These Dog Food Preservatives Could Be Toxic to Your Pet


When fed daily for a lifetime, synthetic dog food preservatives could be toxic to your pet.

Why Preservatives
Are Needed

Although animal fats are a crucial part of every dog food, they’re also subject to spoilage — becoming rancid not too long after manufacture.

So, to extend the shelf life of any pet food, suppliers must add a preservative to many fat or oil ingredients.

Yet food preservatives aren’t all the same. They can be classified as either natural — or artificial.

Natural preservatives are typically made from vitamins C or E. You’ll usually find them on a dog food ingredients list using some form of the words “tocopherol” or “ascorbate”.

These items typically look like this…

“…chicken fat preserved with alpha-tocopherol”

Natural preservatives are typically considered safe.

Dog Food Preservative
or Pesticide?

However, artificial preservatives are another story. Used long term, they can add a notable risk of toxicity to any dog food.

For example, ethoxyquin is one 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.

In addition, the preservative is not permitted for use in Australian dog foods nor is it approved within in the European Union.1

Yet to this day, ethoxyquin is still commonly found in many popular brands of dog food.

Two More to Avoid

Here are two more chemical bad guys to watch out for…

The World Health Organization has named both BHT and BHA as suspicious cancer-causing compounds. Plus the State of California has now identified BHA as a possible carcinogen, too.2

Considering these troubling issues, you’d think these two dubious preservatives would be 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.

For a lifetime.

It’s that cumulative exposure that keeps us up at night. 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.


  1. Ethoxyquin – 324“. Noshly Food Additive & Ingredients Reference. Retrieved 12-5-2014.
  2. Scorecard, California State Regulatory Program List
  • Kim walker

    I just wantnto thank everyone who works at Dog Food Advisor. You give the best advice no matter the topic and you’re always there when I need you. Thank you so much for all the hard work I know I can always rely on you. My kids and I thank you immensely!

  • Gary Schweikert

    On a whim I fed my dog some of those cake cups that are used to put ice cream in. The ones I used were green and the next day her bowl movement was green. Is there any danger in giving her these cake cups?

  • Al Apodaca

    I feed my lil beloved dog fresh pet Chicken & Turkey Recipe with vegetables and Brown Rice, I have looked into the ingredients and found this is the safest food I can feed him, he also loves it!

  • patti vandepol

    belladonna is also a poison!?

  • anon101

    They use minute amounts (rosemary)often these dog food companies employ veterinary nutritionists that oversee the ingredients to make sure that they are safe.
    If the food is AAFCO approved I wouldn’t worry.
    Seizures are a neurological disorder, sure they are triggers, but there are other factors too. It’s a brain disorder.
    Anticonvulsants are usually the most effective treatment and provide the best results.
    This is not veterinary advice; consult your veterinarian.

  • Joanna

    Rosemary extract is also commonly known to cause seizures in epileptic prone pets. It is used as a preservative in natural pet foods. Even high priced, average grade kibbles like acana and orijen can have Rosemary extract in them so check the ingredients thoroughly.

  • Joanna

    Also be aware that Rosemary extract is a very common preservatives in most natural dog foods, but is also a very common epilepsy seizure causing additive. I have

  • Joanna

    That is truly a phenomenal diet and I applaud you! kudos!

  • Joanna

    Even if you make your own diets at home, this can still lead to very bad vitamin & mineral deficiencies in certain classes… For example: you could give your dog a kidney stone by giving too much calcium (in a supplement, it’s would be listed as tricalcium phosphate aka a man made synthetic version. There is no way to avoid giving a man-made supplement if you are going to do a multivitamin).
    I’ve been doing pet nutrition for almost 10 years and I assure you that the raw brands of pet foods are safer than the food you would be able to cook at home, as they are under constant scrutiny and have a zero-tolerance policy for any bacteria.
    There are many safe raw pet food options; Go to any mom and pop, brick and mortar natural pet food stores, like KRISERS NATURAL PET. They usually have free samples and a food guarantee. Feel free to look up STELLA & CHEWY’S and PRIMAL PET FOODS. These are complete and balanced for all life stages and are completely bacteria and pathogen free.

  • Joanna

    There are COMPLETE AND BALANCED FRESH RAW FOODS – not decomposing like you’re describing. they are not scavengers. THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE FROZEN, NECESSARILY. There are brands that make freeze dried raw food that is Pantry safe. Look up STELLA & CHEWY’S and also PRIMAL brand Foods.

  • Melissa Kroll

    you’re actually incorrect about the “meal” term. chicken meal is actually a higher source of protein than “just” chicken…..
    Chicken meal, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), is the dry rendered product from a combination of clean chicken flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from whole carcasses of chicken, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.[1] A meal in general is “an ingredient which has been ground or otherwise reduced in particle size.”[2]

    Chicken meal is ground up chicken meat that has been carefully dried to a moisture level of 10%. The protein content is 65% and the fat level is 12%. Regular chicken contains about 70% water with 18% protein and 5% fat. To create chicken meal, ingredients are placed into large vats and cooked.[3] This rendering process not only separates fat and removes water to create a concentrated protein product, it also kills bacteria, viruses, parasites and other organisms.

    were you perhaps thinking “by-product” ?, because that’s where you get unknown meat pieces as the protein source, and that’s absolutely dangerous.

  • know_diet

    Amanda, as I replied to Ms. Swartz, don’t go to a rational vet. I also worked in tradiona vetl emergency hospital and the use most likely Valium to calm the seizure. Again, treating the symptom not the route cause. In my experience, most seizures are secondary to epilepsy but there can be another underlying condition causing the seizure. The problem is when a dog has a seizure their body temperature increases secondary to the muscle friction/active movement when the brains neurons miss fire.Their normal temperature should be 101-102. Anything higher is cause for concern. If u find it increases over 103-104, we used rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball & wipe the paws of your dog. This helps bring down the temp but I’d be careful not to bring the temp down to fast. Then take roman animal emergency clinic or or vet, preferably a holistic one; most will take calls in such event after hours. Don’t forget to tell them u applied the rubbing alcohol to the paws. Hope this helps.

  • know_diet

    A remedy called belladonna help with seizures in dogs. I always recommend everyone who ask to go to a reputable holistic vet. Was a vet tech for one for appox 4 years & learned a lot about raw food diet, dry/wet food/treats, holistic remedies, Chinese medicine & nutracuticals, vaccines; and steroids, anitbotics in regards to their long term effects of your pets. Very eye opening since I started with modern vet medicine.

  • know_diet

    It’s secondary to their shorter digestive track.

  • Ally Jessie

    My dogs have SEVERE food allergies… Anything that you buy at a local store to feed your beloved pet should NOT have the word MEAL after any of the ingredients. Chicken meal etc… that’s pretty much all parts of a chicken no matter what it be it is thrown into a blender and put into dog food.

    My dogs are now 2 weeks in on their new food.. The brand is FROMM… Yes, FROMM w two M’s
    Two weeks ago I could not get my dogs to stop licking themselves I also could not touch their backs to pet them without them flinching and discomfort and lifting their hind legs trying to scratch uncontrollably…. Already I’m seeing a tremendous change… No more flinching or trying to scratch.
    For a few days in the beginning of their new diet I added Bragg Apple Cider vinegar to their food 2-3 tablespoons into 4 cups 6 of food (my dogs are 120-150 lbs each Rhodesian Ridgebacks)
    They are on their 2nd bag.. Purple bag (duck) first bag was yellow (lamb /lentil) also got the matching treats.
    Stay away from sugar… No table scraps, no donuts… Foods w starch ingredients because it’ll turn to sugar which in turn will become yeast and make your dog uncomfortable all over again.
    I made a mixture of half water half Apple cider vinegar (Bragg organic) in a spray bottle and used it on my dogs skin to clear up any dandruff /dry skin and yeast. Amazing the difference already. Sure it doesn’t smell nice but when it dries it goes away
    Good luck and stick to limited ingredients ones that you can read understand and pronounce… Beware of the “meal” term

  • Salty2

    U won’t be sorry!

  • Danielle Cornwell

    Thanks I also will add vitamin supplements and probiotics

  • theBCnut

    That’s a great idea, but be aware that next to none of these recipes are actually complete and balanced, so it is very important with our dogs, just like us, to incorporate a lot of variety into their diets, so please find as many different recipes as you can and use a variety of different ingredients, and watch your dog flourish.

  • Danielle Cornwell

    There are many sites and recipes for home made. That’s where I’m going

  • Danielle Cornwell

    I feed Blue Buffalo. But I am switching them over to homemade

  • Amateria

    Some don’t understand it at all and run right into a wall soon after starting to feed their pet said raw and I mean a literal wall here as feeding chicken legs and breast only is not what people mean by raw feeding, it’s no wonder your dog did poor on it.

    They don’t research it at all and the people telling them about it, don’t realise they need to really tell them what it’s all about, as most people will be go home and be like “oh so I should feed my pet raw mince only? I guess so as that’s what the person clearly implied.

  • theBCnut

    Both of my working Border Collies are raw fed and a large part of their diet is my home grown goat, beef, mutton, and lamb. They haven’t gone looking to capture and eat their own meals and my sheep, goats, and calves are safe in their capable paws. People sure do believe some crazy things about what it means to feed raw.

  • No one said anything about dead animal carcasses that are lying around. The site you linked to said “raw eggs, fish and red meat”.

    While elk carcasses may sound gross, it’s what a dog or wolf would naturally eat in the wild. That doesn’t mean you have to let them loose to go find their own food on the side of the road.

    There are lots of home made or commercial raw diets that are far superior to processed dry kibble and it can really make a major difference in your dogs coat and overall health.

    Dogs are almost biologically identical to wolves and we know that in nature they eat 90% raw meat.

    Canine gut bacteria is much different than a persons in that it prevents them from getting parasites and bacterial infections as your link indicated. They thrive on raw meat and it doesn’t turn them into ‘scavengers’.

    A lot of raw food does need to be frozen but it’s pretty simple to take out a portion and thaw it in the refrigerator before the next meal. There’s also some freeze dried options.

    Now, judging by your comment history I see that you’re likely just ghost writing blog posts and commenting on every site with links to get backlinks for SEO. My personal opinions on that aside, I hope we at least helped share some ideas with you on how to raise a happier and healthier dog.

  • Mike Hardaker

    I have a hunting dog, a GSP. (German Shorthair) the last thing on earth I want is my dog eating elk carcasses. Not sure where you live but here in Wyoming we have lots of dead animals laying around most of the year.

    If you feel feeding raw is safe and won’t turn your dog into a scavenger, then by all means continue. I prefer not having to freeze and unfreeze my dogs food.

  • Not only is this spam, its completely wrong. This comment should be deleted so we are not spreading false information about raw meat being “fatal” for dogs. Complete crap. Raw meat is the best thing you can feed a dog and is the closest thing to their natural diet.

  • Shawna

    You know that Mike rates raw meat diets with five stars on this site right?

  • Mike Hardaker

    I wish all dog owners would read this site! It amazes me how much crap some people feed their dogs. Even dog food thats garbage. We picked a few common human foods that might not sit so well with fido. please keep these honest reviews coming along!

  • Wes Wright

    I am a manager of a pet store. Be very concious of the amount of ash that is going into the diet. Usually brands that list the ash, magnesium, etc are bragging about the amount, since they are not legally required to list it, so they’re a good place to start. The undigested bone meal in a lot of foods can cause nerve interruption and accelerate seizure activity. Also think in terms of bone content by meat source – fish being the worst as it it is hardest to debone – duck being among the best because ducks have hollow bones. The best luck I’ve had has been Wellness Core, where I’ve been able to help multiple customers be able to not only have their dogs become seizure-free, but they’ve been able to scale off of the medications.

  • Jessica Leanna Taft

    Unfortunately the fda is controlled by major corporations on EVERYTHING INCLUDING BIG TOBACCO companies which is why they are trying to ban Vaping. FDA sees $$$ as a good thing medical bills a plus. Vet bills a plus. I think they figure the bad stuff helps our economy. They don’t care about the health of our people and animals 🙁

  • Amanda, all I can think of is to find a Holistic Vet or one that is willing to work at finding a proper diet for your baby, maybe using process of elimination and whatever other skills necessary within the Vet’s expertise. Also try to do some research on your own by simply starting by typing in “possible causes of dog seizures” or similar phrases. Hopefully links to several resources will pop up for you to check out. Best Wishes Amanda. You and Asher are in my prayers.

  • Amanda

    My dog asher is a small bread 3 years old and just a little bit ago today he had his 4 seizure and at this point i dont know whats causing them the first 3 i rushed him to the vet but they never give me a solotuon only saying “it might be this or that” I am at my wits end he is my baby and i cant help him if anyone out there has delt with this kinda thing & might have some advice for me id be more then open to it. plz help me ! Plz help him!
    To contact me
    [email protected]




    MALNUTRITION is the result
    and DIAIRIA VOMITING and LETHARGY immunity problems



    view >>>



    21 mths old
    view photo >>>

  • Angie Shawver

    hard to find a bag of blue that doesn’t have chicken in it, so difficult to rotate proteins. also don’t believe it to be a good value.

  • Angie Shawver

    got the link for that? you can message it to me, if it can’t be posted here

  • aquariangt

    Yes, I does look like my decimal was off. Dani would need to eat much less garlic to be toxic. I feed 1 clove once a week divided between the dogs, so I have never been super worried about toxicity levels.
    Interestingly, my mini schnauzer is my only one with any known food sensitivity, not my others. I also would assume there is a lot of garlic in the dumplings, I know mine do

  • aimee

    I haven’t found any references specific to garlic oil.

    For myself if the garlic ingredient is intermingled in with trace minerals the level in the diet is low enough that the number of rbc’s damaged would be of no clinical consequence. If it is higher… then I pass.

  • USA Dog Treats

    I like it, great work!

  • Here’s a prototype of the new edited and more appropriate text that will ultimately appear anytime either garlic or garlic oil are found in a dog food recipe.

    This will begin immediately as Sandy and I roll out new reviews or update older ones.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  • USA Dog Treats

    I copied the ingredients of Garlic Oil from New Directions Aromatics.

    All of the ingredients are organosulfoxides and
    organosulfoxides are the ingredients in garlic that cause the red blood cell toxicity.

    This is from the MSDS for Garlic Oil
    Diallyl trisulphide oxide (19 – 21 %), diallyl disulphide oxide (57 – 63 %),
    diallyl sulfide, ajoene

    This is from the GC Analysis:
    Allyl methyl sulfide
    Diallyl sulfide
    Allyl methyl disulfide
    Diallyl disulfide

    This is from the description:
    Diisopropyl disulphide: 36.59%
    Diisopropyl trisulphide: 22.27%

    I will do some more research but so far I found this caution on a website that promotes the use of fresh garlic but warns against the use of garlic oil due to increased toxicity.

