Since animal fats are a crucial part of every dog food, they’re also subject to spoilage — becoming rancid shortly after manufacture.
To extend the shelf life of any pet food, suppliers must add a preservative to many fat or oil ingredients.
However, food preservatives aren’t all the same. They can be classified as either natural — or artificial.
Natural preservatives are usually made from anti-oxidants — like vitamins C or E. You’ll see them printed on a dog food ingredients list using some form of the word “tocopherol” or “ascorbate”.
These items typically look like this…
“…chicken fat preserved with alpha-tocopherol”
Natural preservatives are typically considered safe.
Banned from Cat Food
but OK for Dogs?
However, artificial preservatives are another story. Used long term, they can add a notable risk of toxicity to any dog food.
For example, take the moisture preservative, propylene glycol. You may recognize propylene glycol by its more infamous use in certain types of non-automotive anti-freeze.
Now, to be fair, this chemical is considered far less toxic than its more dangerous cousin, ethylene glycol.
However, due to its proven risk of blood toxicity, propylene glycol has been banned by the FDA for use in cat food.
Yet it’s still used to preservative dog food.
Dog Food Preservative
or Toxic Pesticide?
Ethoxyquin is another artificial preservative to watch for on a label.
That’s because ethoxyquin is not only used as a preservative but also as a pesticide — and as a hardening agent for making synthetic rubber.
Ethoxyquin has been under investigation by the FDA as a possible cause for certain liver and blood problems.
Yet to this day, it’s still commonly found in many popular brands of dog food.
Two More Dubious Preservatives
Here are two more chemical bad guys to watch out for…
The World Health Organization openly names both BHT and BHA as suspicious cancer-causing compounds. Plus the State of California has now identified BHA as a possible carcinogen, too.
Considering these troubling issues, you’d think these two dubious preservatives would be intentionally shunned by the pet food industry.
Unfortunately, both BHA and BHT can still be found in a number of commercial dog foods.
The Bottom Line
Dogs are a captive audience. They have no choice but to eat what we put in front of them. The same food — consumed day after day. Week after week. Year after year.
It’s that cumulative exposure that keeps us up at mights. That additive effect of using any artificial preservative relentlessly — especially when it’s suspected of causing cancer.
So, avoid dog foods made with artificial preservatives.
Here’s a list of some of the more common chemical additives…
Who knows? Avoiding these dangerous dog food preservatives may just add years of good health to your pet’s life.