Are Preservatives Bad For My Dog?

Are Preservatives Bad For My Dog?

The use of preservatives in dog food has become so widespread, it makes it challenging for dog owners to find one without them. Similar to processed and packaged human food, preservatives are used in dog food to extend the shelf life of the product and make them last longer. This convenience, however, comes at a cost and a very high one at that. Not only does the nutritional value of food degrade the longer it sits around, preservatives can have fatal affects for your beloved pets.

What Preservatives Are We Talking About?

Commercial pet foods, whether dry or wet, and even some raw food products, may contain preservatives which serve different purposes to prolong the shelf life of the product. The main four categories of preservatives are as follows:

Synthetic Antioxidants

The most common kinds of synthetic antioxidants are BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). These are commonly used to prevent the oxidation of fats and oils in dog food.

Natural Antioxidants

These includ tocopherols (vitamin E), rosemary extract, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) which are also used to slow down spoilage caused by oxidation.

Chemical Preservatives

Chemical preservatives in dog food are often found in the form of ethoxyquin, propyl gallate, and propylene glycol. They are utilised to inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and molds.

Salt and Sugar

Sodium nitrate, as well as excessive amounts of salt and sugar, are also commonly used to maintain the colour and flavour of a dog food product, as well as prevent bacterial growth.

Any dog food that is designed to be stored for a prolonged period of time, such as dog rolls, commercial pet food, kibbles etc, can contain any one (or multiple) of these preservatives.

Why Are Preservatives Bad For Dogs?

High levels of preservatives in dog food can cause digestive disorders and nutrient imbalances, leading to adverse flow-on affects to a dog's overall health and vitality.

Preservatives can disrupt the delicate balance of gut flora and impair the absorption of nutrients, including vitamin B; an essential nutrient to dogs. One of the most devastating affects is thiamine deficiency (Vitamin B1) which can cause the brain to have a neurological breakdown. Signs of thiamine deficiency include decreased energy levels, poor appetite, compromised immune function, and neurological problems.

Why Do Dogs Need Vitamin B?

Vitamin B is involved in numerous bodily functions for a dog. It helps to convert food into fuel, metabolize protein and fats, and regulates the proper functioning of the nervous system. Dogs require a sufficient intake of B vitamins to support their growth, maintain healthy skin and coat, and promote optimal organ function. However, the presence of preservatives in dog food can hinder a dog's ability to absorb this crucial nutrient.

This is why it's crucial to ensure your dog consumes fresh, minimally processed food without the presence of harmful preservatives, in order to support their overall health and vitality.

At Raw & Fresh we have ZERO preservatives in our dog food! We make our food fresh every week and deliver it every week. We want our furry customers to be the happiest and healthiest they can be.