Dicalcium phosphate products (also called DCP) are not safe but are often found in pet food and supplements.
Look at your pet’s food ingredients to make sure it is healthy. Animals, like humans, need nutrients and need to avoid certain ingredients to maintain their health. One such ingredient that is found in pet food is called Di-calcium or Tri-calcium phosphate or DCP or TCP for short. This ingredient is added as a filler or binder to increase weight. Another good term for this is cement. Would you eat cement? Then why would you feed your pet cement?
DCP is found in human food too, mainly in processed cereals and suplements. It is common practice to add ingredients to foods for pets and humans that help to bind the ingredients together. While DCP in minute quantities is harmless (according to pharmaceuticals) in larger quantities it can be harmful. In a lab exposure to the powdered form of DCP causes irritation.
In the gastrointestinal tract in animals and humans, DCP can cause upset such as sick stomach including nausea and vomiting, decreased appetite, abdomen pain, constipation, increased thirst and urination, and dry mouth. If an animal has a pre-existing condition which causes thyroid, lung, kidney, or other gastrointestinal issues the DCP could further exacerbate it. DCP aggravates conditions affecting the lungs, kidneys.
What about pet food? Read the ingredients and only purchase it if the ingredients are healthy. If you see “Di-calcium” or DCP avoid it. You cannot count on name brands and assume your purchasing top quality. You must do your homework to ensure the food is rightfully made with healthy wholesome ingredients. Don’t rely on the pictures on the pet food. This can be misleading. You must turn the bag or can over and read the list of ingredients.
When reading, the ingredients keep in mind that the list appears in order of quantity. In other words, the first ingredient is the largest portion and so on. The last ingredient has less in it. An example of healthy ingredients is chicken, venison, potatoes, and any vegetables. Things that are not so wholesome are other animal fats, soy protein, and crude protein. You may find these ingredients in cheaper and some expensive brands.
Another thing to consider is the age of your pet. Older pets are more susceptible to unhealthy ingredients and dicalcium phosphate products than younger ones. Certain breeds may have more digestive issues than say a mixed breed or a mutt. Binders like DCP are much tougher to digest especially on an older animal.
If your pet is on medications it is critical you go over your pet’s diet with the vet. Some drugs can have interactions with calcium, and if you are feeding your dog or cat a brand of pet food with DCP, they could very well experience an interaction with their medications due to their diet. DCP can decrease the effectiveness of anti-epileptic drugs, certain antibiotics by reducing the absorption of such drugs. This would make the medications ineffective for the condition in which the pet is taking it in the first place.