Toxins on the Tack Store’s Shelves – Part 1


Copper Sulfate,



White Spirit/Stoddard Solvent

These were some of the most prevalent ingredients I read on the labels of various antifungal, antibacterial and hoof conditioning products at the local tack stores.  Many of these things have been used for years to treat skin and hoof conditions, but has anyone recently taken a closer look at these remedies?  If you do an Internet search for the chemical properties of these ingredients you’ll find descriptions like solvent, paint thinner, carcinogen, mutanogenic, pesticide, and environmentally toxic.

I am actually quite dismayed that we commonly use these toxins on our horses.  I went looking for an antifungal treatment for thrush which had recently shown up on my mare’s hoof.  After going to 4 different stores, I still really didn’t find any decent treatment options.  What was even worse, many brands were actually “greenwashing”.  One locally made line of products claims to be natural and green, but when you read the label it is loaded with parabens as preservatives!  Not so natural after all.

The regulations for cosmetics and health products for people in North America are loosely regulated.  Basically, companies that manufacture these products are allowed to self-regulate, and the Canadian government has not tightened regulations to keep companies accountable for their products and manufacturing processes.  If human grade products are so poorly regulated, how do you think products for use on our animals are regulated?  I have found the regulations for pet food and agricultural products for use on animals used for human consumption – those were scary enough.  We’ve all heard of the pet food scares that have surfaced in recent years with cats and dogs dying from ingesting foods made with toxic ingredients.  If the pet food industry is so loosely regulated, do you think that pet care products are regulated?  The answer seems to be that they aren’t.  I haven’t been able to find any guidelines, let alone laws, that protect the well-being of both our pets and ourselves when it comes to purchasing and using pet health care products (shampoos, skin remedies, coat conditioners, detanglers, etc.).  I am still looking for some sort of direction on this matter, but for now it is truly buyer beware.  Read the labels, demand the information from the companies that make the products, and be aware of your ingredients.  You’re not just putting it on your beloved pet, you are exposing yourself to these products as well.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to review some of these products that we commonly use on our horses and try to shed light on some of the toxic ingredients that we have been paying money for.  We need to demand more of the companies responsible for manufacturing the products.  At the very least, full disclosure of the ingredients so that we can make informed choices.

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