Pet Food Recalls, Safety and Health
The 2007 Pet Food Recalls were a huge wake-up call for many pet owners…at least for a while anyway. May people simply fell back into the complacency of yore, forgetting all about it if their pets were not the ones who died a painful death from the tainted food or they simply switched to a new brand of food believing only the recalled food was a problem. Many people have mistakenly assumed since there were no more MAJOR pet food recalls that the food how someone become “safe” once again.
The more you depend on forces outside of yourself, the more you are dominated by them. ~Harold Sherman
However, the recent recalls have once again brought this topic to the forefront and also present another opportunity for me to once again state some of the facts that while they ought to be obvious, our human tendency is to push to the recesses of our minds anything that may appear to be an inconvenience for us, even if it means the health and well being of our pets – at least until something either happens to our own pet or a another large recall such as is happening now once again forces us to pay attention.
My desire is to convey the following:
1.This is not food. It is processed junk manufactured for the convenience of pet owners and the profit of pet food manufacturers (and all others who stand to gain economically from this junk) masquerading as health, quality, convenience and affordability all in one.
2. Because this is not really “food”, it cannot ever be balanced, complete, healthy, or even safe for our beloved pets.
3. The standards that most of the public believe are in place to insure the safety and quality of this processed junk give great liberty to the interpretation of the guidelines for the benefit of the manufacturers NOT the consumer. The enforcers of these standards really have no power to enforce anything but only to merely suggest the manufacturers clean up their act!
4. These same manufacturers teach your veterinarians about this food – and that is the ONLY nutritional training veterinarians are required to receive.
5. Your veterinarian profits from your pets being sick not from them being well. Plus they have a license to protect as we’ve stated previously. This is dangled over their heads like the proverbial carrot particularly when they stray from within the confines of their governing bodies limits.
6. This whole “health care” cartel is a spin doctor lie designed for you to spend your hard earned income to help you slowly kill your own beloved pets while telling you it is for their health. The public and the veterinary profession have been thoroughly indoctrinated to believe the tangled web of deception spun by the pet food industry.
7. Safety is not the concern of the pet food industry: sales are their primary concern.
8. There are so-called “experts” who will tell you why only kibble is for modern, domesticated dogs and cats (as if they have somehow evolved into kibble-vores). These “experts” usually have a vested interest in disseminating these lies as truth and I believe they truly do in fact believe these lies to be the gospel truth.
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. ~Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minister for Adolf Hitler
Unfortunately the pet food industry has now gotten HEAVILY involved in the “health care” plan for your pets as Dogs Naturally Magazine recently wrote about in their article “Surplus Vets and Questionable Marketing”.
All the more reason for us to be doing our due diligence by not buying into and supporting the ideals portrayed through this excessive marketing designed to rob you of your money and your pets of their health. Having veterinarians indoctrinated within their educational system to support the commercial pet food agenda helps to encourage and perpetuate the myth of “health” through commercial pet food as most of the public have surrendered any responsibility for the health of their pets to their veterinarians allowing them to dictate what is good or isn’t good for their pets; believing them regardless if it makes any true sense or not. White Coat Syndrome is good for business for both the veterinary profession and the pet food industry who manufactures so-called “prescription” foods for veterinarians to “prescribe” for their patients.
Let’s start with the recent recalls, then we’ll discuss what is in pet food in a limited fashion, and then show how feeding an unnatural diet starting from birth leads to debilitating problems, pain and disease in our pets. Lastly we’ll briefly discuss the solution: a natural raw diet for our carnivore pets.
Since 2007 there have been over one thousand recalls proving these products are never going to be safe. They never have been and they never will be. They are only “safe” according to their own governing body and the liberal laws that allow them to state they are “safe”. Also most of this food has already been out and in the marketplace for six months at the least with no way to track where they currently are. Obviously this is not fresh food, so then how could such a denatured, overcooked, with lots of additives, preservatives, and synthetics “food” ever be considered healthy for our pets?
