Ingredients: The Good, The Bad & The Toxic. Nov 7, 2015 12:45:26 GMT -5 lyles, Corvidophile, and 5 more like this
Post by Deleted on Nov 7, 2015 12:45:26 GMT -5
Brought to you by: Beavis! (lol!)
A note from Machan:
Many of you on the forum who know me, may probably already aware that I tend to do ALOT of research when it comes to ferret nutrition. I practically inhale the knowledge. This list originally started as a personal collection for ingredients that are commonly found in pet dry food / kibble, or in supplements etc. I later extended it to include other things like Shampoos, Treats, and other ingredients of interest.
Some listed in this thread may be toxic, some may be completely unnecessary, some should be only used when necessary or used with extreme caution and some should really simply just be completely avoided in general. Keep in mind that not all ingredients listed are considered 'toxic' or 'deadly' or 'unhealthy'. This list I have compiled included many ingredients, the good and the bad included. I have worked very hard on this list, so I would appreciate it if no information is moved or edited in any form without prior consent from myself or HFF admin.
If I've missed anything, let me know so I can add it along to the list. I like to have references, so any references to go along with information would help validate everything. Also keep in mind that this list is a work in progress. There are MANY ingredients I have not yet put here, but do intend to do so in my own time. I am a busy person, but still do my best to ensure I have done thorough research prior to adding things here.
Times change and so can information, I do my best to have everything on this list as accurate as possible however if something is not right, let me know and send me sources so I can alter the information accordingly.
Remember to check labels and ingredients if you feed kibbles or any type of product to be exact as this can literally save your little ferrets life!! So many ferrets die every year from poisonings. Be cautious! If you don't understand or know a certain ingredient, it's probably worth googling and if all else fails simply don't trust it! It's not worth risking!
Also disclaimer: what you, the responsible pet owner, decide to feed your pet, is completely up to you. I'm in no way, shape or form at fault for any illness or death that is the result of your possible carelessness when it comes to ingredients in any food you feed your animal. It is your duty to study the ingredients and do your research before you feed anything to your pet. That even includes raw feeding. Any concerns or questions, feel free to ask the mentors and admins here.
In my research i can across this:
Ferrets - As with Rodents, not much information exists about toxic exposures in ferrets. At least one review of exposures reported to the American Society for the Precention of Cruelty to Animals Animal Poison Control Center has been published. The agents that ferrets were exposed to were very similar to those seen in dogs and cats. In most cases, signs are similar to those seen in dogs and cats, and treatments are the same. However some agents special concern are discussed. (Referring to things such as Ibuprofen etc this is from Small Animal Toxicology By Michael E. Peterson, Patricia A. Talcott)
**AAFCO (The term AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials; they provide regulatory guidelines for the manufacturing of pet foods) standards.**
**The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services**
How to navigate this thread:
Symbols that appear in this thread are as followed.
Things with this should NOT be used as they are TOXIC.
Things with this are highly recommended to be avoided, or use at your own risk with EXTREME CAUTION.
This list is grouped according to alphabetical order. It is very long so if you would like to search for a certain ingredient press Command+F for Mac Users / Control+ F for windows users, type in what you want to find or the beginning of it and hit enter.
Example: Corn Starch
If you would like to find a certain alphabetical section, do the same as mentioned before but type in the letter of choice in square brackets.
Symbols that appear in this thread are as followed.
Things with this should NOT be used as they are TOXIC.
Things with this are highly recommended to be avoided, or use at your own risk with EXTREME CAUTION.
This list is grouped according to alphabetical order. It is very long so if you would like to search for a certain ingredient press Command+F for Mac Users / Control+ F for windows users, type in what you want to find or the beginning of it and hit enter.
Example: Corn Starch
If you would like to find a certain alphabetical section, do the same as mentioned before but type in the letter of choice in square brackets.
Ferrets appear to be particularly sensitive to acetaminophen. Although not as sensitive as cats. Ferrets given 50 mg/kg of acetaminophen showed signs, whereas aproximately half the ferrets given 200 mg/kg died. Acetaminophen overdose can cause hepatic necrosis and methemoglobinemia. Treatment consists of aggressive decontamination (ememis and activated charcoal), monitoring heptic enzymes (especially leakage enzymes such as alanine aminotransferase), monitoring for methemoglobinemia, and N-acetycysteine. N-acetylcysteine provides compounds that can conjugate acetaminophem and its toxic metabolite and enhance removal from the body. It is administered as a 5% solution orally; a loading dose of 140-280 mg/kg is given, and then 70 mg/kg is given every 6 hours for an additional 7 doses. The drug can be given intravenously if sterile solution is available.
Ferrets should never consume alcohol of any kind. Not every pet owner realizes that alcohol is toxic to dogs, cats & ferrets. Exposure to seemingly harmless amounts of alcohol can kill a pet. As in humans, when a pet is exposed to alcohol it causes depression of their central nervous system. Its effects on a pet's nervous system are similar to those of humans in many ways. A pet begins to slow down, becomes drowsy and loses coordination. If they're exposed to higher levels of alcohol it can depress their nervous system to the point that their breathing and heart rate slow down. Their body temperature drops. Their blood chemistry is also altered, leading to a dangerous condition called metabolic acidosis where the blood becomes too acidic. At this point, without treatment, death soon follows usually due to cardiac arrest. Even if a pet doesn't die from the acute effects of alcohol poisoning, the toxin can still harm their kidneys and liver, reducing quality of life over time. Pets should never have access to garbage, which could cause poisonings through bacterial infection or mold contamination. Giving your ferret or any other pet alcohol at a party is no laughing matter because It could permanently harm or kill the animal. Remember, it takes a lot less alcohol for a small animal, would you really risk them dying just for a few laughs?
Animal Digest -
AAFCO describes this as a material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind or flavor(s), it must correspond thereto. Other sources have described it also as “a cooked-down broth which can be made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals.” The animals can be collected from almost any source. There is no control set in place over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: “4-D animals” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying before slaughter), goats, pigs,sheep, horses, rats, euthanized at animal shelters, restaurant and supermarket waste, road kill, etc.
Animal Fat -
AAFCO describes this as something that is obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial processes of rendering or extracting. It consists predominantly of glyceride esters of fatty acids and contains no additions of free fatty acids. If an antioxidant is used, the common name or names must be indicated, followed by the words "used as a preservative". Note that the animal source is not specified and is not required to originate from "slaughtered" animals. The rendered animals can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: "4-D animals" (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, rats, misc. roadkill, animals euthanized at shelters, restaurant and supermarket refuse and so on. Please Note: Fat is good, only if its human grade. In raw feeding, they should be getting all they need anyway.
Apple Pomace -
AAFCO describes this as the mixture of apple skins, pulp, and crushed seeds. It is an inexpensive byproduct of human food processing and does not contain the whole complement of nutrients as whole fresh or dried apples.
Ascorbic Acid -
Ascorbic acid is also known as vitamin C, Ester-C, calcium ascorbate, ascorbate, and stabilized vitamin C. It's a naturally occurring organic compound with antioxidant properties. Vitamin c is most commonly found in fruit and vegetable matter, however some cuts of meats, especially the organ Liver can contain Vitamin C. Other places Vitamin C can be found: Oysters, Cod roe, brain, adrenal glands, heart & tongue. Since Vitamin C cannot be made by a ferret's body, it must be supplemented by a balanced diet or if needed, by tablet. Ascorbic acid is a natural preservative and can extend the shelf life to the food product. It also provides pets with this essential vitamin, over and above that which is provided by the food stuffs alone. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and therefeor is classed as a harmless vitamin as any excess vitamin c is simply passed in the urine and is not stored in the body to cause a toxic build up.
Aspartame is used primarily in sugar substitutes like NutraSweet and Equal, which are common in many diet soft drinks, sugar-free candies and gum. It may be marketed under 'Natural Sweetener' for kibbles. In continues to gain approval for use in new types of food despite evidence showing that it causes neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors, and endocrine disruption, among other things. Aspartame can be found in more than 6,000 products and appears to cause slow, silent damage in those unfortunate enough to not have immediate reactions. Ferrets that are pregnant or have advanced liver disease should not be fed anything containing aspartame as they may not be able to effectively metabolise one of aspartame's components, an amino acid called phenylalanine. High levels of this amino acid can cause severe central-nervous system distress and brain damage. And there are other problems: Once inside the body, aspartame changes chemically into formaldehyde, a substance that is grouped in the same class of poisons as cyanide and arsenic. And when a product containing aspartame is heated to more than 86 degrees, a brain-cancer-causing by-product called diketopiperazine is formed. In an article published in The Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, John W. Olney notes that animal studies reveal high levels of brain tumors in aspartame-fed rats. According to Dr. Olney, recent findings show that aspartame has mutagenic (cancer-causing) potential, and the sharp rise in malignant brain tumors coincides with the increased use of aspartame. Animal studies have indicated that artificial sweeteners can cause body weight gain. A sweet taste induces an insulin response, which causes blood sugar to be stored in tissues (including fat), but because blood sugar does not increase with artificial sugars, there is hypoglycemia and increased food intake the next time there is a meal. After a while, rats given sweeteners have steadily increased calorie intake, increased body weight, and increased adiposity (fatness).
It has been stated that this is another 'potential' toxin, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea in ferrets. There has been no reports on avocado poisoning for ferrets as far as I'm aware. In my research I have come across the following: Avocado (persea americana) has been shown to be toxic to rabbits, mice and caged birds. All above ground parts of the plant are toxic. Persin, a compound isolated from the leaves is believed to be the toxin responsible for avocado toxicity. Intoxicated mammals display cardiac arrythmias, necrosis of the mycicardium, and acute death. Caged birds show respiratory distress. Until more is known concerning the nature of avocado poisoning, they should not be included in the diet of herbivorous captive reptiles. While avocados might not be toxic to dogs and cats, that big pit could cause an obstruction in the oesophagus, stomach or intestinal tract if a pet tries to down it. You don’t want to have to deal with the bill for that emergency surgery. And any food that pets eat in large amounts could cause an upset stomach or diarrhea, especially if it’s something they’re not used to. So a little bit of plain avocado probably isn’t going to poison your pet — with some important exceptions. Pet birds such as canaries, cockatiels, parakeets and large parrots are highly sensitive to persin, as are horses and cattle, and it can be deadly to them, (board-certified veterinary specialist in emergency critical care and toxicology) Dr. (Justine) Lee says. Never give your bird access to avocados in any form. Eating them can cause breathing difficulty, congestion and liver and kidney failure. Some birds may be saved with rapid treatment, but for many, it’s their final meal. With all that being said, I would take extreme caution. An obligate carnivore shouldn't be eating it anyway.
Beef & Bone Meal -
AAFCO describes this as the rendered product from beef tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. It's a basically the byproduct made from beef parts which are considered not suitable for human consumption. It can incorporate the entire cow, including the bones, but the quality cuts of meat are always removed. This is an inexpensive, low quality ingredient used to boost the protein percentage. Please note: Don't get this confused with the bone meal we recommend during switching process. The difference is simple, the one we encourage is human grade quality, meaning it is safe for human consumption, whereas this type is for animals and is stuff that is not very good quality. I've placed the symbol for caution, so use extreme caution when purchasing a bone meal for ferret consumption.
