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A representation of Butylhydroxytoluene

You may have heard of butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) or seen it on the ingredients list of dog food or treats. But what is it and how does it affect your dog? In this article, you'll find out more about this substance, which is used as an antioxidant and preservative. We explain what BHT is, how it works, its advantages and disadvantages and what you should look out for.

What is butylated hydroxytoluene?

Butylated hydroxytoluene is a synthetic substance that belongs to the phenol group. Phenols are organic compounds consisting of a benzene ring with one or more hydroxyl groups.

BHT is mainly used as an antioxidant, i.e. it prevents or delays the oxidation of other substances. Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which oxygen is bound to other substances. This can lead to undesirable changes such as loss of color, loss of taste or rancidity. BHT therefore protects other substances from spoilage or decomposition by oxygen.

BHT is also used as a preservative, i.e. it extends the shelf life of food or other products. BHT inhibits the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi that can spoil food. BHT can also prevent the formation of mold or toxins.

How does butylated hydroxytoluene work in dogs?

BHT is mainly used in dog food and treats to keep them fresh and tasty for longer. However, BHT can also be found in other products that your dog eats or comes into contact with. For example, BHT can be found in cosmetics, medicines, plastics or rubber.

The effect of BHT on dogs has not been clearly established. There are various studies with different results. Some studies indicate that BHT can be harmful to health in high doses. For example, BHT can lead to liver damage, kidney damage or cancer. However, other studies show no negative or even positive effects of BHT on dogs. For example, BHT can strengthen the immune system, inhibit inflammation or delay the ageing process.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) carried out a risk assessment of BHT in 2012 and found that BHT is safe for humans and animals at the permitted levels. The EFSA has set an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 0.5 mg per kilogram of body weight per day. This means that a dog with a body weight of 10 kg should not consume more than 5 mg ADI per day.

What should be considered?

If you give your dog products containing BHT or bring him into contact with them, there are a few things you should bear in mind:

  • Pay attention to the ingredients list and the amount of BHT listed. If possible, choose products that contain little or no BHT.
  • Pay attention to the total amount of antioxidants and preservatives your dog is consuming. Too many antioxidants and preservatives can lead to an overdose.
Learn even more about Butylhydroxytoluene

If you notice any signs of hypersensitivity or poisoning in your dog, you should see your vet immediately. We are not a substitute for a vet, but we try to be as accurate as possible. Every dog reacts differently and we recommend you get a second opinion or consult your vet if in doubt.

Stay healthy and take good care of your four-legged friend!😊

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