Carrots

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Beneful IncrediBites Meaty Minis With Real Chicken, Apples & Beef

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