    “Garlic can be taken in several forms: fresh/raw garlic, aged garlic, garlic oil and boiled garlic. Boiled garlic prevents alliin from creating its sulfur-containing metabolites, and garlic oil, while effective as a supplement, has a potentially high level of toxicity”

    So if even some of the people who promote garlic as a supplement are warning against the use of garlic oil I would think that it is an even more toxic ingredient to red blood cells than fresh garlic.

  • USA Dog Treats,

    Thanks for posting this important and well documented comment.

    For the reasons mentioned here as well as the response posted by Aimee that followed, we’ll be modifying our description of garlic as we revisit the hundreds of dog foods that contain this item.

    Our routine update process is a cyclical and tedious one and can take many months to ultimately complete.

    However, I’m not sure how to deal with the related ingredient, “garlic oil”. For even Purina uses this item in a number of its recipes.

    Has anyone found any references regarding the safety of garlic oil?

  • Kelly

    Thank you!

  • aimee

    Excellent post USA!!

    I have found the same information as you here is a quote from Dr.
    Sharon Gwaltney-Brant a board certified veterinary toxicologist . I think she is a human toxicologist as well :

    “….any dose, any amount of onion and garlic is going to produce that
    compound and cause some damage to the red blood cells. It’s just that
    you have to eat enough of it to damage enough red blood cells before you see a problem…..And as you say, it really doesn’t work for the fleas anyway.”

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Kelly,

    I believe that the Sulfides in Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Chives, etc in ANY AMOUNT have an effect on the red blood cells of cats and dogs. I think that at low exposure the effects are usually sub-clinical, meaning there are no signs of toxicity. But I do believe that the red blood cells are affected at any level of consumption.

    I know there is plenty of information out there to support both sides of this debate and I know that plenty of people use garlic for fleas and in their dog’s food.

    I have a dog whose red blood cells are affected by any amount of garlic. She is a rare example of a dog that shows clinical signs of red blood cell damage at any level of consumption. I know she is VERY sensitive to the effects of garlic but her experience led me to do some research on garlic and dogs. Although it is true that most dogs do not show any clinical signs of garlic toxicity at low doses (research varies on what a low dose is), ALL dog’s red blood cells are affected by garlic ingestion.

    Here are a couple of links. The first says that the red blood cells of dogs are affected at any level of garlic consumption and the second says that cooked onions are still toxic, and we know that garlic contains a higher amount of the same red blood cell toxins that are in onions.

    “The organosulfoxides (sulfurs) in onions, garlic, leeks and chives react with the cell membranes of the red blood cells of dogs, causing the cells to lyse (explode). Cats are even more sensitive to the lytic effects of allium (onion family) toxicosis than dogs.

    It is a common myth that a small amount of onions or garlic is not harmful to dogs. In fact, many homemade dog treat recipes include garlic powder as a flavoring because dogs tend to love it so much. Dogs are more tolerant of garlic than onions, and small amounts of either often do not produce effects that are noticed.

    However, I believe that any amount of garlic or onions is unacceptable, because it always causes damage on a cellular level, whether or not we notice the effects of the damage and label it “toxic.”

    A small amount of garlic or onion ingestion will cause a small amount of subclinical hemolysis. That is, a small amount will cause a small amount of red blood cell explosion. Dogs need their red blood cells to oxygenate their brains and other important organs.

    A moderate amount of garlic or onion ingestion will probably cause your pet to feel light headed and lethargic, which may go unnoticed.

    A large amount of garlic or onion ingestion will cause clinical signs that are felt by the dog and noticed by the people. Signs may take several days to develop.”

    Regarding cooking:

    “The chemicals found in cooked, raw or dehydrated onions begin reacting with a dog’s metabolism soon after consumption, preventing the red blood cells from carrying oxygen to the body. Within a few hours, the patient becomes lethargic and has trouble breathing. Other clinical signs may include dark-colored urine or a yellowing of the gums (called icterus). The patient may also vomit up the onions or other foods consumed from the trash.”

  • Crazy4cats

    Well, actually I don’t know her intentions, but there are many that believe that garlic is toxic to dogs. Including a vet I visited last week with one of my cats. She was shocked and concerned that I feed my dogs garlic. She told me to stop. However, it has been working well for me so I plan to continue through November. I think it worked great at ridding my dogs of giardia and helpful with repelling fleas. But I still feel a little apprehensive at times due to other’s concerns.

  • aimee

    Ok.. just posted on that… you missed a decimal someplace so were off by a factor of 10. Instead of the 100 cloves your calculated dose would be more like 10.

    And as Kelly posted there is breed variation to sensitivity. I thought it interesting both case reports concerned schnauzers.. not a breed reported as sensitive. In the one case the dog ingested dumplings that contained garlic and chive.

  • aimee

    Aquariangt….0 .5% of Dani’s weight would be 1.4 ounces… so maybe equates to maybe 10-12 cloves??

    Or as grams using toxic dose reported as 5 grams/kg

    18lb = 8.18kg x 5grm/kg ~ 41 grms

  • aquariangt

    I’ve seen those, and others. In fact my culinary nutrition courses spent time on genetic makeup of certain families of plants

  • aimee
  • aimee

    Dori here are a few case reports in which dogs consumed garlic in a home setting with adverse effects.

    A schnauzer ate 60 grams baked garlic, became anemic and was hospitalized

    A min. schnauzer ingested dumplings made with garlic and chive and became severely anemic.

    The dose at which toxicity becomes clinically apparent in dogs has been reported at 5 grams/kg BW.

  • Crazy4cats

    Thank you. I had only seen the Dogs Naturally article. Now I have a couple new sites for info!

  • Cyndi

    If you squint real hard and move your face real close to the screen you can tell what those are! Lmao!

  • Cyndi


  • Dori

    I think it was just an argumentative type that DFA seems to attract from time to time. Just annoys me when people are giving erroneous information to people who are just trying to get some info on a particular food and how to do better by their animals. She had no facts or experiences to back anything up other than wikipedia which is at times a joke.

  • theBCnut

    the link was nothing more than a list of allium species and had nothing to do with garlic toxicity in any specie, and nothing at all to do with the actual conversation.

  • aquariangt

    “Blue Buffalo uses garlic. Garlic is toxic to dogs”

    “Don’t try to go back on what you said because someone called you out about obviously not reading the labels and only their bio”

    Your first two comments in this thread.

  • Kelly

    You have no idea how I have the information I do. I don’t need to state what I do for a living to know what I know and have an opinion. Feed your dog whatever you want. No one ever said in big letters on here not to feed them garlic. Oh wait everyone on here doesn’t read everything. They pull out what they want and fill in the rest.

  • Dori

    You said it’s like when someone consumes arsenic ( was the someone you were referring to not a human?). If not I stand corrected.

    Last remark from me is Yes arsenic is most definitely will have a cumulative effect if fed in small doses over a period of time. Garlic will not.

  • Dori

    You do know that anyone can put anything they want to on wikipedia right? Everything on wikipedia should be taken with a grain of salt. It has been proven so many times over the years that they are almost a joke now.

    Garlic and onions are related. Onions are toxic to dogs, garlic is not!

    I’m through responding to this thread. You will continue to believe what you believe , I will continue to believe the actual facts and experiences with garlic and dogs and humans in very large amounts.

