Inferior or controversial ingredient

Gelling agents and thickeners in dog food

Gelling agents and thickeners in pet food Some types of wet pet food and most notably paté / loaf type foods require special additives known as thickeners and gelling agents in order to bind the ingredients and allow the food to maintain its firm consistency.

While the inclusion of some thickeners and gelling agents must be declared on the pet food label, many can be used without any declaration. This can be extremely problematic for some pet owners as several thickeners and gelling agents have been linked to adverse reactions and ill health in pets.

For more information on why finding out what gelling agents and thickeners a dog food contains is so difficult, check out our post here.

Gelling agents

When added to water, gelling agents, which are typically powders, dislove to create a gel like structure. All paté and loaf type foods contain some form of gelling agent.

Currently, the most common gelling agents available to pet food producers include:


Thickeners are often used in conjunction with one of the above gelling agents in order to enhance gelling strength.

According to our sources, these thickeners serve absolutely no purpose in a food unless one of the above gelling agents is also present so if you see them on a wet pet food label without an associated gelling agent, it's reasonable to assume one or more undisclosed gelling agents are also present.

Find foods containing Gelling agents and thickeners See the full Ingredient Glossary


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