What is in dog food that causes cancer? Get Your Pet Thinking

Could kibble be driving the chronic inflammation, and play a part in the cancer epidemic in dogs? A study from the University of Helsinki found that dogs who were on a kibble diet had elevated levels of homocysteine – 10 times higher versus those who ate a minimally processed diet. Homocysteine is an inflammation marker that helps to determine the risk of inflammatory diseases, such as cancer.

We’ve known for almost 100 years that glucose is linked to cancer cell growth thanks to Otto Warburg’s research from the 1930s. Warburg won a Nobel Prize for his discovery that cancer cells exhibit a greater rate of glycolysis than normal cells, meaning they generate energy to grow from the breakdown of glucose to energy.

Cancer is an extremely complex topic. Although further research is still needed, cancer is being increasingly thought of as a metabolic disease in both the human and canine medical fields.

Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when muscle meat is cooked at high temperatures. Acrylamides are chemicals formed when certain starchy foods are heavily processed. Both are mutagenic, meaning that they can change the structure of DNA and research has emerged to suggest that these chemicals increase cancer risk in both rodents and humans, and we suspect the same is true for our dogs.

Let’s start with the basics of cooking. Minimally processed dog food such as Lyka is lightly cooked at temperatures below the levels required for carcinogenic chemicals to form. The other positive, is that the bioactives, such as vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, remain largely intact, meaning pupper’s body can take full advantage of the natural nutrition offered by the ingredients.

Which dog foods cause cancer in dogs?

We wish we could provide you with a list of all the dog food brands to avoid. Sadly, it’s simply not possible. No scientific research has revealed that any one kind of dog food is linked to cancer in dogs. Even the claims that kibble can cause issues aren’t so cut and dry; there are plenty of high quality kibble brands without a high risk of cancer.

But, while it can be impossible to paint the canine food industry with broad strokes, it is a good idea to be on the lookout for specific ingredients. Indeed, there are a few select food sources that have been linked to cancer in humans, rats, and sometimes dogs. So, exploring those ingredients can help answer which dog foods cause cancer.

Other Causes of Cancer

Noting that many synthetic products either benefit or harms your pets health, your dog may avoid possible adverse effects only if you pay attention to them.

However, aside from the products mentioned above, other cancer-causing factors exist too.

Listed below are possible causes of cancer in canines that you should keep in mind if you may find something wrong with them.

Canine Cancer Diet

How does your dog’s food change when heat is applied? Is it true that kibble has carcinogens? These are questions to ask if dog nutrition is vital to you.

As a dog owner of two allergy-prone dogs, this topic is of high interest to me. I’ve had to research this for my Canine Nutrition course with CASI.

So I’ve rounded up different scenarios so you can learn and make an informed decision on how to feed your own dog.

Keep in mind, I’m not a vet. This article is presented for informational purposes and you must make your own decisions for your dog.

I’m a fan of cooking my dog’s food – in fact I did so for three years. However, I question whether cooking kibble at temperatures above 200 degrees is safe.

Here’s the conundrum I’ve always been in. If I love my dogs as much as I do, shouldn’t I want to feed them food that contributes to their overall health and well-being?

I’ve always wondered this because the end product no longer resembles the initial ingredients. I’ve soaked kibble in water, and it just became a pile of brown mush. And yes, I’ve even tasted it, and it tasted like dirt.

Meat is added into a vat to render it down to a powder. Then, heat is applied at a temperature of 220 degrees up to 390 degrees.

This powder is then sent to the hammer mill. This is the first time the plant starts to cook the material. Next, the ingredients are cooked together. Heat is involved in this process.

All of the ingredients are preconditioned – hot water and pressurized steam are used to cook the ingredients into a gloopy doughy material.

This dough is pushed through an extruder. The walls of the tubes are heated to high temperatures, and high pressure as the dough passes through. It is squeezed out the other end and cut into shapes. As the dough hits the air and the pressure is released, it puffs up. The kibble is hot and soft at this point.

A second round of enrobing. Heat is applied … and the hot kibble is dried and sprayed with synthetic vitamins, minerals, and flavor enhancers. The flavor enhancers are typically rendered liquid fats or powders.