Complete and Balanced Nutrition

Don't Think So!

Exposing the Fraud (new! 5/21/08)

FDA "public" meeting - COMMENTS NEEDED by June 13, 2008 (updated 5/14/08)

More Dangerous than the Food?

Food Safety Act update

Campaign for regulation of pet foods

Latest updates and news

Pet food recalls

Research papers that document illness or death in animals as a result of pet food

Rebuttal to Pet Food Institute's comments by Dr. Hodgkins

Testimony of Dr. Hodgkins to Senate appropriations committee

Misleading or incorrect information by pet food industry

Making pet food


Act Now!

Pet Food Institute

The Pet Food Institute has formed the National Pet Food Commission, an industry-government partnership composed of government officials, veterinarians, toxicologists and food scientists who are committed to maintaining and enhancing the high standards we have set in this country that protect our pets.

The purpose of the new commission is two-fold: 1)To investigate the cause of the current pet food recall, and 2) To recommend steps the industry and government should take to further build on safety and quality standards already in place. [read more on PFI's consumer site,]

The pet food industry remains a partner in the investigation with the FDA and has
cooperated with state and federal regulators since evidence leading to the recall
first surfaced
. The industry will continue cooperate fully with any other official
investigations relating to this incident.

Really? Because I thought there was a delay of over three weeks from when the industry first knew there was a problem until the FDA was even notified there was a problem.

The FDA’s investigation is ongoing and has not reached any conclusions about how
any foreign substances entered the process. I think it’s presumptuous to additional
regulatory measures at this time.
Only when we have this information can we make
an accurate and informed decision.

Presumptuous? Certainly seems to me like the system is flawed with all the dogs and cats that are sick or dead.

How Pet Foods Are Regulated

Pet foods are one of the most highly regulated food products. They are required
by law to provide on their labels more information than most human foods.
departments of agriculture provide standards and enforcement policies for regulation
of manufacture of pet foods resulting in safe foods. Ingredients in pet food must
be acceptable to state authorities. In the March 23 press conference Sundlof also
stated that regulation of pet foods is the same as human foods.

Not true!  For example, there is no label information on carbohydrate content.  Carbohydrate information is key for management/treatment of feline diabetes and feline obesity. I WISH there were "nutrition facts" on pet food labels, like there are on human foods, instead of the minimums and maximums listed.

Pet food manufacturers are responsible for producing safe products. The U.S. Food
and Drug Administration and state governments provide the rules, guidance and oversight
under which safe pet food is produced. FDA requires pet food to be wholesome, contain
no harmful or deleterious substances, and to be truthfully labeled.

Except that they currently seem to claim anything they want - such as weight loss or urinary tract health without any support for those statements - and there's apparently no repercussions for doing so.

How Ingredients and Finished Pet Foods Are Tested

Pet food ingredients undergo significant testing for safety and quality assurance
including screening for mycotoxins (including aflatoxin), bacteria (including Salmonella
and E.Coli) and nutrient content
. Furthermore the finished product is analyzed to
ensure appropriate nutrient levels, evaluating protein (including 11 amino acids),
fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Then why have we had THREE deadly recalls since 2005? One for aflatoxin, one for a vitamin imbalance, and one for another toxin (possibly melamine).


Veterinarians agree that pets are living longer, healthier lives since the use of
commercially prepared pet foods became widespread.
Decades of research have gone
into the development of pet food to make sure the special nutrition needs of pet
dogs and cats are met.

Not ALL veterinarians - some say pets are living longer DESPITE poor nutrition - just like humans are living longer DESPITE all the processed foods available now - because of medical advances.

What does "complete and balanced" mean?
Unlike most foods for people, many pet food products are designed to be the sole
source of nutrition for a pet dog or cat. Products that are labeled "complete
and balanced," as defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials
(AAFCO), have been tested to make sure they meet the complex nutritional requirements
of a healthy dog or cat.

In an AAFCO feeding trial, SIX ANIMALS (OUT OF EIGHT) must survive on the food for SIX MONTHS

What does it mean on a pet food label that a product has been tested using animal
feeding trials?
There are two ways a pet food company can test the nutrition of its products. One
method is the use of standardized animal feeding trials, designed by the Association
of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), to make sure their products meet the
complex nutritional requirements of dogs and cats. The animals in these tests are
fed the food for six months and are closely monitored to make sure they stay healthy.

A product using this test will have language similar to the following on the label
- "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Nancy's
Food for Dogs provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages."

As long as they don't lose a significant amount of weight - and SIX of the EIGHT complete the trial, it's good!  If ONE food passes the test, all foods in the line are presumed to pass! That's closely monitored?

Are fillers used in pet food?
Every ingredient used in pet food is there for a reason. Decades of research have
gone into making pet foods that meet the nutritional needs of dogs and cats. The
makers of pet food do not put in anything that's not needed.

Then CELLULOSE - which is SAWDUST - is needed for nutrition???  It's an ingredient in Hills' prescription m/d dry cat food, among other foods.

What is ingredient "splitting?"
Some people incorrectly believe pet food makers split up ingredients to give the
illusion that some ingredients are at higher concentrations than others.
Pet food
makers are required to carefully label their products according to stringent government
regulations. Just as the case with food for people, pet foods must clearly state
what ingredients are included in the product. Each ingredient in pet food is there
for a reason and to serve a nutritional purpose.

I guess they put corn starch & corn gluten separately, use rice and corn, etc.... for other reasons, not so there's not a grain as the first ingredient?  The "every ingredient" is there for a reason is an insult to our intelligence!


Hills Pet Nutrition

Hills' site states:

Obesity is the most common nutritional disease of cats. Obesity is due in large part to the increased palatability and popularity of dry cat food, and the common practice of leaving cat food in the bowl for cats to eat at any time. Obese cats may also be at risk for lower-urinary tract disease. Urinary tract disease is caused in many cases by over-consumption of minerals, such as magnesium, which must then be excreted through the kidneys creating a nutritional risk factor. A cat prone to obesity requires a low-fat, moderate-fiber food to help keep the cat trim and feeling full without reducing their volume of food intake.

This is incorrect information - studies have shown that the best way to avoid recurrence of urinary crystals is an all-wet diet. Studies have also shown that the best dietary treatment of obesity is a low-carbohydrate (not low-fat, moderate-fiber) diet.

Another important health concern for adult cats is kidney disease. While kidney disease is the second leading cause of non-accidental death in dogs, it's the primary cause of non-accidental death in cats. To help promote healthy kidneys, avoid excessive amounts of phosphorus, protein and salt. Other common risk factors for kidney disease are age, severe dehydration, heart failure, liver failure, kidney infections, some antibiotics, antifreeze, high blood pressure, certain cancers and obstructions of the urinary tract.

Current information indicates proper hydration, with an all-wet diet is more important for kidney health.

Fiber is key in managing the disease nutritionally because moderate to high levels of fiber lower insulin requirements and blood glucose levels. Fiber also makes the body more responsive to insulin.

Incorrect. Research has shown that a low-carbohydrate wet diet is more effective at treating feline diabetes than a high-fiber diet.

m/d® Feline - Dry: Metabolic weight loss and Diabetes Mellitus
m/d® Feline - Canned: Metabolic weight loss and Diabetes Mellitus

r/d® Feline - Dry: Obesity, FLUTD in obese patients, hyperlipidemia
r/d® Feline - Canned: Obesity, FLUTD in obese patients, hyperlipidemia
r/d® with Liver & Chicken Feline - Canned: Obesity, FLUTD in obese patients, hyperlipidemia

w/d® Feline - Dry: Diabetes mellitus, colitis, constipation, obesity, hyperlipidemia
w/d® with Chicken Feline - Canned: Diabetes mellitus, colitis, constipation, obesity, hyperlipidemia
w/d® Feline - Canned: Diabetes mellitus, colitis, constipation, obesity, hyperlipidemia

Interesting how they say their low-carbohydrate diet (m/d), their high-fiber diet (w/d), and their low-calorie diet all treat obeisty and/or diabetes though they are vastly different.


Purina claims dogs "properly fed a Purina diet" live two years longer. In fact, the study put both groups of dogs on a Purina diet. One was fed an "average" amount, and one was fed 25% less. The dogs fed 25% less were healthier, leaner, and lived two years longer. Thus, the claim. How misleading! It was feeding LESS Purina that resulted in the longer life!

Details on the study here.

One veterinarian's thoughtful analysis here.

Pet Food Institute

Courtesy of Heather & Mr. Tubs

For entertainment, I decided to see what has to say about all the new recalls.

“Fortunately, some 99 percent of pet food still remains unaffected by the recall and may be purchased with confidence,” Ekedahl wrote. “But until the ultimate source of the contaminated ingredients is identified and contained, we cannot rest.”

Hmmm, I think we're expanding more than 1% of the pet food products. The FDA website has over 5600 kinds of foods under the recall.

And they have a page on homemade meals, my favorite quotes:

animals consuming the raw meat are at risk of infection by organisms contained in the raw tissues,

Evidence please.

Mismanaged fat intake, often a result of feeding pets the same poultry skins and meats common in human foods, can result in pancreatic problems

Really? Guess those poor animals in the wild suffered a lot of pancreatitis back in the day

In addition to dog- and cat-specific recipes, another obstacle to homemade pet meals is in formulating diets that account for age, breed, size, and level of activity of the animal.

Breed? Size?

Also, raw meat foods tend to be high in fat.

Well, I think he just pulled this one out of his arse.

Class Action Lawsuit

I am absolutely THRILLED that attorney Catherine MacIvor of Maltzman Foreman PA has filed a class action lawsuit against several pet food manufacturers and retailers for false and misleading advertising. For years, pet owners and veterinarians have bought their promises of complete and balanced nutrition for our companions. We've believed in the claims of healthy pets and natural ingredients. It's time for them to stand up and explain what research exists (and none does) to support all their advertising slogans and packaging.

I'll be watching the lawsuit closely, and offering my support - and I hope you do, too!

For more information on the lawsuit, go to

Act Now!

PLEASE EMAIL THE SENATORS AND TELL THEM TO KEEP PUSHING!!!! The Chicago blogs are reaming Senator Durbin for taking time out of his schedule to focus on pet food - they ask "what's next, resolutions for puppies"?  Let Senator Durbin and the others we think this is IMPORTANT!!!  We NEED them to keep pushing!!!

Contact Senator Durbin:

Contact Senator Kohl:

Senator Bennett:

Senator Byrd:

Support the class action lawsuit for false and misleading advertising!

To learn more about feeding your cat properly, visit Feline Outreach.


Feel free to contact me at Pet Food Crusade!

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