With the memory of the melamine pet food scare still fresh in the minds of many, the Environmental Working Group is publicizing a new threat: potentially toxic doses of fluoride in dog food.
An EWG analysis found troubling levels of fluoride in 8 of 10 dog foods tested. The concentration of fluoride was up to 2.5 times higher than the safe level the EPA sets for drinking water. Some puppies may be exposed to five times this limit.
The fluoride in dog food originates in bone meal and animal by-products. EWG recommends choosing dog food brands free of bone meal and meat by-product ingredients like chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, chicken meal and beef meal.
Related Resource: Dr. Mercola
Most pet owners consider their four-legged companions beloved members of their family. With everything else to keep track of, the diet of your pet can easily get tossed on the backburner. Unfortunately, your pet’s health is as dependent on the food you serve as the rest of your family.
Fluoride, it seems, may be a particular problem, as many pet foods contain some form of bone meal, which is believed to be the main source of fluoride in commercial pet foods.
The Power of Advertising is Just as Potent in the Pet Food Industry
As you probably know by now, the food industry spends millions of dollars each year influencing your dietary habits, and the pet food industry is no different. But despite advertising claims and pictures of happy puppies, the majority of commercial pet foods are far from optimally healthy.
Much of the so-called “healthy pet foods” on the market contain inferior meat meals, cheap grains like corn and soy, fillers, by-products, food coloring, pesticides, preservatives, and other contaminants, including fluoride.
Pet food has simply not gained the same amount of scrutiny as human foods, and only when widespread disaster struck did the quality of pet food ingredients become the talk of the town. You may remember the melamine mass-contamination that rocked the pet food industry last year. Since it led to thousands of sick and dead pets around the country it was impossible to ignore.
Fluoride, on the other hand, is more insidious, and likely will not cause sudden death. But it is a potent toxin that can have devastating long-term health effects, both in humans and in pets.
Dangerous Levels of Fluoride Detected in 80 Percent of Commercial Pet Food
When the Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a survey of ten national brands of dog food, they discovered that all but two contained “potentially dangerous” levels of fluoride.
Unfortunately, no one really knows what the safe levels of fluoride for animals might be and there are no standards for pet foods, but eight of the brands contained fluoride in amounts between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum legal dose in drinking water.
We also know that 2 grams of fluoride is enough to kill an adult, and just 500 mg is enough to kill a child. To those of you not familiar with the metric system, a teaspoon is 5 grams. So less than one half teaspoon of fluoride will kill most adults and one tenth of a teaspoon will kill most children.
In the U.S., people have died, and many have become sick, when faltering fluoridation equipment has pumped excess fluoride into the water. And, since fluoride is used as anactive ingredient in a number of pesticides, we also know it’s definitely deadly to a number of smaller critters, in small amounts.
At an average of 8.9 mg of fluoride per kilogram of dog food, the sampled brands also contained far higher amounts of fluoride than what is associated with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer that typically occurs in young boys.
Posted: Just One More Pet
Dog Day Games Go to Ballparks Across the Country
America’s two favorite pastimes are together at last. Baseball and dogs at the ballpark, throw in a hot dog and it might be heaven. Hooray for Dog Day Games! All across the country, dogs and their people can “root root root for the home team” live at the game. And since it’s doggie’s big day, your best friend can expect great things. Not only will he join you in the VIP (very important pup) dog seating section, but each ball club welcomes its furry fans with different doggie activities. From a pre-game parade on the field, to costume contests, pooch massages, special treats and games, even free health checkups; it’s a hot diggity dog day.
And now that the official baseball season has begun, don’t waste a second. Score two tickets for you and your dog to the Dog Day game in your city. Pup seats are limited and sell out quickly so don’t miss out. Check your team’s ticket office for dates, times and all the juicy details. Do make sure you get the Dog Day seats and not just general admission tickets to the game.
But first consider this: as much as you love baseball and your dog, not all dogs make good fans. If your pup is bothered by crowds, noise and commotion, or isn’t likely to mind his manners, the Dog Day Games are not for him. Only well-behaved pups with proof of vaccination and license may attend.
Check to see if your team has a Dog Day Game and get it on your calendar. Just go to mlb.com to get to your team’s website and click on their 2009 Promotional Schedule.
Tonight was Take Your Dog To the Ball Game Nite in Oakland vs. the Angels.
The San Francisco Giants’ Dog Day is on August 1st vs. the Phillies and the Cincinnati Reds will have their second Dog Day of the season on September 15th vs. Houston. Other teams that had a Dog Day Games this (2009) season are the Atlanta Braves, the Florida Marlins, and the Chicago White Socks. Each ballpark schedules different events and many sell doggie wear and items with the team logo. Some teams who do not have a doggie day scheduled still sell pet wear: www.sportydog.com/mlb. Write or email your favorite team and request a ‘Take Your Dog to the Ballpark Day’ if they don’t have one scheduled for 2010.
