The presence of aflatoxin in some dog foods can threaten the health of your pet. With that in mind, it is no longer surprising to see manufacturers and agencies finding ways to control the contamination of aflatoxins in dog foods as much as possible. One control measure they are applying is to use only crops guaranteed to resist the toxic substance.
Dog food manufacturers also make sure they make use of sufficient storage conditions by ensuring there is a low level of moisture in the storage area to prevent the growth of molds. Now the question is how can aflatoxin get into dog food? Use the information you’ll gather from this article to get an idea about how this harmful toxin can penetrate dog foods.
Aflatoxin refers to a metabolic waste product derived from a certain fungus, called As per gillus flavus. The problem with aflatoxin is that, just like all of my cotoxins, it can trigger diseases and even death in severe cases. It is even known to be a cancer-causing agent. The disease, which usually results from the intake of certain foods that contain the waste product, is called aflatoxicos is. It mainly affects the liver of animals.
Since the disease primarily affects the liver, it is no longer surprising to see it causing gastrointestinal symptoms and reproductive issues. It is also characterized by other symptoms, like jaundice, anemia, loss of appetite, fever, lethargy, bloody diarrhea, severe vomiting, and discolored urine. Also, take note that outbreaks of illnesses related to the substance more commonly affect dogs than cats.
It is mainly because of the corn products present in several commercial dog foods. You must be extra cautious about the foods your dog eats if you own one. If your dog takes in any food with aflatoxin contamination, then you will most likely see him showing the mentioned symptoms.
Even if there are no signs of illness, but you’re sure he has eaten a dog food potentially contaminated with the substance, it is still crucial to talk to your vet or visit a vet clinic right away. During your visit, bring the food you feel is contaminated with aflatoxin. It’s also advisable to consult a holistic vet and ask about the effectiveness of natural liver detox agents, such as milk thistle.
Aflatoxin often contaminates agricultural crops prior to harvesting them. Usually,it can be triggered by certain conditions that trigger pre-harvest contamination, like insect activity, high temperature, and long drought periods. There is also a great risk for aflatoxin to cause a problem in crops if they stay wet for a long period. You can also expect aflatoxin to develop on stored crops, especially if there is high moisture, causing the development of mold.
Among those plants known for having the highest risk of being contaminated with aflatoxin are corn, cottonseed, and peanuts. There are also other agricultural products frequently contaminated with the substance, like sorghum, maize, rice, wheat cereals, pearl millet, soybean, almonds, coconuts, turmeric, sunflower oil seeds, coriander, and pistachios. Also, take note that processed foods that contain corn are also prone to aflatoxin adulteration.
If the mentioned plants and products are used in making a dog food, then there is a high risk the resulting product will be contaminated with aflatoxin. It is, therefore, important to purchase a dog food that uses none of the plants and foods mentioned above, especially corn.
One way to control aflatoxin contamination is to blend batches of grains contaminated with the substance with those that are not. Such is helpful in reducing the aflatoxin present in the grains. This will also minimize the risk of your dog getting contaminated. However, if your goal is to avoid feeding your dog with any product containing aflatoxin mold, then you might not be too confident with the mentioned procedure.
Most of the animal feed that usually makes use of corn is served to livestock. Some also go to pet foods. If you want to make sure your pet won’t be contaminated with the toxic substance, then consider feeding him a grain-free dog food. Also, make it a point to follow these tips to ensure you can prevent the risk of your dog being contaminated with aflatoxin and suffering from its consequences:
Another tip is to check out raw pet foods and dehydrated raw foods prepared commercially. You can mix commercially prepared and homemade foods. Doing any of the mentioned tips minimizes the risk of your dog suffering from aflatoxin poisoning.
Stay away from formulas that use cereal grains, such as sorghum, maize, wheat, rice, and pearl millet, as there is a great chance they are contaminated with the substance.
Note that aflatoxin is harmful for animals, particularly pets. It is even linked to powerful liver toxins. The result of taking in foods contaminated with the substance varies from one pet to another, though. It will also depend on some factors, like the time your dog has been consuming the food contaminated with it. Still, you mustbe extra careful on what you feed your dog. You also mustremember it is a carcinogenic. It can trigger cancer.
Aflatoxin also has the tendency to suppress your dog’s immune system, making him more prone to dealing with infections or life-threatening diseases. Chronic aflatoxin exposure also triggers the formation of tumor.
Aside from corn, grains, and other foods and products contaminated with aflatoxin, there are other foods you should avoid feeding your dog because of their toxic substances. Some foods you should keep your dog away from besides corn are:
It is mainly because of the tendency of alcohol to be rapidly absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream, causing it to be affected right away. Aside from the already mentioned effects, the intake of even just a little alcohol might also cause your dog to experience a dangerous drop in blood pressure, body temperature, and blood sugar. Intoxicated dogs might also experience respiratory failure or seizures.
In addition, taking them in large amounts can reduce oxygen flow and cause organ damage, breathing problems, vomiting, and weakness.
If you feel like your dog has ingested coffee, tea, energy drink, or any other food and drink containing caffeine, then note that early treatment can help prevent more serious effects. You have to visit the vet immediately even if your dog shows no symptoms yet.
Also, make it a point to check all your sugar-free foods for xylitol. Note it might also be present in sugar-free peanut butter and toothpaste. Any food with xylitol should be taken out of reach of your dog.
Those are just some of the toxic foods for dogs. However, take note that, no matter how cautious you are, there is still a high risk for your dog to find and swallow those foods that are harmful to them. With that in mind, have the contact number of your veterinarian within easy reach. Also, if you feel like your dog ingested a toxic food, then make it a point to call for help immediately.
Learning how aflatoxin can get into dog food can help you identify the foods containing the toxin you should avoid feeding to your dog. Also, be aware of the other toxic foods for dogs, aside from those containing aflatoxin. That way, you can guarantee his safety all the time.