Why You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog MSG: The Risks

Yaniv Oxenhandler
Yaniv Oxenhandler
I'm a content writer and researcher. But bottom line, I loveee animals. I had my first animal which was a guinea pig at age 8. Later had a bunny, dog and a lot, a lot of fish. Writing about what I know about pets will allow me to share my knowledge and love for them with everyone else. Dealing with dogs my entire life, I know a lot.

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Why You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog MSG: The Risks

When you think about what not to feed your dog, you probably think about additives and artificial flavors. However, there is another ingredient that may be hazardous for your dog that you might not have known about. Monosodium Glutamate, you’re probably thinking to yourself what in the world is that. Well, it’s commonly referred to as MSG. Even though MSG has been used in food for decades and is present in almost all prepackaged meals, it has a bad reputation.

Quick Answer:

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is extremely toxic for dogs. It can lead to a seizure or even death in particular scenarios. 

Many people believe that MSG is unhealthy and toxic to dogs. But how accurate are these assumptions? Are there any real risks associated with feeding your dog MSG? Let’s take a look at some of the facts about this additive so you can decide for yourself whether or not it’s something you want to avoid when feeding your dog.

What is MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)?

MSG is a salt formed by the combination of sodium and glutamic acid, (which is an amino acid naturally occurring in many foods). It’s often used as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods, it’s mostly used in canned foods, frozen foods, canned soups, snacks, salad dressings, and more.

MSG has been also used in an attempt to “enhance” the flavor of certain dog foods. However, it’s important to note that most dogs don’t benefit from the flavor enhancement of MSG.

What Is MSG Used For?

MSG is primarily used to enhance certain flavors in food, especially savory foods like soups, gravies, and stews.

MSG also makes food taste “meatier” due to its ability to increase the level of umami in food. Umami is the fifth taste sensation, which is often described as savory or meaty.

Here’s a video by the BBC explaining what MSG is.

MSG and Brain Response

MSG is considered an excitotoxin, which is probably a new word for you. It means that it overexcites cells to the point that they are damaged or die. The cells most sensitive to this effect are nerve cells, especially in the brain.

MSG can cause an increase in brain activity, which can result in feelings of anxiety or restlessness. The same effect can be seen in dogs, who are not able to control the level of excitement in their brains. When dogs consume foods with MSG in them, they can experience feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and lack of focus, which can be problematic for dogs who are in training or possibly anxious in certain situations.

Is MSG Bad for Dogs?

MSG is considered toxic to dogs.

The typical dosage of MSG that is enough to cause a reaction in dogs is less than 1 g per pound of the dog’s body weight, which is significantly less than the amount that would have an effect on humans. However, even small amounts of MSG can cause a dog to experience some mild to moderate signs of toxicity.

Symptoms of MSG Poisoning In Dogs

Depending on how much MSG your dog has consumed, the symptoms of poisoning may vary. Some dogs will experience milder symptoms, while others may have a more severe reaction. Symptoms that are indicative of MSG poisoning include an increase in heart rate, rapid breathing rate, excessive thirst, urination, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If your dog has consumed a larger amount, they may also experience a drop in blood pressure, neurological issues, and red blood cell destruction. The ingestion of large amounts of MSG can lead to death, yes death. And, we’re not just saying that cause it can happen.

If you suspect that your dog has consumed MSG, you should seek veterinary care immediately.

Side Effects of MSG in Dogs

The ingestion of MSG can have a variety of effects on dogs, including:

  • Disorientation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neurological issues
  • Destruction of red blood cells
  • Death

MSG In Produce In Dog Food

One of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not MSG is present in dog food. While this additive is widely used in human food, it’s typically not added to pet food. Instead, it’s often used as a substitute for other ingredients, such as meat extracts, that are added to pet food for flavor. This means that MSG won’t be listed on the ingredients label, and manufacturers aren’t required to disclose its use. To avoid MSG in your dog’s food, it’s important to buy high-quality, grain-free or high-protein foods that don’t include any added flavorings.

msg dogs

Can MSG Kill a Dog?

Yes, In large enough amounts, MSG can kill a dog. The amount required to cause death is significantly more than what is required to cause toxicity, however, so it’s unlikely that an individual dog would consume a fatal amount.

However, it’s important to note that dogs are more sensitive to the effects of MSG than humans, so even small amounts can have serious consequences. If you suspect that your dog has consumed MSG, you should seek veterinary care immediately. It may be necessary to induce vomiting, administer intravenous fluids, or administer medications to reduce blood pressure. It’s important to understand the risks associated with MSG ingestion in order to protect your dog.

What Should I Do If My Dog Consumed Too Much Msg?

If you believe that your dog has consumed too much MSG, you should induce vomiting as soon as possible. You can do this by administering hydrogen peroxide, which can help your dog rid their system of the harmful toxin.

You should call your veterinarian to let them know what happened. They will likely want to examine your dog and may recommend providing them with intravenous fluids to help flush out their system. If your dog has consumed a large amount of MSG, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible. If left untreated, dogs who have consumed MSG are at risk for death, so it’s important to act fast.

Final Words

You’ve probably noticed that many of the side effects associated with MSG ingestion are similar to those associated with anxiety. This would suggest that perhaps the way MSG affects the brain is the same as the way anxiety affects it. Most dog owners are familiar with the fact that dogs have a limited ability to manage their emotions. This means that dogs who have consumed MSG will likely benefit from a significant reduction in anxiety, just as they would if they had consumed an anti-anxiety medication.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s diet, or you’re not sure what to feed your dog, talk to your veterinarian. They can offer you advice and recommendations on what is best for your dog and their specific needs.

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/monosodium-glutamate/faq-20058196

https://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/494782

About The Author

I'm a content writer and researcher. But bottom line, I loveee animals. I had my first animal which was a guinea pig at age 8. Later had a bunny, dog and a lot, a lot of fish. Writing about what I know about pets will allow me to share my knowledge and love for them with everyone else. Dealing with dogs my entire life, I know a lot.

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