Pet food facts can be difficult to tease out of the advertising hype that engulfs this multi-billion dollar industry. Some companies have taken a page from Shakespeare and insisted it was night when clearly the sun was shining, trying to sell corn as a viable protein worthy of being the main protein source in dog food. Is it any wonder people get confused? Lucy Postins, canine and equine nutritionist, founder and president of The Honest Kitchen, came by to talk about pet friendly Holiday recipes, and I took the opportunity of her expertise to get some facts straight from a nutritionist on pet food ingredients. With that settled, we moved on to the Holiday cheer! Continue reading
BOGO Bowl pet food is a newer pet food on the market. Sara Henderson, CEO, and I talked
the other day about her “Buy One Give One” ethos — and I discovered that she had gone from running a pet pantry to getting into the pet industry.
Sara was part of a team who started The Pet Project Midwest, designed to help keep pets in their homes, and one of the programs was a pet food pantry. She found out how very difficult is it to keep a steady stream of food on the pantry shelves. All organizations are not eligible for pet food programs available. Shelters and rescues know how the cost of food often causes pet give-ups and this gap needs to be addressed to keep pets in their homes. Sara’s company was born out of that struggle. Continue reading
Pet food ingredient quality is something pet parents want to be assured of. It’s not always clear who is using what ingredients from where. Spring Naturals, a fresh face in the Performance Pet Products family, has stepped in to advocate for using as many US-sourced ingredients as possible with their line of pet food and treats. Grain, no grain, chicken, fish, New Zealand lamb, organic turkey, kibble and canned – even vitamin supplements come from Western Europe. Nothing from China. That has turned a few heads. Continue reading
When it comes to pet food and pet nutrition, there are as many opinions floating around as there are people who offer those opinions. The end result is a confusing mass of information for pet owners, much of which is contradictory.
How Do I Provide Good Nutrition in My Pet’s Food?
One thing is certain. All of us want the very best for our dogs and cats. We all want to be feeding the highest quality pet food. But what exactly does that mean? Some of the questions that seem most confusing include:
- Should there be grain in my pet’s food or does a grain-free food provide the best nutrition?
- What about corn? Is corn an acceptable ingredient in pet foods?
- What about by-products? What are they? Do by-products provide good nutrition for my pet? Should they be part of a good pet food?
- And what about quality control? How do we know whether a pet food is safe to feed to our dogs or cats? Could we have a repeat of the melamine incident that killed so many pets?
Expert Opinion on Pet Food and Pet Nutrition
This week, Dr. Marcie Campion joins us to discuss pet foods and pet nutrition. She answers all of these questions and more in her interview, which you’ll find below.
Dr. Campion, PhD., is a nutritionist and is currently the Scientific Relations Managers for Iams/P&G Pet Care. She joins us this week in an extremely informational interview and graciously offers her expert opinion on many different pet food questions.
Will everyone agree with Dr. Campion’s answers to these important pet nutrition questions? No, probably not. However, she answers them based on her experience and training as a pet nutritionist and an expert in her field.
During the course of the interview, Dr. Campion also shares with us a bit of information about a new line of pet foods being offered by Iams. One of the things that is really nice about this line is that it provides an alternative for those people who prefer a pet food that has no corn, meat by-products, fillers, preservatives, artificial coloring or artificial flavors. After all, regardless of anything else, it’s nice to have options and alternatives.
Sit back, relax and listen to the interview. And don’t forget to join us next Monday here at Animal Cafe for another great interview.
Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue/Flickr.com
Believe it or not, some dog food is taste-tested by real people! If you ask Chef Craig Zeleznik, he’ll tell you something like this: It’s the job of every chef to taste the food he is sending out to his diners. It doesn’t matter that his diners are dogs. Taste, texture, and presentation (well, the presentation is really for just for us) is important to the finished product at Zeleznik’s Chef K9’s Doggy Bistro and Bakery. Although it’s the ingredients that take center stage.
