BHA… a Time Bomb in Your Dog’s Food?

Share

Butylated hydroxyanisole — better known as BHA — is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” (a cancer-causing agent)1.

red-bombAccording to the National Institute of Health, BHA in the diet has been found to consistently produce certain types of tumors in laboratory animals2.

And the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of the state of California lists BHA under “Chemicals Known to the State to Cause Cancer or Reproductive Toxicity”. 3

Yet FDA regulations still permit its use as a fat preservative in food under the assumption it is “generally recognized as safe” in low doses4.

Here’s what concerns me. Dogs are a captive audience. They have no choice but to eat what we put in front of them.

The same potentially toxic substance added to a commercial dog food – and fed every day (sometimes twice a day) year after year is a different matter.

It’s that cumulative exposure that worries me. The additive effect of using any artificial preservative relentlessly — especially when it’s suspected of causing cancer.

Even though they may not remain as effective for as long, natural preservatives are considered to be safer.

That’s why today, the majority of dog food companies avoid the use of these synthetic “shelf-life extenders” altogether — and why you should, too.

When you read on a pet food label a particular fat ingredient has been “preserved with BHA”, you may want to stand aside. 

There’s probably a safer alternative dog food within easy reach.

Footnotes

  1. Report on Carcinogens, Eleventh Edition; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program, CAS No. 25013-16-5
  2. Ibid.
  3. Known Carcinogens and Reproductive Toxicants (California Proposition 65)”, GoodGuide Scorecard, retrieved 6/27/2012
  4. 0.02% or 200 parts per million
  • http://www.TAPF.com/ Barry Collier

    Practically all dry foods contain meals which comes from a rendering operation. This is far from human grade. Like many pet food companies, they can use human grade ingredients but never really be human grade.

  • Shinrin

    Before natural dog foods became popular, we fed our dogs Pedigree and Alpo with table scraps all their lives. None of them had any health problems, had healthy coats, were proper weight, active and lived a very long time – well into their teens. I’m not saying those foods are good, I agree, they are low quality dog food and now we have better foods, but at a higher price I may add. I’m just saying from owning dogs for many years, there was no difference between low-end food and high-end food. We now feed our dogs Whole Earth Farms with table scraps and home cooked feed.

  • Pingback: The correct way to feed your dogs and cats by Jerica Collins | Critters 360

  • guest

    I would only trust champion pet food for truly being all healthy and natural human grade everything. they use their own plant to make and test-test-test everything a few friend’s visited there and said that is the food to feed.and the more I read upon this company the more I like what I read. orijen and acana pet foods

  • joey

    Don’t know If you saw it but there was a voluntary FDA recall on certain types of Beggin Strips – supposedly because of antibiotic residue – but most realize it was because of glycerin – linked to kidney failure… bladder stones?

  • Pingback: Bil-jac dog food has anyone else tried it - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Pingback: Maybe you guys can help me. - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Pingback: Treats - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Pingback: Pet Peeves Monday: Deceptive Marketing - Words With Wieners

  • Pingback: Earthborn Holistic - Page 2 - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Pingback: Thinking of switching to Canine Caviar - Page 4 - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Pingback: I just found out that Beneful is bad for Max (Please help!) - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Pingback: Treats for pup prone to pancreatitis - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Pingback: Bil Jac - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Pingback: Bought a dehydrator - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Pingback: Switching dog food....a few questions. - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  • Zerohour155

    Is there a definitive list of foods containing the bha range of chemicals ? I suggest a simple list is constructed,the sooner a list is printed the better,dog treats included.

  • Zerohour155

    well I hope a study is done soon this bha needs banning in dog food,I use acana food.

  • Wanda Irwin

    My 8 year old papillon was diagnosed with bladder stones. I don’t know if the bha additive is to blame, but I was giving him Beggin Strips and Pupperonis for years as his treat. Now I am watching what I give him. Read all labels. I now give him the Blue Buffalo treats which are natural. I was never aware of this chemical til now.

  • melissa

     Marksellick77-

    My dog was diagnosed with lymphoma and I decided not to treat due to her age. I did not feel chemo or radiation would extend her life to a significant degree. The mean survival time with treatment is 1 yr, with lots and lots of luck.

    She made it just over 2 yrs. Do not take the prognosis of 1 mth as the gospel truth, and research the heck out of whatever cancer your dog has. Feed the dog GRAIN FREE for starters and research cancer diets for dogs..

