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Dog Food Article Horrible!!

4902 Views 84 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  oliversmom
While searching the web for a new pet food supplier (see I came across this horrible article. It's tells about the dog food industry. It's well worth reading!
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Ok I'll put my flame suit on for this one, but I'll stick up for the veterinarians in regards to Science Diet, Eukaneuba, Purina, IVD, Royal Canine etc...

Doctors are scientists. They don't go by fads, media, or labels claiming "all natural" or "no by products". They make their best professional nutrition recommendations based on the research that is available regarding daily and prescription diets.

If a vet recommends a food that hasn't gone through extensive testing to a client, and the dog becomes ill and dies or becomes sick, it is the vet's fault for recommending a bad food. Therefore, a vet can only make recommendations for foods that they can scientifically vouch for and are backed up by years of research and testing that is done by other scientists and veterinary nutritionists. As far as foods that appear to be good by the label, that's all they can say or vouch for. It "sounds good". But since there's no testing, they won't put their license on the line for it, and they won't recommend you put your dog's health on the line for it either.

This same rule appies to medications. Would a veterinarian prescribe a drug that has been unapproved for medical use? Even if it has been lauded by the general public, and someone (not a doctor) has written a few articles praising it and demoting their tried and true medications? No way, that's practicing irresponsible medicine and a malpractice lawsuit in the making.

Food is much the same way.

Only a handful of companies have done the scientific testing to show the medical community that their foods are safe and contain the right balance of nutrients and ingredients. These are the companies who veterinarians have no choice but to recommend based on the information that is available.

I am sure that if some of the fad diet or organic diet companies put the time and money into the R&D that it takes to do a scientific study, that veterinarians would take them more seriously. Since they cannot market their foods through this route, they instead appeal to the general public who is always a sucker for the "all natural" "no additivies" "no by products" deal. I know I am.

So, before we all scorn our vets for promoting Science Diet, and believe that there is a big conspiracy going on, consider this: your veterinarians job is to practice good medicine and make recommendations for your pets well being based on good science. To do otherwise is NOT sound practice, and while ABC brand of dog food MAY be better, they have not put forth the effort to prove it to the medical community, so instead they go after the companies that have.

The veterinarian is not necessarily there to make money, in fact they are the lowest paid doctors of all. The pet food industry, however, IS out to make a buck. I would trust a good vet over an article I read on the web any and every day.

Thanks for listening to my 2cents.

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punky said:
I can only reply with the article by the Animal Protection Institute which clearly states they don not sell nor recommend food, only the labels to watch and ingredients. They are not the pet food industry.
Also the natural foods are not fad diets this information as been out for years, I just didn't know until now.
I did ask my Vet about "better" foods and he said they're all ok :cry: I trust him with Punky for healthcare but he's not a food expert. I also included some links to Vets opinions. Anyway the links I posted are just the tip of the iceberg and none of them are new. As I've been asking others, I almost feel like I'm in the dark ages because so many others already knew this and have changed their pets. I just see no reason to take a chance with Punky çause it's gonna be hard enough when her time comes so I'll do what I can to keep her around as long as possible.
BUT I really think it's a very individual choice and my intention was to pass on what was "new"news to me. No intention to offend anyone especially a whole profession.
Fad diets have also been around since the dark ages, but are still refered to as "fad diets" by vets because of their verbage and use of "all natural" marketing. Anyhow, I was not stirring a debate, just providing a background on why vets recommend certain diets, and not others. Believe me, there are no "kick-backs" and it is NOT cheaper for our hospital to order Science Diet vs. another brand. What IS to our advantage with science diet is that they provide free veterinary consulatations to staff veterinarians and frequently publish in medical journals regarding veterinary nutrtition research. This is a resource that is much needed, and not provided by any other means. They also continue to keep current on prescription diets to meet the needs of animals with lifetime ailments such as kidney disease, food allergy, and diabetes.

If you can trust Science Diet to make a diet correctly formulated for a dog with chronic liver disease (there are no others, by the way), why wouldn't their normal adult diets be any less trustworthy?

Again, just giving the other side so that those who are on the fence can make a better decision on what their dogs eat and the level of trust they have with their veterinarians.

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Just because Eukaneuba contains by-products does not mean it is not a good diet for your dog. Punky, I appreciate your passion for all natural dog foods, but going against a veterinary nutritionist's recommendations is something that I cannot endorse. Bashing foods made by major companies with scientific research backing based on your own research is also not necessary.

I too feed Wellness to my dogs, but I don't preach it as the be all to end all dog foods, nor do I scorn any food that has ingredients that are "sub-par". I would trust Science Diet or Eukaneuba or IVD or VMD or Waltham to provide the right balance of nutrients and appropriate protein sources for everday dog foods. Afterall, these companies also produce specialized diets for liver, kidney failure, urinary problems, diabetes, allergies, and weight loss. If their basic diets cannot be trusted, why are their prescription diets also approved and trusted by so many doctors? The FDA's CVM works with AAFCO to develop standards for nutrtition, and in order to be certified, manufacturers must first show they meet these standards scientifically, and then back it up with appropriate testing. Beward of foods that say they "fit the AAFCO profile" for nutrition. This does not mean they are certified.

