An independent laboratory test of popular dog food brands, commissioned by Environmental Working Group, revealed that the food we buy for our pets contains high levels of fluoride, a contaminant that may put dogs' health at risk.
Eight major national brands marketed for both puppies and adults contained fluoride in amounts between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum legal dose in drinking water, and higher than amounts associated with bone cancer in young boys in a 2006 study by Harvard scientists (Bassin 2006). All 8 brands contain bone meal and animal byproducts, the likely source of the fluoride contamination.
Scientists have not studied the safety of high doses of fluoride for dogs.
Fluoride levels ranged between 7 and 11.2 milligrams (mg) of fluoride per kilogram (kg) of dog food, with an average of 8.9 mg/kg in the 8 contaminated brands. In contrast, 2 dog food brands, one with vegetarian ingredients and one made by a small manufacturer, did not contain detectable levels of fluoride.
While scientists have not determined how much fluoride is safe for dogs, they have found that people who consume excessive fluoride often develop mottled teeth (dental fluorosis) and weakened bones, leading to more fractures. High fluoride consumption is also associated with reproductive and developmental system damage, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption, and bone cancer (NRC 2006).
Most of the fluoride contamination in dog food comes from an unsavory mix of bone meal and various meat byproducts added to dog food. The 8 high-fluoride brands list ingredients that include chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, chicken meal, beef and bone meal; these are basically ground bones, cooked with steam, dried, and mashed to make a cheap dog food filler. A smaller amount of fluoride in dog food comes from fluoridated tap water used to prepare the food at pet food plants.
The report goes on to discuss the dangers of flouorides to children and pets, and how you can help your pup avoid those dangers. Click here to read the full report and gain valuable information.
UPDATE 7-7-2009 - Pet Food Industry Magazine responds to study of fluoride in dog foods done by the EWG. Read more.