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Benzoic acid

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Benzoic acid, a simple organic acid, is widespread in nature and plays a crucial role in the preservation of food and in cosmetic products. But what about the use and effects of benzoic acid on our dogs? In this article, we take a deep dive into the world of benzoic acid to explore its properties, potential benefits and the risks it poses to the health of our four-legged companions.

What is benzoic acid?

Benzoic acid (C6H5COOH) is a colorless, crystalline substance that occurs naturally in many plants and can also be produced synthetically. It is known for its antimicrobial properties and is often used as a preservative in the food industry to extend the shelf life of products and suppress the growth of harmful microorganisms. It is also used in the pharmaceutical industry and in cosmetic products.

Advantages: The positive side of benzoic acid

Antimicrobial effect

Benzoic acid can effectively inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeasts and molds. This property makes it a valuable additive in the preservation of dog food, as it helps to keep the food safe and fresh.

Safety in small quantities

In small, controlled amounts, benzoic acid is safe for most dogs. The approved limits for benzoic acid in food are set at levels that do not pose a health risk to dogs if the recommended doses are followed.

Potential benefits in skin care

Due to its antimicrobial properties, benzoic acid may be useful in some dog skin care products to treat mild skin irritations and prevent infections.

Disadvantages: The potential risks

Toxicity risk in case of overdose

Although benzoic acid is safe in small amounts, an overdose can lead to toxicity. Symptoms of benzoic acid poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, lethargy or seizures.

Allergic reactions

Some dogs may be sensitive to benzoic acid and develop allergic reactions that manifest as skin rashes, itching or other dermatological symptoms.

Impairment of the intestinal flora

There is evidence that benzoic acid may affect the natural intestinal flora by disrupting the balance between beneficial and harmful microorganisms. This can lead to digestive problems and reduced absorption of nutrients.

Benzoic acid is a double-edged sword in the nutrition and care of dogs. On the one hand, it offers advantages due to its antimicrobial properties, which can be used in the preservation of dog food and in skin care. On the other hand, it poses risks in case of overdose or in dogs with a specific sensitivity or allergy to this substance. The key message for dog owners is to carefully monitor the use of products containing benzoic acid and pay attention to their dog's reaction. If unsure or if symptoms of hypersensitivity occur, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. Overall, it is crucial to find a balance to reap the benefits of benzoic acid without jeopardizing the health of our dogs.


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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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