Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Salt in Dog, Cat Pet Food and Treats – A Bad Ingredient

Salt in Dog, Cat Pet Food and Treats – A Bad Ingredient

Salt in dog, cat pet food and treats - a bad ingredient you need to avoid. Dogs and cats require natural, organic sodium – NOT inorganic highly processed sodium also known as ‘bad’ salt. The salt used by the pet industry is ‘Common Table Salt” also called ‘Iodized Salt’ - an inorganic, toxic-laden, non-digestible substance. This type of salt is health deteriorating, or in simpler terms a ‘bad’ ingredient – ‘bad’ salt.

Do you know why the pet food industry adds ‘bad’ salt to your dogs and cats’ food and treats? Dogs and cats living in their natural state don’t eat common table salt. Why would your dog and cat need to consume a bad ingredient?

Time for the truth…

Common Table Salt/Iodized Salt – Acidifying your Dogs and Cats’ Body

Common table salt is sourced from mining deposits of underground salt. After extraction the mined salt undergoes intense processing that strips the salt of valuable mineral content leaving only chloride and sodium to form an acidifying compound (NaCI). NaCl has no nutritional value, it cannot be absorbed by, nor easily eliminated from a dogs and cats body, and it is an acidifying agent. An acidic body is at great risk of inflammatory diseases (i.e. arthritis, cancer, metabolic issues, urinary tract issues, etc.), and the perfect environment for parasites such as fleas, heartworm, and intestinal worms.

Anti-Caking Agents in Common Table Salt/Iodized Salt – Toxifying Your Dogs and Cats’ Body

During processing substances are added to the salt to prevent the salt from binding and clumping. These substances are called ‘anti-caking agents’. The anti-caking agents used in salt processing are toxins and carcinogens. While these substances simplify the manufacturing process, they also cause additional harm to those that ingest the salt – in this case your dog and cat.

You won’t see these caking agents listed as an ingredient on pet food and treat ingredient lists. The FDA, Health Canada, the FSA and other similar regulatory bodies do not require the listing if ingredients of ingredients to be listed, or otherwise divulged to the general public.

Let’s take a brief look at these anti-caking agents…

Calcium silicate - a known irritant to eyes and lungs.

Dicalcium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate (the least issue-causing of the caking agents), and silicon dioxide - all are known irritants to the eyes, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract and skin.

Fluoride Sodium Bicarbonate – contains synthetic form of fluoride that is a known carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, inflammatory, toxic agent.

Potassium iodide - a known mutagen for somatic cells (all cells in the body with the exception of reproductive cells).  Is classified as ‘maybe’ toxic to the thyroid and is an eye, ingested, inhaled and skin irritant.

Sodium aluminosilicate - a common flow agent used in table salt. It contains aluminum derivatives – known carcinogen, and contributing cause of dementia.

Sodium ferrocyanide - (ferrocyanide, yellow prussiate of soda). Ferrocyanide is classified as an irritant to – eyes, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract and skin.

Sugar - iodine is added to most common table salt. GMO corn syrup (sugar, dextrose) is used to stabilize the iodine. Corn syrup (sugar) is an inflammatory agent (chronic disease-causing), and is a source of glyphosate residue (a carcinogen).  On March 20, 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released its findings on the herbicide glyphosate, concluding that there is “sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity” based on laboratory studies. You can read the World Health Organization (WHO) report on IARC’s findings be going here>>.

Talc - a known carcinogen.

Let’s Not Forget - Winter Time
So your dogs and cats’ system is burdened by daily intake of common table salt, and then winter strikes. Your dog and cat may also be exposed to road salt which also contains toxins and carcinogens. The toxins in road salt are absorbed through the skin on paws, after which these substances enter the blood stream, thereby increasing the toxic load from inorganic salt.

Organic Sodium (Na) – an Essential Part of a Healthy Diet for Dogs and Cats

A dogs and cats’ natural diet – a raw, whole prey diet, does not contain inorganic salt. To maintain health, dogs and cats require natural sodium (Na) which is present in a whole food diet – raw meats, healthy fats, and appropriate raw botanicals. Natural sodium is critical to the health of your pet – it is alkalizing rather than acidifying. The organic sodium in a species appropriate diet IS health protecting. Please note “Species appropriate diets” do NOT include highly processed dog food, and cat food products, and excludes SOME raw food products because those products contain inappropriate ingredients (such as iodized salt). Some Pet Food Manufacturers use words inappropriately, in order to market their products. Use of a term/word, is NOT a guarantee that the product conforms to the consumers assumed meaning of the word.

Why Pet Food Manufacturers add Salt to Pet Food and Treats

Dogs and cats on a truly species appropriate diet (i.e. raw food), consume a moisture-rich diet that supports the natural, healthy functioning of the digestive tract, renal tract and urinary tract. A TRULY good frozen raw, or freeze dried raw pet food does NOT contain inorganic salt.

Highly processed dry food is very hard on dogs and cats’ digestive and eliminatory systems because those systems are not evolved to consume, process and eliminate dry foods. Dry food is dehydrating  - it robs moisture from the gastrointestinal tract and places immense strain on the eliminatory system. The number one cause of urinary tract, and renal tract issues - infections, crystals, stones, kidney problems renal failure, etc. is dry food. The number one cause of impacted and infected anal glands is dry food. By adding salt, the pet food manufacturer seeks to offset the damage being done by the product they are selling. Inorganic salt makes dogs, and cats thirsty as salt draws additional moisture from the body – to alleviate this artificially created condition your pet needs to drink water.

Common table salt is added to 'support' nutritional requirements for organic sodium, however the salt used is not organic sodium, it is 'bad' inorganic, body-acidifying salt. Pet food manufacturers could use a healthful salt instead but doing so would interfere with their high profit margins...

