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The Truth About That Scary-Sounding Pet-Food Study

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As proud dog mamas, we all take enormous care when deciding what food to give our fur babies. That's why a new study on a common ingredient in dog food is making some owners a little nervous.

The March 2018 research discovered levels of parabens in several dog food products, as well as in urine samples of the precious pets who ingested them. Considering parabens have been reported as endocrine-disruptors, it's understandable that the research might raise a few eyebrows. But as it turns out, scientists don't think we need to panic about parabens in our dogs' food.

What are parabens, and are they safe for dogs?

Parabens are chemical preservatives that can interfere with hormones and may have harmful effects on developmental, reproductive, and neurological systems. At first glance, that may sound alarming — but according to the actual study, the amount of parabens found in pup food is pretty low. "The current exposure levels of parabens and their metabolites in cats and dogs are 100- to 1,000-fold less than the tolerable daily intake limits," said senior author Kurunthachalam Kannan, PhD, in a statement. However, Dr. Kannan also noted that the "safe" levels were based on research on people, so there is a possibility that dogs could be more sensitive to parabens.

That said, you might take comfort in knowing that the Association of American Feed Control Officials has some pretty rigorous guidelines for what goes into pet food. Any chemicals added to your pet's food are only allowed if they are recognized as safe or if they have gone through a strict safety review. Considering the big help that parebens in some popular human products have given people, you might actually be a bit glad that they're inside your dog's bowl.

Are parabens safe for humans?

Much like this recent study on parabens in dog food, many folks got a little nervous when they heard about parabens present in human products — especially makeup. After all, none of us like to think about chemicals or hormones while we're putting on mascara or perfecting our blush. But as it turns out, these parabens actually keep mold and harmful bacteria from spreading in many popular beauty products. Without parabens, many products in our beauty regimens would go bad just as quickly as fresh produce — what a bummer that would be!

It's worth noting that more research is needed to see if these chemicals are associated with any negative health effects — both for doggos and for humans. But for the time being, no studies have confirmed any harmful effects from parabens. In the meantime, there also haven't been any specific paraben regulations given our for pups.

No paraben panic here!

h/t US News & World Report

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