Arsenic levels have become a major problem in dog food
Many dog lovers have reached a new level of consciousness when it comes to food. People are switching en masse to raw and cooked natural diets. It seems that companies that produce processed pet food are having a harder time convincing people that their food is better than the food nature intended.
But even switching to raw or cooked foods does not solve all food-related problems. Depletion of nutrients in the soil results in nutrient-deficient foods, and dog food is no exception. People who turned on their dogs complete natural supplements have seen the transformations in their dogs. However, there are still many naysayers who stubbornly argue that feeding good food is enough.
As a veterinarian, I draw on almost thirty years of experience, but I still like to see the evidence. Testing her for minerals and toxic elements has been very useful because it is very accurate and shows what happens in different groups of dogs.
Over many years of testing, I have learned that dogs eating fish-based foods have elevated mercury levels and that sardines appear to be the cause of the increased strontium. Since the Fukushima nuclear accident, strontium has been continuously released into the oceans and not much is done to inform the general public.
Unfortunately, I have noticed that dogs with epilepsy have higher than average levels of strontium and mercury, which made me advise against feeding fish and sardines to dogs, despite their nutritional benefits. Fish isn’t what it used to be.
Arsenic has also been on my radar for a while, mainly because it is highly toxic and often found in dog hair.
Where does arsenic come from?
Even our medieval ancestors knew that arsenic was poisonous, but our modern problem with arsenic is related to industrial pollution and especially water.
“Arsenic toxicity is a global health problem that affects many millions of people and animals. Pollution is caused by arsenic from natural geological sources entering aquifers, contaminating drinking water, and also by mining and other industrial processes.”
The presence of arsenic in our bodies is unavoidable in our industrial age. Of course, the next question to ask is: which foods contain the most arsenic and how can we protect our dogs?
Rice is a major source of arsenic
Of the her test Results I consistently see higher arsenic levels in dogs eating diets with rice supplements. I don’t normally recommend rice and other grains for dogs as it is not suitable for the species, but I still see some people using it.
Pet food companies like rice because it is relatively cheap, especially when it comes from Asia, which is part of the problem. Water quality in many Asian countries is poor, with a few exceptions. If you’ve ever traveled to the region, you may have seen puddles, streams and lakes covered in oil or full of plastic and waste. As a result, chemicals, including arsenic, end up in rice fields, which are flooded for part of the growing season.
There are many studies available online that confirm that arsenic in rice is a serious problem. One study compares the presence of arsenic in rice from different regions and California rice appears to be the safest.
The question is: is rice really necessary for dogs? The answer is no, because it is not part of their species-appropriate diet. Now you have two reasons not to feed dogs rice and think twice before ordering rice at your local restaurant.
How do you find out if your dog has higher than normal arsenic levels?
Although blood tests can help determine momentary levels of enzymes and electrolytes, this will not give you a comprehensive evaluation of your dog’s arsenic levels over the past few months.
Your dog’s hair is a kind of time capsule that records the mineral content profile as it grows. Analysis of your dog’s hair is the best way to determine your dog’s arsenic exposure over the past four to six months.
How to get rid of arsenic and neutralize its effect
- Eliminate rice from your dog’s diet and treats. In the era of gluten-free diets, the rice content in foods is higher than ever before.
- Check your dog’s arsenic levels by: her test.
- If your dog’s results show that arsenic levels are high/normal or abnormal, consider using a homeopathic remedy proven to reduce the effect of arsenic exposure. I have found the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum Album very useful. I suggest that you give one dose (three to five pellets) twice at a potency of 30°C or 20°C, two weeks apart. Please note that this drug will not reduce arsenic levels, but it will reduce some symptoms that may be associated with chronic arsenic poisoning. Arsenic poisoning can affect multiple organ systems and symptoms can be nonspecific, ranging from digestive disorders to a tendency toward diarrhea, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, and behavioral changes.
- There are two ways to keep your dog’s body as toxin-free as possible.
Arsenic levels have become a major problem in dog food
A. Providing essential minerals and vitamins, which help remove toxic elements from the body.
B. A six-monthly liver cleanse with LiverTune.
It would be unreasonable to expect your dog or anyone else to be arsenic-free, but reducing exposure to this toxic element can be an extra deposit in your dog’s health and longevity bill. Your dog’s health starts with awareness and taking small steps can make a big difference.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM
1. Ratnaike RN. Acute and chronic arsenic toxicity. Postgraduate Med J 2003; 79: 391-6.
2. Environmental health perspective. June 2007; Carol Potera, 115(6): A296. PMCID: PMC1892142, Food safety: American rice serves arsenic
3. Evidence-based complement Alternat Med. December 2005; 2(4):537–548. Published online October 19, 2005. doi: 10.1093/ecam/neh124