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What Is Choline Chloride in Dog Food? Is It Healthy?

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Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

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If you’re one of the people who read the entire ingredients list on your dog’s food before purchasing it, you have likely spotted a few words you weren’t familiar with. One of the things you have likely seen in your dog’s food ingredients is choline chloride. What is choline chloride? Is this something that is essential for the health of your dog, or is it a cheap, unhealthy additive? Here’s what you need to know!

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What Is Choline Chloride?

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The scientific answer to this question is best defined by the National Library of Medicine, which says that choline chloride is “a quaternary ammonium salt with choline cation and chloride anion.” Choline chloride is a water-soluble salt that primarily shows up in animal feed. It’s an organic compound that is mass-produced throughout the world, with hundreds of thousands of tons produced annually. The majority of choline chloride produced in the world goes into animal feed.

Is Choline Chloride Healthy?

Choline, on its own, functions as a neurotransmitter, which means that it helps support healthy nervous system function for your dog. Choline, also known as vitamin B4, exists in a pill version that is used to help support detoxification within the liver, and it serves as a precursor to chemicals used by the nervous system for a variety of functions, like dopamine and acetylcholine. It is sometimes used to provide additional support to animals with epilepsy and other seizure disorders, as well as cognitive dysfunction or decline.

As choline chloride, it not only serves as a neurotransmitter, but it also supports growth. In fact, it’s often added to pet food to enhance growth and development. It helps support liver function and healthy metabolism. It’s commonly used in chicken feed, but it is used in multiple types of pet feeds, including dog food. While the manufactured form may be added to dog food, choline chloride also naturally occurs in a variety of foods, like soybeans, liver, eggs, and fish.

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In Conclusion

Although it may sound like a scary chemical, choline chloride can be extremely beneficial to your dog in their food. This chemical compound supports healthy hepatic and nervous system function, as well as growth and development. It serves as a building block for other chemicals that are used by the nervous system. It’s a functional neurotransmitter that has shown some promise in supporting dogs with neurological dysfunction, like epilepsy and cognitive decline.

If you’re unsure if this ingredient is a good option for your dog, talking to your vet or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist is your best starting point. They will be able to give you a more in-depth explanation of the importance and function of this chemical, and they can hopefully help ease your concerns associated with it.

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