In the second article of the “How To Read A Dog Food Ingredients Label” I used propylene glycol as an example of an ingredient that was Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS), but later studies showed it to be harmful to cats. As a result, the USDA Center For Veterinary Medicine banned the use of it in cat food. If you think that ban would extend to dog food however you are, like me, mistaken.
Recently I was reading the label on the dog food my girlfriend feeds her dog and was surprised to find this….
I thought it incredible that a banned ingredient from one pet food would be present in another! Are cats and dogs really that biologically different? After all, if both a cat and a dog ate poison wouldn’t they both get sick, or worse?
Propylene Glycol is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless clear oily liquid that is made from petroleum and is used to add moisture and texture to dog food. It absorbs moisture. According to some dog food experts it continues to do this after it is eaten, which can prevent the reproduction of necessary intestinal bacteria that helps digest food. It can also decrease the moisture content of the intestines. These affects can cause intestinal blockage and major digestive tract problems like malignant lesions of the intestinal walls. It may also cause kidney and liver abnormalities. Propylene glycol is also used in tobacco, anti-freeze, smoke machines, aircraft de-icing fluids, hydraulic presses, toothpaste, and cosmetics, as a solvent in acrylics, stains, inks and dyes, and in cellophane and brake fluid. Propylene glycol can penetrate into the skin and cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage according to Material Safety Data Sheets. Other side effects on animals exposed to PG include heart arrhythmia, stunted growth, decreased blood pressure, and even death. Propylene glycol is a highly toxic substance and is a cause of a significant number of reactions and a primary irritant to the skin even in low levels of concentrations. Some of its adverse effects include dermatitis, kidney and liver abnormalities and it has been shown to inhibit skin cell growth and damage cell membranes causing rashes, dry skin and surface damage to the skin.
Yes you read that right. It is used in anti-freeze. What would happen if you fed your dog anti-freeze?
To find out more about propylene glycol as well as other dog food ingredients I highly recommend a book by dog care expert Andrew Louis called Dog Food Secrets. Andrew researched and wrote this book after his own personal experience with his own dog, Noble.