Pet Food 101: Ingredients to Avoid

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December 25, 2011
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Some pet products contain ingredients that preserve the food, enhance flavor, and make it colorful. Unfortunately, as attractive as the food might look, the fun shapes it may have, and colors it has this does not mean it’s completely healthy for our pets. Always check the labels of food that you buy. Even if it is a brand that you have always trusted, sometimes the way the food is processed can change.

Here are some potentially harmful ingredients that are found in some brands of pet food:

1: BHT – it is used to prevent food from spoiling but can be dangerous to the kidneys. Also known as Butylated Hydroxytoluene, it is a compound used as an additive in cosmetics, jet fuels, rubber, and embalming fluids. It is used to stabilize the food and preserve the fat content. It is not approved by the FDA and has been linked to stomach and liver cancer in animals as well as immune deficiencies.

2: BHA – another preservative that tends to go hand in hand with BHT, that is also linked to being dangerous for the kidneys. It’s full name is Butylated Hydroxyanisole and is a carcinogen. It has been known to cause tumors in some laboratory animals and cumulative exposure to eating this ingredient can cause harmful effects to pets over time.

3: Artificial coloring – used in many treats, foods, and snacks for pets it can be harmful and be toxic. There is no nutritional value in coloring. So although it makes the treats look good, it’s not needed. Stick with natural coloring and if you are a baker, make your own treats and snacks.

4: Salt – used to enhance flavor in pet food but it is not needed. Excessive salt intake can lead to stress on the kidneys, hypertension, colon irritation, and other problems. A little salt that is found in food is fine but too much that can be found in low quality foods can be dangerous. Avoid salt as much as you can for your pets and probably for you too.

5: Propylene Glycol – this is an chemical that can be found in anti-freeze and is also a solvent in brake fluids. It dries up and absorbs moisture and prevents bacteria growth. It is used in food as a preservative and flavor enhancer. The taste is sweet and may draw your pet to eat more food and desire bigger quantities of it. However, it is very dangerous and can decrease the amount of moisture in the digestive tract of pets and has been linked to stomach cancer and intestinal lesions.

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