Non Toxic Dog Food
Toxic dog food? How is that even a thing? Is it true that these big name brands which boast about having the healthiest products for every size dog at every stage of life could actually be hazardous to their health? Sadly...yes.
Why is it that dog food, even when regulated by the FDA, can contain such hazardous chemicals? Well, it’s because most commercial pet food is feed-grade rather than human-grade. Feed-grade is less regulated and lower quality than human-grade. So, even if companies claim that their products are healthy, they may still use subpar ingredients.
Let’s examine the ingredients in a popular bag of dog food, shall we? These are the ingredients of Purina's Beyond Grain Free Dry Dog Food with Chicken and Egg. I picked this brand because it is marketed as “natural” and going “back to basics” using “real” ingredients. The toxic ingredients are italicized.
Chicken, chicken meal (source of glucosamine), pea starch, cassava root flour, canola meal, dried egg product, beef fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, dried beet pulp, dried yeast, pea protein, natural flavor, dried apples.
“Essential Nutrients Added for a Complete and Balanced Meal”: Potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, mono and dicalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.
- Chicken Meal: Meat and bone meal fall into the 4D category of “meat” meaning: dead, dying, diseased, disabled. (Subpar, indeed.)
- Beef Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols: According to the FDA, animal fat is likely to contain remnants of diseased euthanized animals and could carry those lethal drugs.
- Natural Flavor: Any ingredient that isn’t disclosed is always cause for concern. Why wouldn’t the company list out the components of this flavor? Some could argue, like fragrance, that is could be considered “trade secret”. Here at NTR, we don’t think any ingredients should be kept secret, ever.
- Copper Sulfate: Copper sulfate is a common component in many pesticides! It is possible for animals (and humans) to be poisoned from exposure. Eating “large amounts” for humans could result in nausea, vomiting, and even kidney and other internal damage; Animals face similar risks!
- Menadione: There are a lot of warnings around human use of this synthetic source of K3 including liver toxicity kidney issues and hemolytic anemia. In fact, it has been banned as an over-the-counter supplement because of the risk of “large doses”.
- Sodium Selenite: Yet another supplement which is considered toxic in high doses.
What’s so hard about toxins and dog foods is that many studies say these ingredients are okay in small doses but toxic at large quantities. Generally, you feed your dog the same food multiple times a day, so where does that exposure fall under these vague descriptions of “small doses” or “large quantities”? Multiple times a day, every day, sure feels like it falls more on the large quantity side of the spectrum.
What You Can Do
News like this can be disheartening. None of us want to feel like we’ve been feeding our loved ones toxins. Don’t worry, there are lots of ways to eradicate this and give your fur baby all the nutrients and loving it needs!
It’s easier than ever to get your hands on some healthy and delicious doggo nums. We suggest doing some research to find non toxic food that fits your pup’s specific needs. Find foods that are toxin-free as well as ones without low-quality ingredients like high in corn, wheat, and meat by-products (which by the way, have little nutritional value for animals). One last note, kibble is generally less nutritious for your pets, but there are a few brands that we can get behind.
Here are some of our favorite dog foods:
- The Honest Kitchen
- Just Food for Dogs
- Lucky Dog Cuisine
- Grandma Lucy’s
- V-Dog (kibble)
If you want to be rad and make your own pet food, there are tons of resources out there on how to do so! Here’s a simple and healthy recipe to get you started.
Bree is a vegan, coffee and beer loving, intersectional feminist who is particularly invested in health. She has a degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from CSULB, where she spent her time turning her passions into academic activism. When she’s not busy spreading awareness on living a non toxic lifestyle, she is most likely taking a long bath, cooking extravagant vegan food, or crying about dogs.