Nutrition expert warning over what's in your dog's dinner

Expert warns over pet food ingredientsPic: Getty

A pet nutrition expert has urged owners across the country to take a closer look at what's in their dog's dinner, warning that what you put in their bowl could lead to health and behavioural problems.

According to former pet industry nutritionist David Jackson, while many of us are casting a keen eye over our own food labelling, some pet food firms are producing "frankly awful foods" for our furry friends.

Tins and dry foods containing large quantities of salt, sugar, oils and fats are common, and some brands even add food colouring, at which your colour blind pooch won't bat an eye.

And Mr Jackson - who previously worked as a nutritionist for a number of pet food companies - claims the additives and fat found in much of what we feed our pets is contributing to the national dog obesity problem, not to mention behavioural problems such as hyperactivity.

He explained to the Sunday Telegraph: "For so long, pet food manufacturers have been able to get away with producing, frankly, awful foods for our pets. The most successful foods in the UK all have two things in common - low grade ingredients and elevated prices.

"Most consumers simply aren't aware that alternatives exist and the health problems that low grade foods often bring are so widespread that many pet owners simply disregard them as a normal part of a dog's life."

Others are sceptical over Mr Jackson's claims, however. Robin Hargreaves, president of the British Veterinary Association insists overweight pets are a result of feeding too much, or giving too little exercise.

He told the paper: "My advice to my clients is you can feed most dogs most things. They are scavengers so I don't get as precious about diet as some might because they have coped with an incredible variety of foods over thousands of years."

Mr Hargreaves added that multinational firms such as Nestle and Mars have "paid some people a lot of money to formulate diets and the chances are they will make a better dog food than you will".

For anyone who might be concerned though, David Jackson has launched a new website,, allowing owners to find out exactly what's in their dog's dinner.

Do you believe pet food is at the root of health and behavioural issues? Leave your comments below...