By Amy Caldwell
Published: 09/13/2017, edited: 10/17/2021
Save on pet insurance for your pet
You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.
Carrageenan is a natural resource additive used in many human foods, as well as pet foods. Carrageenan has been found to be indigestible and without nutritional value. It is often used in canned dog foods or moist or wet dog foods to fill, thicken, and emulsify. Carrageenan has been known to cause a multitude of problems, leaving some to wonder why it is still allowed in our foods and the foods we give to our dogs.
Carrageenan has been known to irritate digestive systems in humans as well as dogs. Gastric inflammation is a common reaction for dogs who eat foods with carrageenan as an additive. Dog food manufacturers often argue the grade of carrageenan is perfectly safe for pet foods as well as human foods. Many high-end manufacturers still include carrageenan in their foods. In studies using lab animals, carrageenan has been known to cause intestinal damage, inflammation, ulcers, lesions, and potentially colon cancer.
Remembering that carrageenan also causes inflammation, researchers have linked this kind of chronic inflammation to other diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer, and heart disease. For your dog, that could potentially mean carrageenan could be a root cause of cancers which form over time, heart disease, and possibly even dementia. Your dog could go for years with undiagnosed inflammation as a symptom without a diagnosis or a cause. In lab studies, carrageenan is a known carcinogen.
With the side effects of inflammation and potential reaction as a carcinogen, carrageenan is also known for reducing resistance levels within the body. Studies show that when carrageenan is introduced to the body, the body reacts with an immune response, fighting it as a dangerous substance. This response leads to inflammation which could decrease the immune system and increase the potential for diseases such as cancers, inflammatory bowel disease, and arthritis.
No Benefits, Potential Risks
There are two grades of carrageenan; a degraded carrageenan and an undegraded carrageenan. Pet food manufacturers, as well as the FDA, claim undegraded carrageenan is safe for food processing. However, studies show there is no nutritional value and no benefit to having carrageenan in your dog's food. On top of not offering a benefit, studies show carrageenan is also dangerous. Be sure to check out the ingredients in the foods you provide for your dog and talk to your veterinarian about the best sources and foods to feed your pup.