Four things you need to know about pet food and supplement packaging
Today's topic is close to my heart because it affects the health of your dog, your health and also the health of our planet. Pretty much all supplements you give to our dogs are packaged, and my goal today is to look at each packaging group with a magnifying glass.More
Aluminum, tin cans and plastic packaging leach toxins into your food, pet food and supplements
Today's topic is close to my heart because it affects the health of your dog, your own health and also the health of our planet. Pretty much all supplements we give to our dogs are packaged, and my goal today is to look at each packaging group with a magnifying glass.
1. Plastic bottles and jars
Plastic is the most common form of packaging used because it's cheap. When you see products packaged in plastic, it is a sign that the manufacturer either:
- Does not care about the environment;
- Does not have knowledge of the fact that plastic leaches into the product inside the jar;
- Values lower packaging costs over and above the health of your dog;
- All of the above.
Recently, I wrote an article on the effects of plastic, BPA, and xenoestrogens and how they disturb the endocrine (hormonal) balance of dogs. In addition, we are just starting to see the huge negative impact of micro-plastic on the environment, especially on the marine ecosystem.
The discovery that BPA is toxic to health and the environment was made accidentally in the early nineties by Dr. Feldman, who failed to produce estrogen using yeast but coincidentally discovered that BPA, in fact, has estrogen-like effects.
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2. Tin cans
These are much more commonly used for pet food and less common in supplement packaging, but there are some products that are packaged in tin.
Tin cans were first used in the early 19th century when canning food became one of the most common and inexpensive food preservation methods. Tin is corrosion resistant; however, it leaches into foods, and leaching is even more severe when acidic foods like tomatoes, vegetables, fruits, and fruit juices come in contact with the metal.
At high concentrations, tin can cause clinical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is one of the reasons cats and dogs should not be fed canned food.
If you are wondering if your dog has been exposed to toxins, you can use the HairQ test to see what your pet’s exposure level is.
As if this was not enough, “modern” cans are now commonly lined with a coating containing bisphenol-A (BPA). Multiple research studies have confirmed that BPA in plastic and can linings is a serious hormone disruptor. Unfortunately, even BPA-free cans contain other xenoestrogens, which makes the verdict clear. Do not use food or supplements stored in cans whenever you have a choice.
3. Aluminum cans and packaging
This packaging was first used for Coors beer in the '50s. It was cheaper and easier to produce than tin, and aluminum is one of the most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust. However, similar to tin cans, BPAs were used for a long time. Nowadays, the inside of most cans is coated with either polyester or acrylic, which are chemicals in the polymer group. While they are relatively inert, their production involves the use of “monomers” made from crude oil that are much more toxic. The reason is that a small portion of toxic monomers in polymers “escape conversion,” and these “rogue toxic monomers” then leach into food.
In addition, polyester is part of the microplastic pollution that threatens the whole marine food chain and reproduction.
As you can see, aluminum cans are not good for the environment, you, or your dog.
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4. Glass packaging
The primary constituent of glass is sand (quartz or silicon dioxide), which is food-safe and inert. Additional components may be sodium oxide from sodium carbonate (baking soda) and calcium oxide (lime), which are also food-safe.
Sadly, despite the unrivalled safety record of glass, most supplements are packaged in plastic or aluminum, with the exception of a few high-end brands.
If you are wondering why, the reason is that glass is more expensive and heavier. Knowing this, we all must ask one serious question: If a company is willing to use toxic and environmentally hazardous packaging to save money, does it also source lower-quality ingredients to increase its profit margin?
At first glance, glass is, indeed, more expensive, but when you look at packaging from the perspective of what matters the most, your dog's health and the environment, glass is an indisputable winner. It is food-safe and environmentally friendly, and the primary source is as plentiful as the sand in the Sahara desert! I can definitely promise you one thing, when it comes to my supplements for dogs they will always come packaged in glass.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM