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Monday, November 8, 2010

How safe are those dog food cans?

Some of the highest quality dog foods on the market come in cans. But did you know that there is a potential danger lurking in those food containers?

Yep, that's right, danger! And it comes in the form of BPA, otherwise known as bisphenol-A, a chemical that has been proven to be dangerous to humans. If it's dangerous to humans, you can bet it's also dangerous to us dogs (and kitties too)!

Bisphenol A or BPA is a chemical used to make plastics, including the linings of canned food products used by humans and pets. BPA is known to leach from the plastic liners of canned foods into the food itself, consequently contaminating the food and linking to detrimental health effects in humans such as cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, and more.

The research:

In January of this year CBS News reported that the FDA issued a warning to consumers about the potential concern they have for BPA, stating "it now has "some concern" about the potential effects of the chemical - especially on the "brain behavior and prostate glands in fetuses, infants and young children."

Organic Grace says..."foods in #7 plastic containers and the majority of canned foods are exposed to this toxic chemical. Bisphenol-A is a plastic and resin ingredient used to line metal food and drink cans, and it's a main building block for polycarbonate (PC) plastics. Even at low doses, bisphenol A has been linked to cancer, birth defects, miscarriages...and more."

According to TreeHugger, the FDA says, "17% of the American diet comes out of cans, and many of those have an epoxy liner made with bisphenol-A, a chemical which can mimic human estrogen and which is linked to breast cancer and early puberty in women. "

According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, "the FDA has been slow to acknowledge the harm caused by BPA and has been reluctant to regulate the use of this chemical in food packaging. While they continue to conduct research and deliberate when there will be enough evidence to compel them to act, Americans continue to be exposed on daily basis to this chemical which has been linked a wide array of harmful effects."

In July, the NRDC filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration for its failure to act on a petition to ban the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging, food containers, and other materials likely to come into contact with food.

In 2007, The Environmental Working Group released a report discussing high levels of of BPA contamination in canned foods."

In April 2009, Canada became the first nation to formally declare that bisphenol A is a hazard to human health. The country already placed a ban on using the chemical in baby bottles, but this move lands BPA on the Canadian government's list of toxic substances.

What about your dog's food?

Unfortunately, there are no studies of BPA in pet food cans. So how can you be sure your pet food is safe?

We've found that there is sometimes a difference in the size of the can (5.5 oz vs 13 oz.) whether the can may or may not have lining that contains BPA. Many (but not all) 5.5 oz. cans are made of aluminum and may not contain BPA, however many cans of the 13 oz. size are made of steel and may contain BPA in the lining.

Encouragingly, many pet food companies are changing their suppliers of 13 oz. (and 5.5 oz.) size cans and/or working with them to provide BPA-free linings.

Our recommendation?

If you have concerns about BPA in your pet's food can, you can write or email your pet food manufacturer and ask if they use cans that are lined with plastics containing BPA. But we aren't sure they will know the correct answer, as the cans they purchase come from multiple sources and multiple locations. We urge you to investigate the issue with your pet's food manufacturer and tell them about your concerns, while encouraging them to utilize BPA-free cans, if they are presently using them.

When choosing to feed your dog canned food, purchase the food from a small, reputable company that is completely committed to your pets health, and that sources their food ingredients and packaging from local, USA made, healthier sources. These smaller, committed companies will likely know more about the packaging they use when you contact them, and we believe will be more apt to answer your questions about the potential of BPA in your dog's food cans.

Another idea is to test for BPA at home. Here is some info on how you can test for BPA in your pet's food at home. Although we don't know of the reliability of the results utilizing these tests.

Get educated, education is always key to the health of your dog!


  1. Never thought of testing for BPA at home. I wonder, too, how reliable such a test would even be. Personally, I don't feed canned food to my pet, but I know a lot of pet owners do. I do like the suggestion to buy the canned stuff only from a smaller but reputable company. Anyway, thanks for posting this advice.

  2. This is such an interesting and useful post, keep it up!

  3. Have you ever hear about Arnatura products? Are those products truly natural?

  4. This is a very useful article especially for those who have dogs and cats at home... Good thing I don't have to feed my rabbit with canned foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables are so easy to handle and no BPA at all. I just put the food inside the rabbit hutch and magic it is even cheaper compared to canned animal foods and no preservatives or chemical added.

  5. first i would like to thank for this post for this helpful information i have 2 puppy's 1 is dead and the other one is dying i think its probably dead by tomorrow because of the canned food i know its to late for me to see this site but ivied learned from my mistake that never refrigerate a steel type of canned food when its open because it can kill or harm your dog and really dangerous for humans.


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