Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Buyer Beware - The Crimes, Lies & Truth About Pet Food

Another good book just published about commercial pet foods. This book was written by Susan Thixton, owner of TheTruthAboutPetFood.com and is full of information every pet owner needs to know. She also includes stories throughout the book from pet owners who's pets have become sick or died from pet foods. She gives a detailed list of do's and don'ts when it comes to buying pet foods including not only ingredients to avoid (and why) but questions to ask the pet food manufacturers. She explains how to figure out when that bag of pet food you bought was made and how long it has been sitting on the shelf. (She found out the food she had been feeding her dog had a shelf life of 25 years! Her dog died of bone cancer from an ingredient (preservative) in that pet food.) She lists the different health conditions which "could easily be the result of inferior or contaminated pet food." Think you can't afford quality pet food? She gives a detailed break down of the costs of randomly chosen dog and cat foods to show  you can afford it and reminds us "that a food-related emergency can cost over $1,000." (I can vouch for that.) She gives an in-depth explanation of how pet food regulations work, what the federal laws are and information about the 2007 pet food recall (and other recalls) and how it was managed. She not only explains what rendering is but gives a personal account of rendering plants from someone who worked in them. If that isn't bad enough, she quotes a 2004 report prepared for the 108th Congress of the United States which told elected officials that dead animals from animal shelters are cooked (rendered) and converted into pet food and crayons. And "despite this being a clear violation of Federal law, not one Representative of Congress did a thing about it." 

She talks about mycotoxins, canola oil, food dyes, genetically modified (GMO) ingredients,  arsenic, ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, carrageenan, wheat gluten,  flouride, BPA and heavy metals (to name a few) found in pet foods. She explains probiotics, omega fatty acids and irradiation. She explains why she started the Pet Food Recall First Alert and which pet food companies have signed up so far. Susan has done a lot of work and research regarding pet foods and I, like many other pet parents are so grateful.

Finding this stuff hard to believe? I know, it's so disgusting it's hard to believe this is and has been going on! (The truth is often stranger than fiction!) The more I learn about "big pet food" the angrier and the more disgusted I become. That's why I am trying to make people more aware of what they are feeding  their beloved pets. It's time to wake up pet-parents! It's time you learn what really goes into your pet's food! It's time to learn to read ingredients and become an informed pet food buyer instead of listening to all the marketing bull****! These big companies spend millions of dollars on marketing and they have been allowed to down right lie about what's in their products. "Pet food is the ONLY industry in the United States legally allowed to lie to consumers" and "The ONLY food industry in the U.S. allowed to violate Federal Food Safety Law." Just like with us, what we put into our bodies can mean health or illness. Same goes for our cherished pets. "What pet owners are not told about pet food could be making their pets very sick." 

I highly recommend reading this book if you have pets. You can also stay informed by signing up for the free TruthAboutPetFood newsletter. And for a small annual subscription fee ($17.95) you can subscribe to the online Petsumer Report which is a database of over 2,200 pet foods and treats, with new ones added every month! This is worth every penny and is a valuable resource.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April Birthdays

Cali and Duke 
 Our dogs Duke (right) and Cali turn 9 this month. It's hard to believe even they, being the youngest of our dogs, are seniors. It doesn't seem like that long ago when we found them. I remember it well. It was a cold January day in 2003. We made a trip up to our ranch taking our two dogs Einstein and Ellie with us. Our property is way out in the country. The mile long, dead end gravel road that leads to it has only a few scattered houses along the way. (Dead end roads are notorious for people dumping pets.) Some of the houses (like ours) are just weekend houses. As we pass the house just before you get to ours, we noticed 2 small red dogs huddled together on our neighbor's porch. Our neighbors were not there and we knew these dogs weren't theirs. We immediately thought "uh-oh...what are those dogs doing there?" We went ahead to the house & let our dogs out of the truck. We went for a walk around the property and as we returned to the house, here comes the two red dogs. We put our dogs inside the house. Cali came up first wagging her tail. Duke followed behind, cowering and ran under the porch only sticking his head out periodically. They were about nine months old, hungry and scared. Both apparently from the same litter. Duke had an injury to his head and back end but other than that they seemed pretty healthy. After petting them and giving them something to eat, we let our dogs out to meet them. Ellie started to chase them off but we told her to stop and she obliged. They did their dog greetings and there was no problem. We figured someone must have dumped them off on our road and they went to the first house they saw (where other dogs didn't chase them off). We don't know how long they had been there. We usually only went on weekends. We couldn't leave them there. We had to take them back home to the city with us!

Once we got them in the truck and then back home, we noticed that they did not have much experience traveling in a vehicle, had ever been inside a house (everything was new and scary!) and were not used to the city life. They were country dogs. We took them to the veterinarian right away to get checked out, their shots and they got spayed and neutered. The original plan was to find them a home as we already had two dogs. Well, it didn't take long at all and that plan went out the window. We fell in love with them and couldn't give them away! They settled into the indoor-city-life just fine!

Chloe turns 14 this month. She was 3 years old when we adopted her from our veterinary clinic. They had several cats that were needing homes and Chloe (formerly known as Ethel) caught my eye. She came from a home that had too many cats. They took her out the cage for me to hold and that was that. She found her new home!.