Beef Tallow -
AAFCO describes this as the fat with titer above 40 degrees Celsius, which is obtained from the tissue of cattle in the commercial process of rendering. It is also known as Beef Fat. Pet's such as dogs and cats are very fond of the taste of this fat, so it is often used to make low-quality food more palatable. Beef tallow is very low in linoleic acid and much cheaper for the pet food industry to use than a good quality vegetable oil or nutritionally rich chicken fat.
The whole beet is obviously going to be more nutritious than beet pulp alone but still contains sugar which can lead to weight gain, diabetes, hyperactivity. Obligate carnivores don't really need this since they should be getting all the nutrients they need from their natural diets. It probably is an ingredient to avoid, it wouldn't benefit ferrets regardless and certainly wouldn't help Insu Ferrets.
Beet Pulp -
Manufacturers use this ingredient in a disproportionate quantity. In other words, they use too much and instead of it being a benefit, it becomes a useless and completely unnecessary filler in pet foods. Many pet food brands use beet pulp; some boast “sugar removed” but by definition beet pulp already has the sugar removed. It’s a by-product of human agriculture where sugar is removed from beets to make products like sucrose for candy and sweets. The left over pulp is widely used as fiber filler in pet food. Beet pulp has enormous fluid absorbing capacity and expansive properties which means it holds up to seven times its weight in water and can increase in volume up to 250%. This swollen mass in the intestines draws in more and more fluid from surrounding tissue and continues to expand until it becomes so large that digestion slows to a crawl. Then the mass gets to the colon where its job is to draw out the moisture and create a stool. When beet pulp is present this job becomes slowed, labored and forms a very hard, dry stool that’s uncomfortable to pass and causes damage, rips and ulcers to the intestinal wall. Because of this “artificially created hard stool” many digestive problems go unnoticed because all seems normal when a hard stool is produced. Stool shouldn’t be rock hard or difficult to pass or be runny. It should contain moisture, have a soft shape, be loose and easy to pass.
Benzoic Acid -
Benzoic acid is used as a food preservative. It prevents the growth of mold, yeast, and some bacteria.
Benzoic acid is also used in the manufacture of plasticisers, resin coatings and caprolactam. It is an antiseptic, antifungal, antipyretic agent, and can be used as an alkalimetric standard. Added to alcoholic beverages, baked goods, cheeses, gum, condiments, frozen dairy, relishes, soft sweets, cordials and sugar substitutes. Used in cosmetics, as an antiseptic in many cough medications and an antifungal in ointments; can cause asthma, especially in those dependant on steroid asthma medications. Is also reputed to cause neurological disorders and to react with sulphur bisulphite, shown to provoke hyperactivity in children and can cause asthma in those dependant on steroid asthma medications. Benzoic acid is an acid from benzoin and other resins and from coal tar, used as an antifungal agent in pharmaceutical preparations and as a germicide. The sodium salt of benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, is used as an antifungal agent in pharmaceutical preparations, and may be used as a test for liver function. It was at one time used as a food preservative although now replaced in cat foods because of its toxicity in cats. Other names: benzene carboxylic acid.
BHA & BHT -
These are a very well known ingredient. You may have seen it in such products as Ferretone.
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are widely used by the food industry as preservatives, mainly to prevent oils in foods from oxidizing and becoming rancid. Oxidation affects the flavor, color and odor of foods and reduces some nutrients. BHA and BHT may have some antimicrobial properties, too. BHT is even sold in supplements, as an antioxidant. BHA &BHT are banned from human use in many countries but still permitted in the US. Possible human carcinogen, apparently carcinogenic in animal experiments. The oxidative characteristics and/or metabolites of BHA and BHT may contribute to carcinogenicity or tumorigenicity.
Blood Meal -
AAFCO says Blood Meal is produced from clean, fresh animal blood, exclusive of all extraneous material such as hair, stomach belchings and urine except as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing process. A large portion of the moisture is usually removed by a mechanical dewatering process or by condensing by cooking to a semi-solid state. The semi-solid blood mass is then transferred to a rapid drying facility where the more tightly bound water is rapidly removed. The minimum biological activity of lysine shall be 80%. It is an inexpensive protein booster. You have no way of knowing what type of animal the blood came from or what residues of hormones, medications or other substances are in this product. It has a better use as fertilizer than as a pet food ingredient.
Blue 2 (artificial colour) -
The colour additive FD&C Blue No. 2 is principally the disodium salt of 2-(1,3-dihydro-3-oxo-5-sulfo-2H-indol-2-ylidene)- 2,3-dihydro-3-oxo-1H-indole-5-sulfonic acid with smaller amounts of the disodium salt of 2-(1,3-dihydro-3-oxo-7-sulfo-2H-indol-2-ylidene)-2,3-dihydro-3-oxo-1H-indole-5-sulfonic acid and the sodium salt of 2-(1,3-dihydro-3-oxo-2H-indol-2-ylidene)-2,3-dihydro-3-oxo-1H-indole-5-sulfonic acid. Additionally, FD&C Blue No. 2 is obtained by heating indigo (or indigo paste) in the presence of sulfuric acid. The color additive is isolated and subjected to purification procedures. The indigo (or indigo paste) used above is manufactured by the fusion of N-phenylglycine (prepared from aniline and formaldehyde) in a molten mixture of sodamide and sodium and potassium hydroxides under ammonia pressure. The indigo is isolated and subjected to purification procedures prior to sulfonation. The largest study suggested, but did not prove, that this dye caused brain tumors in male mice. The FDA concluded that there is "reasonable certainty of no harm", but personally I'd rather avoid this ingredient and err on the side of caution.
Bone Phosphate -
Bone Phosphate is the residue of bones that have been treated first in a caustic solution then in a hydrochloric acid solution, and thereafter precipitated with lime and dried. It is a highly processed feed-grade supplement to balance the calcium and phosphorus content of a product. According to PetfoodIndustry.com, much of the bone meal sold to U.S. pet food manufacturers is imported, typically from China, Pakistan or Thailand. It may or may not exceed safe maximum limits for lead or other heavy metals. This is a question you'll want to ask the pet food company whose products you purchase.
Brewers Rice -
This also appears in ingredient lists as ground Brewers Rice. AAFCO describes this as small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. It is a processed rice product that is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice. Contrary to what many pet food companies want to make you believe, this is not a high quality ingredient, just much cheaper than whole grain rice.
**May cause fluctuations in ferret BG.
This can be toxic to ferrets, so be sure your pet cannot get into the trash and find coffee grounds or used teabags.
Calcium Chloride -
Calcium Chloride is a white crystalline salt that is most well know as being used to de-ice roads and as a drying agent. In pet food it is supposedly used as a source of calcium but in large amounts has been said to cause digestive upset, heart issues. In its rock salt form it has been known to cause: Respiratory Irritation, Irritation of the mouth, throat and gastrointestinal tracts, vomiting and diarrhoea, Skin irritation, Disorientation in birds, kidney damage and even death in dogs. It is commonly seen in foods, including human foods and the FDA has considered it safe. As an ingredient, it is listed as a permitted food additive and is used as a firming agent. It has an extremely salty taste and can be used to flavour while not increasing the food's Sodium Content. It's also been used as a sterilant for male animals. Calcium chloride dehydrate (20% by weight) dissolved in ethanol (95% ABV). The non surgical procedure consists of the injection of the solution into the testes of the animal. Within 1 month, necrosis of testicular tissue results in sterilisation.
Calcium Hydroxide -
Calcium Hydroxide is also known as "slaked lime," which is considered toxic, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is a colourless crystal or white powder and is obtained when Calcium Oxide (called lime or quicklime) is mixed, or "slaked" with water. It has many names including hydrated lime, builders' lime, slack lime, cal, or pickling lime. Calcium hydroxide is used in many applications, including food preparation. Limewater is the common name for a saturated solution of of calcium hydroxide. Calcium hydroxide does have use as a pesticide, effective against various types of beetles and aphids. Its effectiveness against fleas (Ctenocephalides spp.) has not been proven, however, and its dangers to pets would likely outweigh any usefulness.Accidental ingestion of calcium hydroxide can cause severe throat pain, a burning sensation in the mouth, abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody stool or vomit, rapidly falling blood pressure and collapse, according to the National Institutes of Health. This type of poisoning can also make blood pH too alkaline, which can cause organ damage.
Calcium Iodate -
Calcium iodate is an inorganic compound composed of calcium dication and iodate anion. It is a colourless salt that occurs naturally as the mineral called lautarite, which is found in the Atacama Desert in Chile. It can also be formed by the anodic oxidation of calcium iodide or by passing chlorine into a hot solution of lime in which iodine has been dissolved. It is permitted by AAFCO to contain a certain level of heavy metal contaminants; due to strong oxidizing capacity, is incompatible with copper or phosphorus. The use of calcium iodate in animal nutrition is not expected to pose a risk to the environment. Calcium iodate is efficacious to meet animal iodine requirements. The FEEDAP Panel recommends that the maximum iodine contents in complete feed be reduced as follows: dairy cows and minor dairy ruminants, 2 mg I/kg; laying hens, 3 mg I/kg; horses, 3 mg I/kg; dogs, 4 mg I/kg; cats, 5 mg I/kg.
Calcium Pantothenate -
A very wide used ingredient in pet food, Also known as Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B-5 and Pantothenate.
Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin and, for many animals, an essential nutrient. Animals require pantothenic acid to synthesize and metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Pantothenic acid is added to pet foods in order to assist in vitamin metabolism and help in the conversation of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy for the body. Pantothenic acid helps the body metabolize macro nutrients. It also can enhance stamina, and is involved in the production of neurotransmitters. Pantothenic acid may help prevent and treat depression and anxiety and is useful for normal function of the intestinal tract.
Pantothenic acid deficiency causes fatigue, nausea, and can cause headaches in people. There are no known specific disease conditions related to Pantothenic acid in pets. Sources of pantothenic acid include beef, brewer’s yeast, eggs, vegetables, organ meats (especially liver and heart), rice and wheat bran, mushroom, saltwater fish, and whole wheat. Pantothenic acid, vitamin B5, is known as the anti-stress vitamin since it is involved in the production of adrenal hormones and antibodies produced by the body’s white blood cells.
Calcium Propionate -
Calcium propanoate or calcium propionate is the calcium salt of propanoic acid. Calcium propanoate is used as a preservative in a wide variety of products, including but not limited to: bread, other baked goods, cosmetics, medicine, tobacco, processed meat, whey, and other dairy products. Calcium propanoate can also be used as a fungicide on fruit. According to the Pesticide Action Network North America, calcium propionate is slightly toxic. In large amounts, It has the potential to permanently damage the stomach lining by exacerbating gastritis and inducing severe ulcers.
Calcium Sulfate -
Calcium Sulfate is used as a firming agent. (Not to be given to animals with kidney and liver issues.) It's a food additive used to stabilize and firm foods and regulate their acidity levels, is found in a variety of processed foods. In the amounts typically found in food and supplements, calcium sulfate isn't likely to cause adverse effects and is generally regarded as safe by the FDA. Calcium sulfate adds calcium to supplements and foods. May also be spelt as Sulphate.
