Dog owners, prepare to be surprised! Ethoxyquin, a contentious component, may be included in the food that your pet dog consumes on a regular basis. This artificial antioxidant, which is frequently added to dog food as a preservative, has provoked spirited discussions among both specialists and pet lovers. Concerns about ethoxyquin’s potential health effects on dogs are what have sparked the debate about it being included in dog food. Despite being FDA and AAFCO approved, ethoxyquin’s possible health effects have drawn attention to them. Is it secure? Why is it employed? Exist other options? Join us as we go into the specifics of ethoxyquin to equip you with the knowledge you need to choose the right diet for your dog.

What Is Ethosyquin?

A synthetic antioxidant called ethoxyquin is added to dog food as a preservative. It is allowed for use in animal feeds by the FDA and AAFCO, largely to stop lipids from going rancid and the deterioration of fat-soluble vitamins.

What Is the Ethoxyquin Controversy About?

Concerns about ethoxyquin’s potential health effects on dogs are what have sparked the controversy surrounding it and led some pet owners to choose ethoxyquin-free dog chow.

Some dog breeders and owners are concerned that ethoxyquin may contribute to various autoimmune conditions and unexplained skin issues. According to some theories, synthetic preservatives like ethoxyquin may be harmful to dogs’ livers and liver enzymes. But according to all available research, ethoxyquin is safe for use in all animal diets when used at permitted amounts.

It’s interesting to note that ethoxyquin is okay to use in animal feed but not in goods intended for human consumption as a direct food additive. This mismatch contributes to some of the debate since some contend that what is not safe for humans should not be considered safe for animals.

While ethoxyquin is permitted for usage in the United States, it is not permitted in dog diets sold in Australia or the European Union, which furthers the controversy over its safety.

The European Food Safety Authority says that p-phenetidine, an impurity left over from the production process of ethoxyquin, is a potential mutagen, therefore the advisory panel was unable to completely rule out dangers to animals that were thought to have a long lifetime, such as pets. However, this is not the same as arguing that it unquestionably creates issues; rather, they are being careful.

It is crucial to keep in mind that food degradation that occurs without preservatives like this is detrimental, even though it is unknown if ethoxyquin is a toxic element.

Ethoxyquin is still widely used as a preservative by many pet food manufacturers despite the ongoing dispute. Dog foods without ethoxyquin are also offered for individuals who would rather not consume them. It is always advised that pet owners do their study and choose the course of action that is best for the wellbeing of their animals.

Does Ethoxyquin Have Side Effects?

Regulatory agencies including the FDA and AAFCO have given ethoxyquin the go-ahead for usage in dog food. These bodies must evaluate the available safety research data before approving anything. This prompted the creation of safe tolerance ranges that were suitable for use in food.

It’s critical to keep in mind that the amount of ethoxyquin present in dog food is regulated to be within acceptable limits and that these potential negative effects are linked to high levels of exposure. However, it’s always better to visit a veterinarian if you observe any strange symptoms in your dog, such as changes in behavior, food habits, skin condition, or general health.

Autoimmune Conditions

Breeders and owners were particularly concerned that ethoxyquin would cause autoimmune problems in dogs, which was one of their main worries. When the immune system of the body unintentionally assaults healthy cells, autoimmune disorders can result, which can cause a number of different health problems. However, there is no evidence connecting ethoxyquin to these canine conditions.

Skin Issues

Undiagnosed skin issues in dogs are a concern shared by several pet owners and breeders. These can include everything from rashes and itchiness to hair loss. Although some anecdotal reports imply a connection between these illnesses and ethoxyquin, further research is required to support these claims. Using ethoxyquin has been linked to reports of cutaneous sensitivity in humans.

Damage to the liver

Potential liver damage is one of the stated concerns that is possibly the most dangerous. According to certain research, ethoxyquin may possibly increase some liver enzymes in dogs and cause liver pigmentation. The consequences on dogs specifically have not been thoroughly investigated, although this worry is based on laboratory experiments on other species. Additionally, when high doses of ethoxyquin were fed—well above the permitted limits—these problems were observed.

Reproductive Issues

Additionally, there have been allegations that synthetic preservatives like ethoxyquin may have adverse effects on a dog’s reproductive system, impairing fertility or causing birth abnormalities in young puppies. Again, these impacts are theoretical and have not been well investigated. It might be related to the recommendation that more research is required despite the possibility that p-phenetidine is mutagenic.

How can I determine whether the food I give my dog includes ethoxyquin?

On the box of dog food, the ingredients should be mentioned. Ethoxyquin should be noted if it is used.

Are there any other uses for ethoxyquin?

Yes, in addition to being used as a preservative in dog food, ETHOXYQUIN is also used in the production of rubber and to prevent post-harvest scald on pears.

Is ethoxyquin a natural or artificial substance?

Ethoxyquin is a manufactured substance.

Can ethoxyquin be added directly to food?

No, ethoxyquin is not authorized for use as a direct food additive in foods intended for human consumption, although being allowed in animal feed.

How can I limit how much ethoxyquin my dog is exposed to?

You might decide to feed your dog ethoxyquin-free dog food to lessen their exposure to the chemical. Verify the ingredients specified on the label at all times.


The inclusion of ethoxyquin in dog food is still debatable, and some pet owners are concerned about possible health effects. However, the FDA and AAFCO have given their approval for usage in animal diets. Pet owners should do their homework before making any decisions and seek advice from a veterinarian if they have any questions. The issue with ethoxyquin appears to be the lack of current study that would allow for conclusive scientific findings.