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Myth or Fact?

Myth or Fact?

MYTH OR FACT?  Food coloring and dyes in pet food are harmful.


Some consumers believe that food coloring and dyes in pet food cause allergic reactions and gastrointestinal upset in pets.


Artificial coloring is used in some pet food to give it a more desirable and consistent appearance or to differentiate between flavors in the same product.

  • The quality, digestibility and nutrition of the product is unaffected by the use of artificial coloring.
  • Some colors are derived from natural sources, such as beet powder and tumeric.
  • Small amounts of dyes are used to produce the color.

The dyes commonly used in Purina formulas have been recognized as safe by the FDA for use in both human foods and pet foods.*

  • All FDA-approved dyes have been thoroughly tested and found to not cause any health problems.
  • Purina does not use any unapproved dyes in pet foods.

Independent reviews and studies show that dyes are not responsible for food allergies in dogs and cats.**,***

  • Food allergies are most commonly caused by proteins. Food colorants are not proteins.


Purina has a long history of producing high-quality, highly nutritious pet foods that are rigorously tested. While a pet food may contain different colors, the nutrition, quality, safety and palatability of the diet are the standards by which it is measured. 

* Thompson A. Ingredients: where pet food starts. Top Companion Anim Med. 2008;23(3):127–132.
** Verlinden A, Hesta M, Millet S, Janssens GP. Food allergy in dogs and cats: a review.  Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(e):259–273.
*** Guilford WG, Jones BR, Markwell PJ, et al. Food sensitivity in cats with chronic idiopathic GI problems. J Vet Intern Med. 2001;15(1):7-13.