The Environmental Working Group recently commissioned an independent study and discovered that eight national brands of dog food, marketed to puppies and adults, had unsafe levels of fluoride. In fact, the fluoride was 1.6 to 2.5 times higher than what the EPA has deemed a safe amount in human drinking water.
Why is excessive fluoride a problem for dogs? Combined fluoride exposure from both food and already fluorinated tap water can easily range into unsafe territory. Routine exposure, like eating the same food every day, can predispose dogs to a variety of health problems: weakened bones, hormonal and behavior problems, and even bone cancer.
Where is the fluoride coming from? Some of this extra fluoride comes from the fluoridated water used to manufacture dog food. Most, however, is from the “bone meal” and various meat byproducts that are added to dog food – anything from “chicken byproduct meal” to “beef and bone meal.” These are basically ground bones, cooked with steam, dried, and mashed to make a cheap dog food filler. Since bones store fluoride, any product that includes bone meal is likely to be high in fluoride, too.
What can you do to protect your dog? Check the ingredient list before you buy dog food. Look for and demand pet foods that do not include bone meal and other other animal byproducts. To safeguard the health of pets nationwide, the government should also establish fluoride limits in pet food that would protect both puppies and large breeds more vulnerable to bone cancer.