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Should you worry about arsenic levels in chicken and dog food?

Should you worry about arsenic levels in chicken and dog food?

Update on arsenic levels in chicken

Arsenic in food is a serious concern because of its toxicity and carcinogenic properties.

Health conscious dog lovers are well-equipped to protect their beloved dogs from the damaging effects of serious carcinogens and disease-causing toxins such as arsenic because an inexpensive, highly accurate dog hair test is now available.

Chicken, arsenic and dogs

Over the years, many dog lovers have been using HairQ to determine their dog’s toxin levels and the results suggest dogs eating chicken had higher levels of arsenic than those fed other meats.

In 2011, the U.S Food and Drug Administration agency confirmed that Roxarsone, an arsenic-containing parasiticide regularly added into chicken feed, caused the elevated levels of arsenic in chicken.

Good news for you and your dog 

Naturally, you may expect me to warn you against feeding your dog chicken, but I have good news. 

In February 2014, the company making Roxarsone, Zoetis, Inc., voluntarily withdrew the product from the market. In 2015 another company Huvepharma AD voluntarily withdrew all approvals for new drugs containing arsenic in animal feed, including Roxarsone, arsanilic acid and carbarsone.

This means there are no longer drugs containing arsenic permitted on the market.

Does this mean that chicken is now safe for you and your dog?

To be honest, it is a hard question to answer. Different producers use a variety of feed sourced from all around the world and arsenic contamination is greater in food grown in industrial and polluted regions of the world. 

It is my general understanding that chicken is much safer to feed in 2016 than it was a few years ago, mainly because the cancer-causing drugs containing arsenic are no longer used.

Practical solutions to protect your dog from the effects of arsenic 

  1. Ideally, feed organic, or at least, free-range non-medicated chicken and add organic vegetables for an additional cleansing effect.
  2. Never feed a diet of chicken only. Never feed processed kibble. Feeding a variety of four to five different meats is recommended. 
  3. If you need to resort to feeding kibble, which I do not recommend, hair test your dog to check her/his toxin levels.
  4. Hair test analysis is currently the most accurate and cost-effective method of determining the levels of arsenic in your dog’s body. Your dog’s hair can be compared to a time capsule that shows toxins and mineral levels in its shaft, similar to archaeological deposits or icebergs in Antarctica. Using blood levels of arsenic is not viable because they only show a momentary snapshot of arsenic levels. 
  5. Avoid feeding rice to dogs. It is not species appropriate and Asian rice contains higher levels of arsenic. 
  6. Provide essential minerals and vitamins to push out toxic elements, including arsenic, from the body.
  7. Take your dog through a semi-annual liver cleanse.

Additional related reading:

How to avoid foods high in arsenic and keep your dog healthy

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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