There’s one dog food ingredient you certainly want to be suspicious of… a fat preservative known as ethoxyquin.
Ethoxyquin is not only used as a preservative in dog foods but… are you ready for this… it’s also used as a pesticide… and as a hardening agent in the manufacture of rubber.
Monsanto, the company that makes the chemical insists the additive is completely safe.
Yet ethoxyquin has been “implicated in birth defects, stillborn puppies, liver failure, infertility and cancer”.1
Plus… it’s no longer legal for general use in human food (except in some spices). Yet to this very day, ethoxyquin is still commonly found in many popular dog food brands.
The very idea any manufacturer would stubbornly choose to ignore the condemning evidence and use ethoxyquin when there might be a safer alternative out there defies logic.
Anyway, I don’t know about you, but if ethoxyquin isn’t safe for my kids, then it’s not safe for my dog either.
How We Rate Dog Foods Containing Ethoxyquin
Although ethoxyquin can be directly added to a dog food at the time of manufacture, this is rarely the case.
Unfortunately, it can also be added indirectly… as an unavoidable consequence of using fish meal as an ingredient in any dog food.
That’s because many fish meals do contain ethoxyquin.
In one study reported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the effects of ethoxyquin appear to be “dose-dependent”.2
In other words, lower amounts of the chemical may be associated with fewer health risks.
For this reason, we have elected to award no more than two stars to any dog food that contains ethoxyquin directly added by its manufacturer.
However, on a percentage basis, fish meals tend to contribute dramatically less ethoxyquin to the overall content of a dog food than when the preservative has been directly added to the mix.
Since fish meals positioned lower on an ingredients list tend to contribute less ethoxyquin to the finished dog food, we plan to adjust those ratings accordingly.
Please be aware that the Advisor checks for ethoxyquin only in its selected example… and not every product within a product line.
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.
Manufacturers frequently change their recipes. So, be sure to look for any evidence the product contains fish meal. That is, unless the company clearly states their fish meals are ethoxyquin-free.