Fluoride: Is Your Animal At Risk?

fluorite crystalFluoride. A natural element. Part of the earth. How bad can it be? Worth knowing, if your goal is raising wildly healthy, disease resistant Vital Animals. You’d not want them to be ingesting something harmful, even unknowingly.

Fluoride is a salt of the element fluorine, found in wide distribution in the earth. When fluorine combines with minerals in soil or rocks, various fluoride compounds result. The picture up top is a common one called flourite.

One interesting fact that’ll mean more as you read on is that consumed fluoride resides in bones. And, once you’ve got it in a body, it’s very hard to get rid of.

Another: fluoride is NOT a nutrient. No body needs fluoride to live.

But here’s the kicker: fluoride is a highly toxic substance. That’s why the FDA now requires warnings for children on every fluoride-laden toothpaste sold:

If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.

Where Are We Getting Our Fluoride?

If you live in the U.S., odds are about 70% that you and your animals get fluoride in your drinking water. Canadians are roughly 50% likely, depending on your municipality. You Australians have about an 80% chance that your drinking water has added fluoride. Here’s the 2012 data source for these figures.

Lest you think we are somehow smarter for fluoridating our water, some perspective is in order. That same source above will tell you that most developed nations don’t fluoridate their water. And that only about 3% of Western Europeans consume fluoridated water.

Another perspective, a bit of an embarrassing one to U.S. citizens:

As a population, the United States has more people drinking fluoridated water than the rest of the world combined!


And, unless you’re doing something about it, it means so are your pets and livestock, if you use tap water in the water dish or tank. Well water varies in fluoride content, but it’s worth testing yours.

Other sources include fluoridated toothpastes, fluoride treatments from dentists (hopefully not veterinary dentists, but I’d not be too surprised), Teflon pans, pharmaceuticals (including common veterinary anesthetic gases, Isoflurane and Sevoflurane!), and pesticides, especially those used in growing grapes.

Why is Our Water Fluoridated?

Great question! I like how your mind is working right now. A highly toxic substance? In our drinking water??

Most water treatment, world wide, has one objective: to make the drinking water for the populace safe. Free of bacterial contaminants, most notably coliforms and other disease causing organisms.

Fluoridation, on the other hand, does nothing to achieve this laudable goal of making water safe to drink. In fact, it’s not a treatment of water per se, it’s a treatment of people consuming the water. A medical treatment. That you didn’t get to decide on. If you drink tap water, or offer it to your animals, you are all being medicated without your consent.

Pretty strange, eh?

Lots of nefarious reasons for why fluoridation started are floating around the internet, but I’ll leave it up to you to explore them. Words like “toxic waste,” “atomic bomb development,” and “aluminum industry” will populate your search page if you Google the “how did fluoridation begin?” question. It’s quite a rabbit hole, if you want to dig.

But, This is For Our Own Good! No Cavities – That’s Good, Right?

Oh, how I wish that were true. You’d like to believe that anything done to a huge populace without their say would be a good thing for all, wouldn’t you?

Sorry, but fluoridation doesn’t help with the cavity thing. Even if the ADA (American Dental Association) still tells you it does, in the face of a lack of solid evidence.

If you compare the downward trend in tooth decay rates in countries with and without fluoridation, you’ll see very similar drops in both populations:
Tooth decay trends graph '70-'10

Any Risk to Consuming Fluoride?

If they’re putting it in our drinking water, and the efficacy of decay prevention is lousy, at least it shouldn’t be harmful. Are we in agreement, here? The weak science behind benefits aside, it’d be nice to assume the mass medication program at least isn’t hurting anyone!

Again, I wish I had better news for you. Fluoride is just not a good thing, and is in fact causing serious health problems. People living in areas with lots of fluoride have experienced awful illness, like teeth disintegration, loss of mental acuity, lung problems, poor healing of wounds, and death.

Ill effects of fluoride consumption show up in your:

  • Brain: reduced I.Q. and learning ability, increased ADHD and dementia
  • Thyroid: officially causes hypothyroidism, common in people and dogs
  • Bone: increased fracture risk and bone cancer risk
  • Fertility: impaired, damage to sperm
  • Immune system: disrupted, antibody formation inhibited (low titer results, anyone?)
  • Musculoskeletal system: disrupts the synthesis of collagen, the main connective tissue in mammals; arthritis, muscle disorders

Let’s spend a bit more time talking about bone cancer, often appearing as osteosarcoma. This is a deadly form of cancer and I spoke about it earlier in relation to neutering.

The Environmental Working Group put out a paper in 2009 revealing high levels of fluoride in various brands of pet foods. While studies have yet to show the correlation of high fluoride and bone cancer in dogs, Harvard studies mentioned in the article showed a clear correlation of higher osteosarcoma rates in boys exposed to fluoride in their youth.

Fluoride: risky business for living creatures. Let’s see what we can do to minimize risks.

How to Avoid Fluoride

So, involuntary mass medication aside, you can see that if your goal is healthy bodies and Vital Animals, you’ll do well to stay away from fluoride.

It’s not that difficult to do. The Fluoride Action Network has a great Top 10 Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure page for you.

Drinking water that’s been fluoridated is the top source, and you can get it out with certain types of water filters. Reverse osmosis (my fave is on this page), distillers, and deionizers will all get most of it out. Your refrigerator filter? It won’t. Nor will your Pur or Brita filter, so you may need to step up your game if that’s all you use.

Toothpaste won’t be an issue if you’re using my preferred natural toothbrushing method for your pets. The exposure risk is highest to kids via fluoridated toothpastes, and I suspect the pet world has some of these as well. You can trash yours and your pets, knowing what you now know, and use a fluoride-free alternative.

Hopefully, Dr. WhiteCoat isn’t pushing fluoride treatments for your dog or cat. If he is, you want to politely decline. “Not today, but I’ll let you know if we decide we want that, thanks.”

Food Choices: If you read the EWG paper in the previous section, the common thread in foods that had high levels of fluoride contamination were two:

  • Animal byproducts
  • Bone meal

A third mentioned elsewhere was “raw phosphate,” used by the cheaper dog foods, as it’s the least expensive macromineral source.

If you’re making homemade pet food and want a calcium/phosphorus supplement that’s not likely to have significant fluoride, explore those ocean sourced brands, like Seaweed Calcium from Animal Essentials.
Animal Essentials Seaweed Calcium Dog & Cat Supplement

from: Only Natural Pet

But how about ordinary bone feeding? The jury is still out on that.

Head Spinning?

Were you aware of this fluoride problem? I had a vague idea, but researching this was eye opening for me. I know my dentist has been outspoken against fluoridation for years, but I didn’t know the extent to which our pets are at risk. Let us know in the comments what you know and what you’re doing to minimize the fluoride risk for your animals.

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  1. Martina on January 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I am using a Berkey Water Purifier (it’s more than a water filter) as well and can highly recommend it! Its a countertop filter (chrome cylinders) that comes in a number of sizes. It comes with black filters and optional fluoride + arsenic filters. This is the only water we drink and I am extremely happy with it. It removes viruses to purification standards, pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites to non detectable levels, and harmful or unwanted chemicals to below detectable levels. Here is a link to their independent test results of the filtration: http://www.berkeyfilters.com/Test_results.pdf
    They are not cheap, but the filters last 6,000 gallons. I have the smallest one (Travel Berkey) for just my Aussie and I, and I have to check a couple times/day the water level. The next size up would probably have been better for us, but I love it just the same.

  2. Destiny on August 5, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Will human grade bone meal be free of fluoride? My breeders uses a supplement called Inflight Coat Formula. The 5th ingredient is bone meal.
    They said it is human grade with no fluoride added.

  3. Monica on July 28, 2015 at 1:16 am

    For those of us drinking RO water, it is important to replenish the vital minerals that we have filtered out (since we certainly aren’t getting adequate amounts from our nutrient-devoid soil!)
    The link below is for an all-around mineral supplement that you add back to your water. I highly recommend it! Serving is 2-3 drops per glass, preferably 30 drops per day. The fact that it makes the water taste better is just an added bonus! I am sure that there are other brands available, but this is a cost effective and readily available option.

