Recently, 8 out of 10 dog foods tested by an independent laboratory were found to have between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than recommended drinking water levels of fluoride according to a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the levels we are talking about for humans. So the next question that I have is what is the recommended amount of fluoride for a dog? Unfortunately, according to the study, “Scientists have not studied the safety of high doses of fluoride for dogs”. It is also noted that these numbers are just based on the amount of fluoride in the food itself. If your water supply is fortified with fluoride, and many are, then your dog will be getting even more fluoride than what they get just from the food itself.
It appears that the excess fluoride is coming from bone meal, which are fillers that are used in commercial dog food. The two brands that had undetectable amounts of fluoride (which was 0.2 mg/kg) in the dog food did not contain bone meal. The eight brands that had high fluoride listed ingredients that included chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal and beef & bone meal. What exactly is the bone meal? Bone meal is essentially ground up bones of animals.
The effects of excess fluoride on humans are mottled teeth (dental fluorosis) and weakened bones, leading to more fractures. There is other evidence in humans that high fluoride consumption is associated with reproductive and developmental system damage, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption, and bone cancer.
So what do you do? Well if you feed your dog commercial dog food, you first need to look at the ingredients. If your dog food has bone meal listed as one of the ingredients, then you have several choices. First, since there are not any studies on the effect of fluoride on dogs, you can make the decision to do nothing and continue to feed your dog your current dog food. Second, you can use the recommended levels of fluoride listed for humans set by the EPA as a guideline and therefore assume dog food with a bone meal may have too much fluoride for your dog and look for dog food that contains little to no bone meal listed in its ingredients.
Lastly, you can decide to stop using commercial dog food altogether and use this report as another reason why you should make your own dog food. Homemade dog food recipes exist for those of you that want to take this route. Most people who contemplate making their own dog food do so mainly because of unhealthy or hazardous ingredients added to the dog food, which was the case in 2007 when dog food was contaminated with melamine. However, Fluoride in proper amounts is not harmful to humans, but excess amounts are. Fluoride is not a listed ingredient in dog food and most people probably would not even think about checking the fluoride level. As many people believe, by making your own dog food, you know exactly what your pet is getting. When you buy commercial dog food, we are finding out that more and more by-products are being added that are not healthy for your dog.
The choice is up to you and more importantly the health of your dog