Breed specific dog food diets read much like a menu in a good restaurant “Slow-Roasted Ground Pork, Farm Raised…Chicken / Turkey * with Pearl Barley, Roasted Russet Potatoes. Sautéed Cabbage, Steamed Yellow Squash, Broccoli…or Grilled, ground New Zealand Leg Of Lamb… Oven Baked, Ground Chicken…Nebraska Angus Beef served over Steamed White Rice.” It’s hard not to be impressed – and suddenly hungry.
Fresh dog food at my house is prepared in my kitchen. But it wasn’t until I saw the photos of Chef K9’s doggy dinners that I first experienced some presentation skills envy! Chef Zeleznik had been cooking for humans for ten years when he thought it would be a great idea to take his talents as a well-reputed chef and wrap them around his love for dogs. He had already been helping formulate dog food for friends, family, and others with their fussy, sick or allergic dogs. It’s been a happy marriage these past 7 years.
Healthy dog food from Chef K9’s are filled with fresh, whole foods, prepared according to National Research Council guidelines and formulated by a canine nutritionist according to breed, age, gender, and health needs. Vacuum-packed for freshness, there are no preservatives, chemicals, by-products, meat meals, salts or artificial colorings. Just food, and the herbs, minerals and supplements needed to help balance the meals.
Dog food allergies manifesting as itchy skin or hot spots, ear infections, and digestive troubles with inconsistent stools (well, you had to know we would go there!), gas, and disinterest in food can often be fixed by simply changing to a fresh whole food diet. If your dog has flaking skin, a dull coat, a lack of energy, and chronic allergies, you might want to take a look at a change in diet. There are custom dog food diets made to suit particular conditions and chronic illnesses, and you can consult with the chef via phone or the form available at Chef K9’s website.
All ingredients in these breed specific dog food diets are sourced in the US, many from local farms, with the exception of New Zealand and Australian leg of lamb. Well, isn’t that the best? And you’ll really have to go to the website to check out the pasteries and bakery goods, like the carob cream or peanut butter wafers, doggie cannolis, and three layer cake! It’s dog food heaven!
Pet food companies are not stepping up to tell you the truth about their pet food. Do you want to know the facts being hidden from you? If you’re a reader of Truth About Pet Food, you don’t need answers to questions like “What the heck is “animal digest” and why is it in the bag?”
Ingredients were in the spotlight during the melamine mess that incited the largest recall in pet food history. The period of time it took companies to understand the problem surprised and angered the public. Thousands of pets died during the waiting period. That disaster put people on notice – find out everything you can about your pet’s food, it could save their life. Don’t fall for false advertising, and don’t blindly trust a corporation because you like their commercials. Four years later, little has changed on the big issues: Open communication with the public by major pet food companies has yet to begin.
Susan Thixton was on a mission to bring pet food ingredients into the public conversation years before the 2007 deaths of so many cats and dogs. With an eye on ingredients, toxics in processes, and chemical additives that have proven to be harmful, sometimes deadly, to pets, Thixton has rooted out many truths about pet food safety, often from the mouths and records of the FDA. Her inquiries have revealed many problem areas not only in lack of and gaps in oversight procedures, but a deliberate practice by the FDA to look the other way when it comes to enforcing regulations the pet food industry ignores. A whole new kind of recycling business has sprung from this practice that takes care of the question of what to do with sick and diseased animals, those who die while waiting to be slaughtered, and more. Not a pretty picture.
Thixton had the opportunity to speak to the FDA, asking how it was possible and why they would allow corporations to ignore the Food and Cosmetics Act, part of which says that the industry’s new recycling of diseased parts business should not exist. She must have caught them off-guard – you won’t believe what they said. If this news about pet food ingredients and safety is somewhat new to you, buckle up – it’s gonna be a bumpy ride! Join us in the Chat Cafe Wednesday at 9pm EST – Thixton will be there to answer your questions and talk about her favorite topic and one of mine, the truth about pet food.