What Ingredients in Pet Food Affect Pet Behavior
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What Ingredients in Pet Food Affect Pet Behavior

Learn about ingredients in dog food that may cause behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity. Learn about ingredients in cat food that may cause behavior problems in cats. Are color dyes harmful to pets? Why is my dog hyper?

If your pet has a behavioral issue, such as hyperactivity, you may want to look at the ingredients in his, or her, pet food.

There are three ingredients in pet food that have been suspected to contributing to behavioral problems in pets. If you have a cat you need to check your cat food. If you have a dog you need to check your dog food.

You can simply look at the food, if there are several different colored pieces you can be sure your pet's food contains color dyes. You can also spot this if you look on the ingredient list of your cat's food, or dog's food. Typically color dyes are listed towards the bottom, and the specific dyes may not actually be listed since many can be used.

Tartrazine is what makes food yellow, or orange when combined with a red dye. It is also known as Yellow 5, E102, or FD & C yellow 5. Although few scientific studies have been done on pets this food coloring has been found to cause behavioral problems in children, including hyperactivity, and lower IQ rates.  Source Link.

The same studies, as mentioned above, also found Allura Red, better known as Red 40, E129, or FD & C red 40, were also linked to behavioral problems in children and some countries have gone so far as to list it as “not recommended for children”.

Pet owners have found that these food dyes also cause behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity, in their pets. It is also speculated that, since these dyes are not natural, they may also contribute to cancers and other health problems seen in pets. Keep in mind that pets are eating these dyes in large portions at every meal, compared to humans who might only consume them in small portions at a few meals a week (yellow 5 is in Kraft dinner for example)

Color dyes are added to cat food and dog food, not to benefit the pet, but rather to appeal to the owner. The dyes are relatively cheap, but consumers seem to think a pet food is better somehow if it has different colors. When pictured on the front of a bag of food the bowl of pet food with multiple colored bits of kibble is what consumers are often taken in by, even though it makes no difference to the pet, and in fact we see, can cause behavioral problems.

Soy is another problem ingredient found in some pet food and has been noted to cause skin problems in some dogs as well as behavioral problems. Soy should not even be an ingredient in cat food since cats are true carnivores, but it could be a problem for them as well.

You can easily spot if a pet food contains soy by reading the ingredient list. Some of the behavioral problems linked to soy are aggression, as well as hyperactivity. Of course dog owners should note that some breeds of dogs are simply more active than others due to their need for physical stimulation (Husky) or mental stimulation (Border Collie).

In closing, I would like to say, do your pet a favor. Check the ingredient list, do not fall for gimmicks, such as color dyes, when buying cat food, or dog food, instead focus on finding a food that uses quality ingredients only. 


Further Reading

Is the Food your Dog Likes Good for your Dog?

Is the Food your Cat Likes Good for your Cat?

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Comments (4)
Ranked #3 in Pet Health

what a great article, thanks so much for the info

Your willingness to share your wisdom with pets is admirable. Well detailed info too.Thank you. Promoting since I am out of votes.

Just returning with a vote up for a well deserved article. Thank you.

Thanks, Brenda, this is such an important topic for pet owners. There are far too many pet owners out there who use products as bad as these, just for the bargain. It's just not worth saving the 3 cents a can in the longrun. Voted, appreciated and crosslinked above.