Beware! Your Pup Can Get Cancer from Processed Dog Foods

“My dog has always eaten good dog food, and we do not feed him from the table or give other foods. He is only 8 years old and now has cancer. Did my dog get cancer because of his processed dog food?” This question is from a pet owner named Maria in PetHelpful’s Ask A Vet section.

Many fur parents share similar concerns about whether processed dog foods are actually detrimental to their dogs’ health. These foods are very popular: kibble, semi-moist packs, and canned. But are these really healthy? Do they not contain preservatives or other chemicals that can cause serious illnesses later in life?

Photo: YouTube/AnimalWised

In answer to these questions, Dr. Mark dos Anjos provided the following knowledge from reputable sources:

First, the prevalence of cancer in dogs is rising. Among purebred dogs, it is estimated that 27% of them will die from this disease. Although some dogs are genetically predisposed to develop cancer, both environment and genetics play a vital role in its occurrence.

Second, another probability for why dogs are getting more sick with cancer is processed dog food.

According to Dr. dos Anjos, there are many carcinogenic components in processed dog foods, which include Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs). HAAs form in meats that are cooked at high temperatures, known to cause cancer in humans and other living creatures.

Photo: YouTube/AnimalWised

Other carcinogenic chemicals in processed dog foods are:

  • Ethoxyquin. This is used as a food preservative and also utilized in many industrial processes, such as the production of rubber.
  • Propylene Glycol. This moistening agent is responsible for preventing bacterial growth in dog food to prolong its shelf life for months.
  • Aflatoxin. This environmental toxin comes from mold in grain used in dog food.
  • Red Dye. An additive to make dog food appear like real meat.
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole. BHA is another food preservative that’s banned in Japan, Australia, and other countries. It helps to prevent fats and oils from becoming rancid, but it can cause cancer and disruption to functions of hormones.
  • Tertiary butylhydroquinone. TGHQ is similar to BHA that prevents rancidity in fat-containing dog foods.

It should be noted that even when a dog food has been approved and declared as complete, it may still have cancer-causing chemicals, along with mold and bacteria, that are dangerous to your dog’s health.

Photo: YouTube/AnimalWised

What, then, should you feed to your dog?

Dr. dos Anjos mentioned an independent study that was funded by the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Foundation and published in an animal science journal that showed dogs on a raw food diet, in comparison to those on processed food, had fewer skin, ear, and other health problems. However, cancer prevalence was not included in the study.

Still, a raw diet appears to be healthy for a dog’s gut microbiome. Something that a probiotic supplement and processed dog food can’t easily provide.

Regarding raw dog food, the American Kennel Club has alsoshared further knowledge to guide pet owners: “Raw dog food can be homemade, store-bought, freeze-dried, or dehydrated. A raw diet usually includes organ meats, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, dog-safe fresh fruits and vegetables, and a dairy product such as yogurt. Advocates of raw food diets cite these benefits: shinier coats, healthier skin, improved dental health, increased energy, and smaller stools.”

Photo: YouTube/AnimalWised

But the AKC also mentioned that there are a number of veterinarians who advise dog owners to take caution since raw diets are not right for dogs who live with kids or persons with weak immunity. The preparation, handling, and sanitation of raw food for dogs needs extreme care. Also, dogs who have cancer, pancreatitis, and other illnesses may need cooked food; the same case with puppies.

Moreover, the organization said that the American Veterinary Medical Association does not approved of unregulated feeding of raw foods and discourages “the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens, because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs, as well as humans.”

Now, on the matter of processed dog foods, we must not put all the blame of the rising cancer prevalence on it, according to Dr. dos Anjos. We have to consider other environmental toxins to which our pets get exposed, such as microplastics and air pollutants.

Hence, if we want to keep this kind of life-threatening condition from afflicting our pets, we need to provide them with the best diet. Or if you want to continue feeding your dog with processed food, just make sure that it does not contain the carcinogenic chemicals listed above.

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