Every dog owner wants the very best for their furry family member and would never intentionally harm them. However, many pet parents are exposing their dog to a poisonous substance everyday and may not realize it.
In 2014, a study published in the medical journal The Lancet indicated that fluoride is as dangerous a substance as arsenic, lead, and mercury. The research showed that the consumption of fluoride through drinking water lowered a child’s IQ and put them at a much higher risk of neurodevelopment disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD.
If humans suffer from ill effects caused by fluoride, it stands to reason that dogs do too. Unfortunately, avoiding the chemical may be next to impossible.
To help prevent tooth decay, cities across the nation began adding it to the water supply. While most likely not listed on the label, bottled water also has fluoride, but current regulations limit it to 0.7 mg per liter.
Experts estimate 75 percent of the American population is drinking fluoridated water, which means a vast majority if dogs are too. Additionally, both humans and dogs are exposed to fluoride when taking a bath as fluoride is easily absorbed through the skin.
Not only is a pet getting a substantial amount of fluoride from drinking, but also from eating. Many of the most common ingredients in dog food, such as chicken byproduct and meat meal, contain high amounts of the compound. To make matters worse, most dog food makers add ordinary tap water during the manufacturing process.
Studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group found many dog food products included excessive levels of fluoride, some as high as 2.5 times what is considered “safe” by the Environmental Protection agency. When a dog drinks water from the tap and eats commercial food, the researchers estimated a dog’s exposure to the compound is five times higher than the safe limit.
While there are several dog health issues thought to be caused by fluoride toxicity, one in particular is painful and debilitating. Named skeletal fluorosis, this disease is triggered by the accumulation of fluoride in the body. Often misdiagnosed as arthritis or part of the normal aging process, symptoms include stiffness, painful joints, muscle weakness, and gastrointestinal problems.
Other studies have found excessive fluoride consumption leads to an increased risk of osteosarcoma. Every year, more than 10,000 dogs in the U.S. are diagnosed with the bone disease, while only 1,000 cases are found in humans.
A dog’s excessive fluoride consumption may be unavoidable, but it may be possible to remove some of it. Adding foods rich in iodine, like kelp or chlorella, to your dog’s diet can help eradicate the substance from the body. Other possible addictives include herbs like turmeric, cayenne, parsley, and cilantro.