The Controversy Over Menadione in Dog Food


Yes or No for Menadione in Dog Food?Some call menadione a dog food necessity. Yet others reject it as a dangerous toxin.

So, what exactly is menadione? And why is it being used in some dog food recipes and not others?

Menadione is actually a vitamin. It’s the man-made version of an essential nutrient commonly known as vitamin K — or more precisely, vitamin K3.

However, K3 is just one of five known versions of vitamin K. The three most common ones found in dog food are:

  • Vitamin K1 – naturally found in green leafy vegetables
  • Vitamin K2 – produced by bacteria living inside a dog’s gut
  • Vitamin K3 – menadione, the man-made synthetic version

Vitamins K1 and K2 are considered natural and fat soluble. So, they’re chemically ready to be used by the body just as they are.

However, vitamin K3 is synthetic. And all forms of the chemical must first undergo the cellular process of alkylation before they can be used by the body.1

So, What’s So Important
About Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is used by the liver to manufacture clotting factors, chemical compounds used by the body to help control bleeding.

So, how much vitamin K does a dog need?

Well, according to the National Academy of Science, not much. A dog needs very little vitamin K per serving to sustain life — only one part per million.2

And most of the vitamin needed by the animal is actually produced by bacteria living within the intestines.

What’s more, the vitamin is not even listed as a required dog food ingredient in the nutrient profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.3

Menadione — a Nutritional Necessity?

The controversy over menadione appears to be driven by two opposing views.

Supporters4 tend to see menadione as a necessary supplement that dog food manufacturers should include in their recipes. 

Defenders favor menadione because…

  • Natural vitamin K may lose its potency during processing
  • Intestinal disease can prevent gut bacteria from making the vitamin
  • Not all manufacturers include green leafy vegetables in their recipes

Advocates also claim menadione should be considered safe because toxic levels are a thousand times greater than the recommended daily dose.

Or a Potential Toxin?

Critics5 see menadione as only a precursor to the vitamin’s more natural versions. They cite (mostly human) studies that make a number of unsettling claims. They worry that menadione can…

  • Promote allergic reactions6
  • Weaken the immune system
  • Cause toxic reactions in liver cells7
  • Induce hemolytic anemia (red blood cell toxicity)8

One company selling menadione warns its human buyers that menadione is “toxic to kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organ damage.”9

Banned from
Human Supplements

According to a peer-reviewed article published in 2004 by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University:10

“Although allergic reaction is possible, there is no known toxicity associated with high doses of the phylloquinone (vitamin K1) or menaquinone (vitamin K2) forms of vitamin K11.

The same is not true for synthetic menadione (vitamin K3) and its derivatives.

Menadione can interfere with the function of glutathione, one of the body’s natural antioxidants, resulting in oxidative damage to cell membranes.

Menadione given by injection has induced liver toxicity, jaundice, and hemolytic anemia (due to the rupture of red blood cells) in infants12; therefore, menadione is no longer used for treatment of vitamin K deficiency13.

No tolerable upper level of intake has been established for vitamin K.”

The FDA has banned the use of menadione from over-the-counter supplements because large doses have been shown to cause these dangerous biological effects.14

The Case Against Menadione

Dr. Tom Cameron is a practicing veterinarian who has frequently voiced his concerns about the use of menadione in dog food.

In the following video, Dr. Cameron explains to Dr. Karen Becker why it’s safer and healthier to get vitamin K from food rather than menadione:

A Supplement
with Many Names

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spot menadione in a dog food recipe. That’s because manufacturers frequently list the vitamin on a dog food label by one of its more cryptic chemical names:

  • Vitamin K supplement
  • Dimethylprimidinol sulfite
  • Dimethylprimidinol sulfate
  • Dimethylprimidinol bisulfate
  • Menadione sodium bisulfite
  • Menadione sodium bisulfate
  • Menadione nicotinamide bisulfite
  • Menadione dimethylprimidinol sulfite
  • Menadione dimethylprimidinol sulfate
  • Menadione dimethylprimidinol bisulfite

What’s more, you may even come across menadione disguised in seemingly innocent phrases like, “a source of vitamin K activity”.

The Bottom Line

When used in larger doses, menadione can be toxic. However, in trace amounts, like those used in a commercial dog food recipe, menadione is probably safe.

Yet unlike most humans who are inclined to vary their diets with each meal, dogs are typically fed the same food on a continuous basis — meal-after-meal, every day for a lifetime.

And it’s that cumulative exposure of any controversial substance like menadione that tends to keep us up at night.

Because there are currently no AAFCO requirements to include this supplement in any dog food, pet owners may wish to consider the potential long term consequences of including this or any other controversial additive in any food when making a purchase.


  1. Menadione Fact Sheet
  2. National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences
  3. Official Publication (2008 Edition), Association of American Feed Control Officials, pp. 131-132
  4. Aldrich PhD, Greg, “Vitamin K3 – Is It Unnecessary and Toxic?”,
  5. Contreras, Sabine,
  6. Prabhu MM et al, Local eczematous allergic reaction to the menadione (vitamin K3) injection, Tm Med J (2005) 55:3
  7. M Z Badr et al, Hepatotoxicity of menadione predominates in oxygen-rich zones of the liver lobule, JPET March 1989 vol 248:3 1317-1322
  8. Chung SM et al, Adverse consequences of erythrocyte exposure to menadione: involvement of reactive oxygen species generation in plasma, J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2001 Aug 24;63(8):617-29
  9. Menadione sodium bisulfite,, Houston, TX
  10. Jane Higdon, PhD, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University (2004); updated Victoria Drake, Ph.D.,
    Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University (2008), peer-reviewed by Sarah Booth, Ph.D., Director, Vitamin K Research Program, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Vitamin K and the Newborn Reviewed by Dennis T. Costakos, M.D. F.A.A.P., Franciscan Skemp Healthcare-Mayo Health System, Mayo Medical School
  11. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Vitamin K. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2001:162-196
  12. Ferland G. Vitamin K. In: Bowman BA, Russell RM, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 9th ed. Volume 1. Washington, D.C.: ILSI Press; 2006:220-230
  13. Olson RE. Vitamin K. In: Shils M, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 9th ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1999:363-380
  14. Vitamin K Toxicity, Wikipedia, 4/27/2011
  • Fanatoli Guyoff

    Smokehill…….. Back when I was young smokehill was a euphemism for giving blowjobs (fellatio is the more scientific name for it). Coincidentally, in both ancient Greece and modern Japan they referred to fellatio as “playing the flute.”

