5 Scariest Ingredients In Dog Food
May 13, 2012 in Dog Nutrition
Before I got my first dog, I knew nothing about dog food. I listened to dog food commercials bragging about fresh vegetables, and made a mental note to shop for these nice products as soon as I got a puppy. That all changed when Rocco actually came into our lives. I turned over the bag, and browsed the first few ingredients of the food I thought looked best.
A few seconds later, I was using my phone to search the net for dog food ingredients and what they meant. The dogs I knew liked to chew on meaty bones, not cobs of corn. Why then did the first bag of food I looked at read like a bag of pig food?
The answer isn’t very simple. FDA and AAFCO standards only go so far to protect your dog. There is no specific law against including known cancer causing agents such as BHA, large amounts of grain (up to 50%) or even euthanized cats and dogs. The only protection your dog has is your ability to flip the bag over and know what it means.
To help you, I’ve listed the five worst ingredients you can find in your dog food, and believe it or not, corn is the least of your worries.
Ingredient: Meat and Bone Meal
From the FDA website “There appear to be associations between rendered or hydrolyzed ingredients and the presence of pentobarbital in dog food. The ingredients Meat and Bone Meal (MBM), Beef and Bone Meal (BBM), Animal Fat (AF), and Animal Digest (AD) are rendered or hydrolyzed from animal sources that could include euthanized animals.”
…And we don’t even know what sort of euthanized animal it is, because meat and bone meal can come from any mammal, including roadkill, diseased, disabled, dying or dead livestock, and euthanized pets.
Ingredient: Menadione (menadione sodium bisulfate, menadione sodium bisulfite or menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite)
This additive isn’t only unnecessary, it’s destructive. Added as a synthetic version of vitamin K, it is banned from use in humans in several European countries do to irreversible damage and death. Known effects include everything from skin irritation to cytotoxicity. (Toxic to you on a cellular basis. Eek!)
There is a whole host more, read the rest here.
Ingredient: Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), BHT
BHA is a known carcinogen in lab animals, and reasonably anticipated by the US Health Institute as a carcinogen in humans. It is also listed by California, under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, as capable of causing damage to major organs such as the liver and upper respiratory tract.
Despite these ominous reports, both the pet industry and the food industry (!) continue to use BHA as a preservative when there are other, less questionable, preservatives readily available.
Yet another questionable preservative, the public outcry on this has been huge. Vets, breeders and dog advocates firmly believe this substance is highly toxic and possibly causes cancer. It is allowed only in very small doses in humans, but much larger in dogs.
Some of this is supported by the NTP’s study, some of it isn’t. You decide for yourself whether you want it in your dogs food or not.
Ingredient: Propylene Glycol
Also known as the “pet friendly” version of anti-freeze. While it’s true Propylene Glycol is less toxic than Ethylene Glycol, it’s still extremely dangerous. So much so in fact, that 9ml per pound will kill 50% of dogs without immediate treatment.
The poison control center for pets lists seizures, tremors and anemia among possible symptoms caused by this ingredient, and it’s forbidden from use in cat food.
All of the above ingredients are common fixtures in the dog food industry, especially in big box store brands. Please read ingredient labels carefully before feeding anything to your pet, or check your food at Dog Food Advisor. Your pets life may depend on it.