Watching for Powdered Cellulose in Dog Food

We all need fiber in our diets but it’s important to look at the source of that fiber found in your dog’s food. In today’s nutrition tip, canine nutrition expert Tracie Hotchner looks at what is a surprising ingredient in some dog food: powdered cellulose.

Powdered cellulose is a fiber source in dry dog food with the lowest food value of any kind of fiber and it may amaze you that it is even permitted in dog food. While the official definition is “purified, mechanically disintegrated cellulose prepared by processing alpha cellulose obtained as pulp from fibrous plant materials,” the more transparent definition would be “sawdust.” Once again, this is an ingredient that frequently turns up in veterinary prescribed diets, which is reason enough to look even more carefully at the rest of the ingredients on those labels.

This Canine Nutrition Tip is from Tracie Hotchner, author of The Dog Bible and award-winning host of Dog Talk® on NPR station WLIU. Canine Nutrition Tips are sponsored by Proportions, the whole food custom nutrition program for your dog. Visit to get a custom 2-meal trial for your dog, or to learn more about canine nutrition from the full Canine Nutrition University classes written by Tracie.

Author photo courtesy; photo © Ling Li

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits,, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.