Are We Offering Our Dogs Treats—or Toxics?

New studies illuminate hidden chemical dangers to dogs.

10/22/2021 5:31:00 PM

Dog treats and toys may contain hidden dangers. Here's what you can do to protect your pet, writes family_wag

New studies illuminate hidden chemical dangers to dogs.

Pet toys and foods can expose dogs to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.Recent studies of dogs’ exposure to toxics have been done via fur analysis.Dogs that live in human homes have dramatically higher PFAS levels than livestock.Source: Norman Scott, used with permission

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Since COVID, my home has resembled a clearinghouse. A steady stream of trucks arrives to deliver household goods, clothes, groceries, and—most importantly according to our dog, Bernie—pet food and treats.My husband recently opened one of these packages and smiled as he withdrew a soft, stuffed plush toy from its recesses. It was a gift for Bernie. A raccoon, to be exact. Mr. Raccoon had been ordered in honor of the live ones who parade across our overgrown property and trees, taunting and infuriating our canine ward.

Bernie received his gift with interest and curiosity. After a few enthusiastic rounds of toss-and-chase-the-airborne-creature, Bernie scampered off, tail streaming like a flag, with Mr. Raccoon secure in his jaws. He settled in a far corner of the den and set about mouthing and tasting the newcomer from every angle.

By dinnertime, the dog had an odd, glassy-eyed look.It didn’t appear he was choking, but he seemed a bit swollen. I placed a gentle hand on Bernie’s flank and discovered a disturbingly fast and jerky vibration, as if a small motor was grinding beneath his fur, trying to shift gears. Yikes!

My first thought was: Why do health crises always arise after the veterinarian’s office is closed? My second thought was: What have you done, Mr. Raccoon?I hunted down the suspect and found him intact: no torn fabric, all stuffing present and accounted for. Still, the polyester faux fur was slimy, soggy, and matted. Fortunately, Bernie’s distress passed, but to be safe, Mr. Raccoon was banished.

The Risks of Toxic Exposure to DogsDays later, a package arrived that confirmed our caution. In their new book,The Forever Dog: Surprising New Science to Help Your Canine Companion Live Younger, Healthier, and Longer, authors Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Shaw Becker lay out the stark scope and depth of hidden hazards that dogs face when sharing our human lifestyle.

The possibility of hidden toxics didn’t completely surprise me, since they played a role in my own health crisis years earlier. As a result, I had switched to “cleaner” foods and thought carefully about lifestyle choices. For example, a reverse osmosis water filtering system installed in the kitchen now removes contaminants from our drinking water. And of course, this purer water fills Bernie’s water bowl too.

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But what had I overlooked? Read more: Psychology Today »


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