Did you know that many popular dog food brands feature harmful, cancer causing ingredients? These ingredients are cost effective for manufacturers, but detrimental for our four-legged friends. When shopping for your dog’s next meal, you should be aware of these cancer causing foods for dogs.
Preservatives, fillers and chemicals are just some of the ingredients included in common dog food brands that can do more harm than good. We must stay educated on what is safe for our dogs, as they depend on us to provide them with healthy food.
When possible, we always recommend making homemade dog food. This way, we know exactly what our dogs are eating. There are plenty of healthy dog food recipes available online, featuring ingredients such as organic meats, healthy vegetables, and more.
This is one of the best ways to ensure that your dog is eating a healthy diet free of preservatives, fillers, GMOs and other harmful ingredients. Of course, we don’t all have the time to prepare our dog a homemade meal everyday.
Therefore, we have put a list together of the top 10 cancer causing foods for dogs. This list features the ingredients to always avoid when purchasing dog food. Whenever you are unsure if a dog food brand is safe for your pet, consult with your veterinarian. We hope that this list helps you make an educated decision for your dog food choices.
10 Cancer Causing Foods for Dogs
Ethoxyquin is a commonly found preservative in dog food. Believe it or not, it was actually developed as a herbicide. So, why are we feeding this to our dogs?
Dog food manufacturers use this preservative since it is cheap, however it is linked to a plethora of health problems. Not only can this preservative cause cancer of the liver (Błaszczyk et al. 2013), spleen, stomach, and skin, it is also linked to kidney and liver damage, immune deficiency syndrome, and blindness.
Dog foods with fish meal will typically contain ethoxyquin.
This is because the U.S. Coast Guard requires that all fish meal transported by boat be treated with ethoxyquin, according to USDA.gov website (PDF). All dog food with animal protein meals and animal fats are treated with preservatives. This includes fish meal, chicken meal, beef meal, lamb meal, and so on.
Some dog food manufacturers use natural preservatives instead of toxic ones such as ethoxyquin, so you should try to buy those brands for your dog. Keep in mind that legally, dog food manufacturers have no requirement to disclose preservatives added to ingredient before it reaches the pet food manufacturing plant. This means that although dog food may contain ethoxyquin, manufacturers aren’t necessarily required to put it on the label.
The more fat that is in a product, the more preservatives the product will need. With that being said, you should look for lower fat content. Always check with your veterinarian when purchasing a new brand of dog food, as they will know which brands are potentially cancer causing.
2. Butylated Hydroxyanisole
Butylated hydroxyanisole, or BHA, is a potent, dangerous preservative commonly found in pet foods. BHA is so dangerous that it is featured on the list of Known Carcinogens and Reproductive Toxicants, according to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (see the PDF here). It can be responsible for kidney damage in both dogs and humans.
These cancer causing foods for dogs are used to prevent food spoilage, but can be incredibly harmful. It has been linked to cancer. While most dog foods will contain some form of preservatives, natural preservatives are a much safer option. Look for dog foods with vitamin C, vitamin E, or even plant oils such as rosemary oil.
3. Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is the main ingredient in antifreeze. It is also used in many commercial dog foods, and some companies have been caught and accused of poisoning dogs. It is a harmful substance, that has a sweet flavor which appeals to dogs. However, it has been linked to many health problems.
Lower quality dog food brands will commonly use propylene glycol to mask up the flavor of the food. One health problem associated with this is the simple fact that dogs can become addicted to this sweet taste, and will refuse to eat healthier food when their owner upgrades.
Aside from that, propylene glycol may be risked to cancer in dogs. The best way for us to keep our dogs away from propylene glycol is to avoid any dog food that features it as an ingredient.
This may be one of the most toxic cancer causing foods for dogs. Aflatoxin is such a toxic ingredient that it is actually banned in many states. However, in the states that still allow aflatoxin, such as Indiana and Oklahoma, it could still be contaminating your pet food.
Aflatoxin is a byproduct of mold, and one of the more dangerous ingredients in pet food brands to watch out for. Overall, it is a poisonous, cancer causing toxin. Not only can dog foods contaminated with aflatoxin cause cancer, they can also cause other health problems such as liver damage. Liver cancer is actually the most common type of cancer associated with aflatoxin.
In states where aflatoxin is still allowed, you should check your dog food label and search for the ingredient. Pet food manufacturers have a way of finding loopholes to avoid labeling ingredients, so just in case, it’s best to always do your research on a brand of dog food. Check online for reports of aflatoxin, and check with your veterinarian before deciding on a dog food brand for your dog.
5. Blue Dye Coloring
Blue food coloring, specifically Blue 1 and Blue 2 food coloring, can be very dangerous to animals. It has been linked to brain tumors, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest has made a whole chart explaining the dangers of each type of coloring. Dog food does not have to blue to contain these harmful dyes, the ingredient can still be found in many dog food products.
Check the ingredient list for every brand of dog food you purchase and avoid any dog foods with blue dye listed. Try to feed your dog food that only features organic and natural ingredients, as this is the best way to ensure there are no harmful dyes included in the food.
Some may argue against or for this, but generally, even if grains are not particularly bad for dogs, they are also not necessarily healthy for dogs too. We know that dogs in the wild do not consume grains and can survive without them. Dogs have never evolved on grains, which is partially why they should be avoided now. But the most important fact about grains is that they feed cancer.
The Cancer Treatment Centers of America website backs this up, stating that diets high in carbohydrates raise the risk of cancer over time. This is true for humans and dogs. Grains are packed with simple carbohydrates and starches, also known as simple sugars. Cancer cells grow stronger on diets of simple sugars.
Therefore, dog foods with any type of grains listed as an ingredient are best to avoid. Not only is there a higher chance for these foods to feed/cause cancer, but they will also accelerate the growth of cancer should your dog already have it.
Carrageenan is found in many dog food products, even natural dog foods. It is a thickener and emulsifier made from seaweed. While it may be natural, it can cause gastric inflammation in both humans and animals.
This can cause many health problems for your dog, which is why it should be avoided. Always check the ingredient label on your dog food, as even natural brands can feature carrageenan.
8. Food Industry Waste/Byproducts
Unfortunately, pet food manufacturers will commonly use food industry waste products in the production of dog food, a common reason why dogs develop upset stomachs. Food industry waste products include expired grocery store meats, animals that were sick and died, restaurant scraps and cancer causing foods for dogs.
The way to check for this is to keep your eye open for pet food labels that include ingredients such as animal fat and bone meal. It is also important to note that ingredients marked as animal fat or bone meal commonly contain sodium pentobarbital. This is used by veterinarians to euthanize animals.
Byproduct is the internal remains of an animal. This is not muscle meat. Byproducts can include diseased tissues, organs, and tumors. As humans, we would not want to eat anything possibly contaminated with sick animals, so why would we feed them to our dogs?
At least we are able to make the conscious decision when it comes to putting food in our bodies, our dogs don’t have this option. Therefore, it is our job to make sure they aren’t eating anything potentially harmful, even cancer causing. Avoiding dog food brands featuring byproducts is one of the best ways to keep our furry friends safe.
We all hear about how bad GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are for humans, but did you know they are just as harmful for dogs? GMOs can be linked to many different diseases, including cancer.
GMOs are used to accelerate the growth of crops, and typically find their way into dog food. Many dog food brands claim to be GMO free, however, unless the product is completely natural, it likely has GMOs in it.
Over 90% of soybean and corn grown in the United States is genetically modified. Many pet foods feature these in their ingredients, so unless your pet food is certified organic, it likely is contaminated with GMOs. The best way to avoid feeding your dog harmful GMOs is to consult with your veterinarian about certified organic dog food options.
10. Corn and Corn Syrup
This is one of the most common cancer causing foods for dogs. Corn is an inexpensive filler commonly found in dog foods. It can mold or develop fungus over time, which can be very harmful for your dog. Mold and fungus can cause plenty of health problems, including death. It is best to avoid dog food brands that include corn in their ingredients.
Corn syrup is very dangerous for dogs. Corn syrup is a sugar added to dog food to help “sweeten” your dog’s palate. The first thing to keep in mind is that dogs do not need any type of sweetener added to their food. Naturally, dogs don’t eat sweet things in the wild, so they don’t need them in their diet.
Excess sugar can lead to plenty of health problems in dogs, including hyperactivity and weight gain. Also, it is important to remember that cancer cells love sugar, they feed off of it. Therefore, excess sugar in dog food can cause the dog to have cancer later on. Also, if a dog already has cancer, and consumes sugar, the cancer can grow.
The Final Say On Cancer Causing Food for Dogs
There is evidence that these cancer causing foods for dogs listed above can be very dangerous to our pets over time. Some are simply theories, however, while some are factual and science-based. It is best to be mindful of what we feed our dogs to avoid any risk and substitute for healthier options if possible.
Due to having to lower manufacturing costs, cheaper dog food brands are usually more likely to contain these cancer causing foods for dogs. They are able to keep their low prices by including these terrible ingredients in the food.
When it comes to purchasing dog food for your dog, it is best to make the investment for a better brand. It may cost more now, but it will save you from expensive veterinarian bills in the long run. After all, it avoids any potential risk.
READ NEXT: 10 Brands with Most Dog Food Recalls