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Is BHT Necessary in Your Dog's Food


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You have a beautiful dog to add to your family. You want her life to start off right. You have picked the best bedding, fun toys, the safest products, and the best veterinarian in town. You have puppy-proofed your home and prepared everyone in your family to care for a new family member who is cuddly and furry and will love you forever.

Preparing to bring a dog home does not just stop with all of those things. Dog owners worry as well about what is in their dog's food. With so many options on the market, picking a dog food that is just right for your particular dog which offers all of the nutrients, health benefits, and the balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates your dog needs can be confusing. BHT, also known as butylated hydroxytoluene, is a food additive commonly used in dog food. But as a dog owner, what do you need to know about BHT in your dog's food?

Why is BHT in Dog Food?

Butylated hydroxytoluene is an additive often used in dog food to prevent the oils and the fats within the food from going bad. Spoiled dog food could potentially make your dog sick. So BHT is added to extend the life of the dog food as it sits on store shelves. BHT added to food preserves the shelf life of a manufactured dog food.Some dog owners ask themselves just how long they would like their dog’s food to be preserved.

What You Need to Know About BHT

Butylated hydroxytoluene might preserve foods so they do not spoil and so they last longer, however, BHT is a known carcinogen. In lab animals, BHT has been known to be linked to cancer. BHT is also found in pharmaceutical drugs, jet fuels and fuel by-products, cosmetics, and embalming fluid. This is a preservative used in many products, however, most of these commodities are not products which are digested, except pet foods. BHT is a banned preservative for food sources in several countries including Australia, Sweden, and Japan.

Alternatives to BHT

With so many fats and oils necessary in dog foods, there are alternatives to preserving and extending shelf life without the use of BHT. Vitamin E and vitamin C are natural additives that can prolong the shelf life of manufactured dog food. Dog food manufacturers, including high-quality manufacturers, are already using alternatives such as vitamin C and vitamin E to preserve their dog foods.

Know What You’re Choosing

The bottom line to understanding how to feed your dog with healthy foods is to understand how to read labels on manufactured foods. You may hear the acronym BHT quite often, but be sure to read the ingredients and look for butylated hydroxytoluene as a listed ingredient. If you are purchasing food that lists BHT as an ingredient, consider shopping for an alternative food. BHT is a known carcinogen and has been linked to cancer in lab animals.

As a responsible dog owner, reading labels and providing an affordable yet quality food for your dog is not difficult to do. Look for synthetic or chemical-sounding ingredients on dog food packaging. These ingredients will typically be low on the ingredient list because they are added only to preserve to food, giving it the ability to sit on a grocery store or pet store shelf longer.

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