Update on arsenic levels in chicken
Arsenic in food is a serious problem due to its toxicity and carcinogenic properties.
Health-conscious dog lovers are well-equipped to protect their beloved dogs from the harmful effects of serious carcinogens and disease-causing toxins like arsenic, because an inexpensive, very accurate dog hair test is now available.
Chicken, arsenic and dogs
Over the years, many dog lovers have used HairQ to determine their dog’s toxin levels and the results suggest that dogs fed chicken had higher arsenic levels than dogs fed other meats.
In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that Roxarsone, an arsenic-containing parasiticide regularly added to chicken feed, was the cause of elevated arsenic levels in chickens.
Good news for you and your dog
Of course, you can expect me to warn you about feeding chicken to your dog, but I have good news.
In February 2014, the company that makes Roxarsone, Zoetis, Inc., voluntarily removed the product from the market. In 2015, another company Huvepharma AD voluntarily withdrew all approvals for new drugs containing arsenic in animal feed, including Roxarsone, arsanilic acid and carbarsone.
This means that arsenic-containing medicines are no longer allowed on the market.
Does this mean chicken is now safe for you and your dog?
Frankly, it’s a tough question to answer. Different producers use a variety of feeds sourced from around the world and arsenic contamination is greater in foods grown in industrial and polluted areas of the world.
I am generally convinced that it is much safer to feed chickens in 2016 than it was a few years ago, especially since the carcinogenic drugs containing arsenic are no longer used.
Practical solutions to protect your dog against the effects of arsenic
- Preferably feed organic chickens, or at least non-medicated free-range chickens, and add organic vegetables for an extra cleansing effect.
- Never feed an all-chicken diet. Never give processed kibble. It is recommended to feed a variety of four to five different meats.
- If you have to resort to feeding kibble, which I don’t recommend, hair test of your dog to monitor his/her toxin levels.
- Hair test analysis is currently the most accurate and cost-effective method to determine the arsenic level in your dog’s body. Your dog’s hair can be likened to a time capsule showing the level of toxins and minerals in the shaft, similar to archaeological deposits or icebergs in Antarctica. Using blood arsenic levels is not feasible because they only provide a snapshot of arsenic levels.
- Avoid feeding rice to dogs. It is not suitable for the species and Asian rice contains higher levels of arsenic.
- Provided essential minerals and vitamins to remove toxic elements, including arsenic, from the body.
- Have your dog undergo a liver cleanse every six months.
Additional related information:
How to avoid foods high in arsenic and keep your dog healthy
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM