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Why Carrageenan Can Be Dangerous to your Pet

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  1. Sheila

    Great article. I switched from Wellness canned to Nature’s Instinct and (I and Love and You) for this reason. My cats were throwing up almost daily when I fed them the wellness food. I rarely get any surprises now with the switch. They eat wet food for breakfast and raw at night. As long as I give them a couple of hairball treats during the week, there are never any fur bombs left for me. The only way to combat this issue is for these kinds of articles to educate pet owners so they can stop buying those products. Money talks and when these companies don’t get it…ONLY then will they possibly change. Because it’s for certain that a lot of them don’t care about the health of our pets. Thanks for the great read!

  2. a

    MSG is a seaweed also.

  3. Annemarie

    I’ve been aware of the dangers of carrageenan in human food for awhile. You’ll find it listed as an ingredient in most almond milks as well as coconut and cashew milk. Only recently some manufacturers of nut milks have removed it from their formulas. We need to speak up and hopefully some pet food companies will also find healthy alternatives.

    1. Laura

      I feed my cats Hound & Gatos’ salmon cat food, and instead of carrageenan it has a few different gums that, to my knowledge, are not dangerous.

      1. Tracie

        The gums (and there are several) in Hound & Gatos are absolutely inflammation-inducing.
        My cat developed suspected pancreatitis after eating Hound & Gatos Chicken and Lamb flavors, and Weruva Cats in the Kitchen chicken and turkey flavors, and stopped eating for several days.
        Needless to say, she developed a food aversion to both brands which are filled with gums (and she loved the Hound & Gatos lamb the most).

        1. Debi Cohen

          We fed the Hound and Gatos, and you could actually bounce it off of the floor it was so gum-filled, really sickening.

        2. Laura

          Do you have any other info about those gums inducing inflammation? I’m not saying I don’t believe you, I just wasn’t aware that they are a problem. I know, at least from searching this site, that I don’t think Susan’s ever touched on them being an issue.

          1. Susan Thixton Author

            In the Cornucopia Institute report – they briefly mentioned other gums but did not say any others cause the health issues that carrageenan does.

          2. Jeanette Owen

            Any gums are probably bad. Dogs don’t eat them in the wild. And, besides that, I’m sure they are processed with toxic stuff. Not food stuff. I don’t know. I don’t care for them.

        3. Jo

          So if carrageenan and various gums are not safe or healthy, what thickeners ARE acceptable in pet foods?

          1. Jeanette Owen

            Go to “Wysongs” website. Among foods for my dogs & cats – they get the Wysong Epigen 90 – which claims to have NO CARBS binders to this kibble. Not talking about canned food – but…. My pets love the Epigen 90 – it’s 90 % protein & you just have to read on that website. I don’t know – I think they all have abunch of weird stuff – that should not be in the food.

          2. Jo

            Thank you, Jeanette. I am familiar with Wysong and, in fact, have 2 cans of Epigen in my pantry right now. I do like the simple ingredients in this particular Wysong canned formula, although it is not for every day feeding.

          3. Kelley

            Nulo uses Agar Agar as a binder for there wet food, I love it!
            Also, Weruva and Tiki Dog don’t have any of that. Only the Pate foods have the Carageenan and Guar Gum in them.
            Nulos has LIVE Probiotics and the food is OUTSTANDING!

          4. Jo

            Thanks, Kelley! Have not heard of Nulos. Will check it out!

          5. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

            Hi, In response to your question “what thickener’s are ok to use in petfood”….chia seed! Once you add water to it & stir & let it sit a little while, it thickens up & becomes gelatinous. It has MANY health promoting benefits too, such as protein, omega 3 fatty acid’s, fiber & phytonutrient’s.

    2. Debi Cohen

      Silk almond milk does not have it the last time I looked.

  4. Dezi and Lexi

    Great article. We certainly wish pet food companies would take note and stop adding poisons to our pet foods. We love our furry family members as much and sometimes more (LOL) than our human family members and it’s aggravating to feed something that is known to cause illnesses and will send us to the Vets more often.

    1. Madeleine

      Desi and Lexi, perhaps if the food companies that produce human foods would set an example, the pet food companies would follow. Human food regulations are lax. How can we expect pet food companies to be less lax? I feed my cat Weruva that gives us the options to buy cans with or without carrageenan as an additive. BTW, you might inform your pet store of this site so that they can subscribe and get their newsletters.

  5. Terry Horsfall

    Most disturbingly, there is no obligation on manufacturers to list carageenan as an ingredient on the can labels, it is oftener listed just as “gelling agent”. I only found this out after ZiwiPeak made a big splash about removing it from their cans recently.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Hi Terry –
      per regulations if the pet food manufacturer adds it they are required to list it on the label. Can you share (here or to me directly) what ZiwiPeak told you on this? Are they using the term gelling agent?

      1. Terry Horsfall

        Hi Susan

        Thanks for your reply about carrageenan.

        ZiwiPeak send out a monthly newsletter in which they covered the subject of caravan,
        and they have a splash on their web-site http://www.ziwipeak.com about it.

        I will forward you a copy of the newsletter by e-mail, which was sent to me by samantha@ziwipeak.com.

  6. Nina Wolf

    When we can find foods with no carrageenan, we find other things about them that we really don’t like. So we’ve shifted to trying to get people to go to dehydrated and frozen foods, to avoid all the issues involved with canned. Much healthier, fewer preservatives,more bioavailable, etc.

    1. Sheila

      While I divide 1 can a day between all 3 of my cats( it used to be at every meal), I now pretty much give them everything and rotate on a daily basis. Wet in the morning, primal frozen or dehydrated raw at night. I either throw in some chunks of rabbit that my neighbor raises for food. Sometimes chicken necks or organs. I give them about an 1/8 of a cup each of dry acana/orijen twice a week. I decided long ago that I don’t want to nor ever will home cook for them. It’s not in the cards for me, but I want them To be able to eat a variety of foods at any given time because you never know when something might go off the market or get recalled and I want as many things as possible to fall back on.

  7. Tracie

    I recently switched my cat from Science Diet canned (which was the only thing she would eat after a veterinary emergency during which she stopped eating for several days) to Verus Chicken & Liver canned.
    I see that Verus has taken the Pledge, but nowhere on their ingredient list is the source (or type) of carrageenan noted, and it is a definite ingredient I am horrified to be feeding her.
    However, she is an extremely fussy eater, and after trying many other choices without carrageenan, this is where we are now.
    I suspect carrageenan played a prominent role in the recent death of my other cat, who had suspected intestinal lymphoma along with cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure (and severe rapid weight loss).
    He ate Wellness canned for many years and after the thiamine deficiency recall in 2011 we began the search for a different diet (and many different brands) but ultimately I lost him.
    I do wish Verus would remove carrageenan from their canned formulas.

    1. a

      Thiamine vitamin B1 is an essential nutrient for Cats found in Brown Rice and Brewers Yeast: Brewer’s Yeast is a type of mushroom; Eggs have thiamine B1′ Pork has Thiamine (cooked); peas and Legumes have Vitamin B1.

    2. Pat P.

      TRACIE,

      You, most likely, will not see this response, but I ditched Verus canned cat food, after emailing them re several issues and getting back poorly-written, unscientific, inaccurate replies.

      I don’t remember the specifics, since it has been a while ago, but one was in reference to carrageenan. According to them, there was nothing wrong with it, and they considered the studies about its inflammatory properties, to be insignificant and hype. They had no intention of taking it out of their foods or replacing it.

      Although I don’t remember the other questions, my overall impression was that they needed someone else to respond to inquiries–someone who knew what they were talking about.

      Carrageenan is high on their list of ingredients (for the ones I purchased), which IMO, is not a good choice for foods.

      If you feed Verus and are concerned about the carrageenan, you might want to email them, yourself, and read their justification for its use. They may have improved their explanation, but it still wouldn’t encourage me to buy it, on more than a rare basis.

  8. Elizabeth Hosler

    I recently found two canned foods: Almo Nature and Wild Calling, that contain no carrageenan. My cats love both. Almo Nature is shredded (or chunked, in the case of fish), seems fresh and simple, with pure ingredients. Wild Calling is pate style and offers quite a few different flavors.

    1. Pat P.

      Elizabeth,

      I assume you realize that ALMO NATURE is a SUPPLEMENTAL food, only. It does not have the nutrients for a complete balanced meal. There are no added supplements (found in other animal parts, bones, organs), basically just shredded meat. It is more like a snack. If a cat was fed this food, exclusively, or even too frequently, they would not survive well or long.

      1. Elizabeth

        Hello,

        Yes, I do realize that Almo is absolutely NOT a complete diet for cats. I still feed my cats kibble, so they are getting most of their nutrients through that food. All 4 kitties (various ages) have recently seen the vet for their annual checkup/vaccinations, and all 4 are very healthy. I actually hate that they still eat kibble, but we have 4 of them indoors, (plus 2 outside and 2 Golden retrievers), and we’re finding it extremely difficult to try and get them all off of the dry food.

        Thank you for your warning, but thanks to Susan’s website and hours and hours of my own research, I have actually learned a lot about nutrition for cats and dogs, much of which began when I had a cat and dog both get lymphoma (2 different types) within 6 months of each other. I attribute this, in large part, to the food they ate when they were young. Though I’ve never fed any of my animals grocery-store food, I will only feed them foods from Susan’s list now, or if I can’t get one of those, then at least one that doesn’t have any major warnings on her list of rated foods (our dogs eat raw, but we haven’t gotten the cats there yet). If I had it to do over, I would become a veterinary nutritionist. Even at our local specialty pet food store, when I’m there,the store manager sometimes refers customers to me instead of his own salespeople because I know more! Because of Susan, I’ve warned him about carageenan and pea protein, just to name two things. And, the store has even begun carrying more of the foods I’ve asked for (from Susan’s list).

        In any case, thank you, and bless you and your precious pets.

        Best,
        Elizabeth

        1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

          Hi, I can tell you are up on all the food issues, as you are doing all you can to feed anoptimal diet for your pets.

          I want to put it out there to also consider the truth about vaccinations as well. We are all being sold a crock of lies about that as well. I won’t even go into all the issues here because it is way too lengthy & you are obviously an intelligent person,& once you have read up on it yourself, you will, I am sure, come to the same conclusion yourself.

          Your veterinarian unless a forward thinking vet will also have a vested interest in yearly vaccinations because it is his or her “cash cow”, & will downplay the REAL statics about Vaccine Associated Sarcoma “VAS”

          I am forgetting whether you mentioned if you have cats or dogs, but if cats, go to http://www.catinfo.org you will find all the info you need there, as well as many other sites. You might also consider joining the yahoo support group for “VAS”. Many seasoned people there who have gone through it all with their pets & have a wealth of scientific studies to back up everything, this is NOT in any way some kind of fear based opinion format, it’s the real.deal.

          Please share your newly learned knowledge with everyone.you know as well, this is how we can spread the word to help save our beloved fur-babies. Food is paramount, but it is only part of the equation. Over vaccination is also causing chronic illnesses in pets, & also.leading to.unnecessary suffering & death.

  9. Helen Savadge

    Can’t find Nature’s Instinct on Petsumer’s Report. Is it a better choice for cats than Wellness?

    1. Sheila

      It’s actually called nature’s variety instinct. It’s on there, but has not been updated in awhile. It states that their rabbits come from China, but according to the company, they have not used China for over 2 years. They now get their rabbits from France. Because I feed them 1/3 of a can of this brand daily, I call the company every 4 months and ask them where they get their rabbits from to see if anything has changed. So far, it’s still the same. They did state that some of their supplements come from Asia…..

      1. Marcia

        My boss at the pet food company where i did sales said that China is the ONLY place the msnufacturers can get taurine (which is essential in a cat’s diet). However, i did some research and asked around and found that story not to be the case. They can get taurine here in America.

        I found some of the canned varieties of the Merrick line of “homemade stews” and grain-free, single source of protein canned food did not have carrgeenen (as of 2012). I bought a competing company’s canned food just to get away from carrageenen in 2010.

