Saturday, September 13, 2008

News to get used to these days: Another recall issued today

Our monthly e-newsletter is due again this coming Tuesday, so I started working on that today. In it in the past I informed our subscribers once in a while of important on-goings concerning recall happenings related to pet nutrition. I also read about an hour ago in one of my on-line news feeds that there’s again some important recall info to report about. Hence I decided to make the “recall alert” in future a permanent, shared column in our e-news, this blog and our forum.
Now to today’s news: The Associated Press reported today 09/12/08 at around 11 P.M. EST:
“Mars Petcare US announced a voluntary recall Friday of all dry pet food products produced at its plant in Everson, Pa. between Feb. 18 and July 29, citing potential contamination with salmonella. Mars, in a news release, did not say how much pet food is involved, but said the recall reaches 31 states and various brands and said the action was taken as a precaution. "Even though no direct link between products produced at the Everson plant and human or pet illness has been made, we are taking this precautionary action to protect pets and their owners," the company statement said. Mars said it stopped production at the plant July 29 when it was alerted of a possible link between dry pet food produced in Everson and two isolated cases of people infected with salmonella. Mars said salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats and, if there is cross contamination caused by handling of the pet food, in humans also.
The company said consumers should look for "17" as the first two digits of the second line on the UPC for products affected. For Pedigree products, they should look for "PAE" on the bottom line. They can also call 1-877-568-4463 or consult
The brand names include some items under the names Country Acres, Retriever, Doggy Bag, Members Mark, Natural, Ol' Roy, Special Kitty, Paws & Claws, Pedigree, Wegman's, Pet Pride, PMI Nutrition and Red Flannel.”

I hope that I am right with my assumption that nobody within our blog community has to call the toll free number listed above. After all, we all are educated, health conscious people and certainly would not feed our pets the products named in the recall. Additionally I find it very sad that some things just never seem to change. All the names listed to me sound like I’ve heard them many times before in connection to the same problem: Recalls.

Related to this, I also found other news today interesting:
According to the FDA “Chinese newspapers report that some infant formula has been linked to kidney problems and kidney stones in babies in China because the formula contains melamine, the same industrial contaminant from China that poisoned and killed thousands of U.S. dogs and cats last year. Sanlu Group, the major Chinese dairy that produced the formula, has recalled 700 tons of the product, State Xinhua News Agency reported today.
No baby formula approved for use in the USA is manufactured in China, the FDA says. "We want to reassure the public that there's no contamination in the domestic supply of infant formula," says Janice Oliver, deputy of operations at the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. In addition, no U.S. manufacturers or marketers of infant formula receive ingredients from China. "We contacted all of them," Oliver says. The FDA is concerned that illegal infant formula may be sold in Asian and ethnic markets. It happened in 2004, when fake formula from China, which killed dozens of babies there, was found in at least one U.S. store. "None of this should be in the United States. We're not aware of anyone finding it here, but knowing that it happened once before, we want to get the word out," Oliver says.”
Reports in the Chinese news media say that as many as 60 babies have been admitted to hospitals with kidney stones and that the illnesses have been linked to powdered formula made by Sanlu. At least one baby has died.
To refresh everybody’s memory: Melamine, a byproduct of plastic manufacturing, can be used to mimic high-protein additives. In 2007, the discovery that pet food was causing kidney disease and death in dogs and cats across North America led to the largest pet food recall in U.S. history. Melamine and a related chemical, cyanuric acid, had been added to grain products in China to fraudulently increase their apparent protein content, making them appear to be gluten. The products were sold as gluten to U.S. and Canadian pet food manufacturers. Veterinary pathologists established that the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid caused crystals to form in the urinary tracts of animals.
In closing I have to say: These Chinese guys are strange dudes: First they try to kill our pets, now their own babies. What’s next? And I kind of agree with a reader’s comment I found on Huliq News: “It's amazing to me that such things happen in China; apparently they don't have the sort of oversight we have here (and which, even here, sometimes fails). Yet despite this, we continue to outsource our manufacturing to China. Why? Oh, right, corporate greed as well as the need to get the lowest price at any cost. Gotcha.” I do have a problem though with his comments on “oversight”. I wouldn’t say “sometimes fails”, I’d say “too often fails”.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mysterious Pet Food Labeling