    The only possible time I might agree about not giving garlic to dogs and/or humans is if they already have a tenuous bleeding disorder. It would also not be the typical dose in food that would affect the thinning of blood but I suppose I would maybe give them less. I’d have to give that more research and thought.

  • aquariangt

    Are you talking about your comments to the guy who said he liked BB then later said that he was looking for Organic Food? Because those were your first two comments. They also were digging up posts from quite a while ago. No one responded to the one that was clearly just being rude (in my head I used a different word that isn’t considered appropriate on this forum) We were all responded to your blanket statement of garlic being toxic to dogs. I saw both your posts, ignored them back when you posted them because you seemed to have no reason for being here, then chimed in when you (feebly) attempted to support your garlic comment. Kudos to you for trying to use google, but I suggest digging deeper than you did, and maybe something with a bit more meat than a copy/paste from a website article.

    I’d also like to ask how exactly I could “Troll that”? And what wouldn’t I be liking?

  • Kelly

    Omg. I never brought up humans. You did that all on your own. Plus again I will state for the 3rd time. I never said garlic wasn’t beneficial. It is in it’s own way. And again for the 3rd time. Every dog is different every clove is different and every opinion is different. I have only stated facts and answer questions anyone has had. Pus I never said anyone was wrong.

  • Kelly

    By the way the first 2 comments I posted were to the same person. So thank you for proving my point and not reading everything completely and to add even more to the topic of not fully reading something. I have never once said anyone was wrong. And pretty much everything I have posted has been answers to question that were asked. Troll that. And I hope you don’t like it.

  • Dori

    Kelly you brought the human aspect into your OP. It’s the same thing!!!!!!!!!!! The amount of garlic that a person or dog would have to consume to have adverse effects are more than likely not going to happen in a home, a food prepared at home fed as raw or cooked. Are you saying that you feel that garlic is cumulative???? Not so at all. It would take a huge amount of an over dose of garlic for either human or dog to have the effects your are implying. Possibly if you are a commercial grower of garlic or you grow a lot of garlic in your gardens and your dog consumed a large quantity, then yes, it is possible under those circumstances, possibly probably, for the outcome to be dire.

    I have three toy dogs 5 lbs, 6 lbs., & 7 lbs. They each get a clove of garlic minced or smashed into there food three times a week. I have been doing this for years. None of my girls have ever had an issue from eating garlic. It does do a lot for their health.

    I would suggest you peruse the articles that Cyndi has posted or do your own google search on the benefits of garlic and also the amount that both humans and dogs would need to consume to have it affect their blood system.

  • theBCnut

    They recommend 1/2 a clove a day or every other day for a dog of that size, so it would take 200 to 400 days to eat 100 cloves of garlic. I think we can assume that in 200 days, the dogs own body will eliminate some of that. Gosh, I’m quaking in my boots! And there isn’t even that much garlic in the food that engendered the original comment.

  • aquariangt

    Let’s take Dani for an example. Dani weighs 18 lbs. That’s 288 ounces.

    .5% of her body weight is 14.4 ounces

    An average clove of garlic weighs .11 oz. With your information of 80% of that being sulfoxide, that’s .08 ounces per clove of garlic. And i do all the ordering and inventory for a large food service operation, so I took that directly from my system.

    To get to 14.4 ounces I would have to feed nearly 100 cloves of garlic to get anywhere near toxicity levels for a single feeding

    Because of the benefits of garlic, and the way food is processed within a body, I can’t imagine even over time hitting anywhere near that.

  • Kelly

    When it comes to completely reading something about what is being talked about… I can ask the same question, directed right back to you.

  • Kelly

    The damaging effects of sulfur with animals are mostly brain damage, through malfunctioning of the hypothalamus, and damage to the nervous system. Laboratory tests with test animals (which I do not support) have indicated that sulfur can cause serious vascular damage in veins of the brains, the heart and the kidneys. These tests have also indicated that certain forms of sulfur can cause fetal damage and congenital effects. Mothers can even carry sulfur poisoning over to their young through mother milk. Finally, sulfur can damage the internal enzyme systems of animals.

    Many of us think of garlic as a healthy food that helps to fight infection and boost immunity, but to our pets garlic and onions (and also leeks and chives) may be too much of a good thing. Because sulfoxides make up 80% of the over all make up. These species of the Allium family contain a complex mixture of sulfur containing compounds (this is what gives them their distinctive odor). These sulfur compounds are able to bind with the hemoglobin inside the red blood cells of cats and dogs and cause the red blood cell to burst and die, creating anemia. Toxicity usually occurs with one large dose OR repeated small doses. A common cause of poisoning in cats is commercial baby foods containing onion or garlic powder. Consumption of greater than 0.5% of their body weight at one time can cause signs of toxicity. Japanese breeds of dogs (Pugs, Akitas, Lhasa Apsa, Shih Tzu, Chow) are more susceptible. Symptoms of toxicity will often occur several days after ingestion and include lethargy, rapid breathing, exercise intolerance, and possibly diarrhea.

  • aquariangt

    I’m not sure she’s so much a troll as she is aggressively uninformed. Not unlike the two V-Dog people who came on a rampage a few months back without any information to back them up

  • theBCnut

    Too true and time to move on!!

  • theBCnut

    Those were excellent articles!

  • Cyndi

    I think you’re fighting a never ending battle BC. I believe she’s a troll and just wanting to start trouble. She tried starting trouble with people who posted over a year ago and another one who posted 7 months ago…

  • theBCnut

    Did you even read what I wrote? Because your reply made no sense. Just because garlic is stronger than onion, does NOT mean a small amount of garlic will lead to toxicosis. I know they are related, that also has nothing to do with how much garlic with cause toxicosis. And since when are we talking about every different kind of allium on the planet, because if we are then we can go back to talking about people, because some of them are toxic to people. Let’s try logic.
    And do you think that someone is going to search and entire website and try to guess what you want them to see? The link was for the homepage. Send the link or 7 that you actually want people to look at.

  • aquariangt

    out of curiosity, can you tell me how much sulfur is toxic to a dog? And since you are so adamant about this, I’m going to assume you can tell me how much sulfur is in the garlic?

    And tell me exactly how garlic is just a concentrated form of onion? Because they come from the same family (even though the genetic makeup of them differs quite a bit) Do they give the same % of phytonutrients? If so, can you list those off and include the ones that are toxic and what levels?

  • Kelly

    1. I didn’t go into detail about dosage compared to size — because I quote from my last comment, “every dog is different.”

    2. The link does have information to do with garlic because there are articles about dogs consuming garlic. Not everything is always listed on the home pages.

    3. Garlic and onions are apart of the allium family and stronger than onions. in fact allium means garlic — so techniqually an onion is a form of garlic. So yes they relate. It’s like a lemon and a lime. They’re two different things but they both are citrus.

    So since Allium means garlic — There are over 100’s and 100’s of species of garlic. — Dogs and cats are very susceptible to poisoning after the consumption of certain species.

    So depending on which garlic it is, it can be highly toxic if a dog just simply licks it.

  • Cyndi
  • Cyndi

    There are plenty of people on here that feed their dogs garlic, I am one of them. My dog gets a clove of garlic 3 times a week & she is very healthy. By your accounts, my dog should be dead. I have read many, many articles that say garlic in moderation is fine for dogs and also beneficial. Garlic and onions are 2 different things and yes, I agree, onions are bad for dogs, but garlic is not!

