Inflammatory bowel disease is extremely common in pets and people. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, constipation, bloating, weight loss, and abdominal pain. What pet food ingredients might contribute to these problems? There are two ingredients that are common culprits and should be avoided.
The first ingredient I recommend avoiding is wheat gluten. Wheat gluten is the rubbery protein residue left after all the starchy carbohydrate has been removed from the grain. This is a cheap source of protein when pet food companies don't want the expense of using real meat proteins. Some pets will have an autoimmune response to the gluten, which causes inflammation in the bowel and the symptoms listed above.
The second ingredient is carrageenan. Food grade carrageenan has been studied for years and has been shown to be cause an immune reaction that triggers inflammation. Chronic ingestion of carrageenan is associated with inflammatory diseases, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance - precursors of diabetes.
Carrageenan is used in many canned pet foods, particularly cat foods, as a gelling or thickening agent. I have discussed the many reasons cats should not be fed dry kibble (too high in carbohydrates, too low in moisture, among other things). This leads people to feed canned foods. But canned foods loaded with gluten and carrageenan can cause severe problems as well.
Be a label reader. If you see gluten or carrageenan in the pet food, put it back on the shelf. Do not feed these ingredients to your pets. Feed them a species-appropriate, meat based diet like fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried raw food or a home prepared diet. Don't subject your pets to the poor ingredients found in low quality processed pet foods.