ASK A VET: DOES CITRIC ACID CAUSE BLOAT?

Q: I am concerned about the citric acid issue in dog kibble. I know it is a more natural preservative but I am not sure how true some of the info is about it causing bloat or any other problems Thank You.

A: Thanks for your question.

Unfortunately there is not an easy answer. Based on the current research information available, it is impossible to claim that citric acid in dog kibble is a risk factor for causing bloat. Gastric dilation / volvulus (bloat) is a complex disease with many causes / risk factors.

Some of the best bloat research done has been done by a veterinary team from Purdue University. Their recent research that implicated citric acid as a possible risk factor for bloat was not concrete. The diets that were associated with increased risk of bloat were those that contained citric acid and were PRE-MOISTENED by owners before they were fed to their dogs. Whether the citric acid or the pre-moistening of the food was responsible was not studied. It has long been suspected that wetting the food is an increased risk factor for bloat. *note: no study was done with diets containing citric acid that were NOT pre-moistened to determine the real risk factor of citric acid*

Other results of this study:

• Confirmed an increased risk of GDV/bloat with increasing age
• Increased risk of GDV in a dog with a first degree relative with GDV
• Increased risk of GDV in dogs eating from raised food bowls
• 2.7 fold increased risk of GDV in dogs that consumed dry foods containing fat among the first four ingredients
• 4.2 fold increase in GDV in dogs that consumed dry foods containing citric acid that were also pre-moistened prior to feeding
• Decreased incidence of GDV (53%) in dogs fed dry foods containing a rendered meat meal with bone among the first four ingredients

Hope this information helps.
Dr. Donna Spector

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