If you caught your personal protection dog’s drinking week killer, I’m sure it would result in a trip to the veterinary office for treatment. However, would you be equally worried about a scenario in which your dogs consume very small amounts over a longer period? I’m willing to bet the answer is yes, although this happens every day, all across the world. The herbicide in question is called Glyphosate and it has sparked quite a debate among animal lovers.
What Exactly is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is an organophosphate compound that is commonly used for controlling weeds. It’s also added to the formula of many other products. It works differently than other compounds in the same class. The herbicide is absorbed through the stalks and leaves of a plant, where it travels through an enzyme pathway and blocks the metabolism of necessary nutrients. The plant, unable to sustain itself without this essential element, then dies. Glyphosate is lethal to all plants and lower organisms that possess the appropriate enzymatic trail.
What’s the Big Deal?
For many years, Glyphosate was considered completely safe. The theory was that higher-order animals, such as humans and protection dogs, didn’t have the enzymatic pathway the herbicide used. Therefore, the risk of poisoning was close to zero. However, it turns out that common thought and actual scientific testing didn’t align with each other.
Lethal dose testing in rats proved that Glyphosate will attack alternate enzymatic processes, mostly the ones associated with organ detoxification. So even though higher animals are supposed to be immune to the mechanism of action, they’re not. The herbicide will work on enzymes it wasn’t intended for.
There were many more studies confirming it and showing a variety of health problems. This led the World Health Organization to declare the pesticide was most likely a cancer-causing agent. A backlash resulted from the manufacturers and soon claims of missing evidence began circulating.
Globally, the sale of this herbicide rakes in millions of dollars annually, so obviously the manufacturer has a stake in proving their product safe. What is indisputable though, is that Glyphosate does cause considerable illness in pets. If you’re interested in the evidence, you can read a summary of toxicology studies here.
How Does It Get In My Dog Food?
Glyphosate enters the food chain through soil absorption and overspray. The amount of herbicide is too small to cause crop death, but it does remain in the plant after harvest. Common dog food ingredients, such as rice, wheat, and corn, contain detectable amounts of it. The only way to avoid it is to purchase organic dog food.
What Does It Do to My Dog?
Glyphosate is linked to a number of health conditions in dogs. Cancer is the biggest and most talked about a side effect, but it also causes problems with digestion, breathing, cognitive function, and poor physical condition. Even though your personal protection dog is probably only consuming small amounts, it can still add up to big trouble down the road. Take into consideration that a dog’s lifespan is much shorter than a person’s lifespan; everything is amplified. Their organs work harder and wear out faster. Glyphosate isn’t eliminated from the tissue, it sits around and accumulates forever.
Also, personal protection dogs typically need to consume higher calories because they expend more energy. To some degree, they’re more of an athlete than your average house pet. They require plenty of exercise and training reinforcement. This means they’ll require more food than most, raising their risk of exposure to Glyphosate.
What Do Veterinarians Think?
The American Veterinary Medical Association’s position on Glyphosate is that more studies are needed. Keep in mind, their role is in creating and governing policies for animal health, including agricultural livestock. It puts them in somewhat of an awkward position, since they need to advocate for both farmers and pet owners. Regardless of any official statement, you’ll find many Veterinarians recommend organic dog foods as a protective measure.
How Do I Protect My Protection Dog?
There’s plenty you can do to avoid Glyphosate. Weedkiller contains the highest concentrations, so don’t use it. Keep in mind that this not only includes your yard, but your friend’s houses, public parks, and kennels with personal protection dogs for sale too. You can always call the Department of Parks and Recreation in your area to find out what their herbicide policy is.
Feeding high-quality, organic dog food from eco-conscious manufactures is another great step. If you prefer feeding a raw diet over commercial brands, you can check for organic certified ingredients at your local grocery store. Don’t forget that Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide, so it doesn’t rinse off.
The problem with commercial pet foods is that the toxicity of herbicides is compounded in the presence of some preservatives. Dr. Anthony Samsul, a research scientist, published test results from many well-known companies. Among the brands tested for Glyphosate, you’ll find surprisingly common names such as:
- Rachel Ray;
- And Kibbles and Bits.
If you’re looking at a personal protection dog for sale, ask about the feeding and care practices used. Many owners welcome a discussion on concerns over food quality and contamination concerns. Since these dogs represent a significant investment of both time and money for the seller, you’ll usually find that they provide the best care possible.
The Bad Thing You Didn’t Even Know About
The studies regarding Glyphosate are still ongoing, but the mounting evidence is scary. For the most part, it’s not something you hear a lot about. As the most common herbicide in use in the United States, there’s a good chance both you and your protection dog have already been exposed to it. The remedy is fairly simple though- avoid the things that cause you to come in contact with Glyphosate.