  • InkedMarie

    I don’t know how else to word this but if indeed your dog only has a month to live, feed him anything he/she wants. 

  • Marksellick77

    Iv just discovered my dog has cancer and has only a month to live. I have been using wagg dog food, ive just found out about bha and the it causes cancer my freind told me that it is in bakers dogfood does anyone know if its in wagg??????

  • Zerohour155

    Most people who I know that have bakers sadly there dogs have cancer there’s something going on

  • EvesHumanMom

    Thanks.  edited it.  I get confused everytime I see them.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/which-pet-foods-have-bpa-free-cans.html

    This was from 2010, so there may be more companies that have gone BPA since this was written.

  • LabsRawesome

    Does anyone know which manufacturers don’t use BPA in their cans? 

  • LabsRawesome

     I think you mean BPA, not BPT.

  • EvesHumanMom

    I know they’re not the same:  BHA and BHT are preservatives and BPT is the stuff in cans, but still tend to get them confused.  Saw some recent discussion on BPT in cans, here, too, and found this article:  http://www.purelypetcare.com/news.php?newsid=49  Hard to figure out which brands use it or not, but the writer has practical advice.

  • Joan

    Same thing happened to my dog. Her gums turned white and she was dead in 2 weeks. Makes me sick.

  • Diana

     Please Also do your research on food made out of china. Several pet have lost their lives or fights for their lives.  I see some of the foods you all are feeding your furbabies, example Kirkland , Beggin Stripps. Check out Face Book Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China.

  • DeliciousChow

     Yes, those are great foods indeed.  For those that desire high quality foods for their pet, it will cost a reasonable amount.  If money is no object, I’m sure you can buy whatever you want.

    For those on a budget, you could try a BARF diet (raw food recipes available online), that could be more reasonable in cost.  Freezer space and your own meat grinder are necessary of course.  In the long run, it may save money by lessening the chances of your pet obtaining some condition due to poor quality diet.  In which case, those veterinary bills could add up.  

    There are decent brands out there, just pay attention to the ingredients.  Plenty of online resources of which ingredients to steer clear of.  I’m not saying Friskies or Feline Feast etc. is going to kill your cat, yet you’re certainly taking a chance due to the inferior or flat out unhealthy, risky ingredients, your call.

    Be cautious of your veterinarian’s advice as well.  As many of you likely know, some veterinarian colleges are partially funded by pet food manufacturers.  In fact, some pet food manufacturers teach nutrition at these colleges, so the Vets. advice is certainly clouded by inappropriate advice.  One continual example I hear is a veterinarian recommending Hill’s Science Diet, either dry or wet for cats.  It’s really not a great food at all.  From corn to corn gluten, to chicken by products, it’s far from being a healthy choice.  For pete sake, these Vets. are still recommending dry cat food to clean the cat’s teeth.  Dry food simply doesn’t do this at all; cat’s don’t have molers, they don’t ‘chew’ on food like you or I do. 
    At the end of the day, it’s up to you.  They (Pet food manufacturers and Veterinarians) objective is to maximize profit.  There’s nothing wrong with that, yet many times it’s at the expense of your dog/cat.  A healthy dog/cat isn’t going to be great business.

  • Pingback: Anal gland issue - Page 2 - Beagle Forum : Our Beagle World Forums

  • Vanessa

    I’ve been feeding my dogs and cats ‘Honest Kitchen’ for quite sometime now…they love it.  Check it out online, you can also find it at better pet food stores.  I also use ‘Primal’ frozen raw food – again check online and find at better pet food stores.  I mix the ‘Honest Kitchen’, ‘Primal’ and an holistic dry kibble.  My family (5 dogs and 4 cats) is in excellent health and love meal time.  These foods are of high human grade quality and use quite a lot of organic ingredients. Bil Jac is also very high in fat – not good for your pet or any pet. 

  • Vanessa

    I’ve been feeding my dogs and cats ‘Honest Kitchen’ for quite sometime now…they love it.  Check it out online, you can also find it at better pet food stores.  I also use ‘Primal’ frozen raw food – again check online and find at better pet food stores.  I mix the ‘Honest Kitchen’, ‘Primal’ and an holistic dry kibble.  My family ( 5 dogs and 4 cats) is in excellent health and love meal time.

