Pet Food and Optimum Health – 7 Reasons To Avoid Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are included in many pet foods these days – both processed and raw.

But are they the healthy addition to a dog or cat’s diet many manufacturers would have us believe?

Here are 7 reasons why, if you want your pet to be as healthy as they can be, it’s worth avoiding fruit and veg.

1. 123 Toxic Chemicals

This is the disturbing number of pesticide residues found in a wide range of vegetables and fruits – as highlighted by a recent investigation by the Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK)

In the samples analysed:

      • 84% tested positive for one residue
      • 66% tested positive for multiple residues

And amongst these the chemicals found were:

      • 24 known carcinogens (cancer causing agents)
      • 43 suspected hormone disruptors
      • 25 neurotoxins (nerve poisons)
      • 15 developmental or reproductive toxins (affecting sexual function), and
      • a wide range of compounds which can damage the liver, kidneys, immune system and other organs

Given the risks to health posed by chemically laden, non-organic vegetables and fruits, it’s wise not to feed pet foods containing these.  (Examples highlighted in red on the ingredient label below)

Ingredients label

For other ingredients to avoid see – Cutting Chemicals 3 – Food Additives in Pet Food, Supplements and Treats

2. Poorly Digested

Dogs and cats lack the digestive enzyme called cellulase, which is needed to break down plant cell walls.

And so, unless they are pulped first, vegetables and fruits go in one end and pass out the other largely unchanged. (Try feeding your pet chopped carrots and watch them appear in the stools).

Added to the diet therefore, they act as a ‘filler’ providing bulk in the form of fibre, but little in the way of nourishment.

3. Low Nutritional Value

The mineral content of soil has plummeted 72% in the last 100 years, which means that crops today contain a fraction of the nutrients they once used to.

In addition to this, the selection of rapidly growing and maturing varieties dilutes nutrient content even further (less nutrients in bigger produce).

As a result, modern day vegetables and fruits are not only indigestible, they are poor sources of nutrients too.

4. Allergenic

More and more dogs and cats are becoming sensitive to vegetables and fruits.

If these are fed to such pets, health problems often result.

Typical signs include:

      • itching
      • skin eruptions
      • inflammation of the ears, paws and perineum
      • irritable bowel
      • sloppy stools, often with mucus and / or blood
      • excessive wind
      • belching
      • loud abdominal noises
      • vomiting small amounts of food and / or bile

This being the case, the greater the number of vegetables and fruits there are in a food / the diet, the higher the number of potential allergens there are, and the greater risk that a pet will react badly to one or more of them and develop health problems as a result.

5. Lowers The Nutritional Value of the Diet

Because they are poorly digested and low in nutrients, adding vegetables and fruits to the diet reduces the nutritional quality as a whole, because in effect, more nutritious ingredients are being replaced by an indigestible filler.

This leaves pets significantly worse off, than had they been left out altogether.

6. Fuel For Yeast

The sugar content in fruits and sweet vegetables (carrots, for example) can feed yeast causing overgrowths and infections in the gut and on the skin.

For many pets, this manifests as recurrent ear infections and a characteristic smell to the body. Acetate impressions of discharges or sore areas in affected pets often reveal abnormally high numbers of the yeast Malassezia pachydermatis.

Successful treatment means addressing the underlying cause, which in this case involves eliminating vegetables and fruits from the diet so that the microorganisms are no longer being fed by unhealthy sugars.

7. Far healthier alternatives

Why feed vegetables and fruits when there are far cheaper and more effective ways of promoting optimum health in pets?

VITALITY is a specially formulated and clinically proven example of this which:

      • contains around 20 times the antioxidant beta-carotene as in carrots
      • has approximately 5 times the antioxidant ability as blueberries
      • supplies as much calcium as milk
      • is twice as rich in protein as meat
      • provides an exceptionally rich supply of numerous amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, co-enzymes, RNA, DNA and many other nutrients important for optimum cellular health

And whereas 90% of most vegetables and fruits in the diet pass straight through the body and out in the stools, over 90% of the nutrients in VITALITY enter the bloodstream within several hours of eating.

In may ways, it is the equivalent of exceptional intravenous nourishment, but given orally.

With such a option available, which has none of the drawbacks or ill-effects of vegetables and fruits outlined, why risk feeding the latter?



Cutting Chemicals 3 – Food Additives in Pet Food, Supplements and Treats

Pesticide residues in food are a result of modern day farming practices which are geared to towards producing large amounts of food as quickly as possible.