Cane Molasses -
AAFCO says that this is a by-product of the manufacture of sucrose from sugar cane. It must contain not less than 43% total sugars expressed as invert. Sugar or sweetener is an absolutely unnecessary ingredient in pet foods, added to make the product more attractive. Continuous intake can promote hypoglycemia, obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis and allergies. Pets also get addicted to foods that contain sugars, so it can be a tough piece of work to make them eat something healthier. Sugar basically is an invite to diseases in ferrets, one in particular is Insulinoma. Watch out for those sweetly named ingredients which aren't as sweet as they make themselves out to be!
Canola Oil -
Canola oil comes from the rape seed, which is part of the mustard family of plants. Rape is the most toxic of all food-oil plants. Like soy, rape is a weed. Insects will not eat it; it is deadly poisonous! The oil from the rape seed is a hundred times more toxic than soy oil. Some studies in humans have associated intake of canola oil with cardiac fatty infiltration. In a Japanese study of rats fed a diet containing Canola Oil: “These results indicate that promotion of hypertension-related deterioration in organs is likely to have relevance to the short life span in the canola oil group.” Canola is a Trans Fatty Acid, which has shown to have a direct link to cancer. These Trans Fatty acids are labeled as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. According to John Thomas' book, Young Again, 12 years ago in England and Europe, rape seed was fed to cows, pigs and sheep who later went blind and began attacking people. There were no further attacks after the rape seed was eliminated from the diet. Canola oil contains large amounts of "isothiocyanates" - cyanide-containing compounds. Cyanide inhibits mitochondrial production of adenosine triphosphate(ATP), which is the energy molecule that fuels the mitochondria. ATP energy powers the body and keeps us healthy and young. Canola oil is also high in glycosides that cause serious problems by blocking enzyme function and deprive us of our life force. Glycosides interfere with the biochemistry of humans and animals. Their presence in rattlesnake venom inhibits muscle enzymes and causes instant immobilization of the victim. Canola Oil, HIV, and AIDS Soy and canola oil glycosides also depress the immune system - the T cells - to go into a stupor and fall asleep on the job. These oils alter the bioelectric "terrain" and promote disease. In orthodox cancer research, renowned cancer researchers, among them, Nobel Prize winner, V. Euler of Stockholm, wrote and published a book in 1949 in which they concluded that if the numerous and diverse symptoms associated with various types of cancer were reduced to one common denominator, it would be that "the fat lacks the ability to integrate in the living tissue". "Trans-Fatty acid is the name of the fat that lacks this ability - it is bad fat.
Caramel Colour -
Some dry pet food manufacturers choose caramel colour to reduce the use of synthetics. Caramel colour alone can replace a combination of three certified colours – FD&S Red #40, FD&C Yellow #6, and FD&C Blue #2 – which blended together make brown. The result is a product with a cleaner label and a meaty appearance at an equivalent cost to synthetic colours. Using caramel to replace synthetics also solves a common problem in digestion that occurs when the body absorbs red colours, leaving the blue and yellow to show a "green effect" in pet stools. Caramel colour standardizes batch-to-batch variation. Most of the beef-flavored and liver-flavored pet products packaged in cans contain liquid caramel colour. Without caramel colour added, the meat and by-products would appear grayer. Caramel is heat stable at standard retort processing temperatures. Caramel colour contains 4-methylimidazole (4-MIE), a known animal carcinogen. When it comes down to it, artificially coloring food only appeals to humans and not pets.
Carrageenan is a seaweed derivative that is commonly used as a food additive in a wide variety of products. It is a hidden MSG and also known as an excitotoxin. Carrageenan in both native (food grade) and degraded (poligeenan) forms may cause intestinal inflammation, and disrupt insulin metabolism which could potentially lead to diabetes; and there is increasing evidence for its role in the development of cancer. Carrageenan producers, as well as eterinary nutritionists and pet food manufacturers, assert that food-grade carrageenan is completely safe for pets to eat. The truth is not quite so simple. Even food-grade carrageenan is not perfectly pure; it contains “a low percentage” of the smaller, inflammatory, more damaging fragments. This may explain why even food-grade carrageenan has been known to cause problems. In animal studies, carrageenan has been shown to cause ulcers, colon inflammation, and digestive cancers. In pet food, it is thickened to provide a smooth texture kind of like paté-type (loaf) canned pet foods.. But industrially-produced carrageenan is far removed from its picturesque beginnings. It’s a highly processed ingredient that is extracted using strong alkaline solvents.
AAFCO describes this as purified, mechanically disintegrated cellulose prepared by processing alpha cellulose obtained as a pulp from fibrous plant materials. Cellulose or Powdered Cellulose, is nothing more than 100% filler. Dried wood is the most common source for cellulose (I'm not kidding.). It is cleaned, processed into a fine powder and used to add bulk and consistency to cheap pet foods. I would consider this ingredient appropriate for termites, but certainly not for dogs, cats or ferrets.
Cereal Food Fines -
AAFCO describes this as particles of breakfast cereals obtained as a byproduct of their processing. It's an inexpensive byproduct of human food processing of unknown source, quality, possible chemical residue, sweeteners or other additives.
Chicken Byproduct Meal -
AAFCO says this consists of the dry, ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines -- exclusive of feathers except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices. Chicken byproducts are much less expensive and less digestible than the chicken muscle meat.The ingredients of each batch can vary drastically in ingredients (heads, feet, bones etc.) as well as quality, thus the nutritional value is also not consistent. Don't forget that byproducts consist of any parts of the animal OTHER than meat. If there is any use for any part of the animal that brings more profit than selling it as "byproduct", rest assured it will appear in such a product rather than in the "byproduct" dumpster.
The clean combination of poultry flesh and skin with or without bone. Does not contain feathers, heads, feet or entrails. The Chicken can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: "4-D animals" (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), turkey, chicken, geese, buzzard, seagulls, misc. roadkill, birds euthanized at shelters and so on.
Citric Acid -
Chemical preservative, can cause digestive upset, stomach irritation. Damages tooth enamel. Most citric acid is produced from corn, manufacturers do not always take out the protein which can be hydrolyzed and create MSG causing reactions in MSG-sensitive people. Most likely sourced from China.
Citrus Pulp -
Citrus Pulp is the dried residue of peel, pulp and seeds of oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruit. This inexpensive byproduct is mainly used as a bulk carbohydrate concentrate in cattle feed but also added as a source of finer in pet food. Since the peel and some twigs and leaves are also included, there is a possibility of residues from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
Chicken Liver Digest -
Chicken liver digest is a material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed chicken liver tissue. Chicken liver digest is used by some manufacturers as a flavor enhancer. Organ meats, such as liver, can contain variable nutrient levels. Any kind of animal can be included for any type of digest: "4-D animals" (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), roadkill, animals euthanized at shelters, restaurant and supermarket refuse and so on.
Chlorine Dioxide -
Chlorine dioxide is a chemical compound with the formula ClO2. This yellowish-green gas crystallises as bright orange crystals at −59 °C. As one of several oxides of chlorine. It is used in food and beverage plants for hard surface sanitation and fruit and vegetable processing. Chlorine dioxide is toxic, hence limits on exposure to it are needed to ensure its safe use. Other uses: Bleaching wood pulp, disinfect/chlorination of drinking water etc. It's an EPA registered Pesticide, a Bacteriostat, Fungistat, Germistat and All-purpose Deodoriser. chlorine dioxide is an oxidizing agent and broadspectrum antimicrobial agent. It is intended to control bacterial contamination that can grow under fermentation conditions and compete with the growth of the intended yeast, affecting the production of ethanol. Absorption, distribution and metabolism studies in animals (cattle, rats, swine and broilers), acute toxicity studies in humans and animals, short-term and subchronic toxicity studies in animals (rats, dogs and monkeys) and humans, chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity studies in rats, developmental studies in rats and rabbits, and genotoxicity studies. From my research I would say that it is more commonly used as an odour control when it comes to pets. At this stage, this is questionable. I will do more research and see what else I can find on this.
Chocolates and teas, including black, green, and white tea contains theobromine, a methylxanthine substance similar to caffeine, which causes kidney and liver damage.
Cobalt Carbonate -
Cobalt(III) is a component of cobalamin. Its essentiality as trace element results from the capacity of certain animal species to synthesise cobalamin by the gastrointestinal microbiota. Feeding cobalt(II) carbonate up to the maximum authorised total cobalt in feed is safe for the target animals. The only physiological role of cobalt in target animals is that of a component of vitamin B12. The significance of cobalt(II) as an essential trace element results from the capacity of certain animal species to synthesise sufficient quantities of vitamin B12 by the gastrointestinal microbiota. Cobalt is predominantly excreted via the faecal route. Absorbed cobalt follows aqueous excretion routes. About 43 % of body cobalt is stored in muscle; however, kidney and liver are the edible tissues containing the highest cobalt concentrations and are most susceptible to reflect dietary cobalt concentrations. In animals with the capacity to synthesise cobalamin, cobalt is also deposited in tissues as vitamin B12. Cobalt(II) cations are genotoxic under in vitro and in vivo conditions. Cobalt(II) carbonate has carcinogen, mutagen and reproduction toxicant (CMR) properties. No data are available on the potential carcinogenicity of cobalt(II) following oral exposure. Cobalt(II) carbonate is a skin and eye irritant, and a dermal and respiratory sensitiser. Exposure by inhalation must be avoided.
Cod Liver Oil -
Though Cod Liver Oil can be fed safely, it can be potentially dangerous for those who don't properly understand Vitamin A. Large dosages of this oil may cause Vitamin A overdoses, so this oil is probably best avoided especially if you can get your hands on another alternative. Use this oil sparingly and be cautious.
Copper is a Mineral, and Minerals are inorganic compounds that come from the earth and are naturally absorbed by plants. Our little obligate carnivore friends get the minerals they need the plant-eating animals they consume. Minerals (Calcium, Copper, Iron, Zinc etc) are essential nutrients that an obligate carnivore's body needs to grow and function normally. Copper is an essential trace mineral, which means the body only needs very small amounts of it for normal function. Elemental copper is not well-absorbed and high doses via supplements typically lead to stomach upset and other symptoms. Chelated copper is a special type of mineral supplement that may be better absorbed and easier on the stomach, although scientific evidence is lacking. By themselves, some minerals can be more difficult than others for animals to absorb.So, at least some of these minerals can pass through a animal's digestive tract and wasted in the stools. However, some minerals can be chemically combined with organic molecules — molecules like amino acids or complex sugars (polysaccharides). Chelated Minerals Can Be Easier to Absorb but not all minerals are difficult to absorb — or even need to be chelated. Yet chelation can improve the absorption of certain minerals by a notable amount. This process of attaching an inorganic mineral with an organic compound is known as chelation. Chelated minerals can usually be identified by the suffixes added to their chemical names. For example: Copper chelate, Zinc proteinate, Iron glycinate (amino acid, glycine) Magnesium polysaccharide (not a true chelate) There is a danger of toxicity and serious health consequences if too much chelated copper is taken. Copper, in conjunction with iron, helps form hemoglobin and red blood cells within bone marrow. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood. Copper is also important for bone mineralization, cardiovascular health, nerve function, immunity and enzyme synthesis. Copper concentrations are highest in the brain and liver, but it’s also found in kidneys, pancreas and heart. The presence of estrogen increases copper concentrations, so amounts are highest during pregnancy. Animals that are feeding newborns need the most copper in order to supply enough to their rapidly growing newborns.
