The food we eat appears to be full of additives. Many are intended to boost our health and we accept them without question. The same is true for pet food. We notice that there are all kinds of chemicals added to the food and we have the impression this is going to make the cat or dog much healthier. That could be a real misconception. There are some chemicals that do the exact opposite and cause health to deteriorate.
The primary chemicals that are used in pet foods are preservatives. These are artificial and are used to prevent the food from spoiling. They include tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and butylated hyrdoxytoluene (BHT). Ethoxyquin is also a commonly used preservative chemical. These are taking the place of natural preservatives because they are less expensive and have a longer preservative life to them. However, the trouble is the question of toxicity. Ethoxyquin is a preservative but is also used as a hardening agent to make synthetic rubber, and is furthermore used as a pesticide. It is a possible cause of blood and liver problems in a dog. BHT and BHA are both suspected of having compounds which lead to cancer in pets, and are still being used in commercial dog food. Propylene Glycol (PG) is derived from a chemical which is also used in antifreeze, which is very toxic to canines. No matter what the advertisers say, your pet can be placed at risk if PG is used as a moistening agent in the dog food.
The coloring of pet food contains danger. Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, and Blue 2 are capable of causing hypersensitivity reactions comparable to attacks of allergy. Ingredients used to produce caramel color have been identified as containing cancer agents. The irony of all this is that artificial food coloring really does not provide any attraction for a pet. It is the human owners who seem to be more attracted to the various colors.
Some chemical additives are from natural products and seem to be safe but they are not. Corn syrup is used frequently in pet food; this can lead to diabetes and weight gain. With all of these dangers, some of which are blatant, a person may wonder why pet food companies use preservatives at all. A primary reason is expense. These preservatives, although dangerous, are much cheaper than natural preservative such as rosemary or sage. Using dehydration is a way of preserving food but it reduces a product’s volume which a manufacturer not want to have happen. There’s no other reason there’s a little bit more sinister.
Food companies will use fats from restaurants. These are not allowed in human consumption but can be used in pet food. The same is true for meat that is going rancid. The preservatives are a way of hiding the odor of the rotten ingredients from the pet owner. This means that a pet owner may be buying what he or she thinks is healthy food, but is actually very dangerous to the health of the pet. It is no wonder that the lifespan of pets is approximately half of what it was 60 years ago. Back then such preservatives were not used at all.
Pet owners need to be a little more discriminating. They cannot accept at face value what the label says about the food content. It is essential to know what chemicals are going to be a health problem for your little friend. The label of any pet food has to be examined carefully. If some of the ingredients happen to be any of the chemicals mentioned above, it is a smart idea to not purchase the food. Natural pet food that contains no preservatives is going to cost a little bit more. However, it does not contain the additives that will cause cancer. An added bonus is that natural ingredients such as herbs may in fact taste better. Your cat or dog may appreciate the change to a healthier brand of pet food.
Being a responsible pet owner is more than just making sure the pet is properly vaccinated. A good owner is going to be very careful about the diet that his or her pet is eating. The intention is to allow your little friend to live as many years as possible. Cancer causing agents can be avoided by inspecting the label. A little caution goes a long way in preserving the health of your pet.