Preservatives in Dog Food: A Dog Owner Dilemma

Dog Food Matters

Without preservatives the shelf life and safety of most processed foods would be limited if not impossible. Preservatives inhibit bacterial and fungal growth such as molds. They prevent spoilage, stabilize nutrients and maintain flavor. Antioxidant preservatives protect from the oxidation of fat and prevent rancidity. Preservatives serve the same function in dog food. But health concerns about synthetic preservatives worry many dog owners. Owners are demanding more “natural” preservatives unaware of the unintended consequences.

 The easiest way to avoid all of controversy and problems with preservatives is to switch from commercial dog food altogether. Homemade dog food does not need preservatives. Refrigeration and freezing preserve the nutrients and flavors without chemical additives.

Synthetic Preservatives

Ethoxyquin, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) and propylene glycol have commonly been used in dog food. These preservatives have the advantages of being inexpensive, very stable during the extreme heats of dog food processing, and required in very small amounts.

Ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT and TBHQ have various concerns of cancer risks in humans. Although the evidence is not direct many manufacturers have voluntarily discontinued the use of some and…

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