Choose your pet’s chow as wisely as you do your own by avoiding these common fillers and binders, which lack nutritional value and are no one’s best friend.

Animal digest

This ingredient is essentially a cooked-down broth made from parts of unspecified animals.  Though it’s untraceable and not allowed in organic pet foods, it is listed in some natural dog foods.  There are no limits on the type of animals used; animal digest may include goats, pigs, horses, rats, roadkill, diseased animals, and even animals euthanized at shelters.

Brewers rice

These rice fragments are a byproduct of the rice milling process.  Brewers rice contains far fewer nutrients than whole brown rice and is also much cheaper for manufacturers to procure.  Look for brown rice on labels, instead.

Wheat gluten

This tough, sticky substance is left behind when starch is removed from wheat.  It’s an inexpensive food-processing by product used as a binder in some pet foods and has little nutritional value.