Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: Selenium

Share Button

Brazil nuts – high in Selenium

We continue our Dog Food Ingredients A to Z series with the letter “S”. Today’s ingredient is Selenium.


What is Selenium?

Selenium is a trace mineral that our bodies use to produce glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that serves as a natural antioxidant.


Common names for Selenium

The most common name variations include high-selenium yeast, selenized yeast, chelated selenium.  Synthetic selenium, which is inferior to natural selenium, is called sodium selenate or sodium selenite.


Why is Selenium included in dog food?

Selenium is added to dog food because of its antioxidant properties and its crucial role in supporting normal pancreatic , fat absorption, and thyroid function.


Is Selenium a commonly used ingredient in dog food?

Selenium in some form is in about 5% of dog foods.


Common benefits or risks of Selenium

Selenium helps to improve joint skin and coat health.


Research suggests that increased intake of selenium is tied to a reduced risk of cancer. The watershed study on selenium and cancer in people was a double-blind intervention trial at the University of Arizona Cancer Center1.


Animal studies suggest similar benefits.  Nearly 200 animal studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects of selenium levels on cancer. Of these studies, two-thirds have found that high levels of selenium reduced the development of tumors at least moderately (by 15 to 35% compared to controls) and in most cases very significantly (more than 35%). Only in a very few cases was selenium found not to be effective 2.


Very high selenium dosages in people are known to cause selenium toxicity, which presents with depression, nervousness, emotional instability, nausea, vomiting, and in some causes loss of hair and nails.  Like almost all things, you can get too much of a good thing.


Miscellaneous facts about Selenium

Look for natural selenium, not synthetic versions like sodium selenite or sodium selenate, which are less effective and might even be harmful to the body. (This holds true for most vitamins and minerals: natural versions are far superior and effective than synthetic versions. We will be writing more on this topic in future posts.)

Dietary selenium comes primarily from nuts (especially Brazil nuts), cereals, meat, mushrooms, fish, and eggs.


Slimdoggy Ingredient Comfort Level

slimdoggy smiley


Selenium gets the Slimdoggy Happy Face due to all of its health benefits.


Sources and further reading

1/ Clark LC, Combs GF Jr, Turnbull BW, et al. Effects of selenium supplementation for cancer prevention in patients with carcinoma of the skin. A randomized controlled trial. Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Study Group. JAMA. 1996;276:1957-1963.




We’re joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol’s Notes:

Share Button


  1. As always, excellent information! Definitely will be sharing.
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…Bugsy’s Box Monthly Subscription Box for Dogs | Dog Product ReviewMy Profile

  2. Wow, that was interesting. I storaged this post, because it’s good to read it again, when we search for new food for me. And brazilian nuts have a lot of this selenium? now I know why my mom is always nervous, she eats tons of this nuts :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog TIMEWARP-HOPMy Profile

  3. I thought it helped with anti cancer properties, good to read about it. Have a great day.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Time Warp with a little Tuesday’s TailsMy Profile

  4. Interesting! And good to know!
    Jen K recently posted…Treats at the Dog Park?My Profile

  5. Great info! And hey, if it got the slim doggie happy face, then its good in our books!
    Great health benefits !
    ((Husky hugz))
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Silly Husky!My Profile

  6. I knew Selenium was good, but I didn’t know all of the benefits. Very neat! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    Marquie recently posted…Monday Mischief: TeasingMy Profile

  7. I can always count on learning something new from your blogs! I have a question…does this mean that Bentley can eat an occasional Brazil nut? He loves almonds but I know they aren’t good for him.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Pet Bloggers Challenge AcceptedMy Profile

    • Assuming no allergies or other gastro issues, a few Brazil nuts should be fine. We always recommend checking with your vet, who knows your dog’s history. As with any food, moderation is key.
      steve recently posted…Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: SeleniumMy Profile

  8. Interesting … thought that Brazil nuts are not good for dogs. We have to learn how to make treats with brazil nuts. Happy Tasty Tuesday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
    Golden Woofs: Sugar recently posted…It’s Never Too COLD For Frosty TreatsMy Profile

    • The issue with Brazil nuts (assuming no allergies) is that they are a fatty nut. Some folks think that dogs don’t need fat and thus give these a bad rap. In truth, dog’s bodies are meant to process and well utilize fat.

      Not to say to feed your dog a whole bag, but a few of these should be fine for most dogs.
      steve recently posted…Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: SeleniumMy Profile

  9. I always laugh when people say almonds or brazil nuts or insert 90% of nuts here are bad for dogs, then go ahead and serve commercial peanut butter with added oil and sugars! It’s good to watch fats AND good to be educated about just how much fat is in the foods you *think* are good and the ones you *think* are bad!
    Kolchak, Felix & Jodi recently posted…Grain Free Peanut Butter & Jelly Dog TreatsMy Profile

  10. I’ve always been so curious to know more about the dog food ingredients, You know what, I wanted to know more about selenium in particular. I’m glad that I’ve landed up at the perfect place! Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  11. It doesn’t seem to be a common ingredient in foods. Must check ours to see if it is in there. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Round & RoundMy Profile

  12. When buying foods for our dogs, we really check if there is Selenium in it.
    Holistic Select Dog Food recently posted…Dog fartsMy Profile

Comments are now closed on this post.