Corn Bran -
Corn Bran is the outer coating of the corn kernel. It is an inexpensive source of fiber that serves as a filler ingredient to add bulk to poor quality pet food.
Corn Cellulose -
This is a product obtained from the cell walls of corn. It's obtained by the use of a chemical process, it is used to add bulk and consistency to cheap pet foods and has no nutritional value.
Corn Distillers Dried Grains With Solubles -
Distillers Dried Grains with solubles (DDGS) is the product obtained by condensing and drying the stillage that remains after fermenting the starch in corn or milo in the production of ethyl alcohol. It's an inexpensive byproduct used as protein filler in cheap pet foods. Its amino acids are poorly balanced, not very digestible, have a high fiber content and nutritional value can vary greatly from batch to batch.
Corn Germ Meal -
This is a ground corn germ which consists of corn germ with other parts of the corn kernel from which part of the oil has been removed and is obtained from either a wet or dry milling manufacturing process of corn meal, corn grits, hominy feed, or other corn products. It's an inexpensive by-product of human food processing, rich in protein but sadly often used as a booster in poor quality foods. It is not a harmful ingredient but should not rank high in the ingredient list of a quality product.
Corn Gluten -
Corn gluten is a byproduct of the wet milling process. Wet milling separates the corn kernel into starch, oil, protein, and bran. First, the corn is soaked in sulfurous acid. The resulting steep liquor contains protein, minerals, vitamins and energy sources. The starch and oil are extracted from the swollen kernel. The remaining fiber or bran is mixed with the steep liquor. This product, wet corn gluten feed, contains about 40 percent dry matter. The wet corn gluten feed can be dried to about 90 percent dry matter and is called Dry Corn Gluten Feed. Corn gluten feed should not be confused with corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal has 2 times the protein content of corn gluten feed. Also the protein in corn gluten feed is degraded relatively rapidly in the rumen versus the protein of corn gluten meal is degraded relatively slowly (more by-pass potential). It's still an inexpensive by-product of human food processing which offers very little nutritional value in pet foods and serves mainly to bind food together. It is not a harmful ingredient but should be avoided simply for its poor nutritional value and quality when it comes to dogs, cats or ferrets. May cause fluctuations in ferret BG. It's mainly used for cattle feed.
Corn Gluten Meal -
This is the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm. It's an inexpensive by-product of human food processing which contains some protein but serves mainly to bind food together. It is not a harmful ingredient but should not rank high in the ingredient list of a quality product.
Corn starch -
Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch or maize is the starch derived from the corn (maize) grain or wheat. The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the kernel. Corn starch can be found as an ingredient in pet food. It is mainly used as a thickening agent, filler, source of protein, etc. It is a very poor source of nutrients and is also used in making corn syrup and other sugars.
Corn Syrup -
This is a syrup prepared from cornstarch, used in industry and in numerous food products as a sweetener in order to make their pet food palatable. Sugar or sweetener is an absolutely unnecessary ingredient in pet foods, added to make the product more attractive. Continuous intake can promote hypoglycemia, obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis and allergies. Pets also get addicted to foods that contain sugars, so it can be a tough piece of work to make them eat something healthier. Remember, Sugar + Ferrets = Increased chances of Insulinoma. Corn syrup may be used in small amounts to take a ferret out of an insulinoma seizure but it certainly is not something they should be eating as treats or long term kibbles. Corn in general, is an inexpensive filler, so over time it may develop mold or fungus; in turn, may result in death.
Ferrets can’t digest dairy products and should never eat them. They are lactose intolerant so avoid giving your pet milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream or any other type of dairy-based food. Dairy can give a ferret diarrhea, resulting in dehydration and possibly even death. The American Ferret Association warns that dairy products and other foods high in complex carbohydrates not only cause intestinal upset, they may also trigger cancer in some cases. Goat Milk has almost the exact same Lactose content as cow milk and contains fat molecules that somewhat easier to digest, but this does not avoid the problem of lactose. Lactose free milk is also unacceptable for ferrets because by giving them lactose free milk you are essentially giving them ready to digest sugar and sugar can increase chances of insulinoma to develop.
DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine) -
These three chemicals are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can form cancer-causing agents — research indicates a strong link to liver and kidney cancer. They are commonly found in shampoos, soaps, bubble baths and facial cleansers.
Dextrose is a form of glucose derived from starches. Purified sugar, and a carbohydrate source used in pet foods. It is one of the most commonly used ingredients in packaged foods because of its affordability and wide availability. In pet foods, Dextrose and Glycine chemically interact (called the Maillard reaction), a natural process responsible for browning and imparting a "highly pleasing" and palatable roasted flavor to foods, in this case the gravy. Sugar increases the chances of diseases and or cancers, causes hyperactivity, weight gain. Dextrose has also been known to be used to raise the glucose level in ferrets who are getting treatment after consuming Xylitol.
This may also appear as dried, or spray dried. Sometimes the type and part of animals used is specified, such as in "Chicken Digest", "Lamb Digest" or "Poultry Liver Digest" AAFCO describes this as a material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed. It I can also be a cooked-down broth made from specified, or worse, unspecified parts of specified or unspecified animals (depending on the type of digest used). If the source is unspecified (e.g. "Animal" or "Poultry", the animals used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: "4-D animals" (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, rats, misc. roadkill, animals euthanized at shelters, restaurant and supermarket refuse and so on.
Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate -
This is known as a Synthetic vitamin E, also listed as Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate and is only about half as effective as natural vitamin E and not as readily available to the body. One or more animal studies show tumor formation at high doses.
Methionine is one of the 10-plus essential amino acids that are required by pets. Methionine can be found naturally in meat and fish but the methionine supplement in pet foods is called DL-Methionine. Methionine is part of body proteins and is important for skin and coat condition, eye health, heart health and more. It serves as a precursor to other amino acids like cysteine which can then be converted into taurine. Methionine can also be converted into glutathione, an important physiological antioxidant. It is an amino acid that is vitally important to the long-term health of your ferret. In pet food diets that contain minimal amounts of meat proteins and are heavily weighted to vegetable proteins like soy, or are low calorie foods diluted with int ingredients such as cereals and cellulose, there may be a need for supplemental methionine. Some pet foods add DL-Methionine "to help promote the palatability of the diet." There are numerous companies and locations around the world that produce DL-methionine commercially; and there are hundreds of patents that describe the subtle nuances regarding DL-methionine synthesis and purification. The starting materials for production of DL-methionine are acrolein (a 3-carbon aldehyde) derived from propylene (a petroleum derivative), methyl mercaptan derived from methanol and various sulfur sources and hydrocyanic acid (HCN). Acrolein and methyl mercaptan are reacted to form a relatively stable intermediate, 3-methylmercaptopropionaldehyde, known as MMP. The MMP is then reacted with HCN to form a rudimentary mix of DL-methionine and contaminants which is further refined through clean-up steps.”
Dried Cheese Product -
Dried Cheese in kibble or treats is mainly used to attract attention and to add flavour to the product. The pet food industry mainly uses cheap products which are of poor quality and may not necessarily contain any real cheese.
Antioxidant; also a post-harvest dip to prevent scald on apples and pears.
In pet foods it is typically found in meat and fish based ingredients. Ethoxyquin is one artificial preservative.
Originally developed by Monsanto as a stabiliser / hardening agent for synthetic rubber, Ethoxyquin has also been used as a pesticide for fruit and a colour preservative for spices, and later for animal feed. The original FDA permit for use as stabilizer in animal feed limited use to two years and did not include pet food, but it falls under the same legal category. It has never been proven to be safe for the lifespan of a companion animal. Ethoxyquin has been under investigation by the FDA as a possible cause for certain liver and blood problems. In addition, the preservative is not permitted for use in Australian dog foods nor is it approved within in the European Union. Yet to this day, ethoxyquin is still commonly found in many popular brands of dog food. Ethoxyquin has been banned from use in human products because it is believed to cause cancer. It is important to note that when a manufacturer obtains an ethoxyquin preserved ingredient from a supplier or if it is added to pet food ingredients prior to food manufacture, the manufacturer is not required to list ethoxyquin on the pet food ingredient panel. The same applies to the other chemical preservatives. It has been linked to thyroid, kidney, reproductive and immune related illnesses as well as cancer, but so far no conclusive, reliable research results either for the safety of this product or against it have not been obtained. Monsanto conducted research years ago, but results were so inconclusive due to unprofessional conduct and documentation that the FDA demanded another study. There are currently several studies underway to determine whether Ethoxyquin is safe or not, and until those studies are completed, pet food suppliers may continue to use Ethoxyquin. This is how things stand after about 6 years, and no new details have emerged so far.
They are a class of chemicals (usually amino acids) that overstimulate neuron receptors. Neuron receptors allow brain cells to communicate with each other, but when they're exposed to excitotoxins, they fire impulses at such a rapid rate that they become exhausted. The chemicals in excitotoxins stimulate the taste cells in the tongue, causing the flavour of the foods consumed to be greatly enhanced. Manufacturers often pack them with “flavour enhancers” in an effort to make them taste irresistible. The most common excitotoxins are aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG). The following ingredients were identified by a leading research group as being excitotoxins: gelatin, calcium caseinate, textured protein, sodium caseinate, yeast nutrient, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, carrageenan, maltodextrin, malt extract, natural food flavoring, broth, ultra-pasteurized (when containing additives), soy sauce extract, whey protein concentrate, pectin, and anything protein fortified, enzyme modified, or seasoned.
Feeding Oat Meal -
AAFCO describes feeding oat meal as a product that is obtained in the manufacture of rolled oat groats or rolled oats and consists of broken oat groats, oat groat chips, and floury portions of the oat groats, with only such quantity of finely ground oat hulls as is unavoidable in the usual process of commericial milling. It is a food-grade fractionated grain, byproduct from human food processing, that is not as nutritionally valuable as the product obtained from whole oats.
Fish Meal -
AAFCO describes this as the clean, rendered, dried ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish or fish cuttings, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil. Like with all other animal sources, if a type isn't specified, you never know what type or quality of fish is used. According to US Coast Guard regulations, all fish meal not destined for human consumption must be conserved with Ethoxyquin (unless the manufacturer has a special permit). This preservative is banned from use in foods for human consumption except for the use of very small quantities as a colour preservative for spices. So unless the manufacturer either presents a permit or states "human grade" fish or fish meal is used, you can be pretty sure Ethoxyquin is present in the food even if it is not listed.
This is a substance, such as an extract or spice, that add flavor to a product. The manufacturer may or may not give more detailed information about what is used for flavoring and whether it is made from a natural or chemical substance.
Flaxseed is the whole seed of the flax plant. Flaxseed is used in pet food as a source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Together these fibres supposedly aid in digestion and help to maintain good stool consistency. Flaxseed is also used as a source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (such as alpha-linolenic acid). Ferrets do not have a cecum (which is located at the end of the large intestine for herbivores) which processes plant based fibers. Too much of any fibre means that your ferret will absorb less nutrients and eliminate more waste. Flax is a fairly common allergen in many pets and the Omega-3s in flax are also more difficult to assimilate than animal-based sources, so it is recommended to only use flax as a last resort. It may even cause itchiness or skin dryness.
The best source of fiber in ferret food is natural meat fibre.
Fluoride is another often overlooked danger to ferrets. It is toxic to ferrets (as well as dogs and cats) and will cause heart rate abnormalities, digestive upset, neurological symptoms such as tremors, weakness, and eventually collapsing and death. Mouth or teeth-cleaning products present a danger to pets, especially dogs, cats & even ferrets. Sodium fluoride at a dosage of 5 to 10 milligrams per kilogram can be fatal, and toxic effects can occur at less than 1 milligram per kilogram. Fluoride is absorbed quickly (most within 90 minutes). The stomach and intestines become inflamed, and the heart beats rapidly and irregularly. Nervous signs may also be seen, followed by collapse and death within a few hours of fluoride ingestion. At high levels, fluorides bind calcium and replace the mineral part of bone. Longterm ingestion of fluoride at lower levels can cause changes in the enamel of developing teeth, leading to mottling, staining, and rapid wear. Signs develop in many animals when fluoride builds up in the bone. This results in abnormal bony growths and the hardening and thickening of tissue (sclerosis). Growing bones in the young and the ribs, jaws, and long bones are most affected.
Formaldehyde is a naturally-occurring organic compound with the formula CH2O. It is the simplest aldehyde and is also known by its systematic name methanal. The common name of this substance comes from its similarity and relation to formic acid. Other names include Methyl aldehyde, Methylene glycol, Methylene oxide, Formalin, & Formol. Formaldehyde attacks the central nervous system. Look out for these formaldehyde-releasing ingredients in your grooming (shampoos etc)products: doazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea or quarternium-15.
Artificial fragrances can lead to compromised immune function, allergic reactions and neurotoxicity.
They may smell good, but they are certainly bad news. You simply do not know what they will use in what they label as Fragrances since the word “fragrance” can be covering up chemicals that companies do not want you to know about. This could sometimes include Essential Oils or Plants, and as you already know EO are toxic to ferrets. The smell is a derivative of an unhealthy substance and really simply should be avoided for the sake of your little fur friend.
This is a very sweet sugar, C6H12O6, occurring in many fruits and honey and used as a preservative for food and as an intravenous nutrient. It is a monosaccharide found naturally in fresh fruit and honey. It is obtained by the inversion of sucrose by means of the enzyme invertase. Used in small quantities it serves as a nutrient for probiotics, specifically bifidobacteria, which ferment it and produce beneficial enzymes
Fruits, Vegetables & Grains -
Ferret's are obligate carnivores, like cats, and are not designed to digest anything other than meat and whole prey. They simply cannot digest the complex carbohydrates so never feed your ferret any kind of fruit, even as a treat. Keep in mind fruit tend to be high in sugar and sugar can increase insulinoma. Refer back to the Sugar section for further explanation. Most dry pet foods are grain-based and contain some level of wheat, corn, oats, rice or another grain. Don’t add to the bulk in his intestines by giving him any kind of grain products, such as bits of cereal, or he may end up with digestive problems. Too much of the wrong things could cause his intestines to clog, making him very sick and possibly even killing him.
Gelatin is a hydrolyzate of naturally occurring collagen, an ingredient of commonly consumed foods of animal origin. Gelatin, comes from animal bones, connective tissue, and organs. It is used as a Filler / binder in mainly canned pet food. Gelatine was identified as being one ingredient being an excitotoxins.
Glycerin, is a sweetener and binder (humectant) that is commonly produced as a byproduct of soap making. It has traditionally been used in pet food as a texturing and sweetening agent. Glycerin is more common in treats than in regular food. The most common name variations of Glycerin include glycerol, vegetable glycerin or glycerine. Glycerin is added to pet food for three key reasons: 1) as a binder for canned foods and treats (to make them chewy), 2) as a preservative against mold, and 3) as a sweetener. Glycerin doesn’t provide much nutritional benefit to your pet. Glycerin’s ‘benefits’ are related to its properties as a binder and sweetener. Glycerin that is derived from animal and plant sources is generally considered a ‘safe’, albeit nutritionally void ingredient. Risks: Some pet food manufacturers are using Glycerin that is derived from biofuel (e.g. diesel fuel) processing. This processing leads to significant amounts of residual methanol (wood alcohol) and sodium that remain in the Glycerin. Methanol, a flammable, poisonous liquid used in making formaldehyde, is not something that you want to feed your pet. Take away: Avoid foods and treats with Glycerin in favor of those that explicitly list vegetable Glycerin or those with no Glycerin at all.
Glyceryl Monostearate -
This is a lipophilic non-ionic surfactant with HLB of 3.6 - 4.2. It has effects of emulsification, dispersion, foaming, defoaming, starch anti-aging and fat agglomeration control, and is widely used in foodstuffs, cosmetic, medicine and plastic processing industries. It is an emulsifier used the most widely and in the largest quantities in the foodstuff industry. It's also a thickening, emulsifying, antisticking and antistalant agent. Can contain up to 200 ppm butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) as a preservative (see also BHT). Depending on method of manufacture, it can also contain glyceryl distearate (42-44%), glyceryl tristearate (20-23%), free glycerol (3-5%). Other impurities include mono-, di-, and triesters of related fatty acids as well as unreacted fatty acids. Due to the uncertainty of chemical additives, this ingredient should be avoided.
Grain Fermentation Solubles -
AAFCO says this is a dried material resulting from drying the water soluble materials after separation of suspended solids from grain fermentation. It is an inexpensive byproduct of human food and beverage production which adds little or no nutritional value to pet foods.
Glandular Meal -
Glandular Meal and Extracted Glandular Meal is obtained by drying liver and other glandular tissues from slaughtered mammals. When a significant portion of the water soluble material has been removed, it may be called Extracted Glandular Meal. Glandular Meal and Extracted Glandular Meal is apparently Prohibited and cannot be fed to ruminants because they may carry the BSE infective agent.
Grape Pomace -
This is a mixture of grape skins, pulp, and crushed seeds. It's an inexpensive byproduct left over from pressing grapes for juice or wine. The product contributes some fiber but otherwise has little to no nutritional value. Grapes have also shown to contain a substance that is toxic to dogs, cats and ferrets and excess consumption will cause kidney failure, so they should not be fed at all.
Grapes & Raisins -
Ingestion of grapes or raisins has resulted in development of anuric renal failure in some dogs. Cases reported to date have been in dogs; anecdotal reports exist of renal failure in cats and ferrets after ingestion of grapes or raisins. It is not known why many dogs can ingest grapes or raisins with impunity while others develop renal failure after ingestion. The condition has not been reproduced experimentally, although raisin extracts have been shown to cause damage to canine kidney cells in vitro. The exact mechanism of toxicity is unknown, although the primary injury appears to be in the proximal renal tubular epithelium. Affected dogs develop anuric renal failure within 72 hr of ingestion of grapes or raisins. A clear dose-response relationship has not been determined, but as few as 4–5 grapes were implicated in the death of an 18-lb (8.2-kg) dog. Signs of toxicity: Vomiting is usually seen within 12 hours of ingestion. Other signs that may occur within 24 hours include: Diarrhoea, Lethargy, Lack of appetite, Decreased urination, Weakness, Abdominal pain, Possibly death. Grapes and raisins are delicious and healthy snacks for humans, but can be potential health threats for your pets. Eating grapes and/or raisins can cause the sudden development of kidney failure in some pets - particularly dogs - but also in cats and ferrets, too. Not every pet that eats grapes or raisins will show signs of kidney failure, but to be on the safe side, don’t offer grapes or raisins as treats and keep them out of your pet’s reach.
Human Medications -
Such as pain relievers, decongestants, etc are highly toxic to ferrets and should never be administered to or stored in somewhere accessible to a ferret. Items such as Advil,Motrin, Nuprin (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (Acetaminophen) Many drugs are cleared (detoxified) by the liver by special enzymes produced in the body. Research has shown that ferrets are very slow to clear phenolic compounds, such as acetaminophen, from the body so over time they can build up and will likely cause kidney damage and liver damage. They can easily be lethal. The deadly effect of acetaminophen in ferrets is attributed to a combination of the type of enzymes involved, the ferret's prolonged metabolism with regard to clearing the drug from the body and the high dose of acetaminophen in a single capsule or tablet in relation to the animal's small size. In addition, studies have shown that although the drug is highly toxic to both males (hobs) and females (jlls), females are the most sensitive. Other drugs toxic to ferrets (designed for human use) include cold medications, anti-depressants and dietary supplements. It likely that any medication prescribed for humans is dangerous for ferrets.
Ferrets appear to be particularly sensitive to ibuprofen toxicosis. Signs can develop in as little as 4 hours but may take up to 48 hours to develop. Unlike dogs and cats, in which gastrointestinal and renal signs predominate, ferrets develop neurological signs, including ataxia, tremors, seizures, and coma. Neurologic signs developed in almost 95% of ferrets in one study. In addition, gastrointestinal and renal signs may develop. Dosages of more than 220 mg/kg can be lethal; this can be as little as one 200-mg tablet in a ferret. Following ingestion, emesis can be attempted in asymptomatic ferrets. This can be followed with multiple dosages of activated charcoal because ibuprofen undergoes enteroheptic recirculation. Ferrets showing neurological signs are at an increased risk for aspiration if they vomit the activated charcoal. Other treatment should include intravenous diuresis (two times the maintenance dose for at least 48 hours) to protect the kidneys and gastrointestinal protectants such as H2 blockers and sucralfate (carafate) to minimise gastric ulcers. Misoprostol, a synthetic prostaglandin, may prevent gastric ulceration. However, because of the ferret's small size, accurately adminstering the drug is difficult unless it is compounded. Comatose ferrets should be kept warm and closely monitored, particularly in regard to respiration. Seizures should be controlled as needed. The use of naloxone to reverse coma has been suggested but has not been fully evaluated. Generally with early treatment, the ferret can recover. But once neurologic signs develop the prognosis is guarded.
Lard is the rendered fat of swine. It is very low in linoleic acid but very attractive to pets, used to make poor quality food more appealing. Few nutritional benefits.
Lecithin is a generic term to designate any group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues. Lecithin can easily be extracted chemically using any non-polar solvent such as hexane, ethanol, acetone, petroleum ether, benzene, etc., or extraction can be done mechanically. It is usually available from sources such as soybeans, eggs, milk, marine sources, rapeseed(Canola), cottonseed, and sunflower. It has low solubility in water, but is an excellent emulsifier. Egg yolk is a favourite among the ferret owner community because of it is an excellent hairball preventative due to the lecithin. The issue with this on labels is that you cannot tell, unless otherwise stated, which source this lecithin originated from. The preferred lecithin for our ferrets is that from egg yolk. All others should be avoided if possible. Lecithin in kibbles or treats are more likely to be synthetically made or the lecithin originated from the major source; soybean oil which is super cheap for the pet food industry.
Liver Meal -
Liver meal is the dried product of ground hepatic glands of mammals. Whenever the word 'meat' or the name of an organ appear by themselves (without a species) on a pet food label, there is no way to know which kind of animal it came from. It could be horse liver, goat, duck, pig, or even skunk or other animals of questionable origin.