Chemical additives on the other hand, are intentionally introduced into pet foods, supplements and treats for a number of reasons – many of which are for the benefit of manufacturers, not pets.

Eliminating these from the diet is another way of reducing the risk of chemical harm to your dog or cat.

The Dangers

At best some additives like talcum powder (hydrated magnesium silicate), silica (sand) or cellulose (indigestible plant cell fibre) are relatively innocuous. These and similar compounds are added as ‘fillers’ to increase the bulk of a product, making it appear better value for money.

At worst, others like copper sulphate (used as a pesticide), sodium benzoate (which can convert to benzene – a known carcinogen) and calcium propionate (a preservative which can irritate the stomach and bowels) can have serious, ill-effects on health.

And somewhere in between, are the long, long lists of synthetic ‘vitamins’ and ‘minerals‘ such as vitamin D3, biotin and zinc oxide. There are literally thousands of these which the EU approve as ‘nutritional additives‘ for inclusion in dog and cat food. These however, are NOT the same vitamins and minerals as found in Nature. They are added to make products appear healthy, when in reality they are mixtures of chemicals produced in large scale industrial plants from raw materials such as petrol, coal tar and cyanide.

No Need For Food Chemicals

Many so called ‘nutritional’ additives:

  • provide little or no nourishment
  • are of questionable safety
  • have been linked to significant and sometimes serious ill-effects in dogs and cats

For these reasons they are best avoided, particularly as there are far healthier, natural, additive-free alternatives available.

Vitality for example, is a clinically proven combination of two of the richest whole foods on the planet. This unique blend provides an exceptional array of 100% natural and biologically active nutrients vital for dog and cat health, well-being and longevity, in an easy to digest and absorb form.

For even greater health benefits, a synergistic combination of specially selected and formulated superfoods can be given.

Don’t Be Mislead

We lead such busy lives these days, it’s easy to make snap decisions when buying products for pets, based on a few, simple key words.

Manufacturers know this, and so whenever possible display phrases which appeal to consumers and portray products in the most favourable light.

The reality however, is that pet foods, supplements and treats marketed as:

  • pure
  • natural
  • healthy
  • holistic
  • naturally powered
  • wholesome
  • nutritious
  • organic

can still contain numerous and potentially harmful chemical additives.

Much may also be made of the fact a product contains no artificial colourings, flavourings, or preservatives, while failing to mention that other additives are present, such as the synthetic ‘nutrients’, fillers, binders, lubricants, glues and gelling agents listed below.

This being the case, it’s always best to look past the marketing hype and examine labels to see how natural and healthy a product really is.

Chemical Additives to Avoid

As a general rule, individually named ‘nutrients’ are synthetic as are those with chemical names.


  • titanium oxide

Fillers (Bulking Agents)

These are indigestible to dogs and cats, and so go in one end and come out the other largely unchanged.

  • cellulose (plant cell walls)
  • silica (mainly found in rocks and sand)
  • silicon dioxide (as above)
  • microcrystalline cellulose (plant cell walls)


  • propylene glycol – closely related to ethylene glycol the main component of anti-freeze (used to keep food moist and improve consistency / flavour)

Gelling Agents


  • magnesium stearate (used to facilitate the manufacturing process and can affect the immune system)
  • stearic acid (as above)


  • butylated hydroxyanilose – BHA (carcinogenic)
  • butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • calcium propionate (can cause gastric irritation)
  • ethoxyquin (can damage DNA)
  • sodium benzoate (can convert to benzene, a known carcinogen)
  • sodium propionate (can cause gastric irritation)

Synthetic Amino Acids

Made in the laboratory or by manufacturing plants, not by Nature.

  • DL-methionine
  • L-carnitine
  • L-lysine
  • lysine hydrochloride
  • taurine
  • tryptophan

Synthttic Minerals And Trace Elements

Typically manufactured using industrial strength acids on rocks.

  • cobaltous carbonate monohydrate
  • calcium carbonate (chalk)
  • calcium iodate anhydrous
  • cupric chelate of amino acids hydrate
  • cupric sulphate pentahydrate (used as a pesticide)
  • calcium pantothenate
  • falcium sulphate (‘Plaster of Paris’)
  • ferrous chelate of a amino acids hydrate
  • ferrous sulphate monohydrate
  • iron sulfate
  • manganese chelate of amino acids hydrate
  • manganese
  • manganese oxide
  • manganous sulphate monohydrate
  • monodicalcium phosphate
  • phosphorus
  • potassium chloride
  • potassium iodide
  • selenium
  • sodium chloride
  • sodium hexametaphosphate
  • sodium selenite
  • zinc chelate of amino acids hydrate
  • zinc oxide
  • zinc sulphate monohydrate

Synthetic Vitamins

Chemicals by another name.

These are never found individually in Nature where natural vitamins occur as biological complexes which the body has learnt to recognise over millions of years of evolution.

  • beta-carotene
  • biotin
  • folic acid
  • niacin
  • riboflavin
  • vitamin A (as retinyl acetate)
  • vitamin B1
  • vitamin B2
  • vitamin B6
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin C Monophosphate
  • vitamin D3 Supplement
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol)
  • vitamin E (as alpha tocopherol acetate)
  • vitamin K

Unethical Products

  • chondrotin from battery chickens or sharks

A Word on Soy

Soybean in many forms is being added to more and more pet foods, supplements and treats.

Far from being the naturally fermented version however, which takes many months to produce and has provided a wide range of health benefits to generations of people, most modern soy is factory processed and ready for use within days. It is used by pet food companies to boost protein levels and add bulk. More and more information is coming to light which suggests that this widely used ingredient is not as healthy as is made out for pets:

Dogs and cats are evolved to thrive on animal not plant protein, and for this reason feeding high quality meat as the core diet is best.

And adding additional, natural sources of health-promoting nutrients to ensure the diet is healthy, balanced and complete, is the most effective way of promoting and maintaining optimum health for as long as possible.

Cutting Chemicals 2 – Slashing 123 Toxic Substances From Your Pet’s Diet In A Single Stroke

Pesticides are toxic chemicals designed to kill.

They are used to destroy insects and other organisms which can damage crops in the belief that although they are lethal to pests, they are safe for us and our pets to ingest in small amounts.

What this fails to take into account however, is:

      1. The cumulative effects of exposure to pesticide residues day after day, month after month, year after year.
      2. The impact on the body of mixtures of these toxic chemicals, which no studies have assessed.

The Damage They Can Do

Pesticides can cause acute or chronic poisoning.


This usually occurs following exposure to either a large amount of pesticide, or a particularly toxic chemical.

This is most commonly seen in pets following accidental ingestion of a poison (e.g. slug bait)  or the direct administration or application of an insecticide (such as a flea or tick product).

Signs usually appear quickly and can include:

      • skin and eye irritation
      • breathing problems
      • triggering of allergies
      • nausea
      • abdominal cramps
      • vomiting
      • diarrhoea
      • weakness
      • nervous system disturbances
      • bone marrow suppression
      • blood disorders (which can result in excessive / uncontrolled bleeding)
      • death


Long term exposure to pesticides, has been linked to the development of many serious diseases, for example:

The scale of the problem

But does all this really affect pets?

In a recent investigation, the Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) found that that a wide range of vegetables and fruits being given to children as part of a government scheme aimed at promoting healthy eating habits, contained a staggering 123 different pesticide residues.

Some of the produce tested contained as many as 13 toxic chemicals.

And these are the same vegetables and fruits being added to many commercial dog and cat foods, including tinned, dry and raw.

Here are some examples, showing percentages of single and multiple pesticide residues present in vegetables and fruit commonly used in pet food (source: Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food 2005 – 2016) :

Veg and Fruit Residues v2

In all the samples tested:

      • 84% tested positive for one residue
      • 66% tested positive for multiple residues

Slashing The Risk To Pets

Given these findings and the potential pesticide residues have for causing serious harm to health, it makes sense to stop feeding non-organic vegetables and fruits to dogs and cats – either directly, or in commercially produced pet food.

This is a vital step in:

    • lowering the chemical burden on modern day pets
    • reducing the risk of cancer, liver and kidney disease, immune system disturbances, neurological problems, endocrine gland dysfunction, behavioural changes and many other conditions
    • promoting and maintaining long term health

Steps To Take

1. Switch to a pet food which doesn’t contain non-organic vegetables and fruits (or grains, herbs and other plants, many of which are heavily treated with pesticides).

Look for these and similar ingredients listed on product labels: apple, broccoli, butternut squash, kale, spinach etc.

2. If you want to give vegetables – buy organic

Some pets benefit from a little plant fibre in their diet. Most dogs and cats however, don’t need vegetables or fruits in the diet because they can’t digest plant cell walls.

3. Supplement with Superfood

There are far healthier and much more nutritious alternatives to vegetables and fruits, which don’t have the risks that these do.

