What Is Yucca Extract?
Yucca Extract, or its full name, Yucca Schidigera Extract, is a product derived from a small shrub or tree that is commonly found in the deserts of California, Nevada, and Arizona.
The plant has a long history of use and was a staple of Native American traditional medicine to treat health issues such as Arthritis, Dandruff, Headaches, and more.
The Yucca Extract is produced by grinding and processing the plant into a powder which can then be mixed in with other products.
Yucca Extract is most popular as a supplement for human consumption and has seen increased use in the last decade; however, it can also be used in pet food recipes for a different purpose.
Why Is Yucca Extract In Pet Food?
While many other minor ingredients, such as Alfalfa, Kelp, or Chicory Root, are added to pet food recipes for their nutritional content, such as vitamins and minerals, Yucca Extract is present for a very different reason.
Yucca Extract is instead added to pet food to help reduce and minimize the odor of pet stools. This trait has led to it also being present in pet food for animals other than dogs and cats, such as rabbits and ferrets.
Yucca Extract achieves this scent-reducing goal by altering the production or availability of some of the less pleasant gases within a pet’s gut, such as hydrogen sulfide.
While this may sound silly, some research on the topic has shown that the presence of Yucca Extract can reduce odor by as much as 26%.
While Yucca Extract isn’t the only way to reduce the odors of pet stools, it is a very easy and simple solution as it does not affect the palatability or taste of the recipe like some alternatives might.
However, we will note that Yucca Extract is far from a magic bullet, and just because its presence in your pet’s food does not mean that their stools will not smell.
Other health issues and foods in their diet can be the cause of foul smells from pet stools, and if your pet has consistent issues, we recommend visiting a professional veterinary.
Is Yucca Extract Bad For Pets?
While there is limited research that has been done into Yucca Extract for dogs or cats, it is considered to be generally recognized as safe, and the vast majority of pets will notice no ill effects from consuming it.
This is compounded by the fact that the portion size of Yucca Extract in most pet food recipes is tiny and less than a percent of the overall contents.
A pet would therefore have to consume a huge amount of commercial dog food with Yucca Extract present in order to sum to any noticeable volume.
However, if they were to do so or they were particularly vulnerable to Yucca Extract, they may experience symptoms such as digestional and nervous issues.
If your pet experiences symptoms such as irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulties walking, you should consult a veterinary professional as soon as possible.
Pet Food Brands That Use Yucca Extract
Despite being a relatively minor pet food ingredient, we could find examples of Yucca Extract present in recipes from a huge number of pet food brands, including some of the best-known brands.
You can see an example of the use of Yucca Extract in the ingredient list of Taste of the Wild’s High Prairie dry dog food recipe.
As you can see, Yucca Extract features here as a minor ingredient just after others such as Blueberries, Raspberries, and Chicory Root.
While we do not recommend it, if you are looking to avoid Yucca Extract in your pet’s food, we recommend carefully studying the ingredient list of any prospective recipes to see if it is present.
If you’d like to save yourself some time and look at our detailed library of pet food brand reviews, take a look at our Pet Food Brand Review Index for the current list.