Chemical preservatives are added to many pet foods, because they keep the food fresher for a longer period of time than do natural preservatives. Shelf life is important to manufacturers, because spoiled food that is returned by the customer doesn’t earn money for the maker. We humans are counseled all the time to avoid ingesting chemicals because of potential health problems. Yet those same chemicals are used at will in pet food. Here are 3 to especially avoid:
- BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
- BHT (Butylated Hydroxytolulen)
BHA and BHT are added to food to preserve freshness and color. BHA has been linked to cancer in humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Other possible risks are nerve damage and mood changes. If these chemicals are so dangerous to humans, why would we risk giving them to our pets?
Ethoxyquin contains anti-oxidants that might sound like a positive addition for good health. Manufacturers use it to help increase stability in pet food. This preservative is suspected of causing cancer in animals, but the Food & Drug Administration has not found evidence to sustain that. In the 1990’s, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) received numerous complaints about ethoxyquin causing a myriad of health issues in dogs, although there wasn’t enough scientific evidence to confirm the connection. Studies by the manufacturer of ethoxyquin did show that the chemical builds up in an animal’s liver over time. Personally, I wouldn’t take the chance of it causing a problem for my pet.
- Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol helps semi-moist dog food stay soft on the inside – holding in the moisture. This chemical was banned by the Food & Drug Administration for use in cat food when it was found to cause changes in red blood cells but is still considered safe for dogs. It is a chemical additive that I’m not willing to play a “roll-the-dice” game regarding my dogs’ safety. You won’t find this chemical additive in better quality dog foods.
If these preservatives are found way down the ingredients list on the bag of food, that means the amounts will be small. But a dog will consume a lot of dog food over time and if the chemical preservative accumulates in the blood, it makes sense that it cannot be healthy for Fido. There are commercial pet food choices available that do not contain any chemical preservatives, and those would be far healthier. Why take a chance with the life of your furry best friend?