  • theBCnut

    The dose in the study that found garlic to be toxic to dogs was 1/2 POUND of garlic per 100 pounds of body weight. Nobody in their right mind would feed that much and no dog food would add that much.

    The link you provided had nothing to do with garlic.

    How concentrated garlic is compared to onions has nothing to do with how much garlic will harm a dog. And the foods that have garlic in them do not have that much garlic in them, certainly not enough to be toxic in the amount fed for the size of the dog.

  • Kelly

    Not talking about humans consuming garlic, but dogs.

  • Kelly

    Fact: Garlic is 5X more potent than an onion. “The stronger it is, the more toxic it is.” Not to mention every dog is different.

    Fact: Since garlic is significantly more concentrated than an onion, an even smaller ingested amount will likely lead to toxicosis (any diseased condition due to poisoning)—as little as one clove of garlic can lead to toxicity in dogs and cats.

    Fact: Mike Richards – Garlic is a member of the onion family, high in sulfur, and given long term in small quantities can cause anemic reaction and severe bleeding in dogs, especially small dogs and cats.

    Fun facts, there are plenty more.

    By the way I have never once said that garlic is not beneficial in it’s own ways. I have simply stated that it is still toxic in small amounts over a period of time, not just in large quantities.

    If you don’t know all the facts and specifics you can’t really say that something is now true.

  • Kelly

    Fact: Garlic is 5X more potent than an onion. “The stronger it is, the more toxic it is.” Not to mention every dog is different.

    Fact: Since garlic is significantly more concentrated than an onion, an even smaller ingested amount will likely lead to toxicosis (any diseased condition due to poisoning)—as little as one clove of garlic can lead to toxicity in dogs and cats.

    Fact: Garlic is a member of the onion family, high in sulfur, and given long term in small quantities can cause anemic reaction and severe bleeding in dogs, especially small dogs and cats.

    Fun facts, there are plenty more.

    By the way I have never once said that garlic is not beneficial in it’s own ways. I have simply stated that it is still toxic in small amounts over a period of time, not just in large quantities.

  • Dori

    Kelly. There are many nationalities in the world that have been eating large amounts of garlic in their diets for many generations and have not suffered any ill effects. We would never dream of cooking food without garlic, and I’m speaking of a lot of garlic, in all our recipes. It’s a staple in our kitchens.

  • Dori

    Well said BC!

  • Cyndi

    Thank you BC! I couldn’t have said it better myself. I really couldn’t have, lol! I don’t know all the specifics and reasons why, I just know it’s not bad for them. 🙂 Why do people who think they know everything, have to come on here and say things that aren’t true? I hate that!

  • theBCnut

    No, small amounts of garlic do not cause major damage over time. Get your facts straight. It is nothing like arsenic. Small amounts of garlic are beneficial. Extremely large amounts cause Heinz Body Hemolytic Anemia, which is a small lesion on some of the red blood cells that causes them to be destroyed by the body. If not enough garlic is present, then the lesions don’t occur and the red blood cells are not destroyed, and there is no hemolysis and no anemia and no damage at all. Water is toxic too, if you consume too much of it, but you don’t see people advocating for drinking no water at all do you, or getting hysterical about the remote possibility that someone might maybe drink too much.

  • Kelly

    Well say it like this then. It’s like when someone consumes arsenic. It’s harmful in large doses. Now look at it this way, it does major damage over time no matter the quantity if consumed on a regular basis. Garlic does the same thing to dogs. So point is, small doses may not be harmful, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever be and shouldn’t be consumed on a daily basis.

  • Cyndi

    Why are you trying to cause trouble in a 7 month old comment?

  • Cyndi

    Garlic is only toxic to dogs in very large quantities. I’d be more worried about all the other questionable ingredients in some dog foods.

  • Kelly

    Don’t try to go back on what you said because someone called you out about obviously not reading the labels and only their bio.

  • Kelly

    Blue Buffalo uses garlic. Garlic is toxic to dogs.

  • Ben K.

    I wouldn’t doubt it. I want to get my dog on Organic Dog food.

  • losul

    In a highly processed kibble, it’s very hard to get all the needed nutrients without synthetic vitamins.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I believe there are only two kibbles that do not contain synthetic vitamins and minerals – Nature’s Logic and Carna4.

  • milan

    My question is about synthetic premixes, which are the synthetic batches of vitamins that are put back into dog food kibble after its been cooked because all of the natural vitamins die after cooking. I would like to get a list of dog food kibble companies that do not use synthetic premixes.

  • jslanders

    I was just at Blue Buffalo web site and read on some labels that there is some by-products and corn and oatmeal in some foods. YOU MUST REAT ALL LABELS PEOPLE!!!!

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  • your mom

    jk this is useful

  • your mkom

    yo mom

  • Carolyn Edwards

    Any food ,that has fat listed in the first four ingredients,and citric acid listed as an ingredient is a percursor for bloat,especially if you wet the food,this is from the latest studies from Purdue university,it increases the chances for it by 370%,anyone feeding Danes,Dobermans,Gsd’s,Rotts,Mastiffs,Bullmastiffs,Standard Poodles,deep chested breeds,should pay close attention to this,bloat is what leads to torsion,which is usually a death sentence for any dog.Purdue,has the information for this on their website,well worth reading.I highly reccomend Orijen,Back To Basics,or Raw,or homemade,split up into two feedings for lg. breeds.

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  • Shawna

    She is correct — kinda.. There are two very separate issues that can have the very same symptoms. Food allergies, which are actually not that common, and food intolerances. Food intolerances are fairly common and can be to many many different foods. My dog is intolerant of gluten grains like wheat and barley. I have another intolerant of chicken. Several dogs of regulars here on DFA can’t have potato, among other things. A local friend’s dog reacts to green beans and a friend in California has a sweet little girl that reacts to oats… Although technically correct, your vet was a bit misguiding in that comment… 🙁

  • Pattyvaughn

    Grains have protein and they are common, so they too fall under the heading of common protein source. My dog is intolerant of chicken, many grains, and tomato, that I know of so far. Many believe that feeding for gut health helps to keep a dog from getting allergies/intolerances, and feeding for gut health means variety, just like it does for people.

  • Tracey South

    a good vet told me , it is not really grains that dogs are allergic to , if they have a food allergy. she said it is common proteins, such as chicken, etc. She also said they used to recommend less common protein sources in the case of food allergies, like duck, salmon, bison etc. But these days, the food companions use all those previously uncommon ones so it is kind of a moot point.

  • Pattyvaughn

    They must not stop carrying foods that have been recalled or be all that careful if they carry Taste of the Wild. TOTW is made and owned by Diamond. TOTW has been recalled and Diamond has an extensive recall history. Great Life recently had an issue with one of their products, but because their ability to put “No Recalls” on their label was more important to them than your pets health, they didn’t do a recall, they did a “Product Withdrawl” instead. It didn’t have to be reported the same, so not too many people even heard that they were possibly feeding their dogs bad food, but that’s OK as long as they can still put “No Recalls” on their label. If they will do that, who knows what else they have hidden.

  • Raven

    We found a small local pet food store that pays careful attention to what food they sell. They research the companies that make the food strenuously, including how the food is cooked & processed. If a brand recalls its food, they stop carrying it.
    Orijen/Acana, Pioneer/Great Life, Nutrisca and Taste of the Wild are some of the brands they carry. We do a mixture of Acana and Great Life for our 2 dogs. They can be pricey and not a lot of stores carry these brands but we’ve noticed that our dogs have healthier coats and no stomach problems since we changed.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The FDA seems to be pretty much controlled by the giant corporations when it comes to what is and isn’t allowed in our food, unless and until enough people die from it.

  • CranberryCoco

    BHA isn’t banned from human food either. I guess the FDA should work on that.

  • Detlef

    It depends on the By-products used, but for the most part by-products aren’t good. They are whats left over and most of the time not deemed edible for human consumption but still used in pet food. As for Royal Canin the ingredients they use aren’t top quality like Blue Buffalo’s. They have by-products as well as corn gluten meal in most of their dry food varieties.

  • Dana

    I Thank You All For The Information That You All Have Given On This Post ,,, I have always tried to feed my dogs , good food . I have really learned alot from this wed site !

  • Jess

    It’s actually a terrible food that doesn’t even do AFCO feeding trials. It’s great at marketing thought. Do some research into what labelling byproduct means it’s not bad. Look for names from companies who spend their money on research not marketing. Beware of the grain free myth. Pet food legislation is terrible!! Look for Royal Canin.

  • Ben Kleschinsky

    A good Dog food brand is Blue Buffalo Products. They use no Chicken or Poultry by-products, No corn, No wheat, No soy, No artificial preservatives and no artificial flavors. Plus it meets the energy requirements, has naturally added Omega 3&6.

  • Linda Tough

    We were very luck. Don’t think I have ever been so scared in my life as when this happened to little Marlee. We are so careful with her diet now!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    WOW!! I’ve been in on a surgery where the same thing happened. You are really lucky. I’m glad your vets were on the ball that day.

  • Linda Tough

    A year ago I can very close to loosing my little girl due to preservatives in dog treats. She was fed some cheap treats the day before going in to get fixed and almost bled out on the table. It took 2 vets and 30 clamps to stop the bleeding on my 11lb little girl. Unnatural preservatives can be a silent killer!!! I now bake my own, and her blood work comes up clean.:)

  • ivi

    just viewed a youtube video about the death of millions of bees in Canada due to the toxic affects of a “corn” coating. I am worried about my dog and believe I will begin to cook my dog’s food myself from now on. Do you have a recipe?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I know what you mean. I live in a small rural area, so I do a lot of online shopping or drive long distances to find things.

  • Concerned in Panama

    Thanks Patty. As Nicole said, we’re very limited in our selection. I supposed even the top Vets here are subject to marketing dollars and are coerced into displaying brands like Royal Canin, Eukanuba and Hill’s as super premium when they’re in fact just average according to reviews I’ve been seeing online.

  • Pattyvaughn

    My suggestion would be to print out the list of 4 and 5 star foods and take it with you when you go to a pet boutique or what ever kind of pet store you have there, and see what is available. Then based on what is available to you, ask questions.

  • Concerned in Panama

    Which dog food do you buy in Panama? I feel foolish for feeding my puppy Pedigree for three months now. I hope I haven’t stunted her growth. I think Kirkland might be available at PriceSmart

  • Pattyvaughn

    It is part of the 8 different vitamin Es.

  • Tinabobina30

    Hi there! I’m just researching pet foods for my 9 week old boxer puppy and I’ve found Orijen. It has listed “mixed tocopherols” as a preservative. Is this bad? Thank you!  

  • Toxed2loss

    You’re welcome!

  • Unfortunately, Toxed, that certainly does answer my question. That’s to even logical to me – never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that Citirc Acid was made from corn. Dang it. Thanks my dear. : )

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Betsy,
    Citric acid is made from corn. Primarily GMO corn and corn waste products. Corn is naturally high in glutamate. Due to the amount and types of processing practices used in making “citric acid,” it is very high in free glutamate and Aspartic acids – excitatory neurotoxins. Citric acid is NOT vitamin C. Ascorbic acid or ascorbate is. Back when I was first having symptoms of immune system compromise, and my only symptom was sensitivity to glutamate, I learned by trail and error that citric acid gave me MSG symptoms. That’s when I researched it. That was aso on human grade citric acid… Not dog food grade, and we all know the lower standards used for pet food.
    Hope that answers your question. :-}

  • Citric acid is used as a preservative, right? Is that a better alternative to synthetic preservatives? Why, or why not.

  • Sebic01

    I hope you remember (as a vet student) that certain dogs cannot tolerate these preservatives. I have a dog that has seizures with any amount of BHA/BHT.

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  • Linda

    I wasn’t surprised when I saw you were a vet student. I have great respect for our veterinarians but some really need to get on board with the rest of us on pet food quality. If you do your research you wouldn’t argue that the food supplied at vet clinics does not have quality ingredients.

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  • CarlaS

    I am not a dog food expert or a vet, but I believe that foods that are as close to their natural state as possible are probably the healthiest.  I have attended many professional seminars given by nutritionists with phDs over the last 25 years and I keep hearing over and over again that whole foods have beneficial properties that have not even been discovered yet; properties that cannot be obtained from vitamins or supplements.  And, I’m guessing that – by the time a food is changed by cooking, processing, and preserving the way kibbles are, there can’t be much “real food value” left.  As for me, I don’t want even a little poision in my dog’s food, whether it’s a chemical or natural preservative.  I have found Mike’s website very valuable as I have navigated a long path to get my beautiful german shepherd healthy.  At least for her, we have found raw, free-range, preservative-free and antibiotic-free foods to have cleared up her allergies and skin problems.  It’s been a more expensive way to go, but she is worth it.  For those of us who are researching our options for feeding our beloved pets and keeping them healthy, I say “Thank you, Mike” and keep up the good work.  Not all of us have found value in our vet’s dietary recommendations.

  • Did you check out the links to the different preservatives?

    The following quote is taken directly from the ethoxyquin article:

    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.

  • this article lies

    They are dangerous..if given in too high amounts…just like ethoxyquin..which is perfectly safe, and actually a better preservative than vitamin E, in the amounts it is given in commercial pet foods

  • vet student

    THis is such a crap article. Ethoxyquin is used in the making of rubber because if it wasn’t there your tires would fall apart in a year. It prevents them from being oxidized since they are exposed to air and the sun. The amount of ethoxyquin used in pet foods is around 1,000x below the “harmful” levels. These “synthetic preservatives” are so much better at preserving food than “natural preservatives” Guess what, if you give too much Vitamin E (a natural preservative) it can have negative effects too.

    I’m a vet student.

  • teresa

    I got two poodles 2 months ago and didn’t know what to feed them that was the best so I searched the internet on all dog food ingredients and what they meant. It’s really terrible what is on the market to feed our dogs. The very best I have found so far is (BLUE) which I am feeding to my dogs right now. Pet Botanics Healthy Omega is another good one. In these are no grains, fillers, by-products, artificial colors, synthetic preservatives and some of the other ingredients that I have research are not in them also. Since my poodles needs some weight gain and so they will eat their food better, I also put some meat from Pet Botanics that’s in the roll in their dish and they eat every bite then.
    I also found out every treat I was giving to them have terrible ingredients that I didn’t know about until my research. So I also cut up the meat and give them as a snack because I know its not bad for them. This dog roll are ideal for delivering a full canine diet where the majority of protein is derived from real meat. I also give them (blue) snacks, not the meat but with fruits and yogurt in them.
    All this food and snacks are more expensive but my PETS are worth a little bit more for their health and the love they give back to me in return.
    Here are a list of things to look for in dog food ingredients that I have found to be very bad for them and will eventually kill them.
    MENADIONE, CHELATED, PROPLENGLYCOL, ETHOXYQUIN, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, PROPYL GALLATE, BHA-PUTYLATED HYDROXYANISOLE, BHT- BUTYLATED HYDROXYTOLUNENE, ETHOXYQUIN, TBHQ,TOCOPHEROLS, TOMATO POMACE is a by-product. These have been known to cause different cancers in animals especially liver and kidney. Some of the are even pesticides.
    Avoid artificial preservatives and colors, corn, soybeans- these are a by-products which is a no no, cereal grain – product, animal fat, corn gluten meal, poultry-by-product-meal.
    I’m sure there are so much more as I learn more about this that I will be letting pet owners be aware of.
    Here’s hoping for the best for our little ones and a life time of happiness.

  • Tina Summerell

    This website has been extremely helpful when searching for the best can and dry food for my precious dogs. I recently adopted two adorable kittens. Is there a similar website for cats/kitten food? Thanks!

  • Ashleah Vogel

    I appreciate all the information here, here are a few “safe brands” that I gladly recommend to anyone. Precise, First Mate, and Evangers. Precise is one of the only dog food companies that tests their ingredients as they come in to be processed, and when they’re finished to check that they are still balanced in the final product. First Mate is out of Canada and there are few stores that carry it, but it’s an excellent brand. Evangers is relatively popular and isn’t grain free but no corn, soy or wheat is used and it tends to do very well for most dogs. First Mate has a grain free line and Precise should be coming out with one with in the next year, hope this is helpful for recommendations!


  • Hi Marcy… According to Diamond Pet, (makers of Canidae), these foods do not contain ethoxyquin. Here’s a copy of the letter I received from the company’s staff veterinarian on July 7, 2010…

    “We are now using naturally preserved fish mean in all of our products. Even prior to the transition to natural mixed tocopherols (vitamin E), there were absolutely no health risks involved with feeding any of these foods. The switch to mixed tocopherols to preserve our fish meal was a response to customer demand. Fortunately, we were able to secure a supply of naturally preserved fish meal and shelf life studies have proven that we are able to maintain the product’s freshness throughout the shelf life of the product.

    “Homeland security does outline preservation using ethoxyquin, however alternative methods of preservation are available by special request. Our supplier has obtained all the required permits in order to use the natural preservative instead of ethoxyquin.”

    Janet L. Rettenmaier, DVM, MS
    Director of Veterinary Services

    According to a follow-up call with Diamond, the company made the switch to ethoxyquin-free fish meals in all of their products (Canidae, Kirkland, Diamond, TOTW, Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul and others) as of May 2010. Hope this helps.

  • Marcy

    I appreciate all the information you are providing for us… it’s a confusing world out there in the arena of dog food. I have used Canidae All Life Stages for a couple of years and my dogs have thrived on it – they look and feel great. Then I heard about Ethoxyquin and started to do some reading on line. I was under the understanding that the supplier to Canidae is Diamond and that they do use ethoxyquin in their foods. I emailed Canidae and they told me that they do not use ethoxyquin nor do their suppliers. I’m confused. Can you help?

  • Pam Williams

    Hello Mike: First off just wanted to thank you for your efforts in trying to educate pet owners of the dangers in commercial dog found. Over twenty five years ago I read a great book by Dr Wendell Belfield called How to Have a Healthier Dog. He was a Vitamin Vet in San Jose Ca.(Retired now) What you have talked about he was stating and warning clear back then. He warned about the use of BHA & BHT, how the commercial dog food companies were using waste from the slaughter houses, and of the rendering plants that use dead cats and dogs. How sad that this book has been out there for so many years yet so few know the dangers of most of the dogs foods out there. Back before commercial dog food my Grandparents raised Collies and all they fed them was table-scraps and raw foods the dogs lived into there twenty’s. So over the years I have tried to teach people to read the ingredients and to be wise in selecting their dogs food. Because what they find in their dogs food they will also find in their children’s food, and look at the allergies and illness our kids are having today. So thank you again Mike for all your doing to help bring awareness to people out there.

    Pam Williams
    The Hitch’n Post
    Dog Training Center

  • Hi Sara… Yes, according to the Blue Buffalo website, their fish meals are ethoxyquin-free. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of a cat food website similar to our dog food site. Hope this helps.

  • Sara

    Hi Mike,

    Two questions for you:
    1.) I recently switched my dogs over to Blue Wilderness Salmon and I was wondering if you know if this food contains ethoxyquin and, if so, if it is an amount to be concerned about?
    2.) Is there any equivalent version of your website available rating and comparing cat foods? There appears to be a lot more (and a lot clearer) info out there dealing with dog foods than cat foods…

  • Teresa Best

    I know there is not any fish or meat meals that contain preservatives in Dr. Harvey’s canine health & veg-to-bowl, because they don’t come with meat. That’s what makes it such a great dog food. It is a freeze dried mix which you add hot water to. Then after 8 minutes you add whatever protein (meat, beans, or eggs) you would like either raw or cooked & 1 tablespoon of oil, and feed it fresh to your dog. Check out their website, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

  • Hi Chris… This is indeed a problem (for us, too). I’ve never seen this information on an ingredients list. But many manufacturers (on their websites) do state when their fish meals are “ethoxyquin free”. If they don’t say so, you should assume ethoxyquin is in any dog food that has fish meal. I usually try to find out when I can (sometimes by calling customer service). Then I report my findings in directly in our reviews. Hope this helps.

  • chris B

    How do you know if the pet food manufacturer has or has not used fish or meat meals that contain preservatives. They dont have to put the preservative on their dog food label if THEY didnt add it, ie if it already came with the preservative?

  • Teresa Best

    I believe that anyone that has a pet in their life should feed them nothing but the best. Dr. Harvey’s pet products are made of human grade ingredients and NO PRESERVATIVES. The preservatives in the pet foods today, are probably killing our pets. Make the switch like I did, and I will guarantee your pet will be much happier & healthier.

  • Hi Harley… I can understand your frustration, here. But since I’m not a veterinarian, I’m not trained or licensed to provide specific advice for treating a particular health condition with a particular dog food.

    However, there are a number of very good dog foods specifically designed to support GI health. Try clicking on the Tags item on the top menu bar of our website. Then click on the link labeled “Digestive”. This will give you a list of product lines that contain at least one product claimed by the manufacturer to be appropriate for GI conditions.

    Run your choice by your vet and be sure to transition very gradually into the new food over the course of a week to 10 days. Hope this helps.

  • Harley Liss

    Hi Mike,
    I have a 13 year old male Vizsla. Becuase of a recommendation from my Vet over five years ago, I have been feeding him IAM’s low residue vet formula dry food. Recently this food was recalled and my vet suggested I use Hill’s gastro-intestinal formula. The Hills brand smelled so foul, that I started to google the food to get more info and found your website. Low and behold, you rate both the IAM’s and Hills formula’s only 1 star! 🙁 I had absolutely no idea how bad the ingredients were in these foods until I found your site. But now… I need/want to find a dry dog food that is five stars and also addresses the low residue digestive health. Do you have a recommendation? I would also like to find a canned food to mix into the dry – I’m still using the Iam’s low residue canned. Can you give me some ideas of what to try that I can buy in Chicago? Thanks so much.

  • Casey

    I used to work at a food manufacturing plant in Michigan. We had certain barrels used for floor sweepings. Food mix, dirt, dust, wood chips and splinters, paper bits, metal shavings, etc. are swept up all the time. I found out that those barrels were sent to animal food places, for use as dog food and pig feed. I wanted to know which company bought this stuff, but they would not tell me. That was 10 years ago. I wonder if this practice still goes on today..

