Skip to main content


A representation of Ethoxyquin

Ethoxyquin is a chemical compound that is used as an antioxidant in the animal feed industry. It is intended to prevent fats and oils from becoming rancid and losing their nutritional value. Ethoxyquin is mainly found in dog food with a high fish content, as fish oil is particularly sensitive to oxidation. But what does ethoxyquin mean for a dog's health? Is it safe or harmful? Find out more about this controversial ingredient and its pros and cons in this article.

What is ethoxyquin?

Ethoxyquin was originally developed as a herbicide, i.e. as a means of combating weeds. Later, its antioxidant properties were discovered and it began to be used as a preservative in the animal feed industry. Ethoxyquin protects fats and oils from spoilage and thus extends the shelf life of the feed. It is also said to preserve the vitamin and mineral content of the feed.

Ethoxyquin has been authorized as an additive in animal feed in the European Union since 1997, but only in limited quantities and under certain conditions. The maximum permitted amount is 150 milligrams per kilogram of feed. In addition, ethoxyquin must be declared on the animal feed label. In the USA, ethoxyquin is also permitted as an additive in animal feed, but without any quantity restrictions or labeling requirements.

What are the benefits of ethoxyquin?

Ethoxyquin has a number of advantages for the animal feed industry and for consumers. Ethoxyquin ensures that the feed stays fresh for longer and does not become rancid. This saves costs for producers and buyers, as less feed has to be thrown away. Ethoxyquin also preserves the nutritional value of the food by preventing vitamins and minerals from being destroyed by oxidation. This is particularly important for dog foods with a high fish content, as fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for skin, coat, heart and brain health.

What are the disadvantages of ethoxyquin?

Ethoxyquin also has some disadvantages and risks for your dog's health. Ethoxyquin is a synthetic chemical that does not occur naturally in your dog's body. There is evidence that ethoxyquin can accumulate in the body and cause liver and kidney damage. Ethoxyquin is also suspected of being carcinogenic and weakening the immune system. Some studies have found a link between ethoxyquin and various diseases in dogs such as allergies, skin problems, infertility, miscarriages or tumors.

However, these studies are not conclusive or sufficient to classify ethoxyquin as harmful to health. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) carried out a risk assessment of ethoxyquin in 2015 and found that the maximum permitted level of 150 milligrams per kilogram of feed does not pose a health risk to dogs. However, the EFSA recommended that further studies be carried out on ethoxyquin to investigate possible long-term effects.

Ethoxyquin is a synthetic preservative that was originally developed as a herbicide and was later used in the animal feed industry to extend the shelf life of animal feed and preserve its nutritional value. It has been authorized in limited quantities in the European Union since 1997, but in the USA there are no restrictions. Although it offers some benefits to the industry, there are also concerns about potential health risks to dogs, including liver and kidney damage and potential carcinogenic effects. However, research into these risks is not yet conclusive and further studies are recommended.

Learn even more about Ethoxyquin

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!😊

Similar to Ethoxyquin

Butylated hydroxyanisole

Butylated hydroxyanisole is a synthetic additive that acts as an antioxidant. This means that it prevents fats and oils from becoming rancid and smelling or tasting unpleasant. It is mainly used in...


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...


What are tocopherols? Tocopherols are natural compounds that are only formed by plants. There are eight different tocopherols: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta and theta. The most...

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in many plant and animal foods. It is primarily known for its antioxidant effect, i.e. it intercepts free radicals...