For now these recalls have been voluntary not mandatory as was the case in the 2007 recall. Most of these brands are part of the Diamond Pet Food pet food manufacturing dynasty. Apparently these particular recalls are centered around salmonella contamination that is effecting the pet owners not the pets – or very few pets at any rate. Interestingly enough this little bacteria is what these same pet food manufacturers always claim is a major problem with raw feeding. Most of the dogs and cats are (not surprisingly) NOT having a problem with the salmonella as no pets have been reported as sick only pet owners. My colleague, Dr. Jeannie Thomason and I wrote an article for Dogs Naturally Magazine about salmonella that should shed more light on this bacteria: https://www.aspenbloompetcare.com/salmonella.pdf
Here is the current list of the recalled pet foods at the time this article was written:
– Chicken Soup For the Pet Lover’s Soul
– Country Value
– Diamond Naturals
– Kaytee Fort-Diets
– Natural Balance
– Premium Edge
– Taste Of The Wild
Notice they have different names, labeling and packaging but they are all from the same manufacturer. You may be thinking you are purchasing a certain brand of pet food that possibly even “holistic” but there would be two things wrong with that thinking: 1) there is no such thing as a processed food being “holistic” (that shows a very grave lack of knowledge about the meaning of the word), and 2) there are very few manufacturers as most of these brands are owned by big agribusinesses therefore the same basic ingredients are going into all of them. Pet food labels are very deceptive in particular when it comes to the nutritional value of their product. While there is “analytical data” available as is required by law, and the information is in its context actually true, it does not share the deceptive part of what that law is actually requiring or what the manufacturer is actually providing as content within their “food”. It is all part of the spin doctoring taking place. One big example is what is called “natural flavoring”. Because the information behind this particular ingredient is considered “proprietary” the manufacturers do not have to state exactly what that “natural flavoring” is. It can be and often is MSG (monosodium glutamate).
Reading a label today on a package of pet food can be very deceiving to the average pet owner who doesn’t know how to look for the deceptive names created to hide what the public has come to know is harmful for us and their pets. Even if a pet owner does know, the fact that these ingredients are allowed because they fall within the liberal confines of the law doesn’t lend any comfort. For example if the company purchases an ingredient from another source outside of their own ingredients, and that ingredient contains a known carcinogen, they are not required by the law to put that information on the label of the package.
A few years ago Dr. Jeannie Thomason and I wrote an article on this topic for Animal Wellness Magazine that will elaborate further on this elaborate deception: https://www.aspenbloompetcare.com/Be_a_Label_Detective.pdf
BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, sodium metabisulfite and TBHQ. These are just a few of the possible preservatives. Our article above will give you more on the actual ingredient list but I specifically wanted to just take a limited view of what else is inside of pet food besides actual “food” – even if that “food” is primarily waste that should be thrown out and not fed to any living thing. The chemicals listed above are typically used to manufacture embalming fluid, rubber products, petroleum products, pesticides, disinfectants, etc.
Ethoxyquin is extremely toxic and not allowed in human food at all, yet it remains as a regular ingredient of packaged “foods” fed to pets.
Sodium Metabisulfite must be handled wearing hazmat suits and respirators. BHA and BHT are known carcinogens. As little as five grams of TBHQ can cause death. While all of these ingredients have strict restrictions in human food, they are allowed with few if any restrictions in pet food and pet treats. Yes, let’s not forget all those treats we indulge our pets with.
In 1991, Australian veterinarian, Dr. Tom Lonsdale, author of the books Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones and Raw Meaty Bones: Promote Health wrote an article for the Post Graduate Committee in Veterinary Science entitled “Oral Disease in Cats and Dogs”.
Dr. Lonsdale wrote this article out of obvious frustration at the growing amount of “stench of stale blood, dung and pus emanating from the mouths of so many patients”. He felt and I believe still feels (we have been privileged to have him as our guest a number of times on our internet radio show Animal Talk Naturally) that this is “mindless cruelty” that we thrust upon our companion animals by feeding them this processed junk we call “pet food” from “whelping box to the grave”.
Puppies and kittens cut their baby teeth (deciduous) at approximately two to six weeks of age. Let’s say the parents are conventionally reared (kibble-fed, vaccinated, with pesticides used as “preventatives”) and then the puppies or kittens are then weaned to kibble, chances are they will begin life with gingivitis. Being fed this unnatural diet to their carnivore state (underneath their skin dogs are still wolves and cats are still lions) prevents their natural desire to want to gnaw, tear, rip, shred when eating. In other words they become complacent kibble swallowers as dogs and cats do not have the proper jaw structure to “chew” their food as they have hinge jaws designed to rip, tear, shred and pulverize their prey and then swallow it. Their saliva is for sliding the food down into the stomach where they begin to digest the food in direct contrast to humans whose digestion begins in the mouth. The lack of proper dental exercise for our pets weakens the gums allowing gaps for fur, kibble/canned food scraps and other debris to begin to take up residence in the gums causing the decay from this tender age to begin. By not giving them the proper start through a species appropriate raw diet for their carnivore nature when the baby teeth fall out, the adult teeth “erupt into a soup of blood, pus and saliva. The gingivitis is now well established and not infrequently one finds a young kitten or puppy with a complete set of deciduous teeth hanging from inflamed gingival shreds,” states Dr. Lonsdale.
