Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs in dog food, are a hot topic in the media right now. And there are a variety of viewpoints on whether or not they are secure.
There is a great deal of debate about GMO foods. Eaten in moderation, according to some scientists. But what is real? The studies that claim GMOs are safe are supported by the businesses who produce them (and stand to profit from their sale).
Numerous independent scientists contest the safety of GMOs. Many other nations forbid GMOs even though the US and Canadian governments have approved them. The cultivation of GMO crops is prohibited in a large number of nations, including those in the European Union, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. GMOs are prohibited in several nations, and labeling laws apply as well.
Even if you feed your dog a handmade raw diet, chances are that he’s consuming GMOs unless you make a conscious effort to avoid them.
What are GMOs?
When genes from the DNA of one species are removed and intentionally inserted into the genes of another plant or animal, genetically modified organisms (or genetically engineered organisms; the terms are interchangeable) are produced.
Contrary to what pro-GMO experts assert, this is not the same as cross breeding, which has been practiced for millennia.
Cross Breeding Vs Genetic Modification
Let’s talk about cross-pollination before moving on to cross breeding. When pollen is carried by the wind, insects, or even water and fertilizes another plant, it is an entirely natural process. The plants may be of the same species or occasionally of different ones.
Cross-breeding involves human intervention and advances the natural process. Plant breeders choose particular “parent” plants for particular features and then spread the pollen to a different plant to produce offspring with traits from both parents. Often, they are plants with different disease resistance qualities or those from different locations that could not have naturally crossed. Genetic alteration is still far less natural than cross-breeding.
In genetic engineering, a single gene (or a small group of genes) is transferred into a new genetic background to confer a whole new feature on the plant.
Although it may seem like a wonderful thing, genetic modification is actually an unnatural procedure that can change the nutritional content of food as well as its toxicity and allergic reactions. There is also an environmental impact because GM plants are frequently modified to be virus, pest, or herbicide tolerant.
Where Are GMOs?
Corn, soy, beets, canola, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, and alfalfa are a few examples of genetically modified crops. These ingredients are familiar to you because they are frequently found in commercial pet foods. According to experts, GMOs are present in 70% of processed foods for humans.
Therefore, you can presume there are GMOs in your dog food unless you’re giving certified organic goods. Even though the components aren’t specified as being GMO, the animals used to produce the food’s meat most likely ate GMO feed. Additionally, the meat animal most likely consumed GMO substances if you purchase components from a grocery store to make your own raw dog food.
GMO Health Risks
You love your dog, but what if something you’re feeding them is making them age prematurely and more susceptible to cancer? That’s a scary thought, but it turns out that’s exactly what GMOs—or genetically modified organisms—could be doing.
The problem with GMOs is that they have been shown to cause organ damage, hormone disruption and other serious health issues in animals. Since humans are animals too (not counting the fact that we have bigger brains), similar problems could be happening in humans as well. And since dogs can’t talk about their symptoms like we do, it’s harder to know if they’re suffering from GMO-related problems or not until it’s too late.
Health Issues From GMOs
In addition to the conditions above, GMOs can cause the following:
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Damage to other internal organs such as the pancreas and reproductive organs
- Changes in gut bacteria leading to leaky gut and immune system issues.
- Endocrine disruption
- Immune system damage
- Digestive disorders
- Skin and food allergies
- Cognitive issues
- Autism (translating to behavior issues in dogs)
Common GMO Foods
GMO plants are present in processed foods at a rate of about 70%. When you consider some of the most popular GMO crops, it is not surprising.
Many commercial pet diets contain the crops indicated here. GMOs are probably certainly present in the meat that is used in most pet feeds, even if you can’t see them on the label. This is due to the fact that these crops make up a significant portion of the animal feed used by cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, and even fish. GMOs are therefore virtually definitely present in your own meat, fish, and dairy products as well as your dog’s diet if you don’t buy organic.
- Corn is the #1 US crop. 88% of US corn crops are genetically modified.
- Soy is another huge US crop and 94% of it is genetically modified.
- Canola is genetically modified 90% of the time.
- Cottonseed may sound like something that couldn’t be in pet food, but cottonseeds are the source of many vegetable oils and 94% of it is genetically modified.
- Alfalfa is the fourth largest crop grown in the US and it’s what our cattle consume. So it’s in our meat, milk, cream, yogurt and butter. The majority of alfalfa is also genetically modified.
According to a USDA research, it is spreading to unsuitable locations, including the sides of roads. Because it is a perennial crop, when seeds are disseminated by wind or bee pollination, it grows quickly and returns year after year. It’s a major issue since it’s possible that organic alfalfa crops have GMO seeds as well. Therefore, you should not trust alfalfa.
How To Avoid GMOs For Your Dog
The Non GMO Project is a helpful resource. The sole third-party verification for non-GMO foods and products in North America may be found on their website. It is more stringent than organic certification since they screen for GMO contamination. This is the website where they list non-GMO pet items. Additionally, they provide a list of cooperating stores as well as non-GMO meat, fish, and egg providers who have been independently confirmed.
You can also look for the Non-GMO Project seal on the product you’re considering.
Glyphosate In Pet Foods
Regarding GMOs in dog food, there is one more item to be cautious of. The use of glyphosate (Roundup) in the cultivation and harvesting of GMO crops is one of the main issues with these foods. A rising number of studies demonstrate that the commonly used herbicide glyphosate disrupts the endocrine system, kills good bacteria in the gut, and destroys DNA.
Research has shown glyphosate present in the following levels:
- Raw dog foods have very low levels of glyphosate – up to 5 parts per billion (ppb).
- Canned and freeze-dried foods are 17 ppb.
- Conventional kibble is abundant in glyphosate. It ranges from 200 ppb to 660 ppb!
Consider Feeding a Raw Diet
If you give your dog a kibble meal that is not entirely organic, it will contain a lot of glyphosate. Glyphosate levels in raw diets are incredibly low. This is true even for raw diets that include meat from factory farms. Look for meats that are organic, pasture-raised, or entirely grass-fed. Foods that have been freeze-dried or canned have the second-lowest glyphosate concentration.