What Chemicals Are Hiding in Your Pet’s Food?

We’ve all been curious enough to check the labels of our products, but have you ever thought to take a look at the ingredients listed in your pets’ food and treats? By taking a look we mean actually researching the “unknown” ingredients listed on the back of the package. Luckily, we’re here to inform you on the chemicals to watch out for next time you pick up a bag of food for your four-legged family member.


Here’s a list of the common chemical additives popular among the large distributers of pet foods which were found on Dog Food Advisor 

Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is an extremely controversial additive as it is a key ingredient in automotive antifreeze. This chemical is used in dog food to help preserve the moisture content. It has been linked to serious blood diseases among animals such as, Heinz Body Anemia, which has resulted in it being banned by the FDA for use in cat food; however, unfortunately it is still available to be used in dog food and treats.

Ethoxyquin is another very controversial additive to pet foods because this chemical is also used in pesticides and for manufacturing rubber. This ingredient is used as a fat preservative in some dog food and treats. Apparently when used accordingly this product is “non-toxic,” but because of its relation to other harmful and non-edible products we highly suggest you keep an eye out for it.


BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole is a preservative used in pet foods. This chemical is extremely dangerous as it is a known human carcinogen. When (unfortunately) tested on animals it has been known to produce tumors. Extended exposure to this type of preservative could eventually cause your loved one to fall ill to cancer.


BHT or Butylated Hydroxytoluene is another fat preservative which can be found in not only pet foods, but cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber, jet fuels, petroleum products, and even embalming fluid. Some countries in the world have already banned BHT, such as Japan, Romania, Sweden, and Australia, but unfortunately it can still be found in some pet foods throughout North America.


TBHQ or Tertiary Butylhydroquinone is another controversial ingredient used to preserve fats and shelf life within pet food. It is used to stabilize explosive compounds and when (unfortunately) tested on animals it has been found to produce pre-cancerous stomach tumors and even cause damage to a cell’s DNA.

Propyl Gallate

Propyl Gallate is another harmful preservative found in pet food. This chemical has the ability to mimic the negative effects of the female hormone, estrogen and has been linked to cancer cells.

It is a shame that all of these chemicals are deemed safe in small doses and that is why they have not been banned for the use in pet foods. It is unfortunate that our pets do not have the same capabilities as us to check the ingredients and to choose not to consume harmful chemicals which will eventually cause illness through exposure. The chemicals listed above are only a few of the harmful ingredients still prevalent in pet foods today, but some may be familiar, yet also dangerous as our Nutritionist Dallas explains,


“Many commercial dog foods and treats contain poor quality ingredients such as soy, corn meal and meat by products. They are also loaded with artificial colours and flavours which are harmful to the health of your pet. Certain artificial flavours and colours have been linked to allergies, can affect cognitive function and are linked to ADD and ADHD in people. If you wouldn’t eat it why would you let your pet?”


The importance of keeping an eye out for these ingredients and chemicals can mean increasing the longevity of your pet’s life. For more information on why you should choose an All-Natural foods for your loved ones, check out our last blog entry on How an All-Natural Diet Can Increase Life Expectancy for Your Four-Legged Friends. Bones & BonBons is proud to only offer 6 All-Natural ingredients within our products to ensure your four-legged family members receive not only the most delicious, but the most nutritious food for their active, growing bodies.

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Dallas Skopeleanos
Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Holistic & Sports Nutritionist
Dallas is all about bringing food back to basics; embracing the simplicity and honesty of ingredients. Dallas is the Owner and Founder of NakedNutrition, a nutrition & lifestyle consulting company. You are most likely to find Dallas at the gym, in the kitchen, or travelling. For more information on Dallas and NakedNutrition visit
nakednutritionca.com & NakedNutrition.


Zoey Poulsen
Freelance Writer & Digital Marketing Specialist
Zoey Poulsen was born and raised on Vancouver Island, BC, but has recently relocated to Rome
to pursue a freelance digital career. Zoey enjoys travelling, reading and writing. You can find Zoey on YouTube or follow her adventures on Instagram: @ZoeyArielle

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