Heavy Metals in Pet Food is Between 8 and 670 Times Higher Than in Human Food

Heavy metal levels in pet food is between eight and 670-times higher than in human food and none was within a level considered safe for humans as found in a study.

Heavy metals in pet food are carcinogenic
Heavy metals in pet food are carcinogenic. Photos in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Veterinary Opinion

Karen Becker, a veterinarian, says that if pet owners knew what they were putting in their dog and cat’s bowls, they would be appalled. She is an expert in nutrition and disease and for her 99% of the pet foods on the market are unsatisfactory. She cannot recommend them because of the level of disease that she sees in her patients. She links pet food to a wide range of diseases. For example one in two dogs will die of cancer and one in three cats will die of cancer. By implication she links those horrific statistics to the food that they eat.


Dr Dodman, the Chief Scientific Officer for the Center for Canine Behavior Studies and a former director of the animal behavior program at Tufts University says that a lot of heavy metals are carcinogenic. He says that this is interesting when you consider that the cancer rate in dogs is twice that of cancer in people.

As the title states, the percentage levels of heavy metals in pet food is much much higher than in human food. If it’s bad for humans it is bad for pets and the levels of heavy metals in pet food would not be tolerated in human food.

Not Illegal

There is nothing illegal about the presence of heavy metals in pet food because even these high levels are within industry guidelines in America. There are no laws governing concentrations of heavy metals in pet foods and little research on the long-term effects of these metals on cats and dogs.

The Metals

The heavy metals that are being referred to are such as arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury which, as mentioned, are linked to cancer, neurological disorders and respiratory disorders. A study found these contaminants in nearly every brand of pet food. The study tested 1100 pet foods for heavy metals, BPA, pesticides and other toxins linked to cancer.

The Study

The study was released by a non-profit organization called Clean Label Project. Since 2010 the FDA has received more than 9000 pet food complaints. There is a growing group of veterinarians and scientists who think that there is a connection between pet food and the high rates of disease in cats and dogs.

The food was tested by Ellipse Analytics. They triple tested each product and averaged the results. They were astounded by the results. Pet food companies are not required to test for these heavy metals and neither are they required to tell anybody about it.

No Recent Studies

Current data is based upon research done decades ago and compiled by the National Academy Of Sciences. There are no studies which have assessed the effect of these toxins over a lifetime of eating the food. The earlier studies assessed the effect on eating the food for 40 weeks (eating lead for 40 weeks). This was carried out on adult dogs. You cannot extrapolate those results with a lifetime of eating contaminated foods particular the same foods day in and day out.

Pet Food Manufacturer’s Response

The pet food manufacturers concerned were asked to comment. Nestlé Purina state that the levels of heavy metals are well within limits for safe pet food as set by the FDA. They’re confident that the guidelines are satisfactory. They also say that heavy metals are naturally occurring in the environment which means that they may also be present in food for both people and pets. They believe that the limits are satisfactory and therefore they do not have an obligation to provide warnings on the label. Read their full statement here.

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4 thoughts on “Heavy Metals in Pet Food is Between 8 and 670 Times Higher Than in Human Food”

  1. This is appalling, but a perfect circle of perpetual money making, exploiting both our animal charges and our wallets.

    I wonder what the situation is in the UK regarding these lethal contaminants? I believe that legislation in the USA & the UK are very diffetent. I stopped feeding my cats fish based processed foods about ten years ago due to my concerns over heavy metals.

    • I’ll check the situation in the UK and get back on it. It is appalling. The regulations need tightening up.


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