Macadamia nuts -
These are poisonous for some animal species and, until proven otherwise, should be considered a potential danger for ferrets. When it comes to any kind of food, if you do not know for certain that it is safe for your ferret, then do not feed it!
Maltodextrins are easily digestible carbohydrates made from natural corn starch. The starch is cooked, and then acid and/or enzymes are used to break the starch into smaller polymers (a process similar to that used by the body to digest carbohydrate). Maltodextrins are not made from or contain malt products. Maltodextrins are polymers of dextrose (sometimes labeled "glucose polymers"). Maltodextrins do not contain significant quantities of protein, fat or fiber.
Meat / Meat & Bone Meal -
This is the rendered product from mammal tissues, with or without bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. The animal parts used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: "4-D animals" (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, rats, misc. roadkill, animals euthanised at shelters and so on. It can also include pus, cancerous tissue, and decomposed (spoiled) tissue. While Bone In Meal is good for ferrets, only human grade is acceptable for short term only. It cannot be a replacement for real bone in meat.
This is an organic, flame retardant, nitrogen-rich chemical that appears as a white crystalline substance. Melamine is typically used in the manufacture of plastics; products include countertops, cabinets, tiles, whiteboards, and dishwater. A largely unknown fact: melamine is still found in many common household products. Melamine has been found in the kidneys and urine of cats that died and in the food they ate. Melamine alone may not be the cause of illness and death because melamine is a relatively non-toxic substance. The combination of melamine and cyanuric acid appears to be more toxic than either compound alone. When these two substances interact, they form crystals in urine and kidney tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. The FDA does not approve of the use of melamine for human/animal consumption or even as a fertilizer, but melamine is approved for industrial usage. In 2007 and 2008, melamine became a global concern when dogs, cats, and infants began getting sick, some fatally, due to the high amounts of melamine found in their food and milk formula. This not only led to the largest recorded recall of pet food, but also shone a light on the potential toxicities of melamine and reignited concerns about the quality and safety of Chinese food products. Sometime in mid-March, an "unnamed pet food company" reported to Cornell they had discovered an industrial chemical used in plastics manufacture, melamine, in internal testing of wheat gluten samples. By 21 March, it became clear the common factor was in the wheat gluten used to thicken the gravy in the "cuts and gravy" style wet foods. Since March 16, 2007, more than 150 brands of pet food have been voluntarily recalled by a number of companies. Types of pet foods recalled include: moist (packaged in pouches) dog and cat food, canned dog and cat food, dry dog and cat food, dog treats, & dry ferret food. Melamine poisoning may lead to kidney stones, cancer or reproductive damage. FDA traced the melamine to products labeled as wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China and used as ingredients in pet foods. Cornell University scientists also found melamine in the urine and kidneys of deceased cats that were part of a taste-testing study conducted for pet food manufacturer, Menu Foods. FDA's further testing showed that the vegetable protein products imported from China were mislabeled as "wheat gluten" and "rice protein concentrate." This information does not change the recalls or the findings of melamine and melamine-related compounds in pet food. In addition to dog and cat food being recalled, one brand of dry ferret food was also recalled: Ultra-Blend Advanced Nutrition (Net Wt. 20 lbs, UPC 26851 00413, Code C7072), manufactured by Chenango Valley Pet Food. Several pet food companies have reported that some of their recalled products were not formulated or labeled to contain wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate. The manufacturer added these ingredients without their consent, potentially contaminating the product with melamine or related compounds.
Menadione Sodium Bisulfate -
Vitamin K3, synthetic vitamin K. Feed grade. Also listed as Menadione Dimethyl-Pyrimidinol Bisulfate, Menadione Dimethyl-Pyrimidinol Bisulfite, Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite and Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex. An unnecessary ingredient in pet food. This synthetic version of vitamin K has not been specifically approved for long term use, such as in pet food. It has been linked to many serious health issues; Cytotoxicity in liver cells, causes formation of radicals from enzymes of leucocytes, with the consequence of cytotoxic reactions, considerably weakens the immune system, possible mutagenic effects, damages the natural vitamin K cycle, has no effect on coumarin derivatives, which are often present in commercial food due to mold contamination (toxic when ingested), causes hemolytic anemia and hyperbilirubinemia, not just linked to large doses, disturbs the level of calcium ions (Ca2+) in the body, which is an important factor fibrinolysis, is directly toxic in high doses (vomiting, albuminuria), unlike natural vitamin K, builds up in tissue and has been detected in eggs, meat and milk of animals supplemented with menadione derivatives, causes irritation of skin and mucous membranes, causes allergic reactions and eczema etc.
Mineral Oil -
Any of various light hydrocarbon oils, especially a distillate of petroleum.
Mineral oil functions as a laxative and stool softener. Used as a laxative to pets, but is not recommended as it can be inhaled into the lungs, causing permanent damage. The World Health Organization classifies untreated or mildly treated mineral oils as Group 1 carcinogens to humans; highly refined oils are classified as Group 3, meaning they are not suspected to be carcinogenic but available information is not sufficient to classify them as harmless.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) -
Small amounts of MSG are found naturally in many common foods such as seaweed, mushrooms, whole grains, carrots, meat, nuts and cheese. In its natural state, however, MSG is slowly assimilated by the body and broken down so that the levels of concentration are kept low. The MSG in processed foods, on the other hand, is highly concentrated. Often MSG and related toxins are added to foods in disguised forms. For example, among the food manufacturers favorite disguises are 'hydrolyzed vegetable protein,' 'vegetable protein,' 'natural flavorings,' and 'spices.' Many pet food companies, even the ones that claim to be natural or premium, add chemically processed monosodium glutamate (MSG) to their food as both a palatant (flavour enhancer) and as a way to keep your pet addicted to their food. The MSG in pet foods are created chemically by either hydrolyzing vegetable protein (almost always from soy) or fermenting glucose from starches. Hydrolyzing is achieved a couple of ways. First is by boiling an amino acid in a strong hydrochloric acid and then neutralizing it with sodium hydroxide. The other is by adding enzymes, like protease, to help break down the amino acid. MSG tricks the tongue receptors into thinking food is higher in protein than it actually is. It actually excites brain cells into making them over-react to substances. In the over-reactive state, the dog or cat consuming it believes the food tastes better. This allows pet food companies to use lower quality proteins and other low quality ingredients and fillers. Neither the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) nor the American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) require MSG be listed on the ingredient labels of pet foods. Instead it may appear as hydrolyzed protein, natural flavouring, natural liver flavouring, yeast extract, hydrolyzed corn gluten or liver digest. MSG can: Stimulate or damage the nervous system, Create taurine deficiencies, Damage brain cells, Affect the thyroid, Cause obesity. Additives that always contain MSG: Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolysed Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Plant Protein Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Textured Protein, Autolyzed Yeast, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour. Additives that frequently contain MSG: Malt extract, Malt Flavouring, Bouillon Broth, Stock Flavouring, Natural Flavouring, Natural Beef or Chicken Flavouring, Seasoning Spices. Additives that may contain MSG and/or other excitotoxins: Carrageeenan Enzymes (Protease enzymes from various sources can release excitotoxin amino acids from food proteins.), Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein Isolate Whey, Protein Concentrate.
Niacin, a very common pet food ingredient, one of the B-vitamins. It is an essential vitamin that occurs naturally in many foods, including organ meat like liver, beef, fish, poultry, eggs, and legumes. The most common name variations for Niacin include Vitamin B-3 and nicotinic acid. Niacin helps with skin and coat health (due to its involvement in fatty acid synthesis). It is needed for the body to break down sugars and fats into energy. Niacin is essential for a healthy nervous system and skin. It helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Niacin also supports a healthy gastrointestinal system. Niacin is crucial for a healthy body. A niacin deficiency can cause weight loss, inflammation around the mouth and throat, black tongue, salivation, blood in the saliva and bloody diarrhea and stomach ulcers. Like most things, too much Niacin can cause some problems. Common issues from over consumption include skin flushing and itching, dry skin, upset stomach. Niacin is often used to help with high cholesterol in humans. Niacin is sometimes used to reduce the symptoms of arthritis in humans as well. Niacin was the third B vitamin to be identified as a dietary essential.
Oat Hulls -
Oat hulls are the outer casing of the oat seed , high-fiber, low energy, low-protein and basically no nutrition and is used most likely as a filler ingredient in pet food.
Onions and Garlic -
Never give a ferret anything that contains either onions or garlic, as both of these can make him sick or even kill him. Onions / chives other veg contain N-propyl disulphide and can cause hemolytic anemia, potentially fatal for ferrets, while garlic can cause ferret kidneys to shut down, a condition that is frequently fatal. There's also a possibly it can damage blood cells.
Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben)are used as preservatives and are more commonly seen used in personal care products like cosmetics and lotions. They've also been seen use in human food, and pet food or pet supplements. Ferretone, contains propylparaben. They stop fungus, bacteria and microbial growth but have also been known to disrupt the endocrine system. Ingested butylparaben is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, metabolized, and excreted in the urine. Large doses, however, may cause irritation to the GI tract. In mice, rats, rabbits, and dogs, butylparaben was reported to be practically nontoxic. Results from one chronic feeding study in mice showed that butylparaben caused a high incidence of amyloidosis, affecting the spleen, liver, kidney, and/or adrenal gland. It was cytotoxic in isolated rat hepatocytes and mitochondria and in other animal cells in vitro. Parabens (esters of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid [4-HBA], also known as alkyl p-hydroxybenzoates), in particular propylparaben and butylparaben, have recently been reported to have adverse effects on the male reproductive system in rodents. In rats, propylparaben (0.01-1.0%) in the diet for four weeks caused a dose-dependent decrease in cauda epididymal sperm reserves and concentrations and in the serum testosterone level. Additionally, daily sperm production and efficiency in the testis were significantly decreased in all treated animals. Propylparaben was reported to be weakly estrogenic (30,000-fold less potent than 17β-estradiol in an in vitro yeast-based estrogen assay). In mice, s.c. administration of isobutylparaben (1.2 and 12 mg/mouse) and topical application of benzylparaben (7.5 g/kg bw) for three days produced increases in uterine weight.
Peanut Hulls -
Peanut Hulls are the outer hull of the peanut shell and have little to no nutritional value whatsoever.
They are used exclusively as a cheap filler ingredient. Possibility of pesticide residues being present.
Insecticides/pesticides are a major cause of ferret poisoning. These include ant bait; ant, roach, wasp, fly, and spider sprays; snail bait, and other kinds of products designed to kill pests. Never spray chemicals anywhere near where your ferret plays, sleeps, eats or drinks. Many pesticide toxicities in ferrets are due to inappropriate use, or overdose, of flea and tick products, especially products that were developed for dogs. Always check with your veterinarian before treating your ferret with any product to kill parasites, as some of these products can kill ferrets as well.
Phosphoric Acid -
It's a clear colorless liquid, H3PO4, used in fertilizers, detergents, food flavoring, and pharmaceuticals.
Even though it is harmless, it is a very unnecessary ingredient, used in inexpensive, poor quality pet food as flavoring, emulsifier and discoloration inhibitor. Used for example as a flavoring for Coca Cola.
