Pet Food Is No Place for Cancer Causing Toxins

July 18, 2013

Let’s talk about some of those “little” things that manufacturers throw into the making of cheaper pet food.  I’m talking about artificial food colors, propylene glycol, ethoxyquin, BHA and BHT that usually appear farther down the ingredients list on the label.

It is extremely important that every pet owner understand what those particular ingredients really are, because you will see them listed on the labels of many popular brands of dog and cat food.

Artificial food colors are added to pet food to make it look pretty.  I wonder if the manufacturers believe Fido or Fluffy really care about the appearance of their kibble.

Those colors listed with numbers after them, like Red #40 or Blue #1 or Yellow #6, are potential carcinogens.  The jury is still out on this but tests by the Food & Drug Administration have been inconclusive.  For now, they say the colors are approved for use in pet food.   It is not a ringing endorsement!   Many pet treats sold in grocery stores, discount stores and major pet stores contain these colors and more.  Who would want to sacrifice their pet’s health just to make it look good!  Read those labels before you buy!

This dog treat contains chemical preservatives.Propylene glycol is the active ingredient in antifreeze.  People are warned to keep antifreeze away from pets.  Why then, would manufacturers choose to use this toxin to preserve pet food?  Propylene glycol is considered to be a cancer-causing agent.  Several well-known pet foods contain propylene glycol.  A few of those are Kibbles ‘n Bits Bistro Meals®, Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Chicken Recipe®, and Pup-Peroni Original Beef Recipe®Treats.

BHA and BHT are chemical preservatives used in low-grade pet food to keep it fresh.  Both chemicals have been linked to cancer.  Just a few of the popular pet foods that contain BHA and/or BHT are Kibbles ‘n Bits®; Pup-Peroni® Original Beef Treats; and Milk-Bone® Dog Biscuits.

You won’t find ethoxyquin in human food, because it has been banned by the Food & Drug Administration.  However, the FDA has no problem with it in pet food.  Here’s the big wrinkle:  AAFCO requires that pet food manufacturers list all ingredients in their foods on the labels.  But if something is added to an ingredient before the manufacturer receives it, the company is not required to list it.

An example is ethoxyquin in fish.  The United States Coast Guard requires that any fish that will become fish meal for pet food must be treated with ethoxyquin.  The only way to be sure that a product with fish meal as an ingredient does not contain that chemical preservative is to call the manufacturer and ask specific questions about it.  Ask if ethoxyquin was added to the fish meal before they made the pet food and before it reached their facility.

“For healthy pets, a trace amount of ethoxyquin probably poses no serious threat. But animals with compromised immune systems or with genetic predispositions to cancer should probably avoid foods containing even a trace of the chemical.”  (

If you would not want to eat foods containing cancer-causing toxins, make certain that you don’t feed them to your pet. Until the pet food industry and the FDA work together to rid dog and cat food of  toxic substances, we pet parents have to be vigilant when shopping.

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John North July 21, 2013 at 9:24 am

Interesting information… I didn’t know any that reported.


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