  • Hi Tim… Thanks for your comments. However, I’m concerned that you may not have read the links in this article. Since other readers may do the same, I’ve updated this article to reflect some of the information covered in the linked posts.

    First, propylene glycol is indeed an anti-freeze. To be fair, this anti-freeze is far less toxic than its chemical cousin, ethylene glycol. In any case, propylene glycol has been shown to be toxic to dogs in larger doses… with a 50% chance of being lethal at doses of 9mL/kg (Peterson, Michael; Talcott, Patricia (2006), Small Animal Toxicology, St. Louis, Saunders Elsevier, p. 997)

    As I mention in my article about the chemical, although it is believed to be safe in smaller amounts, “it’s the continuous, day-after-day feeding of this controversial chemical that worries me”.

    Next, although BHT has been approved at controlled levels in cosmetics and some foods, the Select Committee of the FDA (2006) warns “uncertainties exist requiring that additional studies should be conducted”.

    Again, our concerns lie in the long term, daily use of BHT in food (not cosmetics).

    And finally… yes, even fat soluble vitamins can be toxic to the body. But the daily use of normal doses of vitamins (essential for life) are a far cry from the long term use of non-essential (and unnecessary) synthetic preservatives like the ones mentioned in this article.

  • tim villalobos

    Me thinks most anti-freezes are ethylene glycol not propylene glycol so don’t go off the deep end with that. Also polyethylene glycol is used in a lot of foods too. So not all gylcols are the same. Many of them are used for people foods, pharmceuticals, cosmetics, etc yeah but not ethylene glycol. That stuff is toxic to people and critters. Wiki it if you like…

    Also BHT is a common and powerful antioxidizer used to prevent rancidity in fats, oils, etc. Heck it is many oily, fatty foods that people eat. It is a great way to preserve cooking oils to extend their shelf life. It will even preserve gasoline in underground storage tanks – that is how strong this stuff is. I would be very careful with it but not treat it as persona non grata. It can help keep dog food or people food from becoming rancid unless you freeze it. I would rather not use frozen dog food; very inconvenient.

    Personally I use “Wolf King” dog food because it doesn’t have any of those glutens. (Gluten sources like China apparently don’t care if they poison your dog, cat, your infant or you for that matter.) Wolf King is made by a company out where I live in El Cajon, CA called “Solid Gold” and it is sold around here. It is very pricey aka expensive but worth it to me. Yeah they use alpha tocopherol as a preservative…. Vitamin E by any other name…

    As for the naturals, even tocopherols can be toxic in large amounts so natural isn’t necessarily better. They are fat soluable and most of the fat soluables can be toxic because your body will store them in fats. Water soluables tend to go the way of the urinal if your body doesn’t use them right away. That is why you need water soluable vitamins often but the fat soluables can be stored in your body a lot longer.

  • Nicole Hornberger

    Hi Mike,
    I live in Panama City, Panama, and there is a rather limited supply of brands available here. Thanks to your site I have been able to identify one brand (four star) that IS available, though not always. When it’s not, I have to buy other brands, and go with one of the three star foods I can find here.
    I just want to say thank you for this web site. I have sent the link to all my serious dog lover friends.

  • Sally

    Sally, I went to get the Bil Jac treats last night and I think they are not good to use. Not only is the preservative BHA in it, it also has chicken by-product meal. Chicken by -products could include eyeballs, feathers or worse. Cheaper brands are made with lower quality “by-products which are zapped with high heat which destroys the nutrients, then it is sprayed with grease so your dog will eat it. The preservative, BHA in the treats are bad, can cause thyroid cancer. Here is an article on it.

  • Hi Kim… thanks for your interesting comment and sharing the way you investigate dog foods. Initially, I was faced with those same concerns. Although this is an important factor in rating foods, I’m concerned with the sources of the individual ingredients and raw materials used to make these products.

    To the best of my knowledge, there are no laws requiring manufacturers to provide this information. Even our own “people food” contains (hidden) imported ingredients… critical information almost never clearly disclosed on the labels.

    But these days, that’s the way the food industry works… and much to our benefit. When I was a kid, strawberries were only available here in Virginia in the middle of the summer. Now, we get strawberries virtually all year long. It’s always summer somewhere. This past winter most of the fruits and vegetables we purchased came came from South America (Chile, Argentina, etc.).

    Just because a particular dog food is made “in house” is no guarantee that the ingredients used to make it are safe. You’re correct in saying that many dog food companies subcontract or outsource their manufacturing. And that’s the real problem… when something goes terribly wrong (like it did with melamine scandal of 2007), it affects lots of products… all at the same time. A catastrophe of major proportions.

    Outsourcing is a part of almost all industries… especially the pet food industry. If you avoid all outsourced dog foods you eliminate many of the finer quality choices.

    Thanks for your detailed contribution to our website. Because of your excellent points, I hope to address this issue in a feature article in the future.

  • wishaven animal rehabilitation

    During the 2007 Recall, I became a serious detective when it came to selecting commercial food (to use on occasion to supplement a home-prepared diet) for the critically or terminally ill animals who come into our rescue/rehab’s care.

    Nearly every food I fed, or had fed, was on the recall list! I ONLY purchased premium foods (Solid Gold, Wellness Core, Evo…) and was shocked to find that they were produced by “parent companies” (Menu Foods, etc.) who produced, on the same lines, poor quality grocery store brands.

    Besides learning to carefully look for the “red flag” items listed here, I started eliminating all foods that had these two little words on the label: “PRODUCED FOR:” or “DISTRIBUTED BY:” ! 99% of the time the manufacturer was not identified! Scary! So off to research again, often to find that the product came from a company involved in one of the recalls.

    I have found very few foods that are made “in-house,” without “out-sourced” ingredients. I am now RARELY feeding any kibble. At present, when I need something in an emergency/large intake situation (e.g., hoarder/puppy mill bust) I am feeding Fromm Family Four Star recipes. I’ve experienced/heard/read no negative feedback with it, and the dogs like it. The only concern I have is that it is very soluble.

    I have not visited this site in quite a while, but very much appreciate the valuable information available here.


    Kim Lea, Founder
    Wishaven Animal Rehabilitation
    High Point, NC

  • Hi Dave… The whole point of my article is to let my readers know that alpha tocopherol (a vitamin E derivative) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are both considered safe. My article states… ” What you mainly need to know here is that natural additives are usually considered very safe.” They are certainly NOT dangerous.

  • David

    a-tocopherol… vitamin E
    ascorbate… vitamin c
    sounds dangerous

  • Hi Janet… Thanks to your suggestion, I’m adding Exclusive Dog Food to my “To Do” list. Look for the review here on this website in the near future. Thanks for taking the time to write.

  • Janet Saunders


    Hello! I am a friend of Claudia’s. I have one of her chocolate labs Doc Riley. I am a breeder and I want to make sure that I am feeding my dogs and puppies the best possible diet. We are currently feeding them Exclusive. I would love for you to check out the ingredients and see what you think.

    Thank You,
    Janet Saunders

  • Hi Brenda… Haven’t yet reviewed Beef ‘n More. But thanks to your suggestion, I’m adding it to my “to do” list.

  • Brenda

    Is Beef n’ more a good dog food brand?

  • David

    wow i kinda had an idea of this… but this is too much ! my cat never liked wet cat food… maybe he was smart 🙂