Does My Dog Care About Artificial Coloring in Dog Products?

by | Oct 17, 2022

When it comes to artificial coloring in dog products, you may think your dog doesn’t care. Maybe they don’t, but you should! Artificial coloring in dog products is no better for them than it is for humans. That means you may want to double-check ingredients before you give your best friend their favorite treat or chew.

More and more, consumers are paying attention to ingredients–particularly in artificial dyes and colorings. That’s with good reason, as in humans, artificial dyes and colorings have been linked to things like ADHD, irritability, depression, hives, asthma and even tumor growth. In fact, it’s little known but three of the most popular and primary food dyes for humans and dogs (Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6) contain benzene, which is known to pose carcinogenic risk. 

It stands to reason that if they’re not good for humans, they’re likely not great for humans’ best friends either.

Why use artificial colors in dog products anyway?

That’s a good question, and one humans ask about for themselves as well. Why even use artificial colors in dog products (foods, treats, chews) if they’re not good for them?

The simple answer is two-fold.

First, many pet product companies say that coloring makes a product more appealing and palatable to animals. Just like your average 10-year-old is likely to drool over a bag of crazy-colored Airhead candy, the mentality is that dogs prefer foods and treats that are appealing in color as well. Sometimes coloring makes a product look healthier or even appear meatier.

Second, sometimes a product’s natural coloring without dyes really isn’t anything to write home about, but natural coloring using fruits and vegetables or other food-safe, non-chemical additives is just plain more expensive. Many countries in the European Union, Canada and Australia don’t even allow many of the chemical dyes in pet foods (or human) that America allows, and the cleaner, healthier versions those countries use just cost more to use. That eats a product’s profit margin, and our pets pay the price.

Why are artificial colors in dog treats and foods dangerous?

Aside from the fact that they’re simply unnecessary (there is no scientific evidence that suggests animals have any preference of color for foods or treats; their owners are more likely to base judgment based on appearance)–artificial colors in pet products pose risk. Reports from various advocacy groups claim alarming statistics–millions of pounds of Red #40 and Yellow #5 have been used in pet foods and other products. Red #40 is linked to lymphomas, while Yellow #5 is liked to lymphocytic lymphomas, tumors and allergies. Blue #2, a less popular but still heavily used food dye has been linked to brain tumors.

The bottom line when it comes to artificial coloring in dog products is that they’re not necessary, and they can even pose a risk to your dog’s health.

Bernie’s Perfect Poop: No crazy colors here!

When we began formulating Bernie’s Perfect Poop, we were interested in one thing: Maximizing the gut health of our beloved family pets.

We knew that good gut health was an indicator of good overall health and the best indicator of good gut health was poop. Seeking the perfect poop for Bernie and Lady meant that we only wanted good, clean, responsibly sourced ingredients for them–and we did NOT want (or need) any additional coloring.

The delicious formulas our experts came up with combined premium fibers, pre- and probiotics with digestive enzymes, and we poured in the love. Our grass bits are delicious because they’re packed with superfood ingredients like pumpkin and natural chicken or cheese flavoring, and dogs don’t need to have any additional coloring to entice them.

Perfect Poop is all about helping your dog have the best gut health, and while we DO care about color, we’re WAY more concerned about the color of what comes OUT of your dog! In fact, when we see poop that’s green or crazy-colored, we worry that there may be a malabsorption issue at hand.

There’s usually no need for anything but clean, purposed ingredients in any product that goes into our dog’s body–and the truth of the matter is that coloring, even natural coloring, is likely more to appeal to us as consumers than it is to our dogs for palatability or appeal.

The good news is that Bernie’s Perfect Poop is the perfect combination of clean ingredients, no coloring necessary, and two delicious formulas your dog will love.

After all, a better diet means a better life, and that’s our goal with every thing we do!

Bernie’s Notes on Colors in His Food and Treats

Hi Folks!

It’s me, Bernie!

Wanna know a secret?
Okay…it’s not a secret. It’s science.

Dogs don’t see as many colors as you hoomans do. In fact, most scientists believe we see shades/hues of yellows and blues.

So alllll those products that have coloring to ‘entice us’ to eat them or chew on them are pretty much wasting their money (and some of them may be bad for our health!).

Do your best friend a favor–read the ingredients on whatever you give them and make sure you know that what’s going in is working to make sure what goes out is PERFECT–just like Bernie’s Perfect Poop does!

Wishing your dog the best gut health ever,
Bernie F.
Chief Dog Officer

Illustration of Bernie sitting and smiling.

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