Owners of dogs are being cautioned due to the “very high” quantity of lead in dog food.

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After finding significant levels of hazardous lead in dog food, researchers concluded that canines were at risk of lead poisoning. According to researchers from the University of Cambridge, shotgun pellets were found in “very high” proportions in raw pheasant pet food.

Lead poisoning is possible due to “very high” lead concentrations in some dog chow. Researchers at the University of Cambridge came to that conclusion after examining raw pheasant dog food in their study. Both humans and animals are poisoned by the hazardous metal lead, which has effects on the neurological system in particular.

Lead in dog food

Lead shot can be used legally in the UK to kill terrestrial game birds like pheasants, notwithstanding the health risks it poses to consumers’ diets.

Although humans consume most pheasants, some are minced and added to pet food.

In a recent investigation, scientists from the University of Cambridge discovered that over 75 percent of the 90 samples they collected from UK items contained lead quantities over the legal maximum residue level (MRL).
They examined three products made from raw pheasant and discovered that the mean average lead concentrations were roughly 245, 135, and 49 times greater than the MRL.
It was discovered that the overall mean average in raw pheasant dog food was 34 times greater than in pheasant sold for human consumption, which is already regarded as too high.

We already knew that lead concentrations in pheasant meat supplied for human consumption are frequently far higher than would be allowed in other foods like chicken, beef, or pork, according to Professor Debbie Pain of Cambridge University’s Zoology Department.

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However, the lead amounts in raw pheasant dog food products were surprisingly considerably higher, which astonished us.
According to the researchers, this may be because pheasant is typically marketed to humans as entire birds or breasts but minced for dogs.
Lead shot may become more dispersed and smaller after being minced, increasing the likelihood that it may enter the bloodstream.
According to the study, dogs who consume food with such high lead contents, particularly as their main diet, run the danger of suffering health problems.
Puppies are especially at risk because they consume more lead than older animals and because information directly affects the growing neurological system.
In the UK, nine shooting organizations have agreed to phase out a lead over five years beginning in February 2020, citing concerns for sustainability, biodiversity, and maintaining a thriving game market.

According to Cambridge scientists, voluntary ban compliance is constantly low, but Denmark’s total ban has proven successful.
Under the UK Reach Chemicals Regulation, limits on lead bullets and prohibiting the sale and use of lead gunfire are currently under consideration.
The Cambridge researchers examined five pheasant-based dog food brands for their study, published in the journal Ambio.
Three of these were raw meat: pheasant and partridge that had been dried; the other was processed pheasant and geese that had been canned.
Three other identical chicken-based items (raw, dry, and processed) were also tested.
The dried pheasant-based product included lead amounts over the MRL, albeit at lower levels than those discovered in the raw meat.
None of the canned pheasant or chicken items had inadequate lead levels.

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According to the researchers, there are 13 million dogs in the UK, and 34% of the 50 online providers of raw pet food they looked at sell pheasant, with 71% of those vendors indicating that the meat may include a shot.
According to co-author of the study Professor Rhys Green, “The majority of samples from three randomly selected raw pheasant pet food products had very high lead concentrations, and our recent research on shot types used to kill pheasants found that 94% are shot with lead, suggests that this is a much broader issue than for just these three products.
However, owners could ask whether the pheasants were shot without lead by some producers when purchasing pet food.

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Rachel Tyler