  4. Marcia Ostrander on July 27, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    My groomer swears she can tell the difference between dogs that drink tap water and those that don’t. She says tap water drinkers tend to have runny eyes that stains the hair/fur around their eyes. My two get water from the under-sink RO filter, as do I. One has NO problem with runny eyes. The other only occasionally (when pollen is running high in the spring).

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Interesting, Marcia. So, chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, drugs? All those things are in unfiltered water, but not in RO water or distilled.

  5. Madeleine Innocent on July 27, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    This is such an important topic, so thanks for bringing it up. There is a great article on how to rid the body of fluoride. http://educate-yourself.org/cn/boraxconspiracy03jul12.shtml I know 2 people who take Borax with good results. As a homeopath, I preferred to take the remedy. So when my energy was so low, I struggled to do the physical work I need to do outside, I took a dose of Borax 6c. Just one dose and I amazed myself the next day with what I achieved. More didn’t achieve better results, so now I take one dose a week. It will be different for everyone.
    Structured water is now emerging as the best way to remove all impurities from water as well as to give it life. Here is one website that I was given. Haven’t got it yet, but it was recommended to me by someone who has. Lots of useful videos here. http://www.greenfieldnaturals.com/

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 27, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks, Madeleine, just read with great interest the borax piece. I’m going to share it with my homeopath, who’s been helping me get rid of Candidiasis by constitutional treatment. Slow going, though I’ve seen some amazing results at times as well.
      But, here may be the answer to Destiny’s question: how to get fluoride out of the body. Read the article from the first link. Sounds very promising.
      I may dig into structured water another day, as that also sounds interesting.
      But first, I think I’d better buy some borax rather hurriedly…

    • Joyce on July 28, 2015 at 12:17 am

      Madeleine, thank you so much for your awesome links!
      I will be pouring over this info and I suspect it will be a life changer! Thanks again!!

  6. Nancy Gotobed on July 27, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    I changed to bottled water delivery – here in Colorado – Eldorado Spring Water. Shortly after I started this, my doc took me off thyroid meds! The animals get it as well.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Nancy,
      Neat about the thyroid meds! Yeah, tap water is double trouble for the thyroid: both chlorine and fluoride compete with iodine, a necessary nutrient for normal thyroid function.
      You were the test subject and your animals got the benefit! Nice irony there, I like it.

  7. Pepaw on July 27, 2015 at 10:56 am

    i have found a great source of drinking water it comes from Mineral Wells, TEXAS its called Crazy Water been drinking exclusivley no.2 and no.3 for some time now except for out to eat drinking ice tea.
    they do fill jugs or bottles on site just need to start filling my dogs water bowls and they do drink a lot!

  8. Tricia on July 27, 2015 at 10:29 am

    My dogs let me know they dislike tap water. I put the bowl down, they go to sniff and turn and look at me as if to say – are your serious?
    It took at least a year to figure out what was going on. They were choosing not to drink tap water and would fill up at the river during walks. I was trying to discourage drinking from the river for fear of giardia or other nasties but it was the only place I could get them to drink.
    A friend had a Berkey filtered water bottle and they happily drank from that. I have since purchased and been extremely happy with a Berkey Filter system with the fluoride filters. It sits on your counter, no electricity needed.
    As my dad always said ‘Trust the dog’ – he knows things you don’t.

    • CATHY on July 27, 2015 at 11:34 am

      I agree with Tricia….and our dogs do know!!! Lately have researched a lot about water and came upon the Berkey (yay!)- here is a YouTube
      Take a look:
      Thanks for all the great info…

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 27, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      The old “dog in the coal mine,” eh Tricia?

      • CATHY on July 27, 2015 at 6:37 pm

        Hi Will,
        I’m not familiar with “the dog in the coal mine”, could you help me out?

        • Will Falconer, DVM on July 27, 2015 at 8:49 pm

          Play on words, Cathy. Sorry.
          I was speaking about the canary in the coal mine example. That one you can look up, if it’s not familiar. Canaries (or here, dogs) getting sick are the warning there’s danger for us to be alert to.

