Since human’s health is effected by fluoride, it stands to reason that our pets are also affected by it – but in what way and to what degree?
All animals drinking fluoridated water are slammed with fluoride. There’s a video at the bottom of this article that shows cattle that drank fluoridated water. Not pretty. But drinking water is only part of the fluoride story for our pets.
First, fluoride concentrates in bones. When pet food includes meat byproducts or bone meal, the fluoride content of the food is going to be high. Unfortunately, fluoride content of pet foods (and people foods) is not listed on labels and usually not even known.
Environmental Working Group found that eight major brands of dog and puppy foods have up to 2.5 times more fluoride than the E.P.A.’s maximum legal dose allowed in drinking water. (Maximum legal allowable fluoride in water is 4ppm however the recommended amount that water companies add to water is 0.7ppm). These 8 brands of dog foods contain an average of 9mg of fluoride per kilogram of dog food. Ouch.
On the up side, the study also tested two dog food brands that do not contain detectible levels of fluoride: one is made with vegetarian ingredients and the other is made by a small manufacturer.
Little research has been done on the effect of fluoride on dogs. However in 2006 the National Research Council published research noting numerous adverse health risks of fluoride on humans, including disruption of the brain, kidneys and thyroid, bone fractures and joint pain (among others).
Worth noting is: the amount of fluoride in the tested pet foods is higher than the amount of fluoride associated with the development of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in young boys. Speaking of osteosarcoma, nearly 10 times as many dogs get this deadly and painful bone cancer each year as people do. Is it possible that osteosarcoma in dogs might be tied to fluoride consumption – like it is for boys? To date, no research has been done on this question.
Pet food manufacturers are not intentionally adding fluoride to pet food. Rather, most pet food contains meat of animals that drank fluoridated water or ate foods containing fluoride. Since fluoride concentrates in bones, when meat byproducts and bone meal are added to the pet food , fluoride content of the pet food skyrockets.
Unfortunately the fluoride content of cat food has not been tested nor do we know the effects of fluoride on cats. I’m personally concerned about the effect of fluoride on my cat’s bones and joints – plus their kidneys, especially since cats tend to have kidney problems anyway.
The way it looks to me, for both dogs and cats, it may be wise to consider whether I choose to purchase pet foods that include meat byproducts and bone meal.
Here’s a video showing the way that drinking fluoridated water effected cattle in Ferndale, Washington:
Bassin, E. B., D. Wypij, et al. (2006). Age-specific fluoride exposure in drinking water and osteosarcoma (United States). Cancer Causes Control 17: 421-428. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16596294&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum