Preservatives in Dog Food: What to Stay Away From

Preservatives are important. Without them, your dog’s big bag of food would go bad before he could eat it all. For the same reason, human food has preservatives as well. Preservatives changed the way we all were able to live and eat, for the better.

However, not all preservatives are created equal. There are some that may keep their food from spoiling but may also harm your dog. There are two type of preservatives that may be in your dog’s food – natural and artificial.


Common artificial preservatives in dry dog foods are:

· Ethoxyquin

· Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

· Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

· Tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ)

· Propyl gallate

They are very effective at keeping the fat in your dog’s food from going rancid. However, studies have suggested that ingesting these, especially ethoxquin, can cause health problems for your dog. Why? Because ethoxquin is also used as a pesticide and a hardening agent for synthetic rubber. It is currently under investigation in the United States for potentially causing liver and blood problems. Because of this, it is not permitted for use here in Australia or the European Union! So take care if you import any food or treats.

Does your dog eat a fish-based dog food? Where is that fish coming from? If that fish is not from here in Australia, it may contain ethoxquin before it even hits our shores and the pet food manufacturer may not even be aware. So while it won’t be on the label, your dog will still be eating it. That’s why here at Stay Loyal, we use Australian-sourced ingredients so you don’t have to even think about things like this.

BHA and BHT have been named “suspicious cancer-causing compounds” by the World Health Organization.

Pet food companies like to use these because they make their product last longer and they are less expensive than natural preservatives.


While it’s true that natural preservatives do not keep food as fresh as long. As long as you aren’t buying a 20kg bag of food for one Yorkshire Terrier, and you store it properly, it will last just fine. And the benefits far outweigh this. Natural preservatives are not only safe, but they can actually benefit your dog.

Common natural preservatives are:

· Vitamin E

· Vitamin C

· Rosemary

· Citric acid

The first thing you probably notice is these are words you know and understand. Second, you may notice that 3 of them (vitamin C, rosemary, citric acid) come from sources that are full of antioxidants such as blueberries, apples, citric fruits and the rosemary plant. Vitamin E is sourced most often from mixed tocopherols. This is a word you may not be familiar with. And that might scare you, but it shouldn’t!

Tocopherols are a form of vitamin E derived from vegetable oils such as sunflower, as well as egg yolks, leafy vegetables and wheat germ oil, to name a few.

In humans, tocopherols make up 96% percent of our skin’s natural antioxidant defense system. So you see, they are a “superhero” in the antioxidant category and do all kinds of wonderful things, including:

· Stabilize cell membranes

· Prevent UV-induced free radicals to damage skin

· Anti-inflammatory agent

· Helps moisturize the skin

· Regulates digestion

· Helps prevent cataracts

· Immune system health

· Delays aging

· Supports cardiovascular and respiratory health.

Could this list get any better? Some studies suggest it may prevent scarring!

So, check your dog’s food and treat labels and make sure they are using natural, not artificial, preservatives.

If you take a look at the Stay Loyal ingredient page, you will see we only use natural preservatives in our food, because it’s better for your dog. We want to keep that tail wagging for as long as possible and we know you do too.

Not just another dog food company. With our mission to improve the health and happiness of dogs all over Australia through enriched nutrition and continued education of caring dog owners, our priority is helping you care for your dog. Check Us Out!

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  1. Great article on preservatives, you are right, all those name do scare one as one doesnt know the contents of the preservatives. We look after our bodies so we should do the same for our pets as well. Sad part of life is that they dont live as long as we do ,so we must make the most of them while we can.
    Thanks for providing great pet food. Cheers, John

  2. Thanks Rob. Great article.
    We pick our pup up in a month so am researching all sorts of things.
    Unfortunately our dog food standards in Aust are very loose. Thx for the info.
    Kind regards

  3. Hello Robert, I enjoy reading your helpful posts. I do order and use Stay Loyal dog food for my dog but as the dry food is only part of his diet a bag lasts for some time and does not fit in with your ordering process to get the discounted price. Is there an option where I can get the cheaper price?

    1. Hi Jeran, our auto-delivery is totally flexible. that said we recommend you get through a bag within 3 months to keep the freshness. If you are not go through it within that time you should be buying the smaller bag. I hope that makes sense. But yes the auto-delivery is fully adjustable and you can cancel at any time.

    2. I alter the date quite often with mine and it’s never an issue. It took a while to work out the right time it took to go through a bag. Also if we are going on holidays or something and want to get it earlier. You just need to change it at least a day or two before the order is set to generate. Love Stay Loyal <3

  4. Thanks Robert for such a fabulous article ✅✅✅I tell everyone with a dog about your dedication to providing dog lovers pets with great , healthy food, so we don’t have to worry about the integrity of our supplier.
    Cheers Trace

  5. Thanks for that great information Robert. I have just checked the two treat bags, each of which only list preservatives and no extra information. Could this be a concern?

    1. Hi Diane, It could be a concern… and if it is for you, i would try contacting the the manufacturer and ask which preservatives they are using.

  6. Very helpful and interesting. Your, obviously well researched news letters, are well worth reading. Thank you and keep up the good work, we are fortunate that you go to so much trouble to produce such fine dog food.

    Hugh Shorten.

  7. Thank you for your information. I am pleased I have discovered Stay Loyal dog food and plan to keep Charlie on this so I will have peace of mind.

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