  • Fanatoli Guyoff

    wish i could but finding it hard to source buffalo and buffalo organs and fat.

  • aimee

    Hi Kimmy1621,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t know if it will bring you any consolation but I can confidently say that menadione wasn’t involved in Luckie’s illness.

    Some things are toxic in any amount but most often it is the dose or route of administration. that makes something toxic. For this reason some “toxins” are beneficial or even required for life.

    Vit K is best known for its role in blood coagulation. When you ingest Vit K from food sources what happens is that it is broken down by intestinal bacteria to menadione (also called K3) and it is absorbed and transported through the body as menadione. At the tissue level it is reconverted back to other forms of Vit K. What your body is exposed to and what is absorbed when you Incorporate menadione into the diet is the same structure as when you ingest K1 or K2.

    NRC recommends that menadione be incorporated into all pet foods but many manufacturers bow to the general public’s misunderstanding of this compound and don’t follow this recommendation.

    AAFCO requires Vit K in cat foods that have high fish content and menadione is the only approved form. After thoroughly researching this topic using credible sources of information like Pub Med I concluded that its inclusion in food is safe and beneficial.

  • Kimmy1621!

    You are such an arrogant jerk. Typically people like you …so easy to call others dumb, foolish or stupid …do not have any education and have issues with those that do. If you were truly intelligent, you could get your point across without insulting those that have a different opinion.

  • Kimmy1621!

    What an arrogant post…especially from someone with so many spelling and grammatical errors in their posts. There is nothing beneficial from a toxin and k3 is clearly a toxin. My dog Luckie was very healthy but overweight…my vet insisted on placing her on this food. She was on it for approx two years with little weight loss results but she developed a toxic liver. She started having a buildup of fluid in her abdomen around the first week of Sept 2016…we started having it drained off …but it kept accumulating. We took her to UT Vet for tests…u/s, CT scans and tons of blood work. There was no indication of clots, severe liver disease (no shunts) or cancer. Four thousand dollars, four different treatment facilities and no one could tell me what was causing her elevated liver values or the ascites. By the week of Thanksgiving 2016…she was gaining 7-10 lbs of fluid per week (ideal weight for Luckie was 30 lbs). Her knees gave out from the weight fluctuations and her abdomen became sensitive to the abdominocentesis (the fluid drains). We had to put her down two days before Thanksgiving. It was so incredibly difficult…I’m brought to tears just by writing this. She was eating normal…but was nauseated and had diarrhea. The doctors felt as if she had been affected by a toxin. I have five dogs and their environment is the same except for Luckie eating the Hills prescription diet. I have an acre of land enclosed by a fence…so they never left my yard. I’d avoid Hills prescription diet and Menadione at all costs. Better safe than sorry. That is not being illiterate or stupid…it’s caring about what goes into those you love.

  • ChiefThundermoon

    Just give them a carrot to chew on now and then,doesn’t the K reside in carrots as for the eyes,plus the carrot is good for digestion..

  • wolfdogged

    Shalom Mike, it actually still IS in Pure Balance cat foods, though!

    So, either it’s deemed safe for cats, or the “menadione is toxic” propaganda hasn’t had much of an affect on the feline side of the pet food market, uhm…yet. Perhaps an update is in order, and ps, sorry to be 3 years late for this discussion. 🙂

  • Jamie Schwartz

    They aren’t prone to pancreatitis when being fed the proper food. Dog’s would naturally rely on live enzymes in food for digestion, to take the burden off their pancreas. Pancreatitis happens when the pancreas is overworked, not from fat (though it can trigger it once the dog has pancreatitis). Cooking the food destroys all the live enzymes and alters the amino acid makeup of the food, making it a foreign substance to the body and harder to digest. Feeding a species appropriate raw diet is the best thing you can do for your dog – and much simpler than cooking for them.

  • cmrosko

    No mention of K3 being a necessary part of metabolism in humans so along with reports of averse effects from K3 I’ll choose to avoid foods that include it for myself and my dog;

    “…Three synthetic types of vitamin K are known: vitamins K3, K4, and K5. Although the natural K1 and all K2 homologues and synthetic K4 and K5 have proven nontoxic, the synthetic form K3 (menadione) has shown toxicity.[2] …”

  • cmrosko

    No mention of K3 being a necessary part of metabolism in humans so along with reports of averse effects from K3 I’ll choose to avoid foods that include it for myself and my dog;

  • cmrosko

    No mention of K3 being a necessary part of metabolism in humans so along with reports of averse effects from K3 I’ll choose to avoid foods that include it for myself and my dog;

  • Carol Cox


    Large doses of menadione have been reported to cause adverse outcomes including hemolytic anemia due to glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency,
    neonatal brain or liver damage, or neonatal death in some rare cases.
    In the United States, menadione supplements are banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because of their potential toxicity in human use.

    Low-dose menadione is still used as an inexpensive micronutrient for
    livestock in many countries. Forms of menadione are also included in
    some pet foods in developed countries as a source of vitamin K. These
    doses have yielded no reported cases of toxicity from menadione in
    livestock or pets.

  • Nick P.

    There is a huge inherent problem with synthetic K in animal foods your forgetting: they eat the same things every day for their whole lives. Dogs and cats have a slower moving system, which is why issues like allergies and toxic build up can become an issue. Given food, treats, possible supplements, and other additives with even small doses of anything for long periods of time in a slow processing system can cause toxicity. That’s why white rice and other things are frowned upon, as well as being less healthy when compared to other ingredients. As a professional animal nutritionist, I can tell you that the vitamin K created naturally within an animals system is usually MORE than enough to support a healthy lifestyle, and excess of vitamins of ANY kind should be administered only as directed by a VETERINARIAN. Just like WE should only use vitamins and supplements with a DOCTORS consultation. Would it be toxic to take them? Probably not. But in the case of synthetics, a medical opinion should always be sought.

  • tim

    Anyone that takes your advice is going to have one fat animal. btw just because fluffy looks cute 15 pounds overweight doesnt mean she should be, bil jack is no good, blue sources their food out and got busted flat out lying yet again about whats in their food (and come on, the owner is responsible for sobe, he got into pet food because of the marginse, said it in an interview before.). besides that spot on advice…….

  • Elizabeth Lattanzi

    Cook for your pets. Mine want what I’m eating anyway. Just stay low fat for dogs ,they are prone to pancreatitis.

  • Elizabeth Lattanzi

    Vitamin K is the antidote for rat poison. Rat poison is Coumadin and to reverse Coumadin effects you give vitamin k. The rats learn to eat kibble this way. Bottom line wise it’s shear genius. You expand your customer base because you include wild life. Rats carry about 40 diseases. Pet food companies aren’t interested in public health. I was told by Terminex about this when I had rats.

  • smokehill

    It’s only controversial among the scientifically illiterate or the foolish who swallow anything fed to them off the internet.

    You might also say that vaccines and fluoridated water are controversial because a few very vocal idiots claim that vaccines cause autism and that we’re being fed fluoridated water as a form of mind control.

    There is NO controversy among the scientific community about any of these loony claims.

    There is also no dispute over the need for Vit K in dogs & cats, and the various forms (K-1, K-2, K-3) are critical since the type that actually arrives in the tissue is not always the same as the type that is swallowed. K-3 IS essential in the tissue, but may not get there if you feed K-1 or K-2 orally. It doesn’t take a lot of research to find that out.

    As a diabetic I understand the Avandia-Actos issue quite well, and know that many people are still on them and SHOULD be because the risk from poor blood sugar control is far higher than the VERY slight increase in risk from heart attacks or liver cancer. If you can’t control glucose levels with other drugs, you’d better use Avandia or Actos, as many do.

    The increased risks were known or suspected all along, but it took long clinical tests to determine the exact levels of risk. Too many sissified diabetics clamored for Rx’s to get “off the needle”, so now the FDA restricts the Rx’s. I saw no need to assume that slight additional risk and stuck to insulin. But then, I actually read those little poop sheets they give out with medications.

    Al government agencies suck, but the FDA less than most, ever since getting slammed over the Thalidomide disaster of the 50s. If you wait until the clinicians can be 100% (or even 99%) certain about side-issues, there’ll be a lot of dead patients lying along that road.who might have been saved with newer drugs available sooner. At this point the FDA is so spooked by critics and ambulance-chasing lawyers that it’s almost impossible to get experimental cancer drugs, even for late-term terminal patients.

    You are free to feed your dog whatever you want, just like the weirdos who feed their dog a vegetarian diet. But I have 36 rescue dogs that mostly arrive grossly malnourished and with other medical problems, so I feel obliged to NOT follow the latest internet rumor on health and nutrition, especially when it’s accompanied, as usual, by ZERO clinical evidence.

  • theBCnut

    Before you call all of us stupid, you should reread what you write before you post. “Part of the problem her is the through dumbing-down of the U.S. public school system,” Notice her instead of here and through instead of thorough.

    Also note that according to Ryan Shyfte’s post, the FDA makes our food. “Menadione is used in a lot of foods for pets and already has an informational article written by the FDA. The very same people who make your food.” BTW, the FDA has told us that lots of things were safe that later on turned out not to be turn, but they didn’t happen to notice until many people died, think Avandia.

    I believe the point of this article is that since this is not a required nutrient and there is controversy about it’s safety, why not try to avoid it. People do need to be able to think for themselves, not just blindly follow the government, seriously.

  • smokehill

    Excellent points, absolutely!

    Unfortunately, many of these commenters either were too dumb to understand the article, or were lazy and just read the totally unwarranted “conclusion” the author put forth.

    Most of these people don’t even realize that cause & effect is not proven just because you fed your dog or cat a certain food and then either he went blind, had a heart attack, or got liver cancer.

    Apparently that’s all a big mystery to them, as much as the concept that the dose of a chemical usually decides whether there is any danger involved.

  • smokehill

    I seriously begin to wonder if we should require that no one is allowed to have a dog or cat if they fell asleep during 6th-grade Science class and can’t follow a simple scientific explanation. This isn’t rocket science.

    Over half of the commenters apparently didn’t read the article above, which was more or less accurate, but came to the stupid and unwarranted conclusion that you shouldn’t use anything containing K3 (menadione) — just to be on the safe side — even though the evidence cited absolutely does NOT back up that conclusion. A good percentage of this uneducated rabble still don’t understand that K3 is menadione and that the other K’s are not … or even understand that the nay-sayers are referring to dosages a THOUSAND TIMES above the levels found in any pet food.

    During our decades of breeding, and now that we do strictly dog rescue, one of the things we looked for during our application interviews is whether the buyers/adopters are reasonably intelligent or thick as a brick. I’d rather support a dog for the rest of its life instead of letting him go live with a fool.

    Part of the problem her is the through dumbing-down of the U.S. public school system, and the tendency for many people to get all their information from whatever loony website they can find with Google.

  • Ten Minute Fat Lose

    My own pom reaches the animal medical practitioner with critical anemia(RBC 1. 13, typical is 5. 5-8. 5). I switched with a raw diet in March after finding this website. I are currently serving Darwins. My own vet is traditional(sells SD), and never ever mentioned of which diet is seen as a cause. I was dreaming about thoughts about raw in addition to anemia. I put up under this informative article because My spouse and i feed him or her Purina products all his living until I attended raw. Is it the menadione or maybe the organic or another thing.
    you can check best cat food at

  • RyanShyfte

    I’m going to speak up as a professional and a student in the animal science field. I have a few points to make.

    To the pet owners:

    Please do your own research rather than basing your entire view of this supplement off of one article. This is merely a snippet of the whole view and not a very detailed one at that. I am not stating that any of this information is incorrect but the way it has been written out leads you to think that it is a neutral standpoint when it turns into one that decides that menadione is bad for your pet.

    Menadione is used in a lot of foods for pets and already has an informational article written by the FDA. The very same people who make your food. Go read that article if you are worried about this being in your pet’s food before you come to any conclusions. Vitamin K may not be required by AAFCO but it is a necessity for animals, same as it is for humans.

    Also, note that the tests for humans involve “high” dosages and amounts. In dog food this supplement is usually close to the very last on the list and that list is ordered by weight; meaning that in the entirety of the bag there is very little in the food at all. Another thing to notice is that the tests were by injection not ingestion. The way a supplement is administered causes very different reactions. This supplement in the muscle tissue or being directly administered into the stomach by syringe in a concentrated dose is different from it being processed as it is eaten

    As for the chemical names, most supplements are combined with others so they can be processed more easily by the body. Sodium is part of salt. Bisulfate is a form of a sulfate that is also required in food. All of these names are just the actual scientific names for that specific compound. they are not meant to disguise what it is, nor try to trick you. The company is required to list what the supplement is by AAFCO standards.

    Please note that, yes, I am in favor of using this in dog food. So yes, his points still stand. But, when a dosage is a thousand times greater you have to think about what that really means. Anything in a thousand times greater dosage is toxic. Even oxygen and water are toxic at those levels. Anything can be a toxin at extremely high levels. Thus, why it has been banned from over the counter supplements, so it can be monitored that people aren’t taking too much. This does not mean that it is a bad supplement and you should avoid it. If you were to avoid every single “controversial” item in dog food you wouldn’t have a dog food to feed your pet. Nor would you be able to eat your own food at home if you put your own diet to the same standards. You would have to start from a raw diet and growing your own food if you wanted to outcast all things that have been researched and found to have potential issues at extremely high levels.

    Thank you,
    Veterinary Technician Student


  • Scott M. Gray

    Feed Puppies Blue Wilderness Pup versions. Adults, Bil Jack. Once dogs have received all their boosters and all, keep on puppy and give them some ground sirloin tip, Dogs older, 2 cups twice a day of the Bil and a few times a week, 4 ounces of raw as well in one meal.

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  • AP22W,

    I just checked my review for Pure Balance and the ingredient list doesn’t appear to contain menadione. Are you sure your bag is fresh and that it’s the most current version?

  • AP422W

    Pure Balance has this specific ingredient in it but yet you recommended the food. Can you please explain why?

  • OR,,,,you can cook for your pets just like you do for your other family members, like I do. I know exactly what’s in their food because I make their food, every single day.

  • Germansheppups

    Interesting – I bought the cat food and then was sort of upset to see the menadione in it. They love the 4th health grain free, and I also feed them Nature’s Variety dry, so I won’t worry about it. Thanks for the info!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    We’re talking about cat food.

  • Greyhound Mom

    I thought the AAFCO didn’t require it as an essential ingredient…so why would the food be labeled as supplemental feeding, and not complete?

  • LabsRawesome BS Detector

    Maybe if more people email them, they will consider removing Menadione? It’s worth a shot. Ainsworth seems like a pretty legit company. That might actually care what customers think. 🙂

  • Hound Dog Mom

    afterthought – another option would be decreasing the amount of fish in the food and adding more poultry or red meat.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yes – if they could reach adequate vitamin k levels that way. Some foods do it – I know Orijen’s 6 Fish cat doesn’t contain menadione. I’m assuming it may be cost prohibitive to add ingredients like that, however. Another option would be establishing nutritional adequacy through feeding trials, but I’m sure that would be too costly as well. Maybe it is more difficult to do than it seems? The reason I say this is Weruva adds synthetic vitamin k – they’re pretty much the gold standard for quality and extremely expensive..

  • Hound Dog Mom

    As long as you’re rotating with foods that don’t contain menadione, I really wouldn’t be too concerned. I’m planning on rotating with Nature’s Logic (what they were eating prior). The 4Health grain-free dog line has a fish, red meat and poultry variety – it’d be nice if they came out with some more non-seafood varieties of the cat food so there would be some menadione free options..

  • LabsRawesome BS Detector

    Well, couldn’t they replace it with kelp, or something?

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Thanks HDM! I remember that now. I think I might try 4Health grain free for her….it sure is reasonably priced for the quality.

  • Pattyvaughn

    How could I forget that any time soon!!

  • aimee

    Hi Jan,

    If it is any consolation, in humans it has been shown that plant based natural sources of Vit K are broken down by the intestinal bacteria and is absorbed, utilized and excreted as menadione. So even though we don’t consume dietary Vit K as menadione a significant portion ends up that way.

    Also menadione has been used for years as a human drug ( not OTC) without any noted problems.

    concrened about using a dfood in my rotation that contained menadione

  • Hound Dog Mom

    If they removed the menadione it would have to be labeled as intermittent and supplement feeding only (see my post to Jan). So they probably wouldn’t. 🙁

  • LabsRawesome BS Detector

    My attempt at being funny. Remember how much trouble we had, figuring out who was the real manufacturer of 4h gf? lol. 🙂

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Jan –

    Any cat food that contains at least 25% fish or seafood must contain a certain amount of vitamin k in order to be labeled as “complete and balanced” and the only source of vitamin k approved by the AAFCO is menadione so you’ll see a lot more cat foods containing mendione than dog foods. The 4Health grain-free cat food is seafood based so they have to add vitamin k. Even brands like Weruva supplement with menadione. It’s unfortunate it has to be like that.

