The Dirty Truth – Pet FEED or Pet FOOD?
Adorable pet pictures and funny pet videos aren’t the only things that should be distracting you online these days. A pet care topic has been gaining momentum, and may be reaching the tipping point to change the way in which we feed our pets.
Pet food buyers beware -- the news world is abuzz over a nationwide class action lawsuit filed by a pet owner in California against pet food giant Nestle Purina Petcare Company alleging that the well-known dog food brand Beneful contains toxic substances that are capable of killing dogs.
The basis of the lawsuit is the inclusion of propylene glycol (included in antifreeze, and used a moisturizing additive in dog food), and grains (the principal ingredient in Beneful) with tainted with fungus that produce mycotoxins, (poisons produced by low-quality grain molds) among other things and is charging Nestle Purina with a breach of warranty, negligence and negligent misrepresentation that resulted in the death and/or serious illness in all three of the plaintiff’s family dogs, and including more than 3,000 others complaints posted via the internet. “The dogs show consistent symptoms, including stomach and related internal bleeding, liver malfunction or failure, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, bloating, and kidney failure,” the Beneful toxic dog food class action lawsuit alleges.
The fact is the majority of all pet food is sold within the grocery retail channel. If you are a pet caregiver among those buyers, you should be suspect. Rightfully, we should all be concerned about food safety – for our pets as well as ourselves! As with any number of major brands manufactured by giant consumer product companies that value profits over nutrition, despite what their false claims in advertising represent, generally all these foods are indeed lacking quality. A quick analysis of any ingredient panel on any of those foods can be summarized as highly processed cereals made from corn-, wheat-, and soy by-products, meat by-products, and containing many other additives that raise a red flag and have no business being something included in our animal companions’ “complete and balanced” diet.
Pet food is ‘governed’ by feed law not food law. The truth is that there is little to no regulation of the pet food industry, little to no enforcement of regulations, standards vary from state-to-state, and the differences of what constitutes ‘feed’ regulations vs. ‘food’ (human) regulations and which allow for inclusions of 4-D meats (dead, dying, diseased, or disabled) and numerous other awful things into pet food recipes is… shocking to say the least.
What is so unfortunate is that all but a very small percentage of consumers buying dog and cat food is truly informed of the dangers of commercial pet foods. Yes, even in light of the massive pet food recalls in 2007 due to melamine-tainted Chinese-sourced protein in pet foods, resulting in thousands of pet deaths and suffering; or more recently as concern has grown over the lack of FDA withdrawal of Chinese-made jerky treats alleged sickening or causing death to thousands more over the last eight years … the politics of pet food can be hotly debated. Who would have imagined that feeding your dog or cat could have become so complicated? If you can imagine a real, whole foods, biologically appropriate diet, maybe it doesn’t have to be complicated. Perhaps the outcome of this Purina class action suit will be a catalyst for change the $21+ billion pet food industry needs now.
Be informed -- Knowing what is in your pets’ food, how and where it’s made and/or sourced couldn’t be a more vital topic for animal caregivers who want their pets to live long healthy lives. Don’t be deceived – Expensive advertising using wholesome images of choice cuts of meats, fruits and veggies does not equate with commercial pet food recipes; reading the ingredient label is closer to the truth.
The role that healthy pet nutrition plays in our pets’ lives is such an important one. Our animals depend on us for making sound decisions regarding their wellness. It’s good to do the research and get the facts straight. The quality, independent pet retailer has been on the front lines of educating pet consumers in local communities for decades, long before the Petcos and Petsmarts of the world, and has been known for sourcing and providing premium specialty brands known for quality. Founded in 2007 with a passion for pet wellness and to create a good thing for DTLA and the pet community, Pussy & Pooch is the local resource with the answers and advice when you need it. We are buzzing with a ‘fresh is best’ and ‘farm to friend’ goodness this month spotlighting our premium pet foods and treats. Our trained staff of Pet Experts can help you navigate the pet food aisle and pet foods brands you can trust.