Environmental toxins–including the food chemicals common in dog and puppy food–are suspected triggers of the rapid decline in dog fertility. Many of the additives commonly used in dog food are also present in highly processed human foods. Previous research has linked a number of food additives–including several commonly-used food packaging chemicals known to leach into the food–with lowered sperm count and quality in humans.
Study demonstrates rapid decline in male dog fertility, with potential link to environmental contaminants
A study led by researchers at The University of Nottingham has discovered that the fertility of dogs may have suffered a sharp decline over the past three decades…
The work has highlighted a potential link to environmental contaminants, after they were able to demonstrate that chemicals found in the sperm and testes of adult dogs — and in some commercially available pet foods — had a detrimental effect on sperm function at the concentrations detected.
As ‘man’s best friend’ and closest companion animal, the researchers believe that the latest results may offer a new piece of the puzzle over the reported significant decline in human semen quality — a controversial subject which scientists continue to debate.
Sperm collected from the same breeding population of dogs, and testes recovered from dogs undergoing routine castration, were found to contain environmental contaminants at concentrations able to disrupt sperm motility and viability when tested.
The same chemicals that disrupted sperm quality, were also discovered in a range of commercially available dog foods — including brands specifically marketed for puppies.
Journal source: Richard G. Lea, Andrew S. Byers, Rebecca N. Sumner, Stewart M. Rhind, Zulin Zhang, Sarah L. Freeman, Rachel Moxon, Holly M. Richardson, Martin Green, Jim Craigon, Gary C. W. England. Environmental chemicals impact dog semen quality in vitro and may be associated with a temporal decline in sperm motility and increased cryptorchidism. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 31281 DOI: 10.1038/srep31281