Today's post requires a little introduction. An edited version was published in this year's July issue in a column I'm writing for "Paw Prints, The Magazine". This is a lifestyle magazine for pet owners published by Dale Smith and his wife Stacy in Kansas City, MO. We have a great relationship with this nice pet loving couple and help each other out to promote our businesses and products. In addition, they are generously giving me the opportunity to let my opinion known in a magazine column. If anybody is interested in the magazine shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you a complimentary free copy (comes with a couple food samples) or visit the Smith's website at Trust me, it's worth your time.
Anyway, here we go:

An accredited veterinary nutritionist at a pet nutrition conference once defined high quality pet food as “a high quality diet that is complete, balanced, palatable, digestible and safe.” While this seems to cover all the bases for those knowledgeable on the subject, it hardly helps a pet owner standing in a dry food aisle of their local grocery or pet store studying and comparing pet food labels. And the label is where the confusion really starts.

Just like food for people, pet foods must be labeled correctly. Surprisingly pet food labeling rules are much stricter than those for human foods. Good, one thinks, that’s going to help. As a minimum the front panel is to include the product name or brand, the “Cat” or “Dog” designation and the content net weight. The back panel label at a minimum must include an ingredient listing, a guaranteed analysis, nutritional adequacy claim, feeding instructions, indication as to who is manufacturing the food and a manufacturer’s customer service contact. Really simple, right?

The front panel is a no-brainer. Beef is beef. But did you know that a “Beef Dog Food” must be 95% beef, a “Beef Formula” only requires 25% beef, a “Beef & Potato Dinner” requires only 25% beef and 3% potato, a “Dog Food with Beef” gets by with 3% beef content and a “Dog Food with Beef Flavor” just needs to be beef flavored enough so that a dog thinks it contains beef.
Another requirement is that whatever is listed on the package MUST be included in the food. So if the bag proudly promises “contains Vitamin C”, then there’s Vitamin C in the food, even if it is only 0.000001% (which, by the way, wouldn’t matter either as a dog doesn’t need Vitamin C - they produce Vitamin C through their own internal system).

Thanks to the Association of American Feed Control officials there is a requirement of an “Ingredient Listing”. This clearly tells us the true story by listing all ingredients in descending order, by weight without showing the actual weight. But what is the importance of knowing the actual weight? Suppose, for example, that beef is listed as the first ingredient, causing you to think it is the primary ingredient. Look again. If it is followed by wheat flour, wheat germ, wheat middlings and so on, the combined wheat products may very well total much more than the beef. This is one tactic used by manufacturers to disguise less desirable ingredients. Breaking an ingredient into several different smaller ingredients and listing them individually is used to lower undesirable ingredients farther down the ingredient list.

But how about the “Guaranteed Analysis”? The famous regulatory requirement for pet food that refers to minimum or maximum values of key nutrients (such as minimum protein and fat) as well as the maximum fiber and water content. Note that it only has to list “crude” nutrients. "Crude" refers to the total protein content, not necessarily the amount of protein that is actually digestible. What this means is that this is only a crude protein percentage, and fat amounts are rough guides. The actual amounts depend upon the ingredients and their quality.

The amount of moisture in a food is important, especially when you are comparing foods. A food containing 24% protein and 10% moisture would have the same protein per serving as a food with 24% protein listed on the label but only 6% moisture. Keep in mind that you are buying more water instead of food.