  • Pattyvaughn


  • LabsRawesome

    Hey Patty, thanks! Mine are all about the Turkey & Salmon dinner. Yum. 🙂 We’re emailing Ainsworth, right? LOL.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Sounds good to me!! Mine like the canned flavors that are not plain chicken, but they weren’t thrilled with the chicken.

  • LabsRawesome

    My 3 cats are completely in love with 4health gf cat food. They are all about the 4health cans as well. lol. After they finished the bag, I picked up the old fav TOTW. Well they are eating TOTW. But not as enthusiastically as before. I think they miss their 4health. Next bag will either be 4health gf, or maybe Earthborn gf. Hey, maybe if we all start emailing & asking for the removal of Menadione, we can get them to take it out! Who’s with me? 🙂

  • Pattyvaughn

    I have 2 feral cats that will only eat dry and they are quite picky. Even as kittens, they would eat soaked dry food, but would not touch canned. They are both long haired and have terrible hairball issues, but they won’t allow me to brush them much, so I try to keep them on half indoor cat food and half something good. Right now the good stuff is Brothers or NutriSource.
    The other 2 cats will usually cooperate and eat whatever I give them, so they are the ones I have started to try new foods on. I have started feeding them a little raw and a little canned and the rest kibble. Their next kibble is going to be Instinct.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Thanks! I understand….I might try it for her but I can get lots of other good foods where I live. She’s eaten many different foods. She can be picky but I’ve learned what she might like and tend to just buy her those types of food. She loves Instinct and also likes Blue Wilderness, Acana Pacifica, Natural Balance Alpha, Simply Nourish. I do give her canned foods like Wellness (she only likes the cubes lol), Tiki cat, Fromm Gold and Natural Balance pouches. Funny thing is as much as she loves Instinct dry, she won’t touch any Nature’s Variety canned food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I won’t feed it long term, one way or another, but I am willing to feed it as part of their rotation. I have a distinct lack of quality cat foods here. We don’t even have good canned cat food. Sheba is the best one anywhere around 🙁

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I was just at TSC to buy some 4Health canned food for the dogs, which btw I will be buying again, and I looked at the 4Health cat food. I wasn’t sure about it….I believe it contains menadione… guys think it’d be okay to try with mine? Thanks!

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m also trying the new grain free 4Health and so far my cats are eating it well and doing fine. I have 2 that don’t accept any changes and they seem to be accepting this just fine.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    My cats have been doing well on Nature’s Logic and I recently tried 4Health’s new grain-free cat food and they’re doing well on that too (it’s a lot cheaper than Nature’s Logic) – one of my cats is very finicky and has a sensitive stomach so it’s hard to find foods that work.

  • graham

    Can anyone recommend a safe and healthy cat food?

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  • The dog food companies don’t get a damn, because unless they are stuck with a lawsuit , making them pay out huge fines or until the FDA does the right thing and blocks it from even animal food, then this will happen. Just like in political donations, big companies are most certainly not individuals as they could care less about doing the right thing, as most ‘individuals ‘ usually would and often do.

    I had my dog on natures recipe by delmonte, and I called them and they could have cared less about this issue, practically laughing about my concerns. I only discovered this MEnadione issue when finding
    that website. I was so thankful that someone had the decency and the fortitude to tell is straight, instead of letting innocent animals suffer needlessly.
    I went to a large chain vet clinic called alpine animal hospital in Issaquah, and when I said that I had told the VET that our dog ( whom died from complications due to his dogfood , apparently ???) was on this delmonte diet , their only , immoral response was well,we don’t make note of such things in patient records.
    My god, what kind of a world do we live in , where ‘not noting’ such things is considered ‘ok’ veterinary protocols ? I could care LESS if vet’s don’t have to specifically worry about ‘dog food’ in charts, but I’ll be damned if I m going to let them get off totally free on this issue. They care enough to have dog food that doesn’t contain this ingredient ( last I checked anyway), but apparently no one gave a damn about my dog, sufficiently to take 15 seconds to warn me about this ingredient. Is that right, and what does that do to someone like me , and you, whom are the ones grieving over our loved ones ? Not much….but they don’t care about anything but protecting their almighty money making machine.
    My dog had a name, which was ‘roc’, and he meant something TO ME, even if alpine animal hospital in Issaquah,wa , cares a lot less than I do, or did.
    Sad, but true story. These ‘supposed professionals’ are never going to do the ‘right thing’, when we put them in their places and make them do it.
    So , after reading my story if you were moved even a little bit, please consider continuing the cause.
    Until morality is brought back to VMD’s and the companies that pay their salaries, then there is no hope for justice for our beloved pets.
    I remain outraged over this injustice. It’s far far too late for Roc, but its not for your loved one. Please speak out and consider helping us continue to do so as well.
    Thank You for reading.
    I just finally had to speak up, because Roc’s voice will NOT be diminished while I’ve alive.

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  • Myluckyfortune

    Also, Vit K3 can be called by many names, so be sure to research that as well. And, many dog foods can be ordered online direct to your home. Good luck.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Performatrin Ultra Grain Free does not have Vitamin K in it.  If that’s not the Performatrin variety you are currently feeding, I’d highly recommend switching to it!

  • Sandjnugent

    We feed our GSD Performatrin and he does really well but after reading about this artificial Vitamin K guess we will be switching dog food brands!

  • Pibble Momma

    Angie: When I last looked only a couple of the Nutro formulations still contained this ingredient. I think it was in the Nutro Natural line not the Nutro Max or Nutro Holistic lines.

    I emailed Nutro because like you they were on the short list of foods I was considering. I wish I had saved the email but as best I can recall Nutro said it would be removed from all their formulations by the first of the year.

  • After my best bud got sick and died from tainted China made dog treats (Waggin Train), earlier this year, I’ve made it a mission to make sure I never feed another dog something that can make them sick. I’ve read and read all the articles and websites dedicated to exposing bad dog food, how to pick good dog food, how to read labels, what to avoid, etc. I went into a pet store, to the organic and natural foods aisle, and felt like I made a good choice. Then I read that the food I picked (Nutro Ultra) has Vitamin K3 in it! Grrr….So frustrating!! Now I have to start all over again. I simply cannot afford some of the better foods and some of the foods I can afford, cannot be found in my area. I’m going to PetCo today to try again. My dogs are worth it. I just wish the dog food companies thought so.

  • Scorpiosusan88203

    we use all natural, no preservatives, the brand we use is Blue Dog Bakery. [email protected]. I hope this is helpful.

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  • Dogs like us humans require a balanced diet, so a mixture of meat, vegetable and quality grains, and premium dog food provides these nutrients without adding any inexpensive and poor ingredients. It’s important to check the labels on products before you buy and you can always turn to other pet owners.

  • smarine777

    I just sat here, typing in a long message, to only have this real time updating CRASH IE 9. Maybe its IE9s fault, no idea, but please consider looking at your web design.


    We had a aussie/cattle dog mix, and we lost him from what, for sure, we do not know. The vets couldn’t give us a direct reason, not that in all cases they can.


    He was on delmonte’s natures recipe vegetarian for quite sometimes, a few years or so, and I suspect the Menadione caused his decline, which amounted to liver failure and Jaundice, and God knows what else was going on …


    I stumbled upon Sabine’s, and given her credentials, I felt some possible answers coming along.


    The pet food industry should be ashamed for using chemicals in our companions food, that most people would be uneducated about, at least in the timeframe that matters the most, – durning the feeding, and the trust of the company you’re buying it from.  I will never again be so naive as to believe that, and will always look ,even more carefully, at said labels.


    I contacted the vet hospital we took him to, and though a represenative of corporation itself promised he would send sabine’s page ( and others I had found) to this vet hospital, apparenty that did not happen, as calling them, the clerk found no information related to any of this, in Roc’s file.


    I can’t begin to elaborate, how frustrated and honestly hurt I feel atm, that though Roc now is gone, and the money we SPENT to try to save him ( and I would spend it again, and 2,2,10 times as much if needed as he was FAMILY to us ) , that now given we can’t line their pockets with more money , we dont’ seem to be important anymore, that or the corporate person I spoke to, was inept.  That’s what it feels like, given I was told the ‘information’ would be passed on from him to the vet clinic,,I wondered why almost a month later, no contact, of any kind. That’s why , imho, capitalism just doesn’t work. Often money &/or influence holds you back, if you do not have alot of both, and I don’t know about anyone else,  but god has no billboards in space or elsewhere, demanding ‘money for services rendered’, as I guess god could make a cool mint for charging for the universe. If that sounds strange to you, given so many are in poverty these days, and if not , in one way or another controled by the circumstances of their own finances, then maybe its time we had a dialogue in this country, and paid more attention to the non violent demonstrations in our lands stating similar things. All our companion animals deserve better, but corporations will resist, until our voice is large enough. A society is known, by how it treats the least of its members, and I can’t stand tall beside these compassion giants, by doing any less; out of both duty & responsibility,  but also compassion. If we do not offer our voice , today for those who have little, or none at all, then how do we argue that ours is for the keeping…

    Roc deserved better, we deserve better, and I will not rest until the pet food industry stops shipment of Menadione, and knowing there are no peer reviewed studies proving its safety ( fda won’t even allow it in human food), and that people like Sabine ( given her credentials) have my proverbial back, is enough for me to know I’m on the right track.

    Thanks for listening, in Roc’s memory
    ^ website in progress, not setup yet.



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  • Sebaker89

    Thank you all so much. He was here just seven short years but forever in my heart.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I’m so sorry for your loss.  It is such a hard thing to go through. 🙁  I recently (in August) lost my male Shitzu Poodle mix to Hemolytic Anemia.  Devastating illness and I’m still hurting.  He was also eating premade raw (not Darwin’s) plus kibble and canned, HOWEVER, I don’t attribute his illness to that…..some of my other dogs are older and are still eating it with no issues.  He did have lots of issues, though.  I feel he had an undiagnosed thyroid (long story) issue. He did have acute pancreatitis once.  He also had pica.  I feel he was in the throes of a pancreatitis episode that caused the anemia.  We did everything we could, as I know you did.  I will always remember my “Boobala”…his actual name was Desi and I’m sure your little pup will always hold a place in your heart. 

  • Alexandra

    Sorry for your loss.

  • Marie

    That’s so sad…thinking of you. 🙁

  • Shawna

    OH Sebaker89 I too am so very very sorry for your loss!!!!  🙁  My heart goes out to you and your family!!!

  • John


    I am sorry for your loss.

  • Sebaker89

    He didn’t make it. Thank you for the prayers.

  • Shawna

    Sebaker89 ~~ chlorphyll is the “blood builder” of the herb world and is used by alternative practitioners in cases of blood loss and anemia.  Spirulina is an excellent source of chlorophyll as well as highly absorbable protein and other nutrients.  It can be found at most health food and probably drug stores.

    Praying for your little one!!!!!!!

  • Hi Sebaker89,

    Like in humans, canine anemia isn’t necessarily caused by diet. That’s because there are many different types of anemia.

    Anemia is a condition in which there is either a decrease in the number of red blood cells (also known as erythrocytes) or the amount of the primary oxygen transporting component found in these cells (hemoglobin).

    Anemia can be associated with blood loss, defective blood cell development and, of course, nutritional deficiencies.

    Before you make changes to your dog’;s diet, it is absolutely critical for you to consult your dog’s vet to make an accurate diagnosis and determine a precise cause for the problem.

    Wish I could be more help.

  • Sebaker89

    My pom is at the vet with severe anemia(RBC 1.13, normal is 5.5-8.5). I switched to a raw diet in October after finding this website. I am currently feeding Darwins. My vet is traditional(sells SD), and never mentioned that diet could be a cause. I was hoping for thoughts about raw and anemia. I posted under this article because I feed him Purina products all of his life until I went to raw. Could it be the menadione or the raw or something else.

  • Shawna

    Mike has a great article on rotation that might help – it can be found here

    I’m a raw feeder myself and as such I think rotation is the only way to go.. So yes, I think you should use both foods.

    I also wanted to mention not to exceed 20ish percent of the diet with the yam, carrots, fish and lean meats you are adding. If you do you can cause a serious calcium to phosphorus imbalance. Yams and lean meats are both high in phosphorus and deficient in calcium. Dogs need more calcium then phos.. Depending on variety and if cooked or not, carrots can be slightly higher in phosphorus or slightly higher in calcium but still not enough to balance the rest of the foods included. The fish (if bone is included) will be okay however — but only if the bone is included.

  • Karen

    Hello, we have our two Dogue de Bordeaux on a combination of Origins and Blue Wilderness. Thinking of using just the Blue as it has 50 calories less per cup and is the same excellent quality as Origins. I add steamed yams carrots fish and lean meats. Should I continue to mix the two brands or use only one?

  • Hi Judy… Where do you see I found menadione listed in Neuman’s Own Organics Grain Free canned dog food?

  • Judy

    I followed your link to the NEWMAN’S OWN website, but here are the ingredients listed there for the grain-free beef canned food:
    Organic Beef, Organic Beef Broth, Minerals (Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Carbonate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Iodate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite,), Vitamins (Vitamin A, E, D3 and B12 Supplements, Choline, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Pyridoxine, Folic Acid).
    And in their FAQ section, it says this:
    Q: Do you use menadione sodium bisulfite complex as source of vitamin K?
    A: Although menadione is an ingredient approved for use in organic foods and by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), Newman’s Own Organics pet foods do not contain it.

    So, where did you see the menadione listed?

  • Hi June… I’m so sorry to hear about your puppy’s illness. As you probably already know, both parvo and distemper can be life-threatening diseases and not likely related to your dog’s food. Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian and due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. You may wish to check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • june

    My 8 week old puppy has been throwing up and having diahera we took him to the vet and he tested positive for parvo so he stayed at the vet for 2 days when I picked him up they said it could be distempra but he’s not showing any neurological problems he’s up Nd walking around…. the puppy food we have been giving him is nutro max for puppies and I learned today that there supplement of vitamin k is toxic could this possibly be why my dog is sick if so can u please direct me in the right direction to get him better with out having to get another outragious vet bill thank you

  • Hi Carol… We are aware of the pet food industry’s opinion regarding menadione. However, the fact remains that the FDA does not allow menadione to be used as a supplement for human use. For this reason, and due to the many negative reports (including this admittedly human report on vitamin K by the American Cancer Society), we still feel compelled (at the very least) to label menadione as a “controversial” ingredient. With all the safer and just as effective versions of this vitamin out there, why even consider taking any risk of long term feeding?

  • Carol RI

    I emailed Purina and questioned them as to why they put menadione in their new One Beyond formula. Here is their “interesting” reply…………….. Carol

    Thank you for contacting Nestlé Purina PetCare Company.

    We appreciate your inquiry regarding Purina ONE(r) brand beyOnd(tm). Purina ONE(r) brand beyOnd(tm) products are formulated by professional pet nutritionists and veterinarians and are produced under strict quality standards. All of our products are 100% complete and balanced for the pet and life stage indicated.

    We use only high quality ingredients that meet our specifications, including added vitamins and minerals, in amounts that are safe and effective for pets. Our products meet the standards for pet foods as provided by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the Pet Food Industry Group (PFI).

    The basic story about the dangers of menadione has emerged at various times during the past decades as something of an urban legend in the pet food industry. It is not research based. In fact, numerous research studies and nutritional textbooks have identified menadione as a safe and effective means of providing the important nutrient vitamin K to pets. Menadione has been commonly used in pet foods for approximately 25 years with no documented negative health effects.

    Menadione is a stable source of the essential nutrient vitamin K. Vitamin K provides the following nutritional benefits: it is required for the synthesis of a number of body proteins, most notably the proteins responsible for normal blood clotting.

    We stand behind the high quality of our products, which consumers can feed to their pets with total confidence.

    Again, thank you for visiting our website.

  • Hi Karen… NutriLife is already on our To Do list. But due to our current backlog, it could be a while before we get to it. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Karen

    Hi Mike,

    Do you have NutriLife All Gold Dog food on your list to review. If not, can you please consider it. I have had my English Mastiff on it without any problems. Just curious to see what your review would be.

  • Hi Alex… Sodium metabisulfite is a food preservative. But I’ve yet to see it in any dog foods. Sodium metabisulfite is not related to menadione.

  • Alex

    Mike, is sodium metabisulfite a form of menadione or is it just a preservative?

  • Hi Abbey… Honest Kitchen is listed in our database of dog food reviews. Our dashboard software scans the ingredient list for all known versions of menadione. If the ingredient is discovered, you’ll see the chemical turn bright red on our dashboard (in each review). Read our review for Honest Kitchen and check out the ingredients list. Hope this helps.

  • abbey

    Does anyone know if “The Honest Kitchen” dog food that sells “human grade” dehydrated dog food contains menadione? I wonder how it rates to other dog food in the market.

  • Hi Bernie… Our dashboard software can spot any form of vitamin K. We do not detect menadione (or vitamin K3) in any Fromm products. According to Fromm Customer Service (today), none of their foods have been made with menadione in over 2 years. And their website confirms this. Maybe you’re looking at an old (out of date) package. Hope this helps.

  • bernie b

    mike, fromm uses a vitamin k supplement in their kibble. This
    is on your list of other names it could list as
    Menadione sodium bisulfate
    Menadione sodium bisulfite
    Menadione dimethylprimidinol sulfate
    Menadione dimethylprimidinol sulfite
    Menadione dimethylprimidinol bisulfite
    Dimethylprimidinol sulfate
    Dimethylprimidinol sulfite
    Dimethylprimidinol bisulfate
    Vitamin K supplement

  • Hi Bernie… As you read my reviews, anytime menadione (vitamin K) is found on an ingredients list it turns bright red so you can know the supplement is present. In this case, we see no evidence of menadione in the Fromm products. Fromm appears to be a conscientious manufacturer and just having their assurance the chemical is not present is usually satisfactory for us. Hope this helps.

  • bernie b

    do any of the fromm four star dry kibble contain this vitamin k in a hidden ingredients list? they say they removed it in 2006

  • Carol McIntyre

    Both dogs were eating the dog food for quite a while because it was used and recommended by the vet, and they seemed to be doing well on it. It’s all suspicious and sends up red flags — I’m staying away from it! There may be more deaths from toxicity from long-term feeding than known due to inability to ascertain a cause and undocumentation. I only put it together because I developed an allergy to menadione and starting digging for info.

  • Hi Carol… Menadione would only be an acute issue in the (vary rare) case of an overdose. Or in long term feeding. It is actually a synthetic (man-made) version of vitamin K (also known as K3).

  • Carol McIntyre

    I had two dogs that died suddenly with the symptoms you mention associated with menadione. Their deaths were simply awful and devastating. My vet did not know what was the exact cause, but the food they were eating had menadione in it. I just found your website when I was searching for information on menadione because I tested positive for this substance when I had some allergy testing done. I wonder if I was exposed to it from handling the dry dog food and developed an allergy to it. I just recently switched the dogs to another brand of dog food which doesn’t have menadione in it, but I wish I had known about this substance a long time ago. Thank you for your website.

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  • Hi Sandra… Since I’m not a vet it would be inappropriate for me to advise you about the use of prescription vitamin K as a therapeutic drug. However, just for informational purposes, vitamin K1 and K2 are not considered controversial. It is the K3 form (menadione) you’d normally want to avoid.

    On the other hand, our concerns regarding dog food are more related to the supplement’s long term use. Your prescription is more for immediate use. So, it might not be so critical in this case. What would seem more important at this time would be your dog’s acute tendency to bleed. And I would think that would have to take precedence over anything else. It would probably be more crucial here to follow your vet’s advice. Hope everything works out OK for your dog.

  • Sandra Schroeder

    Well, my vet just prescribed Vitamin K 25mg for my dog, because of excessive bleeding. The sources I have found for the vitamin for dogs and cats are the synthetic type. Should I not give it to my dog? I have also been giving her scrambled eggs which are supposed to be a good source of vitamin K., but have not seen a difference in the blood coagulation. Of course we haven’t as yet determined the cause. Blood work is not back yet. Vet suspects rat poison, but I do not think so as my dogs are not allowed to run free, and my yard is fenced. I do not use poisons of anykind in my yard. Any way should I not give the synthetic vitamin k to my dog?

  • Devin

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Love the site!

  • Hi Devin… Oops. Thanks for calling that to my attention. It seems only the sodium bisulfite form of menadione is water soluble. The rest are indeed all fat soluble.

    However, in any case, all forms of vitamin K3 (menadione) must first be “alkylated” into vitamin K2 before they can be properly absorbed.

    Thanks to your comment, I’ve changed the affected copy in my menadione article.

    Thanks for the tip.

  • Devin

    I love the information you have on your site. Thank you for taking the time to put all of this together.

    I do have a question on something you wrote here. In the sixth paragraph you wrote:
    “Now, menadione (K3) is different. Not only is it not fat soluble, this synthetic vitamin must first go through a dog’s built-in process known as “alkylation”… before it can be used by the body.”

    Do you have a cite for this?
    I looked at an article from Dr. Aldrich on Pet Food industry that states Vitamin K as fat-soluble.
    link to article:

    My question is, isn’t all vitamin k fat-soluble?

  • Hi Nona… Although it may not mention menadione on your dog food’s package, the chemical can still be found on the product’s ingredients list at the Back to Basics website (which is the source of our data). For a definitive answer to your question, you may try calling the company at 800-219-2558. Hope this helps.

  • Nona Rosenblaum

    Hi, I just purchased a bag of back to basics honesty chicken & was reading your review. You talk about Menadione in the food but I do not see it listed on the bag. Nor do I see it listed under any of the other names you listed. Could they have removed it? I do not want to open the bag and feed it to my dog untio I am sure.
    Thank you,

  • Hi Kathy… when I read your comment I re-visited the Newman’s Own Organics website and found our “dashboard” matched the company’s published ingredients list exactly. If you’re getting your information directly from a package, the company may not have updated their website. In any case, thanks for calling this to my attention.

  • Kathy

    I have looked at all ingredients in Paul Newmans Own adavnced organic fromula dog food and can not find this Vitamin K 3 or any of the names it could go by that wree suggested by your report. Could it be possible that they took it out when they found it was not good for dogs and if so you need to change an update your report because this dog food appears to be one of the better ones from my reveiws of many and my only one concern is the soy not vit k3 as I do not see it in there anywhere.

  • Mary

    It appears that the controversy is unfounded to me.

  • Brenda… you are right about how difficult it is to find this important information for diabetic dogs. I intend to address this neglected subject in detail in future articles and publications. The info should be able to help you find products that are significantly better for diabetic dogs like Calah. For now, try reading my recent article that shows you “How to Calculate the Hidden Carbohydrate Content of Any Dog Food.” Thanks for writing.

  • Brenda Roy

    This is very interesting information. I thought I would check out this website recommended by the diabetic support group that I am a member of as I am trying to find a good quality dry dog food for my diabetic Lab. I have research and research, pretty my relentlessly. They are either to high in fat, to high in carbs, of just plain CRAP. And I’m learning about the vitamin K in sheeps cloating. I just noticed that the food I was feeding my labs indeed had the (source of vitamin K activity). I took them off of it as it was brought to my attention about an FDA warning about the food making dogs ill and that it was said it have actually killed several dogs. I’m not willing to risk my dogs health so for now I have them on Chicken Soup Senior. This is a good quality food but I’m not really all that happy with the carb content. In the meantime I am still on the lookout for an even more appropriate food for my Calah. Thanks for such an informative site.