Not only does this lead to a lifetime of a diseased and painful mouth, but if the mouth is diseased inevitably the rest of the body will follow suit – one or multiple organs at a time until demise. Logic states quite simply that feeding any animal what they were created and designed to eat is common sense. However, apparently marketing is the modern logic rather than common sense – but it doesn’t have to remain so, the choice is still ours to make.
I’ve encountered so many people that are very mindful of their own health and nutrition, knowing full well that processed junk foods are dangerous and unhealthy for them but never giving a second thought to how they malnourish their own beloved pets by feeding processed junk foods. There is a very obvious disconnect thanks to overly effective marketing of pet foods as well as the thorough indoctrination of the veterinary profession which said pet owners rely on solely for health information for their pets. The time has come for each pet owner to advocate for their pets themselves and that can only happen when apathy is put in its grave with responsible action through education becoming the rule rather than the exception.
To quote a member of our dog group, Sandee “Feeding a species appropriate diet is only difficult and complicated from a pet food manufacturer’s point of view! Actually the makers of prepared raw and dehydrated diets buy into that also by guaranteeing their foods are “perfectly balanced” and then adding a ton of carbs and other foods and supplements inappropriate for a carnivore. Not only are those diets not healthy, they eliminate the wonderful physical, mental and most importantly, the dental benefits of eating nice whole foods. Carnivores get everything required for their nutritional needs in the meat, bones and organs of their prey. That’s all that is necessary for a balanced diet and is so simple to accomplish.”
I concur wholeheartedly! It is not hard or complicated to feed a species appropriate diet. The benefits far outweigh any potential “hardships” on your part. After all the hardships pets have had to endure eating nothing but processed junk food and paying the penalty through their lifelong (albeit shortened lives) health problems, it is not optional that we continue to wrestle with or question this any longer. It is actually imperative in fact that we all begin to honor our companion animals – and all animals – by caring for them according to THEIR needs not according to our desired convenience. It is actually so simple you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. To see your dog or cat eat with relish, enjoying the food they were designed anatomically and physiologically to eat (regardless of what the pet food industry, veterinary industry or any other industry with vested interests have to say to the contrary) and thriving is all the motivation any of us should need to provide for them in this way.
*Few if any veterinary visits required
*Shiny, soft coats
*No body odor
*Small feces with a lot less odor!
*Clean, white teeth – no doggie or kitty breath
*Calm and happy pets – the best reason of all!
If you are unsure about how to transition your own pets to a species appropriate raw diet, then seek out guidance from an animal naturopath, a natural rearing breeder, or someone who has been doing it long enough and is willing to take you under their wing. Alternatively you can do your own research as there are a lot of resources available on the internet for you to learn. I have a resource page available on my own website with videos, audios, articles, and links to educational websites that you are free to access if you desire to learn this on your own: https://www.aspenbloompetcare.com/pet-resources/raw-feeding-information.
Before you know it, you will be helping others learn and to do likewise to the benefit and well being of the animals.
J. KEITH BENEDICT,D.V.M.: I suppose we veterinarians who do a lot of work with skin and hair problems ought to thank the commercial pet food manufacturers for all the business they create for us.
S. ALLEN PRICE, D.V.M.: “Almost all-if not, indeed, all-cases of hypertension can be traced, I believe, to the commercial foods.
RICHARD J. KEARNS, D.V.M.: “We can get most of our animals with heart problems off drugs, when people go along with me in using natural foods and natural supplements.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Copyright 2013 Aspenbloom, Dr. Kim Bloomer, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author/Publisher. This article is intended to be educational. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a qualified animal health professional. Dr. Kim Bloomer and Aspenbloom Pet Care, do not assume any legal responsibility for misuse of the products discussed in this article.
Dr. Kim Bloomer is a certified animal naturopath consulting on canine and feline nutrition and wellness. In addition, Dr. Kim is a proficient blogger, writer, speaker and presenter on natural pet care as well as the Co-Founder of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy. She is the author/co-author of three books including Animals Taught Me That and the newest Essential Oils in Animal Care: A Naturopathic Approach co-authored with her two colleagues. Dr. Kim’s articles have been featured in various publications in both print and online. Visit her Website:www.AspenbloomPetCare.com
PHOTO ATTRIBUTION: Meshach the Great Dane by Dr. Kim Bloomer. Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved.