Why You and Your Pets Should Avoid Preservatives Such As Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate

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Raising Your Pets, Dogs and Cats Naturally

Chemical Preservatives Are Not Necessary and Are Linked to Cancer

Synthetic preservatives and synthetic flavors have been shown to have various side effects. People may experience migraines, heart palpitations, contact rashes, and allergic responses, and some of these synthetic preservatives and flavors have even been linked to cancer. These are unnecessary risks when we have alternatives. It's one thing to have these chemicals in adult food products, but they are also widely accepted in children's food, baby food, and pet food and pet treats. Babies, kids, and pets are not able to read ingredient labels and make choices for themselves—that is OUR responsibility.
Preservatives are harmful

As someone who suffers from migraines, it is extremely important for me to read the ingredient panel of foods that I eat. If you have been following my blog, you probably know my struggle with eating healthy, especially when I travel with my dog, Dexter. Even if I’m not concerned with eating healthy, I try to avoid food with preservatives. I’ve learned over the years, that if some of these preservatives are in my food, particularly if I eat a lot of foods back to back with preservatives, I will have an intense migraine. And for those that are unfamiliar with the pain of a migraine, let me just say it feels like a knife is inside my head, scraping the sides of my skull. Yeah, not pleasant.

Because of our active lifestyles and wanting food quickly and wanting food to last forever, manufacturers have turned to preservatives. There are some natural food preservatives such as salt, lemon juice, vinegar, cloves, oregano, and rosemary extract, to name a few. Unfortunately, the majority of food companies lean toward the synthetic chemical preservatives such as benzoates (sodium benzoate and benzoic acid), nitrites (sodium nitrite), sulphites (sulphur dioxide), and sorbates (sodium sorbate and potassium sorbate).

Other synthetic food flavoring agents include monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate. I’m not sure why anyone would want to add a synthetic flavor to a food product when food with fresh herbs and spices can be so tasty!

Synthetic preservatives and synthetic flavors have been shown to have various side effects. People may experience migraines, heart palpitations, contact rashes, and allergic responses, and some of these synthetic preservatives and flavors have even been linked to cancer. Read more.

These are unnecessary risks when we have alternatives. It’s one thing to have these chemicals in adult food products, but they are also widely accepted in children’s food, baby food, and pet food and pet treats. Babies, kids, and pets are not able to read ingredient labels and make choices for themselves—that is OUR responsibility. It is something I try to avoid in my personal life and a 100% no in a product for a creature I’m responsible for. So please, read the ingredient panels of all your food and drink products, and make an educated choice. And when it comes to your children and pets…..please just say no.


Do you read the entire ingredient label in your pet’s products? Tell me in the comments.

Synthetic preservatives and synthetic flavors have been shown to have various side effects. People may experience migraines, heart palpitations, contact rashes, and allergic responses, and some of these synthetic preservatives and flavors have even been linked to cancer. These are unnecessary risks when we have alternatives. It's one thing to have these chemicals in adult food products, but they are also widely accepted in children's food, baby food, and pet food and pet treats. Babies, kids, and pets are not able to read ingredient labels and make choices for themselves—that is OUR responsibility.
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32 thoughts on “Why You and Your Pets Should Avoid Preservatives Such As Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate

  1. Thank you for sharing Tonya. As you may remember, I’m a migraine sufferer also. I try and soak up all the information I can in hopes of fighting off this debilitating condition. I have been trying to avoid preservatives and such since learning from you and your previous articles on how these can affect us. The dangers of additives in foods and other products are real. It seems most companies don’t care about our health so they use the cheapest and easiest way to preserve food and other products. It really is up to us to look out for ourselves. It is absolutely our responsibility to try and be informed so we can help keep our pets healthy and safe.

    1. Hi, Barbara. Yes, I totally remember your migraines. To think about what these things are doing to our bodies to cause such pain. It’s scary. I so want to eat fresh food daily, but it’s still a challenge. I will keep trying!

  2. Travelling is a change. I find my dog doesn’t want to eat his regular food so I often give him, well, what I consider doggie ‘junk food.’ I figure, if I’m eating fast food for a day or two, he’ll be ok. Until we get home. Then we’re both back on a diet.

  3. I try to only feed my family whole foods, and try to avoid preservatives! I am FAIRLY experienced with reading food labels – having had type 1 diabetes for 45 years of my life BUT I admit these days there are so many things to look out for, it gets hard! When it comes to pet food … it’s even HARDER! I try to feed only top quality foods but even those have things in them I would not want to feed my pets. Thanks for more clarity on what to look out for in this post!

    1. Thanks, Joely. It really is challenging. I was going to buy “natural chicken breast” in the store and when I read the ingredients, there were other things like carrageenan in it! I mean, it was raw chicken breast, I was shocked and very upset.

    1. Sure thing. As always, it’s about reading the ingredient panel, not just the advertising on the front of the package. 😉

  4. I read everything carefully and have finally found the food solution for Layla, actually I cook for myself all the time also so do not buy anything processed to avoid preservatives wherever possible – great article

    1. Thank you, Ruth. I’m doing pretty darn good with the pets, it’s me that’s a challenge. I have to keep trying.

  5. What a great and important post! Bigger, better, faster is not the way to go when it comes to our food, in my honest opinion. For dog food and treats I always read the label first and some labels scare me with their long list of ingredients so I just pass on those. Better to be safe than sorry.

    1. Thank you. Yes, pet food is pretty tough. Not too many brands out there that are actually healthy. I make Dexter’s and 1/2 the time for the cats, the other 1/2 split between a nice raw diet or a high-quality canned, which is a challenge to find.

  6. I definitely read the labels of my dogs’ food. I read labels of what I eat as well, but I must confess I’m not real good at watching the things I eat. My dogs probably eat better than we do! Thanks for sharing this information, especially the names of both natural and synthetic preservatives. It’s really helpful.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. Sure thing. I’m 100% sure my pets eat better than me. I’m horrible with me, but really trying. I know I need to at least avoid the preservatives to avoid the knife in the skull.

    1. I totally agree! I home cook for Dexter 99% and raw, home cooked or canned for the cats. Only a few canned cat foods I would feed.

  7. I’m sad to say that I wasn’t always much of a label reader, but I am reading labels now! One of my kids used to get terrible migraines and that really started me down the path of checking ingredients.

    1. I am sorry for your child. I get it. I know growing up I was loaded with bad foods. Not that my family meant too, it’s the manufacturers that need to step up their game.

    1. So sorry to hear. You are probably right! That’s why a lot of dogs are allergic to chicken, it’s processed cheaply in dog food in unsavory ways.

  8. Preservatives can be such a tricky thing! My mother-in-law gets sick from certain food preservatives too. I should probably be more discerning about them, but for financial reasons, I’m not always as picky as I would like to be. I do the best I can at the time.

    1. I hear you. My goal is to be better at preparing my own food, then freezing. It actually will be cheaper than buying processed foods. 🙂

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