Petco fulfills pledge to ban artificial ingredients

The retailer says the decision was in the interest of “better health and wellness.”

Petco fulfills pledge to ban artificial ingredients

Petco has rid its shelves of nearly all dog and cat food and treats that contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

The San Diego company reported late last year that by May 2019 its 1,500 stores and online operation would stop selling products that did not meet its nutrition standards.

The banned ingredients include artificial colors such as FD&C Blue No. 1 and Orange B, artificial flavors such as aconitic acid, ethyl acetate and piperonal, and artificial preservatives such as benzoic acid and propylene glycol. The full list of more than 50 ingredients is available at

Petco made a couple of exceptions. Two feline diets — Purina Pro Plan and Hill’s Science Diet Urinary — that contain the colorant titanium dioxide will stay because “there is not yet a suitable artificial-free formula,” the company stated. Products containing the preservative potassium sorbate will be sold until February 2020, Petco reported without explanation.

“Today is about more than just confirming we kept the promise we made last year to eliminate artificial ingredients for dogs and cats at Petco, it’s about celebrating better health and wellness for the pets we love,” Petco CEO Ron Coughlin said. “Clearing our stores and site of products that don’t meet our nutrition standards is a resounding demonstration of our commitment to always doing the right thing for pets.”

PetSmart, the owner of and a major competitor of Petco, released a statement in response to Petco’s announcement.

“While PetSmart offers the widest selection of natural food, we believe in providing a broad range of options so that pet parents can make their own choices about the needs of their families and pets,” the company stated. “Our associates are trained to educate pet parents on the benefits of the products we carry so that pet parents can choose the food that is right for their pet, budget and lifestyle.” Protection Status