Here is a link from the FDA:

A good article by a veterinarian about pet food labels:

Why do I feed Wellness/Natural Balance then?
My dogs love it, and I would rather them eat than not eat at all. From the ingredients and experience, Wellness appears to be a great food. But I say appears because it hasn't been tested. This means my dogs are the lab rats, but it's a risk at this point that I have been forced to take.

Several "MYTH'S" Taken from (written by veterinary nutritionists) with regards to pet diets:

Pet Food Myths

Homemade diets are nutritionally better and healthier than commercially prepared foods.

Unless properly formulated by a nutritionist, diets made at home are not likely to be nutritionally complete and balanced. The nutritional profile of any diet—including homemade diets—depends on how the recipe was formulated, the nutrient content of the ingredients, and how the owner prepares the diet. Homemade diets may also contain contaminants and food-borne microbes if the owner is not as careful as he or she is about his or her own foods.

Federally regulated, commercially prepared foods have processing methods and quality assurance programs that limit the potential of food-borne illnesses in pets and offer guarantees, a nutritional profile, and bioavailability.

Preservatives cause cancer and other diseases.

There is no scientific evidence to support the often repeated claim that preservatives cause cancer. In fact, just the opposite may be true, as preservatives added to pet foods can help prevent the formation of cancer-causing compounds.

Do ingredients really matter to pets?

To most of the pets consuming commercially prepared pet foods... NO! The final nutrient profile of a pet food is most important factor in meeting your pet’s daily nutritional needs. If the food meets your pet’s nutrient profile, it does not matter whether the sources of those nutrients are beef, chicken or soybean. The liver does not care whether it is receiving the necessary essential amino acids for protein synthesis from chicken by product meal, tofu, or a protein hydroslate.

The ingredients do however affect taste. The very best nutrient profile is of no use if the animal will not consume the food. Most pets do not refuse most foods: look at the incidence of obesity in our pet population. Most pet foods are designed to be very palatable because repeat sales of pet food are for the most part dependent upon the owner thinking the pet “likes” the food. This “race” for the most palatable food in the market is in part responsible for the most common nutritional problem in pets... obesity.

Do ingredients really matter to pet owners?

Yes, apparently they do. The pet food marketing teams are playing that card for all it’s worth and in any direction necessary to make a sale, hence the importance of naming the product. Also note the advertising statements that a product “does not contain soy, corn, or wheat”; such statements imply there is something wrong with these ingredients and hence the foods containing them. In fact, there are no problems associated with these ingredients unless your pet demonstrates allergic reactions to them.

When does the ingredient list really matter?

Knowing the ingredient list only really matters when a pet has a food “allergy,” better described as food hypersensitivity. The incidence of true food hypersensitivity in the dog and cat population is not exactly known, but several published studies estimate the incidence to be less than 10%.

Pet foods contain fat and fat-soluble vitamins that readily oxidize when exposed to air. Fat oxidation produces toxic compounds called peroxides that can disrupt cell membranes—and loss of cell membrane integrity has been linked to some types of cancer. Preservatives protect the fat and vitamins from oxidizing in the presence of air.

Those of you who know me know that I go by tried, true, scientific facts and recommendations by doctors. 2 things are certain:
1. Doctors do NOT recommend home-cooking meals for dogs without the consulation of a veterinary nutritionist to formulate a specialized and
ingredients for your animal.
2. Doctors do NOT recommend foods produced by companies that have not PROVEN their foods are safe or include the right balance of nutrients and appropriate protein sources. Following an AAFCO profile (as in the case with Wellness, Solid Gold, etc...) is a good thing, but AAFCO certification is even better, and a recommendation by a veterinarian is the best.
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The whole idea with the danger of various protein sources is that there is not really that they will develop a food allergy, it has to do more with the availbility of these protein sources.

Currently, the vast population of dogs feed on foods that are mainly chicken, and beef product (and recently lamb). Many times, the food allergies that dogs have involve the protein source, which is why foods like IVD have diets like rabbit, duck, venison. They are not "allergy diets" per se, but instead have ingredients that from different sources than normal dog foods.

Now is feeding your dog food that has fish, or duck in it bad for them? No, not really, in fact it's quite nice to have a variety of protein sources in the diet. Mandy is right, it does increase the possibility of a food allergy, but you will know if it does cause one.

Why is feeding your dog a variety of protein sources bad? It's not really bad for your dog if they aren't allergic, in fact it may be good. But it's bad in the long run for other dogs. The only reason (I've asked a dozen vet nutritionists this question) is that there is only so much availability of protein sources out there, with chicken, beef, and lamb being the most available. If dogs without allergies consume all the other protein sources like duck, rabbit, and venison, there may not be much supply left to feed those with allergies. In addition, if dogs are exposed to all of these protein sources and become allergic by continued exposure, what protein source will be left to feed these dogs? We'll have to start looking elsewhere for meat like Kangaroo, horse, pork, etc...

Hopefully that makes a little sense. This is why many of the alternative protein foods are prescription only, to make sure that the protein sources are not wasted on dogs without allergy.

I think that a little fish mixed in with the other protein sources can be a great addition to the diet since Omega-3's are key, but I wouldn't switch them to an all duck or rabbit diet just for the heck of it.

If you have any other questions, ask your vet about it or I can try to answer them.

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Punky's mom, I'm a veterinary student with years of experience as a veterinary technician. I've done a lot of research as well in various areas so my background in the field is pretty good =)

Glad I can help out! -Nate
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