Did You Know That These Approved Pet Food Additives Cause Cancer?

It’s no secret that commercial pet foods are loaded with additives and preservatives. I mean, that is how these products have such a long shelf life.

But, what most people don’t know is that pet food contains additives and preservatives that are known carcinogens.

So, when you’re feeding your dog or cat kibble or canned food, you shouldn’t only be worrying about giving them food full of chemicals and dubious ingredients. You need to start worrying if commercial pet food might be giving them cancer.

Before I get to listing the carcinogenic substances commonly found in pet food, it’s important to note that the manufacturer isn’t legally required to display them all on the label. Pet food manufacturers need to list only the substances they themselves mixed into the finished product, but not any already found in the components.

For example, if there are any hazardous additives or substances in meat byproducts they bought from a slaughterhouse, they are not obliged to point it out on the label. This means that even if you don’t find any of the alarming additives or preservatives on the ingredient list, it doesn’t mean there are not any in your pet’s food.

So, what are those substances that are so dangerous, and yet officially approved as safe for pets?

  • Ethoxyquin, also labeled as just E

Although approved as a preservative in pet foods, ethoxyquin is also commonly used as a pesticide. This chemical antioxidant developed by Monsanto has been raising red flags for some time.  Studies indicate that ethoxyquin can increase chances of cancer, particularly kidney, stomach, and bladder cancer. Even in cases where pet food has traces of ethoxyquin, prolonged exposure can bring about a myriad of health issues.

  • BHA and BHT, also listed as Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene

Used both as preservatives and as a substitute for vitamin E, these two chemicals have been linked to numerous diseases. Prolonged consummation of foods with BHA additive is often the cause of kidney damage, while BHT has been proven to cause cancer, both in humans and animals. Both additives have also been linked with liver damage and many different medical problems.

  • Carrageenan

This pet food additive is derived from a red seaweed, and although it has no nutritional value, it’s used to improve the texture. However, the cons for the use of this additive significantly outweigh the pros. Carrageenan has been directly linked to malignant tumors, cancerous lesions on the intestines and prolonged inflammation that leads to cancer. Yet, it’s a common ingredient found in over 70% tested commercial wet food.

  • Propylene Glycol

More commonly known as the component for antifreeze, Propylene Glycols regulates moisture of pet food. Although less dangerous than ethylene glycol, it still can be harmful for our pets to consume. Prolonged exposure has been linked with kidney damage, hemolytic anemia (cats), cancer and developmental issues.


You’ll agree that these side-effects and concerns are not at all naïve. What’s even more devastating, there are natural, safe alternatives for these additives and preservatives. The problem is that natural options just aren’t as financially lucrative for the manufacturer.

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