      2. a

        I would worry if “some supplements s are from Asia:’ a recent recall Powdered milk made from Chinese plastic!

    2. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

      Yes! Nature’s Variety Instinct (frozen raw, BEST…canned, 2ND best) is MUCH better than Wellness, as wellness has CARAGEENAN in it!

      I had also prior believed that their DRY kibble was the best, (it’s certainly many times better than most), but on a recent examination of.ingredients by my vet, she told.me that even though grain-free, it is still a higher carbohydrate load than EVO. I have a diabetic cat that although she recommended No dry for.him, (he pines & demands some.dry), so I have had to.Bend a little & he gets a very small amount.

      I however told my vet that Evo was purchased by Procter & Gamble a few years back & that I did not really want to support their company in any way whatsoever! So she told me I.needed to find a dry food that was 80% or higher protein, 20% or less veg/fruit/supplements, so.I bought ORIJEN dry food, which meets those requirements.

      However, obviously #1 BEST, is raw homemade, #2, Commercial frozen Raw, #3, Dehydrated Raw, #4, canned Grain-free IMPORTANT! w/ again 80% or HIGHER protein, from.a meat source & NOT pea, or.other legume protein. #5, Dry- GRAIN-FREE…again, w/ 80% or.higher protein from a meat protein, & not pea, or other legume protein.

  10. mina

    becauses of carrageenan I did stopped feeding wellness can cat food, no more ziwi peak can cat food, no more holistic select can cat foods, and my cat stopped vomited foods, no more gastro for his tummy, now I feed him homemade food, some of weruva can cat food, he looks alright now. I think the carriageway should be ban in pet foods, they shoushould not allow to put in the pet foods anymore, I rather feed my cat homemade foods without supplements but it’s better than any commercial foods, with carrageenan and all chemicals, preservatives, and unnecessary supplements not allow In the cat foods.

    1. Kelley

      Hey look into NULO Cat it has Guaranteed LIVE Probiotics in Wet and Dry food plus their wet food uses AGAR AGAR which is a Safe Human Grade binder!

      1. Tracie

        Agar Agar is just another form of carrageenan.

        1. AR

          No; see Carrageen is a Seaweed; an actually plan;t Agar Agar is from Algae; Algae is not Seaweed.

          Agar (pronounced /ˈɑːɡər/, “AH-gər”) or agar-agar (/ˈɑːɡərˈɑːɡər/, “AH-gər-AH-gər”) is a jelly-like substance, obtained from algae [1]

          Agar Agar would be similar to “phytoplanktons”. AR MSG IS A SWAWEED.@

          1. Pat P.

            AR,

            Seaweed = plant growing in the sea, especially marine algae.
            Agar and carrageenan are seaweeds, but not the same.

  11. Jeanette Owen

    I think we have to face the facts as people above have stated – that most these foods have weird stuff in them. Animals are not suppose to eat this stuff, any of it & will pay in the end with a shortened life. Yes, home cooked with real food or human raw food.

    1. Laura

      I recall Susan saying in an article or comment that raw meat intended for human consumption is loaded with bacteria and such because the FDA or whoever assumes that the meat is going to be cooked, whereas with raw pet food it’s understood that it probably won’t be.

      1. Jeanette Owen

        I have not heard that. I was told at the Farmers Market – local farms that sell beef etc – get them slaughtered right there or at ASU – & it’s fast & clean. It’s the big factory farms & slaughter places that are filthy & kill & use diseased, hurt animals. I love the small farms. I do enjoy eating beef. Grass fed is wonderful & my dogs do summersault over it raw. True story.

      2. Jo

        Susan,
        Did you really post about this? As much as I despise much of what the FDA does–or doesn’t do–I find it very hard to believe that the FDA would knowingly allow meat meant for HUMAN consumption to be “loaded with bacteria and such”!! I would love to hear your comments on this. Thanks!

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Hi Jo –
          No, I don’t believe I have. I have stated that USDA told me their agency operates with the understanding that raw meat does contain some bacteria. Sort of the reason there are understood safe handling for raw meat – that it could be contaminated with bacteria. But no – I’ve not said human consumption meat is loaded with bacteria.

