Food Guidelines

The Dangers of Genetically Modified Ingredients in Dog Food


Is your dog eating a genetically modified corn-based kibble, or a food that contains soy?

While there’s no way to know absolutely if your dog’s corn or soy-included kibble is made using genetically modified ingredients, chances are that it is. In fact, in the United States, 88% of the corn used in pet foods and animal feed and 93% of soybean crops are genetically engineered, according to a 2011 International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report.

So, what does genetically modified mean?

Corn is the #1 crop grown in the U.S. and almost all of it is genetically modified. GMO’s, or Genetically Modified Organisms, are plant or meat products that have had their DNA altered in a laboratory. Genetically modified corn contains a pesticide that cannot be washed off. Additionally, GM corn grown in the U.S. is “Roundup Ready,” meaning it can withstand spraying of Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide and continue to live and grow, while the weeds around it die. (For now. Research is showing that Roundup-resistant weeds are now starting to grow, requiring farmers to increase the amount of pesticide used to kill them.)

As for soy, while it may not be clearly listed on your dog food label, soy is a staple in food production under various names including hydrogenated oils, lecithin, emulsifiers, tocopherol (a vitamin E supplement) and proteins. 93% of US-grown soy is genetically modified.

What are the long-term effects of consuming GMO’s?

Unfortunately, the long-term effects of human and companion animal consumption of GMOs remains to be seen. However, research has linked GMO’s to allergies, organ toxicity, and other serious health issues.

According CA Right to Know, an organization dedicated to establishing labeling laws on GMO foods:

GMOs have not been proven safe, and long-term health studies have not been conducted. A growing body of peer-reviewed studies has linked these foods to allergies,organ toxicity, and other health problems. These studies must be followed up. However, unlike the strict safety evaluations required for the approval of new drugs, the US Food and Drug Administration does not require safety studies for genetically engineered foods. The United Nations/World Health Organization food standards group and the American Medical Association have called for mandatory safety testing of genetically engineered foods — a standard the U.S. fails to meet.

In a 2009 study on the effects of GM corn on rats, significant kidney and liver disease was found in rats after only a 90-day feeding trial. A 2012 study revealed that during the lifespan of lab rats tested, not only did rats fed a diet that included GM corn die earlier than those fed non-GM corn, but they also developed mammary tumors and severe kidney and liver damage.

What is the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s position on the safety of GMO’s?

Unlike the FDA’s tough position on drug approval, wherein extensive research, drug trials, and safety must be proven before allowed on the market, their position on GMO’s is quite the opposite.

A USA Today article revealed:

Using the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology finalized in 1986, the Food and Drug Administration has ruled that genetically engineered foods are substantially equivalent to conventionally produced foods. In 1992, the FDA said genetically engineered crops are generally recognized as safe. FDA, in effect, said that those foods are no different from other foods and shouldn’t be held to any different standards.

Further, the article explained that the FDA requires zero testing of GMO foods for safety before they are allowed in the marketplace. In other words, these genetically modified foods are being considered safe until proven otherwise through actual long-term human consumption, on a population that is legally not required to be informed whether what they’re eating is GM or not.

And, this is their take on food for human consumption – as we know, the FDA position on pet food safety is far more lax.

How can I be sure my pet’s food is safe?

As dog owners, we must arm ourselves with as much information as we can. We can’t rely on fancy packaging and clever catchphrases like, “complete nutrition” or “wholesome ingredients” which mean absolutely nothing in the world of unregulated dog food manufacturing. Read labels, look for real meat as the number one ingredient, avoid foods with corn as a main ingredient (or at all!), foods with by-products, unidentified meat-meals, and loads of nutrient-empty fillers. To avoid GMO’s altogether, buy a pet food with the USDA Organic certification.

Your dog’s health and vitality depend on the choices you make.


Are you feeding your dog a good, wholesome, and nutritious dog food that doesn’t contain any genetically modified corn or soy? Leave a comment below that helps other readers also make the right choices for their pets!




  1. Janine

    Mar 15, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    This is a cautionary tale if the above information is not enough. I have two dogs that are getting older, one 10 and one 11. The 11 year old developed diabetes and was put on a special prescription diet. I did not like it as they were usually fed grain free and this one had a first ingredient of corn. Diabetes trumped my concern and I started feeding her and my other dog this food ( the vet said it was a good quality food for both) due to the huge increase in cost. Fast forward 4 months later and the non diabetic dog develops a huge knot on his inner hind leg. I take him to the vet, they run all necessary tests, and it is a fatty tumor. I bring him home and started weening them off of the prescripton food. During this next month my diabetic dog got a huge fatty tumor on her hind leg as well. They are now on a grain free diet once again. I have no doubt that the high gmo corn content in the prescription food caused their tumors. This is my opinion and not proof, but I buy organic for myself, my family and my fur family!! We are the lab rats and we have been for years without our knowledge!! I am mad and my poor babies look like the lab rats in the french study on gmo’s!!

