If you are not used to having pets around, then you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s only humans who suffer with digestive problems…
However, those of us who own a dog will know that much as they are our best friends they can sometimes be their own worst enemies because there is almost nothing that our furry friends won’t put in their mouths – from dirty socks to last night’s casserole.
It’s no wonder digestive problems are the number one reason why dogs end up at veterinarians.
Not a dead bird
However, if Beeno’s digestive problems have been lingering a little too long, the real culprit may not be something he fished out of the trash or a dead bird he picked up in the park. It could in fact be something that you’ve been feeding him.
If you’re feeding your pet any canned food or even those new refrigerated “loaf logs”, you could unknowingly be giving your pet a dangerous additive linked to stomach inflammation, intestinal lesions and even colon cancer.
It’s called carrageenan (also indicated on food labels as E407), and it’s used as a food emulsifier, stabiliser, thickener and gelling agent in most canned and perishable foods – even the expensive organic varieties.
Here’s how the website UK Food Guide describes carrageenan:
Carrageenan is a naturally occurring family of carbohydrates extracted from red seaweed. This particular type of seaweed is common in the Atlantic Ocean near Britain, Europe and North America. The seaweed is boiled to extract the carrageenan.
Red seaweed. Yeah! So it’s natural and therefore it must be healthy, right?
Not so much… not for you and certainly not for Beeno or your feline friend Finnegan.
One consumer watchdog describes carrageenan as being so inflammatory that it “appears to do to your gut what poison ivy does to your skin.”
In fact, known adverse effects in humans include gastrointestinal ulcers, liver damage, negative effects on the immune system and even cancer. Researchers have been warning about the dangers of carrageenan for decades, but the medical authorities still refuse to ban it from human food – so don’t expect to see it removed from pet food anytime soon.
The good news is that pet food manufacturers are required by law to list carrageenan on their labels, so read them carefully.
It can be a little harder to find cat food without carrageenan. But there’s enough evidence showing that carrageenan could be behind many of the digestive problems and certain cancers that affect dogs and cats, so it’s worth the extra effort to find a brand without it.
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“Is this sneaky ingredient sickening your pet?” Jean Hofve, DVM, Rodale News, rodalenews.com