This appears to be the newest marketing claim for carrageenan, the gum used to mold together a moist pet food might provide your pet protection from a cold. The marketing neglects to mention that carrageenan might also cause serious intestinal issues and possibly even cancer.

From one of you very attentive pet food consumers out there I was sent some rather ridiculous marketing claims. On a pet food delivery service website (for the Chicago area), for a Merrick dog food…

Key Benefits

  • Carrageenan protects against canine colds

From a popular online pet food store for a Natural Balance cat food…

Key Benefits

  • Carrageenan guards against kitty colds


Even a Veterinarian’s website describing Royal Canin Selected Protein pet food…

Key Benefits

  • Carrageenan guards against canine colds

Is this true? Can Carrageenan “guard against” or “protect” your pet from colds?

Maybe…if your pet would inhale the carrageenan through its nose (instead of ingesting carrageenan in its pet food).  Published on the Virology Journal website, some research on carrageenan states:

In this study we demonstrate that Iota-Carrageenan, a sulphated polysaccharide derived from red seaweed, is a potent anti-rhinoviral substance in-vitro. Iota-Carrageenan reduces HRV growth and inhibits the virus induced cythopathic effect of infected HeLa cells. Since HRV infections predominately occur in the nasal cavity and the upper respiratory tract, a targeted treatment with a product containing Iota-Carrageenan is conceivable.

This is a health claim – that a pet food can prevent disease. If a human food made such a claim the FDA would issue a warning letter requiring the claim to be removed. But with pet food…well…

Years of science links carrageenan to intestinal inflammation and cancer in animals. Click Here and or Here to learn more about carrageenan.



Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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