  2. Jasmin

    Apr 21, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I do feed all my six dogs Orijen , who claims it is GMO free! They also send there food to germany ( Europe) where the GMO’s aren’t allowed in dog food! It’s a great food anyway! Love it!

  3. Lawrence Pommier

    Mar 3, 2015 at 11:06 am

    It would be nice if a list of non-gmo foods was included in this article. I am assuming this will be a small list.


  4. Anne

    Aug 26, 2014 at 11:17 am

    The Honest Kitchen makes human grade pet food that has NO GMOs, nothing from China, no hormones, no antibiotics, no preservatives. Why would you feed highly processed pet food (kibble) when there are much less processed alternatives? Feeding cheap, processed food to a living creature, human or pet, WILL impacts its health. My senior dog deserves the best, and she loves Honest Kitchen.

  5. Willa

    Jun 14, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading?

    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Ginger

    May 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    There’s an online fundraiser going on right now that is raising money so that massive pet food testing can be done so that we can all see exactly what is in many of the pet foods out there. This will be huge if enough money is raised. Here’s the link:

  7. terri

    May 7, 2014 at 8:33 am

    The only diet our dogs should be on is Raw Meat or home made. There are no kibble products on the market that could possibly give your dogs what they need and get from a Raw Meat Diet. Besides the poor quality of ingredients, it is cooked to death to get it to the consistency needed to create kibble. By then they have removed the required properties for optimal health. Add the fact the the quality of the ingredients used is so poor, your feeding your dogs the lowest form of cereal there is. We have to remember we are buying a product that is for making company money, how do they achieve that, they use what ever is marketable, with the least amount of out of pocket expense, and will bring great revenue. That’s it in the nutshell. I have been involved in the Raising/Breeding of Belgian Sheepdogs for over 20 yrs, my friend/(with breeding) for over 40. You learn over that many years what has made your dogs thrive. Its not Kibble, and its not over vaccinations either. Treat your dogs like you would you children in regards to nutrition and overall health. We have to remember, If our food is so bad for us humans, How good could commercial food be for our dogs. some food for thought.. (Pun intended)
    wishing You and your Dogs a Wonderful Day!!!

  8. Edward Knutson

    Feb 22, 2014 at 12:05 am

    the head of the FDA is the ex ceo of monsanto the same company who makes roundup, gmos and more. any idiot feeding their dog purina ie monsanto has not right to own a pet it is irresponsible. the same people should not have children.

    • Shiaa

      Sep 15, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      That’s a bit harsh, they don’t know there’s something wrong with the brand. Think before you speak.

      • I Love Dogs

        Apr 17, 2015 at 8:44 pm

        Purina is a horrible dog food to feed your little family member. If you can’t afford to give your dog good dog food that is safe and healthy please don’t have one.

  9. Lisa

    Jan 15, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I feed all three of my pups PetSana – NO GMO’s!

  10. Chicken Coopes

    Nov 21, 2013 at 6:42 am

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  11. Deanna Clark

    Nov 16, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Newman’s Own Organics has large bags at Whole Foods. With 12 bar codes you get a freebie ($45)
    I have 7 border collie mix dogs we all love and want to stay healthy.
    Peggy Westhoven at Newman’s Own is friendly and will send you coupons and free stuff. I highly recommend this line as they also support good, honest charities like food banks, etc.
    With this and table scraps the dogs are thriving…of course, we run around the yard with them until we drop…try tennis balls with whiffle bats.

  12. Mercedes

    Nov 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Man’s Best Friend Catering is gmo free, human grade, and all natural. You can check out their facebook page here
    Good luck!

  13. Shraddha

    Jul 23, 2013 at 12:01 am

    I feed my pom Grassland grain-free Acana primarily, sometimes I order a 5lb bag of the Pacifica version of the same brand and mix the two. Recently I’ve been mixing Merrick Buffalo with Grassland Acana and it’s going good. I also occasionally feed him raw lamb meat and he loves it! I dehydrate organs (gizzards/ hearts/ livers) for him and use it as treats – he absolutely loves it! Its better and cost effective! He also loves the freeze dried treats Orijen has started making! The first vet we took him to ordered us to put him on Royal Canin. He would poop triangle Royal Canin kibbles and he hated it! When I brought this to the vet’s attention she said to continue putting him on it and force him to eat just that. That was also the last time we were at that vet’s office.

  14. terri harris

    Jul 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    so I feed them pedigree and I have Maltese’s .. trying to find a better food that I can afford any suggestions I have 4 dogs so cost is an issue

  15. Jose Ortiz

    Jun 6, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I feed My Dog a RAW diet. I try and feed as much organic and holistic as possible. Kibble is so bad.
    All the pretty pictures of Meats, fruits and veggies on the bag are not whats in the bag. Instead there is this dry cereal. Dogs are Canines…Meat eaters. They dont eat dry cereal.

  16. Mattea

    Jun 5, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I feed my dogs Merrick once a day and home made dog food at the other feeding. I use a cookbook I love, mainly they eat sweet potatoes, spinach, squash, parsley, salmon, turkey and chicken. Their skin problems are gone and they are all a healthy weight. It is more expensive, but its saving me a ton of money at the vet.

  17. Gail

    Jun 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I have chosen to make my own dog food. I buy a protein (fish, chicken, beef, etc) add carrots, celery, green beans, zucchini green and yellow, add kelp for minerals, oats for vitamins, calcium for bones and teeth and sometime quinoa, or rice or even barley as we do agility and need the carbs and protein.

  18. Patrisia Rawlins

    Jun 4, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    My dog is allergic to just about everything, especially any formulas with poultry. He does well on Blue lamb or bison, also a few other brands in lamb, but I have to read the labels very, very carefully to be sure there is no corn, soy, or grains of any kind as well. I think he is allergic to the poultry because the birds are fed corn byproducts! Does anyone have other food suggestions?

  19. Bobbie

    Jun 4, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Blue has no GMO’s, dont buy anything with corn, wheat or soy in it.

  20. best teeth whitening method

    May 1, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

    • moni mutter

      Jul 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      we feed our dogs with natural meat and milled chicken with cooked rice. Some carrots and other vegetable from the farm. It’s the best, not only for human.

  21. Dot

    Apr 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    how do I know if I am feeding this krap? Is there a list that shows which foods do not contain any of this garbage? I feed IVet, which is supposed to contain no grains of any kind, but how do you know for sure?

    • Kat

      May 27, 2013 at 1:25 am

      Purina lovers, your dog is fine for now. How do you know? Read the labels, corn, soy and wheat are the 3 worst products, by-products is a good hint etc. We make our own food, farm to table, we know our ranchers, farmers and growers!

      Questions, let us know.
      Mamas Choice 100% Natural Raw Dog Food

    • Susy

      Jul 15, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      Go to http://www.dogfoodadvisor.Com
      Look at “dog foods A toZ”.
      Merrick Classic & Wellness are both 5 star.
      They explain their ratings and what is good/bad in the ingredients.
      They are independent, accepts no feed or monies from corporations.

  22. robin

    Apr 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    i feed my dog purina dog chow and its all good

    • Rose

      May 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      I am sorry to inform you that it is one of the worst foods you can feed your dog. It is making a lot of dogs and cats sick. Read what people are posting on the consumer affairs web site

      • Roger Biduk

        Jan 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm

        It’s not only bad food it’s dangerous; contains not even one named meat ingredient but does contain some ingredients that the FDA say have a probability of containg pentobarbital, the euthanasia drug.
        Added color ingredients have been linked to be carcinogens.

        Whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat, soybean meal, poultry by-product meal, whole grain wheat, animal digest, salt, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, menadione sodium bisulfite complex.

        Many ingredients are similiar to what you’ll find in a 50 lb. bag of Ol’ Roy that you can buy for $19.88 at Walmart.
        Roger Biduk

    • Jose Ortiz

      Jun 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Horrible …Low Grade food.

    • Tammy

      Jul 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      My motto is if you can buy it at Wal Mart it is not good! Try Wellness Core.

      • Roger Biduk

        Jan 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm

        Wellness Core is good.
        Their six canned formulas are high protein, very low carbs on a dry-matter basis… the three grain-free stes are also good but lower protein, higher carbs.
        Roger Biduk

    • Dawn

      Jul 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Rose is right! Local vets call Purina Dog Chow and Puppy Chow “junk food for dogs” If you insist on Purina, at least switch to Purina One!! My choice is Fosters and Smith! Good stuff!!

      • Dee

        Jan 10, 2014 at 12:31 pm

        Actually my Sheltie mix and Schnauzer both ended up with bladder stone issues after I fed them Purina One. I have no idea if this is coincidence but now I would never feed it to my rescue pup.

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