An EWG analysis found troubling levels of fluoride in 8 of 10 dog foods tested. The concentration of fluoride was up to 2.5 times higher than the safe level the EPA sets for drinking water. Some puppies may be exposed to five times this limit.
The fluoride in dog food originates in bone meal and animal by-products. EWG recommends choosing dog food brands free of bone meal and meat by-product ingredients like chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, chicken meal and beef meal.
Most pet owners consider their four-legged companions beloved members of their family. With everything else to keep track of, the diet of your pet can easily get tossed on the backburner. Unfortunately, your pet’s health is as dependent on the food you serve as the rest of your family.
Fluoride, it seems, may be a particular problem, as many pet foods contain some form of bone meal, which is believed to be the main source of fluoride in commercial pet foods.
The Power of Advertising is Just as Potent in the Pet Food Industry
As you probably know by now, the food industry spends millions of dollars each year influencing your dietary habits, and the pet food industry is no different. But despite advertising claims and pictures of happy puppies, the majority of commercial pet foods are far from optimally healthy.
Much of the so-called “healthy pet foods” on the market contain inferior meat meals, cheap grains like corn and soy, fillers, by-products, food coloring, pesticides, preservatives, and other contaminants, including fluoride.
Pet food has simply not gained the same amount of scrutiny as human foods, and only when widespread disaster struck did the quality of pet food ingredients become the talk of the town. You may remember the melamine mass-contamination that rocked the pet food industry last year. Since it led to thousands of sick and dead pets around the country it was impossible to ignore.
Fluoride, on the other hand, is more insidious, and likely will not cause sudden death. But it is a potent toxin that can have devastating long-term health effects, both in humans and in pets.
Dangerous Levels of Fluoride Detected in 80 Percent of Commercial Pet Food
When the Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a survey of ten national brands of dog food, they discovered that all but two contained “potentially dangerous” levels of fluoride.
Unfortunately, no one really knows what the safe levels of fluoride for animals might be and there are no standards for pet foods, but eight of the brands contained fluoride in amounts between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum legal dose in drinking water.
We also know that 2 grams of fluoride is enough to kill an adult, and just 500 mg is enough to kill a child. To those of you not familiar with the metric system, a teaspoon is 5 grams. So less than one half teaspoon of fluoride will kill most adults and one tenth of a teaspoon will kill most children.
In the U.S., people have died, and many have become sick, when faltering fluoridation equipment has pumped excess fluoride into the water. And, since fluoride is used as anactive ingredient in a number of pesticides, we also know it’s definitely deadly to a number of smaller critters, in small amounts.
At an average of 8.9 mg of fluoride per kilogram of dog food, the sampled brands also contained far higher amounts of fluoride than what is associated with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer that typically occurs in young boys (see EWG’s exposure graph below).
This could potentially be a very serious, hidden problem, as dogs may be even more vulnerable to osteosarcoma than we are.
According to the EWG, the osteosarcoma rate is nearly 10 times higher in dogs than in humans. Like canaries in a coal mine, the fates of our pets may well show what we’re in for once we reach certain toxic saturation levels. And when it comes to fluoride, your exposure to this toxin is so pervasive, your chances of experiencing its devastating effects just keeps getting higher.
Other human health problems associated with fluoride overconsumption include:
How Does Fluoride Cause So Many Health Problems?
In the 1970’s, Austrian researchers proved that as little as 1 ppm (part per million) fluoride concentration can disrupt DNA repair enzymes by 50 percent.
When DNA can‘t repair damaged cells, your body ages fast…
Put plainly, fluoride prematurely ages your body, mainly by distorting the shape of enzymes. When enzymes get twisted out of shape, they can‘t do their jobs. This results in collagen breakdown, eczema, tissue damage, skin wrinkling, genetic damage, and immune suppression. Practically any disease you can name may then follow.
All systems of your body are dependent upon enzymes, so when fluoride damages them, it can lead to problems in with your:
- immune system
- digestive system
- respiratory system
- blood circulation
- kidney function
- liver function
- brain function
- thyroid function
What are You REALLY Feeding Your Pet?
According to the EWG, the main source of fluoride is the bone meal and animal by-products that are so pervasive in commercial pet foods. It’s difficult to find dog- and cat food that does not contain some form of either.
What most people don’t realize is that ingredients like chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, chicken meal and beef meal are nothing but cheap fillers that do not promote optimal health in your pet.
It’s important to remember that dogs and cats evolved to consume live, unprocessed foods, and once you remove the raw food, you disrupt nearly every important biochemical pathway in their body. This is a prescription for disaster, and maintaining your pet on completely cooked and refined foods will no doubt impact their health in a negative way.
In fact, a growing number of veterinarians state that processed pet food (kibbled and canned food) is the number one cause of illness and premature death in modern dogs and cats.
Knowledgeable veterinarians have wisely forfeited the concept that cats can become trendy vegetarians and that dogs can thrive on an entirely grain-based diet. And if you’re interested in keeping your companion in good health for as long as possible, so must you.
Matching your pet’s current diet as closely as possible to their ancestral diet is essential if you want a healthy, thriving cat or dog.
Dr. Karen Becker, the residing integrative wellness veterinarian and pet expert on our new site MercolaHealthyPets.com, recommends that if you are unable or unwilling to feed your pet a species appropriate RAW food diet, then your next best choice is USDA approved canned foods.
Her last choice would be a dry food (kibble), made from human-grade ingredients with little to no grains or meal fillers, along with plenty of water.
For more in-depth information about proper pet nutrition and other issues concerning your four-legged companions, please review the articles on MercolaHealthyPets.com – your one-stop information shop for keeping your pets as healthy as yourself.