Dog and Cat Food Safety Issues

Genetically modified corn could cause kidney damage to your pet.

One thing is for certain, the food industry is changing — on many levels. The Monsanto Company is the leader in diversifying agriculture to the point of engineering foods that appear on your dinner plate and in your pet’s bowl. The most recent travesty involves corn. The MON863 is a genetically modified corn that contains the Bacillus thuringiensis gene. Why is Monsanto inserting the bacillus gene into a corn’s gene? Because this lovely little gene actually causes the corn to produce a pesticide!

This is nothing new. Genetically engineered grains have been distributed since 1996. We are talking about corn, soy, wheat, rice, barely, and various types oil seeds, even alfalfa. The seeds are labeled “hybrid” seeds and the rationale behind using these seeds is higher crop yield. In today’s corporate farming world, the bottom line is what counts, not your safety and certainly not the safety of your pets. The defense is that these crops are used primarily for livestock. Yet, there is no evidence that this is the case. In fact, there are no laws preventing these crops from being sold for human (or pet) consumption.

Back in 1998 corn, wheat, soy, and other grain seeds developed by Monsanto to resist the Roundup herbicide were approved by the FDA. The corn is a GA21 and contains a modified epsps gene that results in the plant’s resistance to the Roundup herbicide. However, it also results in the plant’s absorption of this herbicide. (All plants exposed to an herbicide will absorb the herbicide, resulting in death of the plant.) The argument is that most plants treated with herbicides are not slated for the dinner table, hence the reason for killing them off. In the case of the GA21 corn, it is the opposite. The plant is sprayed, it absorbs the herbicide, but it resists the herbicide and does not die. Ultimately this corn ends up in the human and animal food chain.

In the case of humans or livestock, it can be argued that there is not enough concentration of the herbicide to create problems. In fact, many studies support that these genetically modified foods are perfectly safe for consumption. This is despite many reports that reveal just the opposite. Additionally, this argument can not be made for our pets, who are much smaller than us. Furthermore, independent laboratory tests have revealed that genetically modified grains can create liver, kidney and spleen damage — at least in rats. What exactly does this mean to your pet? Damage to the kidneys can result in renal failure. Damage to the liver results in liver toxicity. And damage to the spleen is fatal. For our companion animals damage to any of these vital organs spells out a death sentence.

Despite all the modern advances in pet health care and the nutritional information available to consumers, our pets are developing some alarming diseases: Diabetes, kidney failure, and cancer. These common human ailments are on the rise in our pets. Why jeopardize your pets’ health by serving food that can place them at risk? By taking the initiative to purchase only grain-free food for your pet, you will reduce their exposure to harmful GMOs. The conclusion is that any genetically modified grain that enters your dog’s and cat’s food is counterproductive to their health.

Gyvel Young is a journalist and published author. Her passion is animal behavior and nutrition.


Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 6:211-225, 2003

Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 44, Issue 7, July 2006, Pages 1092-1099

de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726.


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