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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Food


Toxic levels of chemical found in dog foods


Toxic amounts of a fluoride have been found in several major brands of dog food, possibly putting pets at a higher risk of cancer, neurotoxicity and other life-threatening illnesses, a research organization warns.

The dog foods contain fluoride levels 2.5 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's national drinking water standard and those excessive levels "can predispose dogs to health problems, along with high veterinary bills, later in life," according to the Environmental Working Group.

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A book about a rescue dog
that will touch your heart

THE HUNT OF HER LIFE, is a nonfiction book about Samantha, an unwanted rescue dog who the author adopts at age 2. This beautifully designed full-color deluxe book, by longtime newspaper journalist Joseph A. Reppucci, contains more than 60 vibrant color photos of dogs to help illustrate the compelling and uplifting story of Samantha - a pretty tricolor bird dog who uses her warm personality to win people over and build a new family after being put up for adoption by a hunter because she is gun-shy and afraid to hunt. Learn how she uses her special bonding abilities with people to help her eventually make a transition from the hunting fields to family life. While reading the The Hunt of Her Life, you will travel with Samantha and the author along a trail filled with surprising twists, sudden turns, mystery and even what some call a miracle. And when the journey is finished, you may never look at people and their pets, motherhood - and perhaps even God - in the same way.  The Hunt of Her Life is must reading. It will take you on a captivating journey - a trip like no other - that will touch your heart.

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"Due to a failed regulatory system and suspect practices by some in the pet food industry, countless dogs may be ingesting excessive fluoride that could put them at risk," Olga Naidenko, lead researcher of the Environmental Working Group-sponsored study, states in a media release.

Scientists have yet to determine how much fluoride is safe for dogs, but they have found people who consume excessive fluoride often develop mottled teeth (dental fluorosis) and weakened bones, leading to more fractures. High fluoride consumption is also associated with reproductive and developmental system damage, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption, and bone cancer.

Three studies show that boys ages 6 to 8 who drink fluoridated tap water face a heightened risk of osteosarcoma, the rare but deadly form of bone cancer associated with fluoride. Scientists suspect that boys' rapid growth may make them more susceptible to bone cancer.

Dogs may be even more vulnerable to osteosarcoma than humans, according to EWG. More than 8,000 osteosarcoma cases occur in dogs each year in the United States, nearly 10 times the number that occur in people, according to the study.

"Whatever the size and the appetite of a dog, combined fluoride exposure from food and water can easily range into unsafe territory," the study states. "And, unlike children, who enjoy a variety of foods as they grow up, puppies and adult dogs eat the same food from the same bag every day, constantly consuming more fluoride than is healthy for normal growth."

In the study, 10 brands of dog food were tested. Two dog food brands, one with vegetarian ingredients and one made by a small manufacturer, had no detectable levels of fluoride. But eight others - all major brands - found to contain high levels of fluoride. The contents of those brands included chicken byproduct meal, poultry byproduct meal, chicken meal, beef and bone meal. Any ingredient described as "animal meal" is basically ground bones, cooked with steam, dried, and mashed to make a cheap dog food filler.The Washington-based Environmental Working Group, whose stated purpose is to protect human health and the environment, advises pet parents to feed food to their dogs that contains no bone meal and other meat byproducts to minimize exposure to harmful pollutants, including fluoride. "To protect pets from excessive fluoride exposures, dog owners can purchase pet foods that do not contain bone meal and other animal byproducts," the study states.

Pet food should be held to the same health and safety standards as human food and should be free of contaminants that may endanger pets' health, the study states. Yet, the federal Food and Drug Administration has little authority and few resources to ensure that products produced for pets are safe. The fact so many popular national pet food brands contain previously undetected health hazards shows that better federal food safety regulations are needed.

"Our findings point to the need for basic health protections that require companies to prove their products are safe before they are sold," Naidenko said. "Bringing public health laws in line with the newest scientific research is a critical step in protecting the health of all members of American households, whether they walk on two legs or four."

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