Be Cautious About BHT in Dog Food


BHT is the popular abbreviation for a common dog food additive known as butylated hydroxytoluene.

Watch Out for BHTThe chemical is used in certain dog foods to prevent fats and oils from prematurely spoiling.

In other words, BHT can extend the shelf life of a fat in a food product.

But that’s not all it can do.

BHT can also be found in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber, jet fuels, petroleum products, the oil in electrical transformers — and even embalming fluid.1

That’s why, like so many other artificial preservatives, BHT has become the subject of considerable controversy.

It seems the same chemical qualities which make BHT an effective preservative can also make it a suspect for causing cancerous tumors.2

Some evidence has suggested certain individuals may have difficulty breaking down the chemical in the liver — which is capable of causing notable behavioral changes.3

BHT has been banned as a preservative in food in the countries of Japan, Romania, Sweden and Australia.

The Bottom Line

So, what else can be used to extend the shelf life of fats and oils in dog food?

Vitamins C or E can provide a completely natural way to extend the shelf life of a dog food. As a matter of fact, most quality conscious dog food companies already use these safer compounds to preservative the fats in their own products.

With safer alternatives to BHT already available, why then would so many dog food companies still insist on using such controversial preservatives?

So, why take the risk? Simply steer clear of any dog food that uses BHT in its products.


  • MotherScones

    According to this Food Additive Safety evaluation performed by the World Health Organization, BHT is permitted in Japan and Australia. The other countries where this articles claims it is banned were not part of the study:

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  • K9tiger

    Side note on human food–Many cereals do not contain BHT, check the Kashi and Paul Newman brands.

    My dog “told” an animal communicator that “BH” was a problem for him. We weren’t sure what that might be until we saw BHT on a cereal box. Could that be it? Could that be causing him problems?

    We’ll see…we’ve elimiated all food and treats that contained it.  Milk Bones do not contain BHT, but the generic treats do….figures, right?

  • Shawna

    We could talk about the dangers of it in human foods but this is a dog food site so……..  If you want though, we can discuss the dangers of BHT in human foods..  We go off topic all the time. 🙂

  • Tiffaniepiphany

    Newsflash, it’s in your breakfast cereal… so why are we discussing the dangers of it in dog food, if we are eating it for breakfast?

  • Confused

    thanks Mike but  don’t you think the retailers could do a better job???

  • Confused

    Thanks Bob…guess I need to get better educated!!

  • Bob K

    Confused – There are many places to buy quality dog food at an affordable price in a variety of packaging from 5lb – 50lb packages depending on the mfg.  You do not have to order dog food mailorder and pay $3.00/lb.  Usually the price per pound is less with larger bags.  Large petshop retailers like Petsmart, Petco along with Menards, Farm & Fleet stores sell many brands and formulas.    Costco also sells Kirklands, Natures Domain and perhaps Triumph and Pelican Bay.  You sometimes find a 3 star rated dog food at the big box stores but you often pay a premium.  Use this website for education and dog food ratings as your guide.  Remember to transition to a new dog food slowly

  • Hi Confused,

    Like with buying cars, make your choice primarily based upon the brand and the product. Once you decide what you want, then go to where you get the best deal, freshest product and convenience.

    Hope this helps.

  • Confused

    As a new dog owner, does anyone have issues with retail chains, like a PetSmart, being more people friendly, meaning I get confused when I look at all of the products as to what’s best for my dog. The manufactures don’t really help much either when you start reading the labels. Also, if I was a woman, I would have issues with carrying these large bags of food, shouldn’t they come up with a better way?

  • The Dog Whisperer

    I’m writing a dog book right now & intend to do a section on dog nutrition & feeding. These articles are super helpful! May God bless you richly for your dedication to “saving good dogs from bad dog food”.