Full spectrum raw salt is health promoting, rich in bio-available vitamins and minerals - including essential organic sodium. While some full spectrum salts loose some of their nutrients when heated, Black Indian salt attains its best nutritional profile when heated. Even if heated other full spectrum salts (i.e. Celtic Salt, Hawaiian red volcanic salt, Himalayan pink crystal salt, and Natural gray sea salt), would still be a better choice than common table salt. 

Full Spectrum salt costs more than common table salt. It’s as simple as that – maintaining high profit margins is more important to these companies, than striking a balance between desire to profit and  your pet's health.

Examples of Pet Food and Pet Treats containing Common Table Salt

You will see that the list below includes low, medium and so-called premium pet food and treat products. Due to the inappropriate ‘nature’ of the product formulations these all include salt in an attempt to offset the damage incurred by consuming highly processed food.

Another sad reality – not all raw foods are created equal. There are some excellent raw food manufactures, and there are others that just don’t make the cut. You will see some frozen raw food and dehydrated raw food products listed below because they contain common table salt / iodized salt, which you now know is an inappropriate food additive.

Again watch for the marketing spin. AAFCO, and pet food manufacturers that use common table salt can, and do try to pass this inappropriate ingredient off as an essential ingredient.

Here’s an example taken directly from a popular pet food manufacturer’s site…

Salt is a mineral complex of sodium and chloride. It is obtained by naturally mining salt deposits in the Earth’s crust. Sodium is essential to maintaining proper acid-base balance, cell function, and hydration. AAFCO has minimum sodium requirements for pet food to be compete and balanced”. 

First of all, AAFCO is an organization made-up of members of the Pet Food Industry and its affiliates. AAFCO is NOT an objective regulatory body, nor is it a government agency.  They are a self-interested organization.

After reading the above you know that salt is a mineral complex of sodium and chloride obtained ‘naturally’ by mining salt deposits. All good, but they skip mentioning how the salt is highly processed, contains unlisted toxic ingredients, and has been stripped of all its bioavailable components. They are correct that ‘sodium’ is essential to maintaining acid-base balance, cell function, and hydration BUT they missed the part about defining healthy sodium (organic sodium), vs. inorganic unhealthy sodium. Correct, AAFCO has a minimum sodium requirement, BUT AAFCO does NOT define that the requirement must be meet by using ORGANIC bioavailable sodium. The pet food manufacturer cannot be said to be out-right lying, they simply got around telling the truth by carefully wording their message to exclude the most salient points. You, as the consumer get duped, your pet suffers, but the pet food manufacturer gets away with their closely concealed deception. Another trick used by some manufacturers – list mined salt AND sea salt in their ingredient glossary, but only use mined salt in their actual products.

Pet Food That Contains Common Table Salt

  • Blue Buffalo
  • Beyond Purina
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul
  • Earthborne
  • Evo
  • Fancy Feast
  • Fresh Pet Select
  • Fromm
  • Halo
  • Hi-Tek Naturals
  • Hill’s Prescription
  • Hill’s Science Diet
  • Hounds and Gato’s
  • I and Love and You
  • Kirkland Lake
  • Merrick (original, grain-free, Whole Earth Farms etc.)
  • Natural Choice
  • Nature’s Domain
  • Nature’s Recipe
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct
  • Newman’s Own
  • Nutrisource
  • Nutro
  • Old Yeller
  • Optimum Pet
  • Organix
  • Performatrin
  • Pedigree
  • Petworth
  • Pure Balance
  • Pure Instinct
  • Purina (off-the-shelf and prescription product line)
  • Pura Vita
  • Rachel Ray
  • Royal Canin (off-the-shelf and prescription product line)
  • Superior Premium Oven Baked Food
  • Taste of The Wild
  • Wellness Core

Pet Treats that contain Common Table Salt

  • Blue Buffalo Health Bars
  • Blue Buffalo Stix
  • Castor & Pollux Chicken Jerky Strips
  • Caesar’s Softies
  • EOS Plato Treats
  • Etta Says! Chews Treats
  • Etta Says! Bitz Treats
  • Green Bark Gummies
  • Dick Can Patten’s Natural Balance Treats
  • Kirkland Lake
  • Kong Easy Treats
  • Medi-Cal Chews
  • Merrick
  • Milk Bone Treats
  • Old Mother Hubbard Treats
  • Pedigree Dentabone
  • Pup-Peroni Flavored Snacks
  • Purina Beggin’ Strips
  • Purina Busy Bone
  • Smart Bones Chews
  • Solid Gold Lamb Jerky Treats
  • Temptations Treats
  • Trader Joes Organic Chicken and Brown Rice Sticks
  • Wellness Pet Food Treats
  • Whole Foods – Whole Paws Dog Training Treats
  • Zuke’s Mini Naturals Treats

This list is a partial listing of products containing salt as a food additive. There are many more such products.

Surprise, surprise – some of the biggest users of common table salt? The prime suppliers of veterinarian prescription food, Hills, Royal Canin and Purina. These three pet food companies are also the largest user of GMO corn, GMO soy – species inappropriate, carcinogenic, moisture robbing fillers. Ask yourself why your veterinarian is pushing these very expensive-to-purchase, health deteriorating dog and cat ‘food’ products.

Salt added to pet food is ‘just’ one more reason why many commercial pet food products are NOT good for long-term health.  While dry, highly processed dog and cat food top the list of ‘bad’, there are many highly processed canned/wet products that are not health supporting – and, unfortunately the same is true for some raw and raw freeze dried foods.

Make sure you read your pet food and treat labels carefully. Failure to pay attention to the presence of this toxic ingredient can and does contribute to, and cause chronic health conditions.

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Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats