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I want to shed some light on how palm oil hides in products for pets. This includes in foods, treats, soaps, shampoos, etc.

Learn about palm oil free alternatives to care for your dogs, cats, horses, and more.

Read Ingredient Labels

So often, we just toss items in our shopping cart without really giving it any thought. We continue to buy what our pet enjoys or maybe we buy what’s on sale.

However, the most important thing you can do is to be an educated consumer.

Read the ingredients before you buy anything. Only buy products that you want to support. Vote with your dollars!

Deciphering Ingredient Labels

If there is an ingredient listed on a pet product you are considering buying, and you don’t know what it is, look it up online.

If it’s still not clear, reach out to the company when you get home. Ask them for the SOURCE of the ingredients as well.

Many ingredients are made from several ingredients but the company isn’t mandated to spell them all out.

After you ask them, many may respond by saying they can’t tell you because it’s “proprietary”. However, I’ve found that smaller companies who are focused on using more high-quality ingredients will often be more transparent and will disclose what makes up the ingredients.

Example: Glycerin in Dog & Cat Food

If you read the ingredients in some cat food and dog food products, you may see Glycerin or Vegetable Glycerin. It’s a common in pet food and treats.

Manufacturers use it to maintain moisture, keep it fresh, or as a sweetener.

It can be derived from different sources but you won’t know unless you ask the company. You’ll only see “Glycerin” or “Vegetable Glycerin” on the label.

Is it made from animal fats? Vegetable oils? Often times, in cat and dog foods, it’s palm oil because it’s cost effective (cheap!) and available.

Example: Tocopherols, Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E

Another palm oil derived ingredient in dog and cat foods are Tocopherols. However, on the ingredient label, it will likely only say “Tocopherol” or “Mixed Tocopherols” or “Vitamin E”.

What are they made of? In pet foods, these are often made with palm oil because it’s inexpensive. Companies often use them as preservatives to help extend the shelf life of the products.

However, the company won’t list “palm oil” in the ingredients, only “Mixed Tocopherols”, etc.

You will have to ask the company. This also helps let them know their potential consumers are paying attention.

Example: SLES in Dog Shampoo

There are also palm oil ingredients in ingredients to wash your dogs. Anything that lathers likely contains palm oil.

One common ingredient is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). This is a surfactant used to clean, foam, and remove dirt and oils from a dog’s coat.

Palm oil typically makes up SLES because again, it is an inexpensive raw material.

Choose Sustainable Ingredients

Read labels. Look for companies who certify their products in things that matter to you. There is a Palm Oil Free Certification as well. Two organizations certify products, including pet products: Orangutan Alliance and the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP).

Every product you buy or don’t buy makes a difference for the planet. Encourage companies to be more transparent with their ingredients and sourcing of ingredients.

Thank you for being interested in palm oil in everyday products. Please look around the site for lots of information.