  • Carol Huston

    This also applies to the can liners in Cat food and human foods. I do not feed my cat wet food, I will give her treats now and then fresh turkey or chicken, and sometimes a little beef. She eats dry food My son feeds his dog dry food only and his dog remains healthy no adverse effects. On the news a few days ago they were talking about BHA’S in the liners of canned goods and said that the best way to avoid the BHA’s is to eat fresh or frozen veggies. This applies to humans and your beloved pets.

  • Michelle

    Stephanie, YES! Bil Jac does put BHA in their foods.Click on this review and read what Mike has to say about this food. If you look around on this site at the 4* and 5* foods you can pick something that is much more nutritious than Bil Jac. http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/bil-jac-dog-food/

  • Stephanie

    Can anyone help me in answering this questions,

    Does Bil Jac put BHA in their product? If so, does it really cause tumors in animals?

    My dog tried Bil Jac once and I cant get him to stop eating it. Im trying to switch him over to Nature’s Recipe but he really doesnt want anything to do with it. He’s had Blue Buffalo before as well and isnt interested in that as well. Before he was eating Bil Jac I also had to feed him canned food just so he would eat. Now he’s completely of the cans becuase he loves his Bil Jac. Once I heard that they put something in it that gives your dogs cancer I was completely turned off by th brand. I don’t know what to do now. Please help…

  • Darren McHugh

    Hi Darryl,

    Your forum makes for some very interesting reading…We “had” a 3 1/2 year old Rottweiler (Jade) that was a apart of our family. We fed Jade on Royal Canin Rottweiler 26 every day, we had to put Jade down recently as she became very ill and was diagnosed with severe cancerous tumors of the liver. It is hard to believe how this can happen in such a young dog, however, I am fully aware it can and does happen to humans of all ages.

    I am researching Rottweiler 26 and couldn’t believe it has BHA which is a suspect carcinogen. Your website along with others is making me look into BHA and Royal Canin more closely. Keep up the good work.

    The information I have obtained so far, any suspect carcinogen whether in small or large volumes should be banned.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Darryl… Unfortunately, since this is a dog food website, I don’t feel qualified to answer your question. Look for an answer from another reader.

  • Darryl T Davies

    I have a question regarding the issue of grooming dogs. I have a four and half American Cocker Spaniel. I usually take him to the groomer about three times a year to have his coat cleaned and his nails cut. I have been told that during the summer its best not to have this done as the dogs coat act to regulate the dogs body temperature. He obviously looks more like a spaniel when he is not cut so my question is this will I make him more comfortable and cooler if I have him stripped down as I usually do during the summer months. Groomers are not the people to ask so I was wondering what advice would you offer.

    Thanks

    Darryl T Davies

  • Gordon

    Darryl T Davies – You’re spot on. My local Vet recommends Hills Science Diet as the best as well. However, I don’t think these conventional thinking Vets are knowingly ill-advising their clients. I think most of them, and actually some have confirmed, that they are exposed to lectures at universities from the huge pet food industry marketers for Hills, P&G, Purina etc, from time to time, especially during their elective (Apparently a poor elective at that) in pet nutrition. So they’ve actually been trained in believing Hills and the like are the best. And of course, when they practice Veterinary medicine, they’re targeted by these same marketers to maintain Vets’ brain washing and provide incentives to sell and/or recommend their products.

    This is where smaller, more health and quality conscious dog food companies and in particular alternative holistic type ones, who make efforts in manufacturing healthier processed dog foods, are making some difference. The problem is, these companies aren’t as rich as their bigger mainstream counterparts, and therefore don’t have as much money to throw away on misleading and aggressive marketing.

    Fortunately, there are break away minority groups of Vets who’ve actually made efforts in actually understanding ingredients and consult to mimick pets’ ancestral holistic diets. As I understand it, the numbers of these Vets are increasing, which is creating greater influence on the awareness of more nutritional pet foods. As of course, is this website and several others.

  • Darryl T Davies

    I find it very odd that the very people who should be providing pet owners with sound advice with respect to choosing a brand of dog food namely veterinarians seem to be the least informed. As my dog was slightly overweight I asked an Ottawa veterianrian Clinic which dog food they recommended. They pointed me towards Hills Prescription Science Diet which they had for sale. A friend directed me towards a website which clearly stated that this was one of the worst dog foods you could feed your dog. It was the first time I actually looked at the ingredients on the bag and discovered the facts for myself. Like most pet owners we trust and rely on veterinarians to provide us with their expertise. Afterall if a Veterinarian clinic in Ottawa is selling a brand of dog food they are for all intents and purposes endorsing this particular brand of dog food as being safe and healthy food to feed your pet. I think it is irresponsible that veterianrians sell pet food to make a buck but don’t seem to care one iota if that brand of dog food contains supplements or preservatives that are linked to cancer. The only way this will change is if all dog owners unite and boycott those pet stores and veterianrians that sell pet food that are scientifically shown to contain ingredients that can be detrimental to your pet’s health.

