PET | TAO is transparent about how we make pet food.
We feature ingredients and manufacturing practices regularly on our blog.
Some pet food companies leave us wondering,“why do you put that in pet food?”
For example, why do companies add bentonite clay powder to their dog food?
WE DON’T add bentonite clay powder to our pet food products, but we’ll share why others do.
What is Bentonite Clay Powder?
Bentonite is a mineral-rich naturally occurring compound.
Bentonite, originally named for Smectite clay found near Fort Benton Wyoming, is often confused with Montmorillonite, a Smectite clay found in the Montmorillon area of France.
Is Bentonite Harmful?
The USDA allows Bentonite clay powder in Certified Organic products.
When used medicinally, Bentonite’s clay-like compound absorbs bacteria or poison in the gut of sick pets by binding to toxins.
Bentonite also soothes itching skin, rashes, and diarrhea.
However, Bentonite is only for emergencies.
Occasional use of clay to relieve health problems is safe, but a steady diet of clay can create health issues.
Bentonite is an aluminum silicate, which dissolves in the intestines, adding to the body’s aluminum levels.
Never give your pet Bentonite under the following circumstances:
- Pregnancy and nursing
- With medication.
Bentonite’s absorbent qualities and negative charge impact the efficacy of other treatments.
Research on clay in a pet’s diet is sparse.
Why is Bentonite Clay Powder in Dog and Cat Food?
Pet food manufacturers add Bentonite clay powder to dog and cat foods, particularly freeze-dried pet treats, as an anti-caking agent and a natural source of minerals.
Bentonite is also commonly added to livestock feeds as a pellet binder and toxin absorber. If the animals eat “bad” food, the thinking is the clay will absorb the toxins.
However, the FDA has frowned upon the practice, asking livestock farmers to cease several years ago.
Clay is in approximately 3% of dog foods.