While the guaranteed analysis is a start in understanding the quality of the food, be very careful about relying on it too much. This will make you think: A pet food manufacturer made a mock product that had a guaranteed analysis of 10% protein, 6.5% fat, 2.4% fiber, and 68% moisture, similar to what you see on many canned pet food labels. The only problem was that the ingredients were old leather work boots, used motor oil, crushed coal, and water!

Let’s dedicate a couple thoughts to weight information. Maybe one day someone will explain to me why the net content weight is measured in pounds, but the amount to feed our dogs is in grams. Or why the cup size for measuring calorie content is different from the one used to measure for feeding. Or does the manufacturer who recommends feeding measured in cups really not want us to compare pricing with his competitor who feeds in ounces? And does the statement: “distributed by…” mean the food is “manufactured” in places still very easily crossing our mind when we think about the history’s largest pet food recall during Spring of 2007? It seems like the only thing easy to understand on pet food labels is the “Dog” or “Cat” food designation. Not much room for interpretation there.

The bottom line is you have to do your homework. This requires time and effort and certainly cannot be done in front of the food shelves in the market. Check out the internet or visit your local library. Researching pet food may take some time on your part, but I’m sure your healthy pet is worth it to you. Don’t be afraid of asking questions from the pet food stores and manufacturers. If they have nothing to hide they will provide you the information you need in order to make an educated decision. Tip: Ask for a “Dry Matter Analysis”, the only way to reliably compare dog food with dog food instead of comparing garbage with dog food.

Labeling standards for the pet food industry since the mid fifties have come a long way but they sure have a long way to go. I can’t help but think about some pet food manufacturers by recalling a statement once made by the great Leonardo Da Vinci: "Man has great power of speech, but the greater part thereof is empty and deceitful. The animals have little, but that little is useful and true; and better is a small and certain thing than a great falsehood." This applied to pet food labels would be a great step in the right direction.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pet section in the daily newspaper: Everything about and around pets like dogs going in circles, allergies and marriages

Finding and reading everything about pets is substantial part of my job as the Pet Food Examiner and General Manager at This includes following the pet section in the daily newspaper as well in order to learn just as much as I possibly can to do my job effectively and provide the very best service to our customers. Doing so, one really sees a lot of different things, it seems like being in space, you discover every day something new and it seems to be endless. Just today once again I was thinking about the amazing variety of things coming up.
Like the woman who was worried that something would be wrong with her dog. Her dog turns circles before going to the bathroom. I observe my dogs and have been observing dogs since I was a child. The fact that most of them do that never struck me as being something suspicious and to be worried about. But that’s me, I thought it’s just normal. However I do understand if someone owns a dog for the first time in his life, such behavior may cause concern. It also shows that they are monitoring their dog very closely and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And Dr. Lisa Radosta, a board certified veterinary behaviorist (I didn’t even know there is such a job, I told you one never is done learning) agrees with me in her answer, saying that behavior is normal. Well, based on her title and education required to earn such a title she should know for sure. So I take her input as reliable advise. However I stopped reading when she attempted to come up with ideas on how to prevent such a behavior, like avoiding the places where the dog circles, and on and on. Why? Why do we think we have to make an animal act just as we please to see it acting? Let nature go its way… Let our dogs circle, that’s the way it is.
The other woman had two dogs, unfortunately both used to suffer from allergies. After extensive investigation and research apparently it turned out to be the feeding bowls she was using to feed her Australian terrier. After she switched from the plastic bowl to a stainless steel one, voila, the allergy was cured within a month and the dog lived happily and healthy to be 18 years old. Her poodle had allergies too, his case was quite different. It took 6 months of feeding lentils and sweet potatoes until he was freed of his disease. Great news, I certainly will add the bowl tip to my list of information I may at my own discretion pass on to my customers. I’m not so sure about the lentils though. It always worries me when I hear about pet owners feeding a carnivore non meat based proteins, it just doesn’t quite correspond to nature’s intentions and setup. Dr. Michael Fox, who answered this inquiry didn’t say anything about the lentils. He agreed on the bowl solution though. And he also advised to stay away from long term steroid treatments to cure the problems. Thanks doc.
In today’s third inquiry someone recommended Feliway for male cats suffering from separation anxiety. Dr. Fox thinks it’s a great product, I don’t know yet what it is and does for my cats, if I absolutely must have it and what it’s made from, but I promise I will check it out. Maybe it’s something I can use to help my Tiger with his obsessive licking disorder. I’ll take anything to fix that.
Finally, it just so happened that today’s pet section was printed on the left side of the page while the right side featured the column about human relationships. That one I usually don’t read, but today’s headline sparked my interest. “Marriage gone to the bowwows” it said and some female married reader was complaining that her husband pays more attention to their dog than to her. It’s so bad that by now her husband with the dog sleep in the bed and she sleeps o the couch. And the husband even prepares the dog’s food from the scratch. Now that’s my kind of guy. Doing the right thing when feeding his pet. As to the relationship aspect of the inquiry, I don’t think I have neither advise for that nor anything in my pet food store to help. Sorry. Stick with “Abby” and do as she recommends in her answer: Try professional counseling. Just make sure you guys never change the way you feed your dog.
As I said, pets make for great conversation and open up a wide universe of questions and answers. I just love my job.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is your dog conditioned correctly?

The other day I talked about and was looking for advise on how to overcome a finicky pet when switching to a new diet. This article was about reacting to a problem when it is too late. What I am asking today is, could the pet becoming finicky have been avoided? In my research on the subject I came across Dr. Morgens Eliasen, a coach, lecturer and education systems developer. He in his newsletter comes to some interesting conclusions on this subject. His advise goes as far as the very drastic sounding “It is better not to feed your pet every day.” In a nutshell, the following includes some of his arguments and outlines the common mistakes pet owners tend to make.
First mistake: Carnivores like our companion animals are not meant to be fed on time. In addition they are not built to take in the same food every time they eat. Carnivores are genetically programmed for variation in both, food composition and timing of feeding. Unfortunately, our companion animals are very fast to adjust to a regular feeding schedule and to a specific food composition. However, such a programmed lifestyle also causes problems. They start with the animal being finicky and end with the more serious vomiting of bile and other signs of significant decrease in wellness.
Feeding an animal every day at the same time gets it conditioned to a predictable feeding schedule. This means all organs of the body will program themselves to start their function in the digestion process at that particular feeding time. Regardless whether feeding at that point takes place or not. Have you ever experienced on yourself that if you eat dinner every day at exactly the same time, you automatically get hungry at that time and your body doesn’t like it if it’s not being fed? Well, animals are no different. Interesting enough, this theory was documented and proven in experiments with dogs already back over a century ago. By the Russian physiologist, psychologist and physician Ivan Pavlov (1839 to 1936) who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for research pertaining to the digestive system. Pavlov is widely known for first describing the phenomenon of classical conditioning. In the 1890s, he was investigating the gastric function of dogs by externalizing a salivary gland so he could collect, measure and analyze the saliva and what response it had to food under different conditions. He noticed that the dogs tended to salivate before food coated with chili powder was actually delivered to their mouths, and set out to investigate this "psychic secretion", as he called it. He decided that this was more interesting than the chemistry of saliva, and changed the focus of his research, carrying out a long series of experiments in which he manipulated the stimuli occurring before the presentation of food. He thereby established the basic laws for the establishment and extinction of what he called "conditional reflexes" i.e., reflex responses, like salivation, that only occurred conditionally upon specific previous experiences of the animal.
Turning back to our lives today, if we suddenly change the feeding time for our pets in the midst of a long tradition of consistent feeding at predictable times we are doomed to create a problem. What’s the pet going to do with those excess digestive juices produced by the stomach at the programmed time? There is only one way: Get it out of the system by vomiting. After all, we are talking pretty strong chemicals being generated here and without food to neutralize them they will hurt the stomach by starting digestive processes of the stomach tissue.
The second mistake many pet owners make is conditioning their pets to a predictable food. This definitely refers to the problem of dealing with a “finicky” pet when switching diets from an unhealthy to a healthier diet (hopefully its never done the other way around). Is it really being finicky? Or is it instincts telling our pet that this new stuff is not going to work? Here is where I am coming from: I heard of many cases where the switching caused the pet to vomit. The owners then thought there was a problem with the new food. I am pleased to say that this always was the wrong conclusion. Until most recently kibble generally consisted and in many cases still continues to consist primarily of carbohydrates deriving from grain. To an extend of more than half and up to 70% of the weight of dry food is grain. By the way, this despite the fact that our companion animals are carnivores and grain has never been on the menu of Mother Nature’s natural diets. As a side note, the good news is that more and more manufacturers these days are introducing grain free formulas, at least one step in the right direction.
So what’s the actual problem here you want to know? Carbohydrates only can be digested in a dog’s stomach by enzymes. These enzymes only function well at pH levels close to neutral (pH 6 to 7). Thus they are very far from the very strong acidity (pH 1 to 2) required by the enzymes that digest raw meat. How does that translate into our dog’s life? If the dog has been programmed to expect a carbohydrates rich meal every day at 8 am, then the pancreas will produce lots of the enzymes required to digest these carbs, up to a pH level of let’s say around 6 at just shortly before 8 am every day. Now you “shock” the dog’s system by changing to a raw meat diet. Can you see it now? Everything is wrong: The enzymes available are for carb processing and not for raw meat and the pH level is way ways off. Still wonder why your dog doesn’t feel well? And, no, it’s not the new food, it’s that the dog was conditioned for the wrong food.
As a responsible pet owner you can avoid all these problems by simply conditioning your dog to the right conditions: Varied feeding times, which means feed your dog at different times every day. Keep in mind not to use shock therapy, i.e. do it slowly but steadily, for example start feeding an hour earlier for a week, then an hour later for another week, then go back to your old schedule, etc, and in between, even throw in a day of no feeding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In nature wolves sometimes have to go for days, even weeks before finding any prey and to me they all look just fine. Always remember to start out with feeding the dog earlier than his original preset time. This way the stomach is already full when feeding time comes around and there is no problem. Keep in mind, it does not take long to destroy your dog’s conditional reflexes. While it may have taken you 100 repetitions to establish a conditional reflex, it may only take you 2 to 5 times of breaking the rule to destroy it. If your dog is used to preset timing for years, it will in the very worst case only up to 4 weeks to eliminate the old harmful conditioning. And with regards to the enzymes: Once your dog is used to a varied feeding, his stomach will no longer produce digestive enzymes until the stomach realizes what kind of food it needs to digest. Pretty simple, isn’t it? And way healthier too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pet food scare tactics

I would love to hear what you have to say after you read the following. I found this advise on the website of one of the major commercial pet food manufacturer on the topic of feeding healthy (or better “Not that manufacturer’s”) food to our companion animals.
Start of quote: “Some pet owners forget that humans require a variety of foods to ensure the consumption of nutritionally balanced meals. A quality cat food has the proper balance of all the nutrients a cat requires together with a high level of palatability. Adding human food to a nutritionally balanced commercial cat food may upset the nutrient balance of the diet.
Milk is a food and not a substitute for water. As a food, milk is incomplete and does not provide a balanced diet. Milk contains lactose, which requires the enzyme lactase for breakdown in the intestinal tract. If the intestinal tract does not contain sufficient lactase, consumption of a high level of lactose can cause diarrhea.
Repeatedly adding raw eggs to a cat's diet can cause a deficiency of the vitamin biotin, which can lead to dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), loss of hair, and poor growth.
Some raw fish can cause a deficiency of the vitamin thiamine. Signs of a thiamine deficiency include anorexia (complete loss of appetite), abnormal posture, weakness, seizures, and even death.
Although we may associate meat or meat by-products with a cat's nutritional needs, it must be combined with other ingredients to provide complete nutrition. Raw meats may contain parasites, and cooked meats can be high in fat and do not contain a proper balance of nutrients.
Raw liver, fed daily in large quantities, can cause vitamin A toxicity in cats. Small soft bones (such as pork chop or chicken bones) should never be given to cats, as they may splinter and lodge in a pet's mouth or throat.
Supplements are not necessary when a normal, healthy cat is being fed a complete and balanced food. However, factors like feeding table scraps, inconsistent exercise or stressful changes in routine can leave cats with special nutritional needs.
Some pet owners believe that additional calcium, and possibly other minerals, should be added to the diets of pregnant and nursing females and growing puppies and kittens. It is true that more minerals are needed at these times, but they are normally obtained through increased consumption of a high quality, nutritionally balanced diet. Adding them out of proportion to other nutrients can contribute to skeletal deformities and other problems.
Finally, table scraps will not provide the balanced diet which cats require. Table scraps should not be fed.” End of quote.
So far I understand: “Don’t you dare to feed anything else but our brand. Otherwise your pet may end up sick, in a wheel chair or even dead.” Boy, I am soo scared now. I don’t want to make my today’s comment too long, so I will address each item in the next few days, but I welcome everybody to share with us your thoughts.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Finicky Pets

When customers of mine at the store decide to make the right choice and feed their pets the “real stuff they need”, i.e. healthy nutrition, they often come back within a couple days telling me that their pet doesn’t like the new food.
My first reaction to this is always “that’s ok”. Just another indication that our pets, contrary to what we believed, not we, but they run the show. But seriously now, most of the less healthy commercial food is formulated and prepared with very strong smell and flavor so that pets will be attracted to it. Healthy food does not contain these flavors and cooked fats and other things. This may make it less appealing to the pets and they won't like it. Of course this is only an initial reaction and they will like it once they get used to what real food should smell like. The goal here is to feed them what's better for them in the long run. But how do you get to that point?
I always have two suggestions on hand:
Either take them off their old food with a sort of “cold turkey” approach. In other words, completely stop using the old food and exclusively switch to the new one. Feed them daily as suggested and also as they are used to. I.e. do not make changes to timing and frequency. Remove and discard what isn't eaten after 30 minutes even if means all of it (By the way, I consider removing uneaten portions after a certain shorter time period as good feeding practice). Clean the dish. In a day or two at the most they'll get hungry enough to eat it. And form there on forward will be no turning back.
Or, alternatively mix the new food with their current food starting with small, like 10% amounts and over time increase the ratio of the new food while decreasing the old one. Remove what is left after 30 minutes and clean the dish. This presumably lets them enjoy their current food while they become accustomed to the new stuff.
When pet owners hear of my first suggestion, they sometimes look at me like they want to say “You are cruel. You want to starve my pet?” That is silly. Our domesticated animals eat far more often than they would in the wild. A complete and disciplined introduction of healthy, real natural food and its removal after a set mealtime helps get them into a fasting and feasting rhythm like they would have if they had to hunt for their food. If they miss a few meals because they're being picky, it will NOT kill them. Quite contrary, they'll learn to appreciate their food that much more.
Regarding my experience with our own pets I have to report that either method worked for us. When the “humane” 2nd solution did not work, the first one always did the trick. After being in the pet food business now for a while and constantly dealing with different and new foods, the issue is no longer a subject in our house anyway. All 5 cats and 2 dogs eat what they are being presented when it is their meal time. None of them even thinks twice before digging in. And all of them are healthier and happier than ever before. It also proves, variety is the way to go.
I would be very much interested in hearing what tactics you used to make diet changes for your cat or dog. Always willing to learn I am anxious to see if there are more and possibly pet friendlier solutions to the task.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Commercial pet food safe?

In one of the recent news feeds I found this following article titled “Regarding the latest pet food recall” written by Raj Salvan for The Argus:

Many pet owners are just as concerned about what goes into their pets' food as they are about their own food.
With so many brands out there, how can concerned pet owners know they are using the best food? How can we know what is going into our friends' diets?
Recently, deja vu set in as another recall was ordered for a bagged variety of Pedigree pet food.
Although the recall only affected about 100 bags of the food, many pet owners were alarmed.
Strolling along the pet food aisle in a large pet food retail outlet is an amazing event.
Playful puppies and adorable kittens almost seem to jump out of the colorful packages, beckoning pet owners to choose their very special brands of food. Large pallets containing bags of dry food, stacks of orderly cans and rows of moist pouches often leave pet owners literally dazed and confused with the overwhelming selection.
In the past half-century, the production and marketing of pet foods has grown into an $11 billion a year industry with more than 3,000 manufacturers producing more than 15,000 separate brands of dog and cat food alone.
Marketing ideas leap off the products claiming to be "organic," to have "no by-products" and to have "real, wholesome ingredients." All of these speak to us as ways to provide the very best for our family members. But in light of pet food recalls and concerns about pet food manufacturing, how can pet owners
really know they are providing the best?
Although feeding dry kibble to dogs is an idea that was born more than 150 years ago, the latter half of the 20th century saw many advances in the pet food production industry.
Not only was dry food advancing, but canned diets and the newly created "semi-moist" diets began to find a loyal following among pet owners as well.
Food safety and hygiene were becoming highly developed as the concern for the health and well-being of pets continued to grow among pet lovers. In the United States, the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine oversees the safety of pet food ingredients.
Many pet owners are concerned with the safety and adequacy of the foods that they buy their pets. Dr. Andrea Fascetti, a nutrition professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, said pet owners should feel very comfortable with commercial diets.
"People should realize that this (pet food recall) is not a common occurrence," Fascetti said. "Over the history of commercial pet foods, they have been very safe and a very good way to feed animals to ensure that they're meeting their nutritional requirements."
Also, all pet food companies are required to meet guidelines that are set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials for the nutritional adequacy of their foods. Many companies will go beyond requirements and actually have inspectors from the human food industry examine production facilities as a means of ensuring the best product for the animal consumers.
The Pet Food Institute ( has stated that pet foods are one of the most highly regulated food products. In fact, pet foods require more information on their labels than human foods.
Still, many pet owners are turning to home-cooked meals or organic substitutes for the more common commercial diets. Proponents of home-cooked meals feel that a pet's health can be better managed than they can be with commercial diets.
Many homemade diets, however, do not meet the nutritional needs of the pet.
It is extremely easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged with the sheer number of pet foods and the reports of potential concerns with the diets.
Remember, though, that your family veterinarian is a great source for dietary recommendations for your pet. He or she understands your pet's needs as well as your own concerns much better than any source online.”

Excuse me Dr. Andrea Fascetti: “…pet owners should feel very comfortable with commercial diets. Over the history of commercial pet foods, they have been very safe and a very good way to feed animals to ensure that they're meeting their nutritional requirements." ???
How many recalls of growing dimensions does it take for you to call it what it simply is: UNSAFE !!!
Excuse me Raj Salwan: “In fact, pet foods require more information on their labels than human foods.” ??? Well, while you maybe stating a fact here, I would like to make a point that it is not the labeling we pet owners are having problems with. But WHAT ACTUALLY IS STATED ON THE LABELS AND WHAT GOES IN THE FOOD?
And: “Many homemade diets, however, do not meet the nutritional needs of the pet” I still prefer those over a mass manufacturer’s commercial food, because they are not meeting the nutritional needs either. Or how would one explain the countless diseases we are facing in our pets these days? At least with a homemade diet I know what’s in it.
Blog members: If you want to cc Raj Salwan on your comments, here is his e-mail.