Pork & Bone Meal -
This is the rendered product from pork tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, skin, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. It's a byproduct made from pork parts which are not suitable for human consumption. It can incorporate the entire pig, including the bones, but the quality cuts of meat are always removed. This is an inexpensive, low quality ingredient used to boost the protein percentage.
It is a common preservative present in many cosmetic and skin care products. It is generally used as an alternative to Parabens by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and preventing the degradation of the product. It is created using sorbic acid, found in ash tree berries, and is quite effective against the proliferation of fungi, mold and yeast. However, being less effective against bacteria, it is not a perservative that has a broad spectrum of use soley on its own. Potassium sorbate is almost always used in combination with other chemical perservatives to ascertain complete protection. Not only is it used in Beauty products, this chemical can also be found used in human and pet foods. The FDA has approved this chemical as safe and no other major consumer agency has determined it as a human toxin. Due to the generally mild state of potassium sorbate, many scientists and researchers consider this ingredient low risk. Not only is potassium sorbate a generally non-hazardous compound, it is also a natural preservative that has been shown to cause little to no negative effect for long term use. For example, drinking this chemical compound for up to 100 weeks has concluded to be non-carcinogenic thus making it non-toxic in its chemical profile and safe to use. If your pet food has this perservative present, it usually is of no consequence to your pet. However, in some extremely sensitive humans and pets, or those prone to allergies, potassium sorbate has been shown to irritate allergies and can cause nausea, diarrhea, and overall loss in nutritious value. Potassium sorbate is not necessarily a harmful preservative, but, like anything, it may in some sensitive individuals attribute to sickness if taken in too large quantities. To conclude, In pet food this should not be much of a problem. Just be cautious of any other preservatives that may be paired with this one and be aware that it may irritate sensitive pets that are prone to allergies, or sensitivities when it comes to their food or treats.
Potato Product -
Potato Product is made from Potato pieces, peeling, culls, etc., obtained from the manufacture of processed potato products for human consumption. A cheap byproduct of human food processing that has been stripped of much of the nutritional benefits that whole, fresh potatos offer.
Poultry Byproduct Meal -
This consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcasses of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, exclusive of feathers except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices. The parts used can be obtained from any slaughtered fowl, so there is no control over the quality and consistency of individual batches. Poultry byproducts are much less expensive and less digestible than chicken meat.The ingredients of each batch can vary drastically in ingredients (heads, feet, bones, organs etc.) as well as quality, thus the nutritional value is also not consistent. Don't forget that byproducts consist of any parts of the animal OTHER than meat. If there is any use for any part of the animal that brings more profit than selling it as "byproduct", rest assured it will appear in such a product rather than in the "byproduct" dumpster.
Poultry Fat -
Poultry Fat is obtained from the tissue of poultry in the commercial process of rendering or extracting. It shall contain only the fatty matter natural to the product produced under good manufacturing practices and shall contain no added free fatty acids or other materials obtained from fat. It must contain not less than 90 percent total fatty acids and not more than 3 percent of unsaponifiables and impurities. It shall have a minimum titer of 33 degrees Celsius. If an antioxidant is used, the common name or names must be indicated, followed by the word "preservative(s)". Note how in this product the source is not defined as "slaughtered poultry". The rendered fowl can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: "4-D animals" (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), turkey, chicken, geese, buzzard, seagulls, misc. roadkill, birds euthanized at shelters and so on.
Poultry Meal -
The clean combination of poultry flesh and skin with or without bone. Does not contain feathers, heads, feet or entrails. If from a particular source it may state so (i.e. chicken, turkey etc). Note how in this product the source is not defined as "slaughtered poultry".The manufacturer does not disclose the species (or the mix of species) of the poultry used. The fowl can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: "4-D animals" (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), turkey, chicken, geese, buzzard, seagulls, misc. roadkill, birds euthanized at shelters and so on.
Pregelatinized Corn Starch -
Raw starch does not form a paste with cold water and therefore requires cooking if it is to be used as a food thickening agent. Pregelatinized starch, mostly from maize, has been cooked and dried. It is used as a binder in meat products.
Propyl Gallate -
Propyl gallate is a preservative found in oils, soup bases, gum and meat products. It works much like BHA, listed above, and the two preservatives are often used together. Just as with BHA, the CSPI states that studies on the dangers of propyl gallate are mixed. It can also cause stomach and skin irritation, liver damage, kidney damage and has the potential to increase your chances of having cancer. It should therefore be avoided. It is also known as Gallic Acid or Propyl Ester. It is made from natural Gallic Acid, which is obtained by the hydrolysis of tannins from Tara Pods. It's used as an antioxidant to stabilise cosmetics, food packaging materials, and foods containing fats. New research suggests the dog food preservative, propyl gallate, may be responsible for causing a potentially dangerous health issue for dogs and possibly even other pets. That’s because of the chemical’s unique ability to mimic the negative effects of the female hormone, oestrogen. Although the FDA insists the agent can be considered safe, recent studies have linked propyl gallate with a special group of hormone-like compounds known as xenoestrogens (zee-no-es’-tro-jenz). Xenoestrogens have the potential to adversely affect reproductive health. In humans, they have the ability to transform a normal breast cell into a cancer cell. Propyl gallate can also affect a developing fetus as well as decrease the sperm count in males. Animal testing has proven that the likelihood of contracting cancer increased; however, due to the conditions of the study itself, scientists state that it "cannot", in any degree of certainty, be stated that Propyl Gallate causes cancer.
Propylene Glycol -
A colorless viscous hygroscopic liquid, CH3CHOHCH2OH, used in antifreeze solutions, in hydraulic fluids, and as a solvent. Used as humectant in semi-moist kibble to keep it from drying out. May be toxic if consumed in large amounts, and should definitely not be an ingredient in a food an animal will eat daily for weeks, months or even years of its life. In countries of the European Union, propylene glycol is not cleared as a general-purpose food grade product or direct food additive. Popylene glycol is considerably safer (less toxic) than its far more dangerous cousin — ethylene glycol. Yet because of its proven ability to cause a serious type of blood disease in some animals — Heinz body anemia — propylene glycol has been banned by the FDA for use in "cat" food. But unfortunately, it can still be used to make dog food.
Red 40 (artificial colour) -
The color additive FD&C Red No. 40 is principally the disodium salt of 6-hydroxy-5-[(2-methoxy-5-methyl-4-sulfophenyl)azo]-2-naphthalenesulfonic acid. The most widely used food dye. While this is one of the most-tested food dyes, the key mouse tests were flawed and inconclusive. An FDA review committee acknowledged problems, but said evidence of harm was not "consistent" or "substantial." Like other dyes, Red 40 is used mainly in junk foods. Personally I'd rather avoid this ingredient and err on the side of caution.
Rice Hulls -
The outer covering of rice.
An inexpensive byproduct of human food processing, serving as a source of fiber that is considered a filler ingredient.
Also listed as Sodium Chloride. A colorless or white crystalline solid, chiefly sodium chloride, used extensively in ground or granulated form as a food seasoning and preservative. May also appear in ingredient list as "Iodized Salt" (iodine supplement added), "Sea Salt" (as opposed to salt mined from underground deposits) or "Sodium Chloride" (chemical expression). It is often used to cover up rancid meat and fat. While salt is a necessary mineral, it is also generally present in sufficient quantities in the ingredients pet foods include. Just like for humans, too much sodium intake is unhealthy for animals.Too much salt can cause kidney and heart disease, hypertension -- It is also used to encourage pets to drink more. In poor quality foods it is often used in large amounts to add flavor and make the food more interesting. Salt in your pet food should be listed on the label, although not all labels show you the exact percentages. Look for hidden salt -- anything that has "sodium" in the ingredient name is a type of salt. Added salts should be avoided as much as possible.
A white, sweetish, crystalline alcohol, C6H8(OH)6, found in various berries and fruits or prepared synthetically and used as a flavoring agent, a sugar substitute for people with diabetes, and a moisturizer in cosmetics and other products. Sugar or sweetener is an absolutely unnecessary ingredient in pet foods, added to make the product more attractive. Continuous intake can promote hypoglycemia, obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis and allergies. Pets also get addicted to foods that contain sugars, so it can be a tough piece of work to make them eat something healthier.
Soy Flour -
The finely powdered material resulting from the screened and graded product after removal of most of the oil from selected, sound, cleaned and dehulled soybeans by a mechanical or solvent extraction process. Much of the nutritional value is lost already during processing of the grain to flour. May contain particles of hull, germ, and the offal from the tail of the mill. The pet food industry has taken a liking to soybean products because they’re high in protein count, they add bulk to pet foods, the amino acids seem right and the cost of the protein itself is super cheap.
Soybean Meal -
The product obtained by grinding the flakes which remain after removal of most of the oil from soybeans by a solvent or mechanical extraction process. A poor quality protein filler used to boost the protein content of low quality pet foods. Has a biologic value lof ess than 50% of chicken meal.
Soybean Mill Run -
Composed of soybean hulls and such bean meats that adhere to the hulls which results from normal milling operations in the production of dehulled soybean meal. An inexpensive byproduct of human food processing, commonly referred to as 'floor sweepings'. An inexpensive filler with no real nutritional value.
Can include sucrose, cane sugar, caramel, corn syrup and others.
Sugar or sweetener is an absolutely unnecessary ingredient in pet foods, added to make the product more attractive. Continuous intake can promote hypoglycemia, obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis and allergies. Pets also get addicted to foods that contain sugars, so it can be a tough piece of work to make them eat something healthier. Sugar can lead to insulinoma in ferrets.
Feeding your ferret any sugary foods, including honey, cereal or syrup, can trigger a reaction that can cause him to produce too much insulin followed by a drop in insulin production leading to hypoglycemia. Along with processed and natural sugars it is essential to avoid letting your ferret eat xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can trigger seizures, hypoglycemia and liver failure in ferrets and dogs. This sweetener is in many sugar-ffree gums and other products, all of which must be kept away from your ferret.
Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid widely distributed in animal tissues. It is a major constituent of bile and can be found in the large intestine, and accounts for up to 0.1% of total human body weight. Taurine has many fundamental biological roles, such as conjugation of bile acids, antioxidation, osmoregulation, membrane stabilization, and modulation of calcium signaling. It is essential for cardiovascular function, and development and function of skeletal muscle, the retina, and the central nervous system. Taurine is unusual among biological molecules in being a sulfonic acid, while the vast majority of biologically occurring acids contain the more weakly acidic carboxyl group. While taurine is sometimes called an amino acid, and indeed is an acid containing an amino group, it is not an amino acid in the usual biochemical meaning of the term, which refers to compounds containing both an amino and a carboxyl group. Taurine plays an essential role in the diet of ferrets. Lack of this amino acid results in severe health repercussions, such as blindness and tooth decay, amongst other things.. Unlike herbivores and omnivores whose pancreas is responsible for the biosynthesis of taurine, Obligate carnivores must ingest taurine via diet in order to maintain proper taurine levels in their bodies. Most biologists and veterinary professionals will agree that mustelids are most likely obligate carnivores, also, and thus require taurine in their diet. Taurine in whole food form, found in muscle tissues, hearts, brains and other animal tissues, is in any case the ideal for any raw diet – and not a difficult nutrient to maintain proper levels of if offering the right variety. Supplementation of factory-synthesised taurine is a possibility in extreme cases but be sure to choose a supplement of human-grade quality, from a trusted company and source.
Tea tree oil & Essential oils in general -
Melaleuca oil (Melaleuca alternifolia, or more commonly known as tea tree) has been used for centuries by cultures around the world to soothe. It is a quite a powerful essential oil so it doesn’t require much to be effective. The smaller the pet is, the more chance there is of any essential oil reaching toxic levels and that includes its ferrets, where it can become very toxic. It is a colourless or pale yellow oil obtained by steam distillation of the freshly harvested leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia (Australian Tea Tree). The main active ingredients are cyclic terpenes. It is said to be 12x the purifying strength of phenol. Tea Tree oil is promoted for the treatment of many skin problems and to control external parasites. It's an ingredient most commonly seen in pet shampoo's or conditioners, possibly even pet toothpaste. It's even a common house hold product for cleaning. Cases of Tea Tree oil poisoning have since been reported to the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC) of the US following external application of the oil to cats. In most cases, the oil had been used at inappropriately high doses, causing acute poisoning. Symptoms occurred 2 - 8 hours after topical application of Tea Tree oil products. Symptoms were depression, weakness, ataxia, lack of coordination, behavioural disorders and muscle tremors. Warning signs may include vomiting, dizziness, clumsiness, lack of appetite and lack of energy. Tea Tree Oil can reached, and potentially damage internal organs such as the livers, their kidneys, and brains. Not all vets or poison control centres are aware of the oil's specific toxicity to cats and possibly other animals, including ferrets and the correct treatment may not be given. Ferrets & Cats are very sensitive to toxins. Their livers are not able to metabolise many substances which may safely be used on dogs (cats have been poisoned through use of dog flea preparations). Cats & Ferrets cannot efficiently metabolize substances present in certain essential oils (including Tea Tree oil), which will therefore build up in the their bodies. This means that they are not efficiently excreted by the body and can accumulate in soft tissues and vital organs. Over a period of time, the substances can reach toxic levels which cause death or symptoms of poisoning. An owner could therefore use Tea Tree oil in supposedly safe low concentrations for some time with no symptoms, though the cat or ferret is being slowly poisoned as the toxins accumulate. This is similar to they way that heavy metals (e.g. lead, zinc) or poly-chlorinated bi-phenols (PCBs) accumulate in the soft tissues and organs. An added danger is that cheap essential oils may be adulterated with other things for various reasons; the combination of substances could be more toxic than the unadulterated oil.
Titanium Dioxide -
Titanium dioxide, is a white coloring agent. Although most claim the pigment to be a safe food additive, one international agency has classified titanium dioxide as a “Group 2B carcinogen” possibly linked to cancer in humans. --> Based on the experimental evidence from animal inhalation studies TiO2 nanoparticles are classified as “possible carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as occupational carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Vegetable Oil -
The source vegetables for this oil (and therefore the nutrient properties or lack thereof) are unknown. Vegetable oil refers to processed seed oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil and a few others, but vegetable oil within pet food is labeled as vegetable oil while it could be any of the above listed oils. Vegetable Oil is a Non-descriptive source of fat, contains unsaturated fat which is hard on the body, causes premature aging. Excessive consumption of vegetable oil can also contribute to: Asthma, Blindness, Heart disease, Cancer.
Vitamin A (supplement) -
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. There are two different types of vitamin A. The first type, preformed vitamin A, is found in meat (Especially Liver), poultry, fish, and dairy products. The second type, provitamin A, is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products. The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplementsis beta-carotene. Since Vitamin A is fat soluble, it can easily cause an overdose as it builds up over time if not given some breaks in between doses. A ferret eating a natural diet would be getting all the vitamin needs so supplementation isn't necessary unless there is a medical reason (seek vet assistance beforehand). Vitamin A is destroyed when cooked at temps of 40 degrees centigrade or more so hence the supplementation in kibbles or treats which are cooked.
Wheat Flour -
Wheat flour is a common filler in pet foods, even treats. It also acts as a binder to bring all the ingredients together in a dry kibble form. Grain flours are necessary for carbohydrates and as you may already be aware, they are junk food to our ferrets. Vegetable proteins such as Soybeans and or cereal grains (Corn, Wheat, Oats, Barley, Rye, Or Rice) Should be avoided as much as possible. Especially if any of these are listed as one of the first ingredients. They should never be fed to a ferret in large quantities. Wheat flour is very poorly digested and has been known to can cause allergies and bowel problems in pets. Probably not ideal for pets with IBD.
Wheat Gluten -
The tough, viscid nitrogenous substance remaining when wheat is washed to remove the starch.
An inexpensive byproduct of human food processing with almost no nutritional value left, serves mostly as a binder.
Wheat Mill Run -
May also appear as "Wheat Middlings".
AAFCO: Coarse and fine particles of wheat bran and fine particles of wheat shorts, wheat germ, wheat flour and offal from the "tail of the mill". An inexpensive byproduct of human food processing, commonly referred to as 'floor sweepings'. An inexpensive filler with no real nutritional value.
Xanthan Gum -
Xanthan gum is a thickener and emulsifier used in many pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial applications, and processed human and pet foods. Although its use is approved by the FDA, Xanthan gum was identified in 2011 as the cause of a deadly form of colitis responsible for several infant illnesses and deaths. Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide produced by fermentation of carbohydrates by the gram-negative bacteria Xanthomonas campestris. Xanthan gum is made using carbohydrates from corn, wheat, dairy, or soy. It’s possible pet food companies that add xanthan gum to their products might try to advertise its high fiber content, low glycemic value, or the fact that it’s “gluten-free.” Remember not to fall for marketing spin! When all is said and done, xanthan gum is just another non-nutritive, carb-based additive in processed pet food. This ingredient may also be a trigger for IBD.
This is an artificial sweetener found in some brands of chewing gum (such as Orbit) and candies like tic tacs. It can cause a drop in blood sugar that can lead to rapid death in some animals. It causes a large release of insulin from the pancreas leading to hypoglycemia. At larger doses it can also lead to liver failure, DIC, hemorrhage, and death. The FDA issued a warning about the risks of the artificial sweetener xylitol to dogs and ferrets. FDA is aware of complaints involving dogs that experienced illness associated with the accidental consumption of xylitol. Xylitol is safe for humans but it can be harmful to dogs and ferrets. The FDA reports included clinical signs such as a sudden drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), seizures and liver failure. If you suspect your pet has ingested xylitol, some signs to look for are depression, loss of coordination and vomiting. The signs of illness may occur within minutes to days of ingesting xylitol. Owners should consult their veterinarian or pet poison control center immediately for advice if they know or suspect that their pet has ingested a human product containing xylitol.
Yucca Schidigera Extract -
Yucca schidigera, also known as the Mojave yucca or Spanish dagger, is a flowering plant that is native to the Mojave Desert, Chihuahuan Desert and Sonoran Desert of southeastern California, Baja California, New Mexico, southern Nevada and Arizona. Currently extracts from this plant are in animal feed and various herbal medications. The rigid flower stalk of the yucca, after maturation, is used as a substitute for eucalyptus stems or logs to make didgeridoos. It is also used as a natural deodorizer, and is used in pet deodorisers. Yucca Schidigera extract is used in many high-end pets foods. It's added to pet food because it reduces the odor of feces and urine. Steroid saponins are produced commercially from Yucca schidigera. Preliminary study shows these saponins may benefit arthritis and its extract may help fight cancer. Probably, short-term intake of small quantities is safe. However, yucca may cause hemolysis (burst of red blood cells), and overdose of yucca may cause loose stool and bleeding. heir use for more than three months in a row is not recommended as they may interfere with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. (Uses processing aids of mineral oil; calcium carbonate, and rice hulls as carrier)
Yeast Culture -
The dried product composed of yeast and the media on which it is grown, dried in such a manner as to preserve the fermenting activity of the yeast. An unnecessary, feed-grade ingredient in pet foods, added mainly as a flavoring to make inexpensive food more attractive. Lacks the nutritional value of higher quality yeast supplements. The media on which the yeast was grown is not identified. Also a potential allergen for some dogs and potentially toxic to the liver.
Yeast Fermentation Solubles -
The soluble portion of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and the media in which is produced. A feed-grade ingredient in pet foods, added as a vitamin B supplement. It is harmless, but lacks the nutrients of higher quality yeast supplements. The media on which the yeast was grown is not identified.
Brewer's dried yeast is a waste product (used for flavoring, protein, B-vitamins) which can become very toxic to the liver causes allergies and arthritis. Also has been proven to cause pancreatic issues in cats.
Yellow 5 (artificial colour) -
The colour additive FD&C Yellow No. 5 is principally the trisodium salt of 4,5-dihydro-5-oxo-1-(4-sulfophenyl)-4- [4-sulfophenyl-azo]-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylic acid (CAS Reg. No. 1934-21- 0). To manufacture the additive, 4-amino-benzenesulfonic acid is diazotized using hydrochloric acid and sodium nitrite. The diazo compound is coupled with 4,5-dihydro-5-oxo-1-(4-sulfophenyl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylic acid or with the methyl ester, the ethyl ester, or a salt of this carboxylic acid. The resulting dye is purified and isolated as the sodium salt. The second most widely used colouring can cause mild allergic reactions, primarily in aspirin-sensitive persons.
Yellow 6 (artificial colour) -
The colour additive FD&C Yellow No. 6 is principally the disodium salt of 6-hydroxy-5-[(4-sulfophenyl)azo]-2-naphthalenesulfonic acid (CAS Reg. No. 2783-94-0). The trisodium salt of 3-hydroxy-4-[(4- sulfophenyl)azo]-2,7-naphthalenedisulfonic acid may be added in small amounts. The color additive is manufactured by diazotizing 4-aminobenzenesulfonic acid using hydrochloric acid and sodium nitrite or sulfuric acid and sodium nitrite. The diazo compound is coupled with 6-hydroxy-2-naphthalene-sulfonic acid. The dye is isolated as the sodium salt and dried. The trisodium salt of 3-hydroxy-4-[(4-sulfophenyl)azo]-2,7-naphthalenedisulfonic acid which may be blended with the principal color is prepared in the same manner except the diazo benzenesulfonic acid is coupled with 3-hydroxy-2,7-naphthalenedisulfonic acid. Industry-sponsored animal tests indicated that this dye, the third most widely used, causes tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney. In addition, small amounts of several carcinogens contaminate Yellow 6. However, the FDA reviewed those data and found reasons to conclude that Yellow 6 does not pose a significant cancer risk to humans. Yellow 6 may also cause occasional allergic reactions.
Just because a 'moist' and 'meaty' pet treat looks appealing to you, the human or pet, does not mean it’s a healthy option for your pet to consume. Remember to look at ingredients if you do choose to feed the (in my opinion) incredibly boring, dry breakfast, lunch and dinner to your ferret. Avoid all meat simulations and I really do encourage just simply ditching the kibble and transition your ferret completely to a nutritional, natural, balanced raw and or whole prey diet. The only one stopping you, is you!
Small Animal Toxicology By Michael E. Peterson, Patricia A. Talcott