- San Francisco Giants Dog Day. August 1 vs. Philadelphia, 6:05 pm
- Cincinnati Reds Bark in the Park. September 15 vs. Houston, 7:10 pm
Posted: Just One More Pet
Thank you to Claudia and SF Giants fan Tanny for the photo.
(Photo) Veterinarian Shawn Messonnier, with Rita, says that “a matter of minutes, five or 10 minutes,” is all it takes on a hot day for a dog to wind up organ-damaged or dead.
It’s 11 a.m., 75 degrees…
In the Safeway parking lot, two hairy dogs are panting and pacing in a car with windows cracked about 5 inches. They’re hot and unhappy, but not yet in distress, I think. I wait a couple of minutes, then call the humane society. I share the facts, including that one dog has just crammed itself under the steering wheel, evidently to get out of the blazing sunlight.
They believe the dogs will be OK until help can arrive — five minutes.
Animal-control guy rolls up in four, eyeballs the situation and decides to give the owner a few more minutes to emerge.
Owner blusters up just under the deadline, annoyed that people surround his car. Doors are flung open, water offered. Owner receives a stern lecture.
I hope it made an impact. Too many locked-in-cars dogs die horrible deaths every summer, their brains, their organs literally heated into mush.
I have to assume that most owners who take dogs in vehicles love those animals. And that until the awful moment of returning to a stifling car and discovering the tragic aftermath of a bad choice, they just didn’t fully understand (despite warnings from vets and humane organizations) how fast things go really bad.
So maybe this will help: a graphic description of exactly what occurs when a dog (and it’s almost always dogs, since few people take cats for rides) is closed in a hot car.
Plano, Texas, veterinarian Shawn Messonnier, who knows something about hideous heat and animals and who has written several books, including Unexpected Miracles: Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets, out next month, agreed to be brutally descriptive about the process and physiology of heat stroke.
First, he says, it’s important to understand that the temperature doesn’t have to be in the 90s for a car-bound animal to be in deep trouble. At much lower temperatures, particularly if the sky is cloudless, the humidity high or the car dark-colored, a vehicle becomes a sauna fast. And cracking windows a few inches accomplishes practically nothing (though many owners of now-dead pets thought it would).
In fact, researchers learned that when it’s a sunny 78 degrees, the temperature in a parked car with windows cracked rises at least 32 degrees in 30 minutes. So: 78 degrees to 110 in half an hour.
“A matter of minutes, five or 10 minutes” is all it takes on a hot day for a dog to wind up organ-damaged or dead, Messonnier says.
Here’s how it progresses: First, the dog pants hard, trying the only way it can to cool off. As the temperature rises and the dog realizes it’s in trouble, it becomes frantic, tries to get out, scratching at windows or digging at the seat or floor. It’s an awful moment, the dog’s moment of realization. “If you want to compare it to humans,” says Messonnier, “it would be this: The person is too hot, stifling, feeling trapped. But a person knows things can be done,” like smashing a window or blowing the horn for help. Dogs, of course, panic, since they can devise no strategies other than digging desperately. They often bloody themselves in this effort to survive. Some have heart attacks.
The panic doesn’t last long. Very quickly the dog goes prostrate, begins vomiting, having diarrhea and lapsing into unconsciousness. Organs are disintegrating. “All organs function properly within a certain temperature range, and when body temperature reaches a certain level, organ cells begin dying. There’s inflammation, white blood cells rush in … a cascade of things happens in minutes,” he says. Liver, brain, kidneys are dying.
“When you do an autopsy on a dog that died this way, the organs are soupy.”
If caught quickly enough, some dogs can be saved. It’s crucial to open car windows, turn on air conditioning and race to the nearest vet, dousing the dog in cool water if possible during the trip, putting something cool under each armpit and against the groin (“but don’t waste 20 minutes trying to gather up those last things,” Messonnier says, as it’s most important to get experts involved fast).
“If you’ve caught it early enough and you’re real lucky, there will be no permanent damage,” he says, though ascertaining that is a “waiting game” since some dogs that seem to have pulled through have liver or kidney damage that may not be obvious at first.
It’ll likely cost “several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars” to save a dog with heatstroke.
Not to mention the misery the animal has endured.
The reality is those “dashes” into the market while the dog waits in the car are rarely as quick as we expect. I know of an owner who ran into the bank, tripped while walking to the counter, knocked himself out, and by the time he regained sense (not long) and got someone to check on the dog in his car, it was too late. That’s the kind of thing that could happen, really, during any dash-in visit.
There’s also the person who left the car running with the air conditioner on to keep the dog cool. Car quit running. You can imagine the results.
And, by the way, snub-nosed dogs such as boxers and pugs have an even higher risk of overheating because they don’t cool efficiently.
I hate to be so grim.
But really, if it saves a dog …
Good Reminder!! Thanks to Sharon L. Peters – Pet Talk, USA TODAY
Posted: Just One More Pet