Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hidden Dangers in Dog Food

Why do dogs develop osteoscarcomas ten times more often than humans and why does it progress faster in dogs? It may be because dogs are ingesting toxic doses of fluoride. How are they exposed to the chemical? Through fluoridated tap water and through popular dog foods – foods that contain the bones of animals raised on water treated with it and those that ingested foods grown in fluoride-rich soil. It also finds its way into dog foods when fluoridated tap water is used in the manufacturing process. In a recent study, fluoride levels were tested in ten popular dog food brands. Two had no meat or bone meal and the chemical’s levels were below detection limits. The other eight had levels that would be considered unsafe, even toxic, in humans (who have far greater bone mass to absorb ingested fluoride). The highest levels were found in foods marketed for active adult dogs and for large-breed puppies and adult dogs.

Fluoride is one of the elements in the periodic table and it is extremely toxic (rat poison is sodium fluoride). It is found in soil and rocks but most humans and animals are exposed to it through artificially fluoridated tap water. Approximately 70 percent of our communities’ waters are fluoridated and of those, 95 percent use fluorosilicylicic acid. This form of fluoride has been found to cause additional problems, like increased lead uptake (resulting in behavioral and social dysfunction) and depletion of calcium in the body.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fluoride levels greater than 4mg/L are considered dangerous for children and adults. In the study of dog foods, eight of the ten tested had levels that ranged from 7mg/L to 11.2mg/L. Aside from causing bone cancer, high levels of fluoride also causes weakened bones (leading to more fractures), dental fluorosis, developmental damage, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption and degenerative disease (accelerated aging).

When ingested in food or water, fluoride accumulates in bones, so dog foods that include the bones of animals exposed to the chemical can contain dangerous levels. The following ingredients in dog foods were found to raise fluoride levels to as much as nearly three times higher than the EPA’s safe dose in drinking water and higher than amounts associated with bone cancer in young boys: chicken meal, turkey meal, chicken/poultry by-product meal, lamb meal, beef meal, and bone meal.* If these ingredients are high on the list of ingredients in your dog’s food or if you use bone meal as a calcium supplement, the fluoride concentrations in your dog’s diet could be toxic. Depending upon the source, if you feed raw ground poultry or meat bones, this diet may also be high enough to pose a significant risk of bone cancer and the abovementioned conditions in your dog. And, if the water your dog drinks is also fluoridated, he or she may be ingesting fluoride many times the level considered safe in humans.

Click this link to find out what percentage of the residents of your state receives fluoridated water. Have your well-water tested or contact the water utility where you live to determine if your water contains fluoride. If you find that it does, consider installing a water distillation or filtration system. Then, check the ingredients list on your dog food bag. Does it contain meals or bone meal and are these ingredients among the first five on the list? If so, you may want to consider switching to a food that does not include meat meals or bone meal. If you want to provide a calcium supplement, grind dry organic egg shells to add to the food. Consider feeding a vegetarian kibble and topping it with a variety of fresh cooked meats and meat broth. Your dog will probably prefer this anyway.

*None of the food tested included meat meal or meat by-product meals. These would very likely have the same concentrations of fluoride as specific animal meals. In addition, they may also contain the carcasses of euthanized dogs and cats and concentrations of the chemicals used to kill them. Fish meals may contain the preservative chemical ethoxyquin, a Monsanto product used as a pesticide and as a hardening agent in the manufacture of rubber. It has been linked to cancer, hormonal disruptions, liver failure and birth defects in humans.

Contact me if you would like to receive a list of the references used to compile this article.

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