          1. a

            I heard on the nightly business report: A “Beef Hamburger @ restaurant has to be only 70% “beef”; the rest can be any filler: another reason why I am an d will continue to be an ovo=lacto lifelong vegetarian. Anne PS
            Cooking “Meat poultry and fish is the number one way to “destroy pathogens germs viruses and bacteria>”

          2. Laura

            I think http://truthaboutpetfood.com/how-crazy-is-this/ might be what I was thinking of. Note I’m not knocking on feeding raw or cooking at home. Once I’m able to I’m going to cook for my cats, and until then I’m going to try to transition them to raw.

  12. Helen Savadge

    Sheila THANK you for your answer. That was a big help. Have a hard time getting what I need here in Hawaii but I CAN get this. And I DO make a LOT of homemade too. 🙂

  13. Tammy Garrison

    Susan, I feel like I’ve been trying to scream at the top of my lungs that this particular ingredient is what gave my cat pancreatitis and ultimately killed her, and no one can hear me or just won’t listen to me. I want to scream every time I see one the Blue Buffalo commercials, because their pet food, at least the dry food, is full of that stuff. The talk about no grains, but what is rice? That and Carrageenan is what holds their kibble together! Thank you for this article. I wish more would listen, because my heart hurts and its like she’s died all over again, and I feel so guilty for feeding her that food.

    1. Jo

      Tammy, please do not feel guilty! We are ALL at the terrible mercy of these gawd awful pet food companies who care about nothing but revenue and will throw in the cheapest ingredients possible, then spend millions marketing them as premium, high quality foods for our pets. You were feeding what you thought was outstanding cat food. We have all been there. Rather than feeling guilty, feel good and comforted that you loved your kitty so much that you searched out what appeared to be some of the best food available to feed. It is not your fault. I am so sorry for your loss.

  14. Tiffany

    I make my own food for my 13 yr old German Shorthair Pointer (doggy meatloaf) and she’s never been healthier. No doggy order, shiny coat, energetic, happy dog and best of all….less poop! Bagged foods are notorious for causing loads of doggy poop. Began making my own after subscribing to Truth About Pet Food. My dog suffered from vaccinosis after a Rabies shot which I since learned I should’ve never gotten for her. Learned that lesson well and no more absolutely no more vaccinations for her. She loves her bones and cooked food and cottage cheese and bacon bits and zucchini and yellow squash and some carrot. The swelling (vaccinosis) on her foot is healing nicely and hope to show the wonderful progress to my vet who thought my only choice was to “put her down.” Ha! Proved him wrong! Had a relative tell me something so true ….. that dog food is not made for dogs but for people so they can easily feed their pets. Well, I find that the doggy meatloaf is easy to make and can easily make 3-4 weeks worth and freeze it. I bake it in meatloaf pans (5 pans) and got the recipe off YouTube. I add oat bran at each serving for fiber and bury a raw chicken bone in the bowl which she searches out first. Also add to he meatloaf chicken hearts/gizzards/liver. One healthy dog and I get all ingredients at WalMart where it’s cheaper.

    1. a

      thanks for sharing your recipie@

  15. Kelley

    Susan,
    What are your thoughts on Guar Gum (Epigen 90 uses Organic Guar Gum), and Agar Agar (Nulo uses that).
    Please let me know..
    Kelley

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I haven’t read any research on these gums – only carrageenan. The Cornucopia Institute document did (sort of) say that other gums were not even comparable to the risks of carrageenan.

  16. AR

    Agar Agar is from ordinary Algae
    Guar gum is from the Guar Beans a n food grade gum; The Guar or cluster bean, with the botanical name Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, is an annual legume and the source of guar gum. It is also known as Gavar, Guwar or Guvar bean.
    MSG which we humans eat is “a toxic seaweed’; have a great day! Anne Rockwell Lifetime Vegetarians gelatin IS FROM “THE HOOFS OF A cattle”: gelatin IS IN ALMOST EVERYTHING!. I do not eat any Gelatin whatsoever.
    I eat Carrageen; agar agar and guar gum; fruit veggies grains milk and eggs; seeds nuts and sprouts thankyou!

  17. Kristi Johnson

    Great. I have been giving my IBD dog Tripett canned green lamb tripe because of her digestive problems, and now I find that the Carrageen used as a binder CAUSES IBD. Tripe is supposed to be the best thing for a sore stomach and the product creates sore stomachs. The “food solutions” industry is sickening us and our pets. I’m sending the tripe back to Chewy.

    1. Terry Horsfall

      Hi Kristi

      You might try ZiwiPeak’s Lam, Venison & Green Trioe cans. Jus make sure that they were manufactured after September 2014, when the switched the gelling agent in their cans to make them carrageenan-free.

      1. Marcia

        Besides Carrageenan in the pet’s canned food, I have checked with manufacturers to determine whether the can lining is BPA free! A lot of companies have not made this change for the safety and pure nutritional integrity of canned pet food. People may have noticed how humans have been more conscientious about BPA sports bottles, leftover containers, etc. Why not make the plastic lining used in pet food cans BPA-free?

        1. Jeanette Owen

          I rarely eat food out of a can or my pets. BPA free would be nice. BUT – The supposed other lining – I double is any or much better? A bunch of chemical junk. Go’s for plastic lids & pans. BPA FREE- UHM? I think silicon lids & liners/sealers for containers are the best.

      2. Kristi Johnson

        Ziwi Pack has green-lipped mussel. It made my bitch break out in HUGE welts – turned out to be hives. I don’t feed any shell fish. People can have reactions to shell fish and I found out dogs can too. Another emergency vet trip on a Sunday, of course. They just gave her Benedryl.

  18. Lisa

    I have read and read and I am more confused than ever! I have no idea what to feed my 12 year old kitty who has allergies and is borderline IBD and borderline hypothyroid. All caused by poor food choices. I am stumped. I really need some help. She cannot eat grains or chicken of any kind. This is an almost impossible task. I am disabled and do not have the ability to cook for my sweet fuzzy angel but I dearly want to do the best by her.

    1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

      It is not cheap….but you might want to consider Nature’s Variety Instinct Rabbit formula since you cannot.feed your cat any chicken. I wonder though, at how this was determined that chicken was the offending issue..it of course, could very well be…bit I.don’t know any more information. Many times, the grain, if in your pet’s “feed”….”food”…is the issue, but blamed on the chicken….but then again, it is a case of…”what came before….the chicken or the egg”, so to.speak…because chickens themselves, unless organic chickens, are fed GMO corn…& in & of itself can be the issue, not necessarily the chicken protein itself. You stated you cannot make a home prepared raw diet, so the next best thing is a commercially prepared frozen raw food. I don’t know if there is frozen sold raw food that is either rabbit, &/or venison protein…that would be the most optimal…then freezedried would be your next best option, & after that canned grain-free. I hope.some of these suggestions might be of help to you.

      1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

        *****Also forgot to mention that Turkey protein might also be an option. You will of course need to research brand’s out there that will suit your needs. I would think that there was a raw frozen turkey formula available. I do however know, & use Primal freeze dried raw, that does have a turkey protein based formula.

        1. Lisa

          I am so grateful for your input! I will try this freeze dried food. I saw on the 2015 list of recommended foods that there was a company that is easy for me to get at a local pet food specialty store right here in town. i will use all the information you and Jeanette were willing to share with me as well. I have hope.

      2. Jeanette Owen

        My cat LOVES Stella & Chewey’s freeze dried food – Chicken, there is also Duck & others. I crumble it up over Acana or Orijen kibble & mix it in with a lot of water (water is good for them!) And boy oh boy – does he love that -more than anything I have ever fed him. Try it. A bag is not cheap but goes a long way. I crumble up 3 – 4 pieces. You can get samples at pet specialty stores at time. I buy my Stella & Cheweys online at Cheweys or Petflow. Fast service. I’m sure you can place orders over the phone. Only thing is I’ve read to be careful so older cats do not get constipated because it has ground bones.

        1. Lisa

          THANK YOU so very much for your input regarding the cat food. I will try this and the other ideas so graciously offered. It is so difficult when there is so many pet food manufacturing company’s out there only out for profit at the expense of our precious family members.

  19. Kristi Johnson

    Is dried seaweed meal another term for Carrageenan? I notice it in kibble that is supposed to be very high quality. I have no idea why a dog would need dried seaweed meal, so I wonder . . .

    1. Jeanette Owen

      Yes I wonder also. I wonder why they need most of these fillers in kibble & food??? Just fillers? Monkey see, monkey do. They all have about the same junk in them. Among them blueberries, cranberries & kelp or whatever. Dogs thrive on raw meat. This vet said – the wilder the better, IE Buffalo, elk etc. That’s how he straightens out diabetes in cats, skin problems etc – puts them on a raw diet. Can start to see a difference in 2 weeks & cured in about 2 months.

  20. Rose

    Daisy has cancer. I make a homemade dog food base and use Canine Caviar for her protein. What has me concerned is that I also add seaweed calcium supplement Its dehydrated Seaweed meal
    Is this the same thing that carrageenan is made of? Does anyone out there supplement egg shells as a source of calcium when feeding furry babies home made food as a base? What about Guar Gum which is used in canned dog food How do we know if its safe?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Hi Rose – I do not know if seaweed calcium would have the same properties as carrageenan. Guessing I would say no – but I am not certain. Guar Gum does not have the scientific research on it that carrageenan does, to my knowledge it is not as dangerous as carrageenan.

  21. Pat P.

    I know that my response is late to this discussion, but it is significant, although it involves a human food experience.

    I have various digestive disorders and, as a result, inappetence. After a great deal of weight loss, my primary doctor suggested that I consume Boost Plus (Ensure Plus has similar ingredients) which contains carrageenan. I was drinking it, along with suggested ice cream, on a daily basis, usually several containers/day. After a few weeks, I began vomiting 3-4 times a week, profusely for hours, each day.

    At the time I was consuming carrageenan, I was also researching into its effects. I decided that this ingredient may be linked to my throwing up so much. After discontinuing the Boost Plus/Ensure Plus, I, almost immediately, stopped getting sick. Coincidence? I think not. Unfortunately, with that change, I have, also, again lost a lot of weight.

    Although, occasionally, I feed my cats a food that has carrageenan as an ingredient, usually it is low on the list, and is not a consistent diet. It is difficult to find a food that doesn’t have this additive or something else that I want to avoid. I like Hounds & Gatos, but not all the gums (as many as three). Both of my cats have limited appetites (even with an appetite stimulant), one has kidney disease. I had been additionally feeding him raw Radcat, which he now won’t eat, unless I add a cheap treat topper. As kidney disease advances, so does the appetite decrease. (I have it, myself) The other won’t eat much other than a Fancy Feast variety (not my preference).

    The more research we do into all the commercial cat foods, the more we seem to find unacceptable ingredients. Then, of course, we have to hope they will like our choices, and that the quality is good! It is a never-ending challenge.

    1. Jeanette Owen

      Feed your cat canned Fancy Feast then & add water! It’s better than nothing. That’s what a vet said.

  22. Mel

    I sent an email to Hound & Gatos inquiring about their use of three different types of gums after hearing that they would no longer be using any gums as of Dec. 2014. The ingredient lists on their website still show formulas that use gums, so naturally this prompted me to get in touch with them.

    Now I know my whole comment is off topic regarding carrageenan, but earlier in this thread someone mentioned the gums in H&G caused their kitty to get sick, plus someone else talked about how there’s so much gum in H&G that you could almost bounce a lump of wet food on the floor. Obviously, gums are icky so why would a pet food company use three types?

    1. Laura

      As far as I know it’s another necessary evil for canned pet foods so they hold their shape, like the article Susan has about how manufacturers are required to put a dangeorus form of selenium or something in canned cat foods, but I guess if they said they were going to take them out then they must not be necessary. I’ve never experienced any potential bounciness from the salmon H&G food that I’m going to be transitioning my cats away from. It’s rather watery, but not so watery you wonder if there’s even any meat in there.

    2. Pat P.

      Mel,

      Mel,
      I am curious about your H&G inquiry re the overuse of gums. Have they responded yet?
      Other than the gum issue, I am okay with the other ingredients and feel comfortable with the company. Their customer service is, usually, responsive.

