When is Grain-Free not Grain-Free

When Is Grain-Free Not Grain-Free?

When is Grain-Free not Grain-Free?

I’ve just been wandering through the UK’s major online marketplace checking out the dog treats and food – it’s a hobby of mine – possibly unique (although I don’t think I’m popping it on a CV anytime soon).

Anyway, on my wanderings, I discovered some top-selling dental chews that are very keen to highlight that they are grain-free.

Alarmingly most of the major dental chews are made from grain/cereals, and some even have sugar in them! It’s madness.

Grain-free dental chews should be very good news.

However, after reading the ingredients, I discovered something very worrying…

Grain-Free? For Real Real?

Imagine you have a dog that needs a grain-free diet.

You’ve just found some big brand dental sticks that say they are grain-free.

And if you’re picking up this packet of dental chews not knowing the sneaky ways of the pet industry – you’re thinking, “Wow, I’m excelling at pet parenting today. This looks ideal.”

So… Can we hang out the bunting and organise a parade?

Has big business done something awesome to help us pet parents?

Afraid not – in fact, be very afraid not.

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Because as ever, the real real is on the back of the packet – hidden away in the small print as ingredients listed.

But it’s worse than that – because not only do you need to find and read the ingredients –  you also need to understand the definition of the ingredients listed!

For Real…

Instead of grain, the main ingredient is …

Drum roll, please.

“Derivatives of Vegetable Origin”


And the next ingredient listed by weight is…

“Meat and Animal Derivatives”


And the third main ingredient is…


The fourth ingredient is minerals which means almost the whole chew comprises:
Derivatives of Vegetable Origin
Meat and Animal Derivatives

And that is the gruesome reality of what’s being promoted as a healthy alternative to the grain-filled big brand nonsense.

What’s happening here?

Most caring and thoughtful people would think – we’ve got bad ingredients here – let’s replace them with nutritious and healthy ingredients that will still work as a dental chew to clean teeth and gums.

However, that’s not who we’re dealing with – we’re talking about a corporate giant that has share-holder demands for profit first and foremost in their minds.

Here’s my best guess as to what’s happening…

A big brand has gathered data and realised that people are wising up to grain/cereals in their dog’s treats and have seen an angle to allow them to cash in on the trend.

However, they need to replace a very cheap main ingredient with something that is equally cheap (and, let’s face it – nasty) to keep those profit margins up.

So they just switch out the grain/cereal for vegetable and animal derivatives.

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Hey, presto – “grain-free” dental chews. So, just like when 100% chicken doesn’t mean 100% chicken, sometimes grain-free doesn’t mean grain-free.

But a reminder about derivatives…

Both vegetable and animal derivatives are made in the same way.

Derivatives are made up of all the bits of the animals or vegetables (not just vegetables actually – more later) that no one else will use, hosed and scraped together and turned into a kind of gloop that can be stored in barrels.

The animals/vegetable derivatives could be anything, and they can change from batch to batch because the maker of the product is just ordering in barrels of derivatives from a rendering plant with no idea what’s in them.

However, it gets much worse… because if you’re buying grain-free dental chews for your dog who is allergic or sensitive to grain, you have a big problem.

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It gets much worse… For Real Real!

Here is the definition for ‘Derivatives of vegetables origin’:

“Derivatives resulting from the treatment of vegetable products, in particular cereals, vegetables, legumes and oilseeds.”


For real?

For real, real?


We’re being sold a packet of grain-free dental chews with no grain listed on the packet but which could contain mostly grain in the derivatives.

And those derivatives make up the main part of the chew.

Therefore your grain-free chews could be made from mostly grain!

Turn those packets around…

How can you make sure you and your dog don’t fall victim to this?

  1. Don’t believe the hype on the front of packets or on the sales listing.
  2. Turn those packs around and read the ingredients – search them out.
  3. NEVER buy products with derivatives in them – we can never know what they contain now, and they are unlikely to contain the same thing next time.
  4. Find a brand you can trust that will never, never, never sell products containing derivatives.

If you want truly grain-free chews without derivatives and with a minimum of ingredients – scroll down the following page to find them: https://shop.bounceandbella.co.uk/collections/natural-dog-dental-chews.

And as a quick reminder, if you’re new to us or if you’ve never used our 50% Discount on Treats before, all the details are here on how you can grab a great offer and join us in our quest to remove the hidden nasties in our dog’s treats: https://shop.bounceandbella.co.uk/pages/blog50

Three Pillars of Bounce and Bella
At Bounce and Bella, we want to help end your pet parent worries over hidden nasties.
By offering tasty yet straightforward dog treats with just a few premium ingredients.
This means you can relax knowing exactly what your dog is eating.

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