      • Tricia on July 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm

        Absolutely – trust the dog. Granted its not always apparent the level of danger. These two Great Danes use their ginormous barks at overturned trash cans or plastic bags floating in trees – as if saying ‘Something just ain’t right here…’
        But when they pick only the organic raspberries over conventional when side by side in bowls – you have to stand up and take notice.

  9. Lynne Parker on July 27, 2015 at 10:20 am

    It is my understanding that distilled water is a good choice for removing the fluoride but the process also removes the minerals. My dogs get distilled water but to each gallon I add about a half teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt. I don’t know if this is enough to replace the minerals or too much. I’m trying to research the issue further.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Lynne,
      I have the same concerns drinking RO water, so I add the same salt to my food. Dose? Just the right amount to taste seems to serve me 😉

  10. Barbara on July 27, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Just wanted to add my 2 cents. We switched to a steam distiller about 15 years ago. We also have a reverse osmosis system on our tap water, which runs to the refrigerator and then runs to the steam distiller. It is the best tasting water ever. Period. And a very significant side note. My husband had kidney cancer, prostate cancer and 4 bladder cancers. It kept coming. Once we switched to RO and steam distilled, no more cancer. And it’s all my dogs drink.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Wow, Barbara! Sounds like water really had an impact on your husband!
      Thanks for sharing that.

  11. Will Falconer, DVM on July 26, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Distilled will be free of fluoride, yes.
    Your last question is a good one. I didn’t explore it for this piece. Anyone know?

    • Joyce on July 27, 2015 at 9:55 am

      I was told that distiller water is good for detoxing, however should not be used as regular drinking water, as the distiller water will leach minerals from your body.
      Let me see if I can find a link to post.

      • Joyce on July 27, 2015 at 9:59 am

        Darn auto-correct* meant distilled.
        Here is a link to read;

      • Destiny White on July 27, 2015 at 10:14 am

        What should be long term drinking water?

        • Joyce on July 27, 2015 at 10:22 am

          I have a 5 filter, reverse osmosis system under my sink.

          • Wendy Wolfe on July 27, 2015 at 11:41 am

            ZeroWater is an inexpensive water filtering system and one of the few that reduces fluoride according to tests by an independent blogger who tested out of curiosity. I happen to live in one of the few municipalities that doesn’t add fluoride to the water so I use it to get out the other contaminants.

          • Patrice on July 27, 2015 at 9:37 pm

            I also had Reverse Osmosis filter for many years as it seemed to be the only unit available that screens out the majority of fluoride although not totally.Unfortunately it also leeches out most of the minerals natural to the water and leaves the body mineral deficient.
            My understanding of fluoride is that the form used in drinking water is ‘sodium fluoride’ which doesn’t occur naturally in nature but is a by-product of superphosate fertilizer.It was derived from Aluminum smeltering in the past.
            It calcifies the pineal gland and bones,mottles the teeth and is used as the main ingredient 1080 poison baits.

          • Will Falconer, DVM on July 28, 2015 at 5:07 am

            Right you are, Patrice. There were three forms of fluoride that I didn’t go into, but they are all toxic, unfriendly to living beings compounds.
            And we wonder why the rest of the world doesn’t do this! Geez.

    • Lisa Sims MS Nutritionist on April 22, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Get rid of fluoride in the body with magnesium glycinate, calcium carbonate and boron in the form of 20 Mule Team Borax (1/8th t. per liter of water). Natural spring water is more helpful that distilled because fluoride can be bound by many different minerals and be made harmless for excretion.

    • Julene on September 17, 2020 at 11:11 am

      Borax helps remove fluoride from the body. Do some research at earthclinic.com.

      Iodine also helps with this..

  12. Destiny on July 26, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    I feed raw bones to my dogs, no bone meal. However, their water comes from the fridge filter which now I worry. We used to buy distilled water. Is that better?
    Is there anyway to get rid of fluoride in the body?

    • Julene on September 17, 2020 at 11:16 am

      Research borax at earthclinic.com. Borax helps rid the body of fluoride. Fluoride binds to borax and it gets flushed out of the body thru urine.

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