      Even if they reduce the gums to just one (whichever is safest), I would consider buying them, again, for a rotation.
      It is so difficult to find ANY commercial foods that don’t have, at least, one ingredient issue, most more.
      They have been highly rated by several good sources. Quality is the even bigger concern which is difficult to discover. I don’t trust the quality of many, but I am not too concerned with H&G.

      1. Mel

        Pat P.,

        Unfortunately, as of today I have not received a response from Hound & Gatos. I will resend my email again, and continue to do so until I hear something.

        I’m going to inquire in different ways as well, and in this day and age sometimes the best way to get attention is through social media. If a post about potentially harmful ingredients is put out there for all to see, they’ll likely go into damage control mode.

        1. Lisa

          Thank you for following up with H & G. I would love to hear the answer to this “gum” issue as well.

  23. Barbara

    Can someone please tell me if ‘red algae’ is safe for cats? I know carrageenan is made from red algae – but was told red algae is safe in its natural, unprocessed state, it only becomes dangerous after it is processed into carrageenan. Red algae, also called dulse, is an ingredient in my cat’s current raw food and I am trying to find out if this is safe. Can anyone verify this one way or another? Thank you!

    1. Pat P.

      Barbara,

      I assume that you are referring to the dulse found in Radcat raw food, which I feed one of my cats. It is a red seaweed used in soups, stir-fries and salads and is high in vitamins A,C,E,B-6 and B-12, with minerals incl. calcium, iodine and magnesium as well as, protein and fiber but is NOT the same as the extract from the red seaweed that is carrageenan (Irish Moss)! There are 10,000 species of seaweed, with 6,000 red seaweeds, alone!

      I sent an email to them inquiring about this issue. They were very upset, because they started the company because of their cat and were concerned about the insinuation that they would feed their own cat carrageenan. They do not like it, at all, and indicated, adamantly, that they would never use it. They sent me a long explanation of the difference, which since it has been a while, I can’t remember specifics, except as stated above, which I recently, researched.

      I have faith in this company, but if you have any further concerns, send them an email for a satisfactory explanation.

      I am not comfortable with carrageenan in any pet or human foods (its in everything, it seems) except on a infrequent basis and when it is listed lower in the ingredients on the label.

  24. […] “Animal studies have repeatedly shown that food-grade carrageenan causes gastrointestinal inflammation and higher rates of intestinal lesions, ulcerations, and even malignant tumors.” Source: TruthAboutPetFood.com  […]

  25. Kathy

    I am a very new raw feeder. Adding new ingredients weekly or every two weeks. I am adding green tripe this week. My dear friend brought me over a can of tripett grain free tripe, made by PetKind. Ingredients as listed are-green beef tripe, water, garlic, carrageenan gum. I will open the can and use it, but just this once. I am glad that I looked carrageenan up! Thank-you

    1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

      Hi, There has been evidence out for many years that garlic is toxic for cats, it affects their white blood cells & will ultimately cause health issues. It is sad & infuriating that manufactures have had access to this information for well over a decade, yet still! Garlic is in many foods & many supplements.

  26. Cristi

    Our cat got sicker and sicker over the years. Her vomiting got more violent. She was underweight and irritable. Vets constantly said there was nothing wrong with her. She began losing hair and getting arthritic. Then she began gulping and having focal seizures. I tried everything. It became clear that she was allergic to corn, but getting rid of that, while it helped, still didn’t stop the gulping, seizures, and vomiting. We bought foods and I kept a running list of ingredients, correlating with her symptoms. Sure enough, it was the carrageenan. The vet had never heard of that. (Why? Probably because manufacturers have invested so much money in making sure they don’t). We feed her Weruva now and she is doing well. We just tried out a new Core food on her, though, that has no carrageenan, and once again she has begun constantly wretching and gulping. I see it has KCL (potassium chloride), which may be why. Or maybe it’s the guar gum they put in it. Back to Weruva. There is no doubt in my mind that carrageenan is responsible for making our cat hypersensitive to practically everything. It simply damaged her intestines.

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