A spoonful of VITALITY, for example:

      • contains around 20 times the antioxidant beta-carotene as in carrots
      • has approximately 5 times the antioxidant ability as blueberries
      • supplies as much calcium as milk
      • is twice as rich in protein as meat
      • provides an exceptionally rich supply of numerous amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, co-enzymes, RNA, DNA and many other nutrients important for optimum cellular health

And whereas 90% of most vegetables and fruits in the diet pass straight through the body and out in the stools, over 90% of the nutrients in VITALITY enter the bloodstream within several hours of eating.


Why Cutting Chemicals Is So Important for Pets

Cutting Chemicals 1 – Lowering The Risk To Pets of Cancer and Organ Damage

Pets today come into contact with an eye watering array of chemicals, many of which can:

      • corrupt DNA (increasing the risk of cancer)
      • destroy ‘friendly’ gut flora (disturbing digestion and the immune system)
      • poison bone marrow (which can result in bleeding disorders and / or an immune system that can’t fight off infections, protect the body against cancer or heal the body effectively)
      • inflame the bowels
      • disturb the nervous system (leading to neurological signs, such as muscle weakness, incoordination or fits)
      • damage the liver and kidneys (reducing the body’s ability to break down and excrete toxic substances)
      • disrupt endocrine glands (causing hormonal disturbances)
      • derange the immune system (weakening natural defence mechanisms and / or triggering the development of dietary sensitivities, allergies and cancer)

A Huge Problem

There are literally tens of thousands of chemicals used in the home, industries, agriculture and food production, with the number increasing by 2000 new compounds per yearThe Natural Environment Research Council.

Many of these substances have been linked to liver and kidney disease, hormone disturbances,  immune system problems, inflammatory bowel conditions, cancer and a wide range of other diseases.

What Can Be Done To Protect Pets?

Environmental chemicals are present almost everywhere, in:


      • carbon monoxide
      • nitrogen oxides
      • sulphur
      • lead
      • small particles


      • heavy metals – such as cadmium, chromium or mercury
      • pesticides
      • herbicides
      • oils and tars
      • industrial chemicals and waste (including the increasingly ubiquitous microplastics)


As for soil, plus:

      • phosphorus
      • nitrogen
      • chemicals present in sewerage

Because they are so widespread, these chemicals are virtually impossible to avoid.

The best way to guard against their ill-effects is to increase the body’s ability to cope with them successfully, so the damage they can cause to health is minimised.

This means providing maximum nutritional support to the liver, kidneys and bowels (main organs of detoxification) and the immune system, which is primarily responsible for tissue healing, regeneration and repair.

Numerous potentially toxic chemicals, are also found in food, pet products and household goods.

Common examples are:



      • fillers
      • binders
      • glues
      • colourings
      • flavourings
      • synthetic vitamins
      • industrial salts
      • lubricants
      • preservatives

Pet products:

      • flea preparations
      • wormers
      • vaccines
      • medications
      • plastic dishes and toys
      • shampoos
      • clothing
      • treats

In and around the home:

      • cleaners
      • garden products (fertilisers, weedkillers, pest control etc.)
      • air fresheners and scented candles
      • artificial fabrics
      • toxic agents used in furniture (eg flame retardants, stain repellents, dyes etc.)
      • adhesives (eg formaldehyde – a known carcinogen – in floor tile glues)
      • human personal care products which come into contact with cats and dogs (e.g. shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, perfumes and aftershaves)

In contrast to environmental chemicals, a significant number of harmful substances in food, pet products and household goods can be avoided, by choosing alternatives instead. And the way to do this, will be covered in this series of blogs.

Why Cutting Chemicals Is So Important for Pets

The toxic effect of many chemicals is magnified in pets because:

      1. Although many environmental and dietary chemicals are usually present only in very small amounts, continuous daily exposure to these over long periods of time increases the likelihood of significant cellular damage occurring. One example of this, is a dog or cat fed on a pet food containing chemical additives or pesticide residues, week after week, year after year.
      2. Their relatively small size means that the concentration of chemicals they are exposed to is correspondingly much higher than it is for us.
      3. Dogs and cats regularly swallow harmful substances which have collected on the skin and coat during self-grooming, which allows them to rapidly enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.

These and other factors, are why it’s so important to prevent unnecessary exposure to as many of these noxious substances as possible.

And the best way to do this will be highlighted in this series of blogs – beginning with how to remove 123 potentially toxic chemicals from the diet in a single stroke.