Worst Reasons to Choose a Dog Food: Color

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colorful dog food

Why is this food so colorful?

It has already been established that reading a dog food label can be confusing.  Long lists of ingredients, obtuse or incomplete macronutrient (protein, fat, and carbs) information, and misleading “marketing speak”, can make it difficult to determine which are the best foods for your pet.   Today we are starting a new series on reading pet food labels that will provide a running list of some of the worst reasons to choose a dog food.   Today’s worst reason to choose a dog food is “because it is colorful and looks good”.


Why a Colorful Dog Food is Likely to be a Poor Dog Food Choice

Maybe all the foodie shows are making us focus too much on “presentation”.  Or maybe we think that colors denote freshness or fruits and vegetables.  Whatever the reason might be, serving your dog a multi-colored food is not a good strategy.  Let’s take a look at an example from a well known dog food brand.


Above is a picture of this food, which was obtained directly from the brand’s website.  This is what the brand wants you to see and is using, believe it or not, to entice a pet owner to purchase this food.   Lots of colors and cool shapes.  This must mean that it is a good food choice and contains a lot of healthy ingredients, right?  Not so fast.


Besides the fact that three out of the first four ingredients are corn or wheat, and that there are no named meats until the seventh ingredient, this food contains not one, not two, but THREE artificial colorings: Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 2.  No wonder why the picture of the food is so colorful!


As we wrote about in a prior post, artificial colorings add zero nutritional value and some artificial colorings are linked to cancer and other diseases.  Even worse, your dog does not care what color their food is so why are these dyes included in the recipe at all?  To make you, the pet owner, think that the food is a good choice.  The fact of the matter is that healthy foods that include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables simply won’t look as colorful as those foods using artificial colorings.  So don’t let color influence your dog food choices.


What Color is Your Dog’s Food?

Do you see lots of bright and shiny colors in your dog’s food?  If so, take a few minutes and look at the ingredients.  You can do a search on our dog food data base right here.  If possible, avoid foods containing artificial colorings like those mentioned above and other derivations of “red”, “yellow” and “blue” and stick to things like “blueberries”, “red peppers”,  “cherries”, and other healthy and naturally colorful ingredients instead.


So, what color is your dog’s food?




We’re joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol’s Notes:


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  1. Yes, while it looks very colourful and appetising to us that doesn’t make a scrap of difference to our dogs. My dogs get a combination of raw, home cooked and a top dog roll. Reading dog food and people food labels is fairly scary! Like it’s a foreign language a lot of the time.
    Greyhounds CAN Sit recently posted…Black & White Sunday – In Her ElementMy Profile

    • I know, all the preservatives and artificial ingredients is very scary. We try to stick to as much natural stuff as we can.
      mkob recently posted…Worst Reasons to Choose a Dog Food: ColorMy Profile

  2. It has been a long time since I have seen colorful foods. Ours are plain, boring brown. Dogs don’t mind. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Party!My Profile

  3. I happen to like the shades of the color brown and so do my dogs 🙂 Well, plus some other natural colors (found in fruit and veggies).
    Sue recently posted…NutriSource Dog Treats from Chewy.com and #Giveaway | Product ReviewMy Profile

  4. Thanks for posting up this great information, people are so sucked in by pretty colors and the food manufacturers know that. I admit I pick colored treats over no colored ones and I know it means nothing.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Tuesday’s Tails~RatchetMy Profile

  5. I never choose food by color, but I admit that I sometimes choose it by smell. Have a tasty tuesday!
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog GREEN MONDAYMy Profile

  6. Great info! A lot of people don’t realize this about pet foods. I have even tried to let some people know about this and they plain out disagreed with me on it!! BOL Some people don’t want to be educated I suppose.
    I feed my huskies Acana. It’s a great food and it is all natural brown color, also it is locally grown ingredients right here in Canada. My dogs do great on it. Thanks for sharing this info!
    (Reminder to vote for Lexi today! Thanks so much for your votes! Every one counts!)

    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Envelope please?My Profile

  7. OMD (Oh My Doodle!) I have always had the exact same thought! Why would a dog care about the “color” of his food? But marketing depot’s certainly would. The Boys have plain, boring, dull, brown, and they love it. Full of all the right things for them. Great post, loved the information you shared.
    Cathy recently posted…DOODLE DAY CAREMy Profile

  8. Great post! Ruby’s foods are brown.
    Lara Elizabeth recently posted…Window Film Success and A Terrier Sees A MouseMy Profile

  9. Hi Slimdoggy! I’m excited to follow another series on choosing the correct dog food. Bentley & Pierre eat brown food too. Those colors remind me of the ‘too sweet’ cereals that they push to children! Thanks for helping me to make the right choices for Bentley & Pierre.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Little Eatz~Big Taste and a Terrific DogMy Profile

  10. OMD! Color is the absolute worst unless it is in a natural food store with natural colors…marketers catch people with color all the time and it is shameful!
    emma recently posted…Going Bananas | GBGV | Tasty TuesdayMy Profile

  11. My food is dull and brown (though it tastes yummy!)
    Misaki recently posted…Pet Theft Awareness weekMy Profile

  12. Oh man – I’d certainly hope people don’t pick based on food! All the colours and shapes say to me is “over-processed”!
    Our food is raw with bones and organs and vegetables so it looks… well, pretty gross actually (especially when it’s tripe day – yuck). But then again, I’m not the one eating it. Mo and Alma think it looks delicious.
    Jen K recently posted…Black & White Sunday 15: GreetingsMy Profile

  13. We’ve switched to Diamond and it’s just brown. So now the dogs and cat are all eating Diamond. It’s decent food, much better than the cheap stuff we had before.
    Flea recently posted…All Natural Variety of TreatsMy Profile

  14. I’m happy to say ours isn’t pretty at all….just plain brown!
    Jan K recently posted…Monday MishMashMy Profile

  15. Just boring BROWN kibbles. Same thing with some of the colorful “cute” treats/cookies, looks pretty but so bad. Happy Tasty Tuesday. Golden Woofs
    Golden Woofs: Sugar recently posted…think!dog Louisiana Alligator and Crawfish Dog BiscuitsMy Profile

  16. Actually our dog’s food has all kinds of colors, depending on what I put in it. Orange from carrots or sweet potatoes. Green from green leafy veggies and wheat grass. Purple from red beets … All colors come from the natural color of the ingredients, though. Beauty of home-cooking.
    Jana Rade recently posted…Von Willebrand’s Disease: Greta’s StoryMy Profile

  17. I must admit, the color in Honey’s food did catch my eye. But it’s because it was actual pieces of carrot and peas in her FreshPet. It’s so rare to find processed dog food where you can actually pick out individual ingredients. It’s the same reason I also like The Honest Kitchen.

    Imagine, being able to recognize ingredients in food! 🙂
    Pamela recently posted…No Opposable Thumbs – Dog World ProblemMy Profile

  18. Very interesting article indeed. Something I haven’t considered myself before but it makes whole lot of sense. I just realized that my puppy’s food is pale and really doesn’t look yummy at all. But, as someone who does actually read the labels of just about anything worthy to be called food, I know they are getting natural food ingredients.

    Something I’d like to see in this series though is price range. Does a more expensive food necessarily mean the food is of better quality, or could it just mean it contains a whole lot more artificial ingredients that cost more money to manufacture? Something to think about…
    Ruan recently posted…Puppy Shots: Why and When Are They Needed?My Profile

  19. Yayyyyy – the color of our dog food is the color of the meat and veggies that is used to mix it up! 🙂
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Cleaning Tile is Easier than Cleaning Carpet @GoodHomeCoMy Profile

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