    Darryl T Davies
    Ottawa Ontario Canada

  • dianna

    thank you mike it is hard to say if bpa it is safe even in small amounts from cans and how much can leak in the pet food.i looked into fromm dog food. not sure. i might just do the home made food and do the supplements. i do make my own dog treats. and i think it is a healthy one and will share if anyone would like to try it. so it will be just a little of my time to make my gang (is a gang) as i have 7 little dogs.and, they are very dear to me.again thank you.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Diana… BPA as a can liner is a new and controversial issue. And there are many dog (and human) foods currently packaged in this manner. At this time, we have not determined the scientific importance of this issue with canned dog foods. So, for now, you’ll have to make this decision on your own. Wish I could be more help.

  • dianna

    i have used halo dog food for years and just learned that the cans contain bpa in the lining… scares me too death.as my dogs have been throwing up.. but i have to ay that i had a goldie that we adopted from a very good breeder when she was only 5 weeks old. and i use to home cook for her then halo came out… that is what i usedalong w/ homemade meal. back then they only carried the can food and dream coat. that was in the 1980′s i got my goldie right at 1980 but halo wasn’t out then my goldie macey passed away in 2004. a long life but not long for macey’s mom me! and my sheltie also on halo w/ home made food lived 18 1/2 years.and sheena grieved over the loss of macey or i think she would have lived a longer life.it was six months a part so i have to say halo was good food but worry about the bpa in the cans thinking of going to home made as i dowhat trace and minreals as i am use to doing all this . so i don’t worry about making it balanced i can do this easy. i didn’t say i ahd a g. sh that lived 21 1/2 years on only home made food.that is the safest food. as long as you get lamb or chicken that was raise right. and i grow my own veggies and have saved seeds that my grand parent grew and they got theirs from their parents its real food and doesn’t taste like seed that grow our veggies now. really!the problem is the way i work i am a nurse and it is easier to buy dog food but if none are safe then i will take the time for my 4-legged kids… they are that important to me. how safe is halo and any food containing bpa in the cans can it really be natural and and safe? that is what i wonder about.thank you as that is what i am feeding at this time.i have noticed a change i should know as i have used it for many,many years.i am loyal as i have had good luck w/ my pet’s on it but if it comes to something changing and not the same i would drop it like a hot potato.. my pets are what is important to me.and the food isn’t cheap but if it is good for them that would not matter… as the health to my beloved kid pet’s. thank you

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Darryl – We all need food. It shouldn’t be this complicated. Nutrition isn’t Rocket Science. There are so many options out there to buy non-toxic food and treats, it’s best to steer clear of any foods or treats that have BHA or any other ‘reasonably anticipated human carcinogen’. I prefer organic raw REAL FOOD.
    As is obvious from a quick scan on this website, a switch from Hills R/D Rx to any Wellness food is a big step in the correct direction. Just by looking at the ingredient list as shown on this website, doesn’t it make sense? Wellness Core Canned and Dry are 5-star commercial options, or consider feeding raw REAL FOOD.
    I still can’t fathom why anyone would feed their dog Hill’s Rx food: Ground whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, soybean mill run, powdered cellulose, soybean meal, etc.
    Wellness Core kibble is Deboned turkey, deboned chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, potatoes, dried ground potato, etc.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Darryl… The answer to all your questions can be found right here on this website. Look in our Library for articles about other problem ingredients in addition to BHA. And there are hundreds of dog food reviews I’ve arranged according to their star ratings. Unfortunately, I cannot provide customized reviews and product recommendations for each reader. For more information, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Darryl T Davies

    I was wondering which dog food you recommend…I am switching from Hills Prescription Diet R/D to a brand called ‘Wellness’….is this a good decision. Also what about BHA in other dog food products such as Beggin Strips…are they harmful to my dog’s health.

    Thanks
    Darryl T Davies

  • Carol

    I was feeding my dog Bil Jac all her life. I realized she was getting older and switched her to Bil Jac Senior. She didn’t like it. I got canned food which she did well on but I thought the moisture content was too high so I started mixing a little Bil Jac with the canned. One day she was feeling exceptional good acting like a puppy and I got her to eat a large amount of Bil Jac. The next morning she had thrown up the Bil Jac with large amount of slime that looked like egg white and moved like that when I cleaned it up. She went up and down after that and in a week she was dead. Did anyone else have problems with Bil Jac Senior?

  • Kristy

    Due to the economy, it is so hard to find a cheap, healthy dog food. My suggestion is any Kirkland Signature dog food. It is cheap and it has a 4 star rating on this website, it is a very good dog food with nothing bad in it. I have been a sales advisor for Kirkland Signature dog food and let me tell you, its great! It doesn’t cause cancer like some of these popular dog foods, such as pedigree.

  • Linda

    OMG, my vet has put my 2 year old German Shepherd on a hig Allergen Free food that has is preserved with BHA due to his allergies. I am trying to change him over to another food. He has been on the food with BHA since March, so five months. I trust my vet but after reading this, I am actually killing my friend slowly, thanks for the info.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Mary… sorry, but at the present time, we do not review nutritional supplements.

  • Mary Mount

    I HAVE A 8 YR. YORKIE OLD WHOM WEIGHS 6.7 LBS. I AM TRYING TO GET INFORMATION ON THE VITAMIN / PET MEDS SUPER VITA CHEWS. THANK YOU ALL FOR ANY INFORMATION YOU CAN OFFER.
    MS. MARY

  • sara

    Thanks a lot for your help I love to use Orijen for my Great dane, if I can order from internet. I can not get any better food from pet shops here in Cairns. Sara

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Sara… Yes, Royal Canin Mini is a fine dog food for your pets (be sure to read my review). It’s usually OK to feed a large dog a small kibble… but don’t try to feed your smaller dog a giant kibble… the pieces are simply too large. You may want to consider Royal Canin Giant Adult for your great dane. Hope this helps.

  • sara

    Hello, I would like to ask if it is ok if I feed my great dane afte 2 years with Royal Canin again. We have been using Advance before. I used to think Royal is the one of the best what I can get for them.
    I have Jack Russel too, and I started to feed her with Royal Mini too. I know Orijen is one of the best but I can not get them here in Cairns. Thanks for your help. Great regards Sara.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Jetta… feeding our dogs in times like these can definitely put a strain on the budget. Just the same, it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for dog foods (and people foods) in any price range that use dangerous or unhealthy ingredients. There are a number of safe products out there that can also be affordable, too.

  • jetta

    I feed kibble and I believe feed whatever your dogs do well on. Orijen is great, but so expensive. In this economy many find it hard to put food on the table for their families. My dogs do very well on Eukanuba which is put down as junk by many. I have tried high end foods and my dogs have issues with them. I really just want SAFE ingredients from the USA.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Amber… thanks for your recommendations. I’ll be revealing the results of my own research on specific dog food brands with candid ratings and recommendations (beginning sometime around November 1). So, stay tuned.

  • Amber

    I have done a lot of research into pet foods and found some really great brands!! We feed our pets natural pet food only! Try Blue Buffalo, Royal Canin, Authority and Eagle Pack. I have found them all to be very good brands with natural foods and good preservatives in them. There was a study done about BHA and BHT and Royal Canin was quoted in there saying that they use BHA but in a very small amount so that may be one brand I would be careful about. But I would definitely recommend Blue Buffalo!!
    If you are in Canada, there are really great brands! Go! Natural, Horizon, ACANA and Orijen which are all natural as well.

    Hopefully this helps!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Lynn… Good news! There appear to be quite a few superior dog foods (produced by conscientious companies) out there. Helping you discover which ones they are is the overriding goal of my blog. I plan to begin publishing my research (dog food ratings and reviews) starting sometime next month.

  • lynn

    for days i have read so very much. this concerns me. is there a safe dogfood… or are all unsafe? i would like to know if you find one save to feed a pet w/out worry. lynn

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jessica,
    Soon, I’ll be posting reviews that will help you choose (and find) dog foods that don’t contain controversial ingredients. Stay tuned.

  • Jessica Barone

    Do you know of any dog foods that can be purchased in AZ that do not contain BHA or other harmful preservatives?

    Thank you,

    Jessica