E numbers and dog food: a mythbuster

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There’s a common misconception that all E numbers are bad. How many times have you heard ‘full of E numbers’ used as a negative phrase? But take a closer look at these ‘food additives’ and the picture becomes quite different. It’s right to practice caution, of course, but it’s also important to understand what E numbers are, and how they’re used – because there are many hundreds of them, lots of which are found in natural ingredients.

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What are E numbers?

An E number is simply a code for a substance that can be used as a food additive within the EU (the ‘E’ stands for Europe). There are plenty of dog food additives – essential minerals and vitamins – that are highly beneficial for dogs, are natural ingredients, and also have an E number. Vitamin C, for instance, is E300, found naturally in carrots.  

Are E numbers harmful for dogs?

Not all E numbers are artificial colours and flavours, and not all E numbers are bad. In many cases, the opposite is true: any ingredient with an E number has been tested and approved for use in human food, and the amount is restricted to levels that are known to be safe. So in some ways these tested and regulated ingredients are safer than other natural ingredients, which can be included in any amount.

Do E numbers have the same effect in dogs as in humans?

There are studies that associate certain artificial food colourants with hyperactivity in children – which is where E numbers get their bad reputation. And although there are no studies to date that show a similar association between these E numbers and behaviour problems in dogs, we always recommend avoiding dog food that includes artificial colours and flavours.

At tails.com, we don’t use any artificial colours or flavours in our food, which makes it easy for you to make sure they aren’t part of your dog’s diet. You can see the full list of tails.com ingredients here, and you can find out exactly what’s in your dog’s tailor-made food in their profile.

Got more questions about E numbers and food additives? Our veterinary and nutritionist team is here to help – get in touch at hello@tails.com.

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  1. Tried the dry food but crystal was too finicky about it,wanted to try the wet option but couldn’t access the link,more likely my fault than tails.com as I’m still learning to do all this.lol,I thought product was really good just too rich for my ten year old staffies digestion., but great service from tails.com,thank you.

  2. Hi Rosina,

    Thanks for getting in touch. We’re sorry to hear that Crystal was not too keen on the her tailor-made blend but we really appreciate that you decided to give it a try.

    If it was a little rich for her, it might be worth looking into a hypoallergenic blend. A hypoallergenic blend excludes common allergens to create a much calmer, more gentle blend. We would be more than happy to offer you a manual re-blend for Crystal, to see if we might be able to tempt her back!

    We have also added the wet food option to your account, so you can now browse through the selection to see if you would like to try any of them for Crystal.

    Please do get in touch via email to hello@tails.com if you think you’d like to give a new blend a try for her, and we would be happy to help.

    Best wishes,
    The tails.com team

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