By coincidence, the same time I was researching new food choices for Mindy (and her weight loss challenge), the Menu Foods pet food recall was just hitting the news. So my online research into pet foods had an even greater importance.
What my research has taught me:
I had already known that any pet food sold in grocery stores is sub quality, but I also learned that there are no true premium pet foods sold in any “big box pet stores” like Petco or Petsmart. I love my veterinarian dearly, but I do not trust her pet food recommendations. Regrettably, a lot of vets push the foods that can be sold at higher profit margins.
Sadly there are many pet lovers that purchase sub-quality brands like Purina, Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Alpo, Beneful, Pro Plan, etc. Product ingredients include questionable protein amounts, lower quality meats, meat by-products, corn, wheat, soy, unhealthy preservatives (BHA, ethoxyquin), hormones, Menadione (a vitamin K supplement), antibiotics, sweeteners, and dyes (just to name a few.) Family and friends rave about Purina and Iams, stating their pets are thriving and healthy. Yes, of course it is possible for a pet to live a long and happy life eating food of a lesser quality. Some humans smoke and live to be 90, and on the other hand, some strict vegetarians can develop cancer and other illnesses. There are no guarantees.
Think about human vs pet grade ingredients. I watched the TV news story of an Ottawa woman who became sick after eating some of the recalled food. She was trying to coax her little dog to eat. In the TV news report, she said when she later spoke to Iams, they recommended that she never eat dog food. But why? If the pet food companies are asking us to trust them to create quality foods for our pets, shouldn’t that quality be high enough for human consumption? It doesn’t make sense.
Pet food production is self regulated in the US. The FDA (in my opinion) does a deplorable job keeping humans safe, so even if pet foods were regulated, how trustworthy would they be anyhow? This is why pet owners must do the research on their own.
It is up to the pet owner to carefully scrutinize all pet food companies and the products they sell. Even though Nutro Ultra dry food was not included in the recall, I started to doubt Nutro’s business ethics and practices. In the back of my mind, I never fully trusted that Nutro Ultra was the best brand of pet food to be feeding my Mindy, but just as many other pet owners thought, why fix what ain’t broke when she was thriving and healthy.
When deciding on a pet food company, broaden your research. Don’t exclusively rely on the reviews from Amazon, Petco, or Petsmith. There is no way of knowing who added the reviews and if there was an ulterior motive or bias. Take time to read discussions on pet specific forums where real pet owners post about their experiences concerning not only pet foods but also the companies that manufacture and sell the products.
It is not true that premium food is always a lot more expensive than non-premium food. In some instances, it is slightly more expensive to purchase a much higher quality food, but because the feeding guidelines are less, the net cost is actually less or equal.
I am sure the Menu Foods recall will eventually fade from our minds, just like the last Diamond Foods recall was forgotten. People will continue to feed their pets products from Nutro, Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Alpo, Purina and other brands. But make no mistake, there will be future recalls and more pet deaths and illnesses. I am taking steps now because I am unwilling to take the chance that the next recall could affect my precious Mindy. By then it will be too late.
Interesting web resources:
- Dog Food Analysis – Is your pet’s food a 6 star food, or a 1 star food? Interesting, as the quality gets lower, the quantity of reviews gains. From 11 reviews in the 6 star category to 265 poor choices in the 1 star category.
- The Dog Food Project – Excellent advice, along with a terrific and informative discussion forum.
- All Dogs Gym
- FDA is MIA…