You might believe feeding a Karelian Bear Dog is simple: throw some kibble in a bowl and call it good. But it’s not straightforward. The pet food business is like a gluttonous tyrant raking in mountains of cash while our beloved pets suffer. Are the CEOs of these huge animal food dynasties just shady profiteers hiding behind dark sunglasses while the FDA shields them from incoming beams of truth (not to mention hefty lawsuits)?
Let’s dive in.
When I discuss kibble brands with other pet owners, I always hear:
“Did you read that study about healthy Kibble brands linked to heart disease?! I won’t be feeding my pet any of that stuff; I’m settling for the poison kibble my vet recommended!”
I cringe and realize immediately they did no more research than skim a headline. I also know they aren’t intuitive enough to ask questions; they just gulped down a sound bite and mindlessly carried on. Here’s the worst part: veterinarians are quoting that heart disease “study” and telling people to replace the healthier kibbles with kibbles from a mainstream brand.
The FDA began its “investigation” into healthier alternative kibbles in 2018 after 524 heart disease cases were reported. That’s understandable. BUT where was the FDA when more than 3,000 animals became severely ill (some died) after consuming the Purina brand?
links to the FDA document, which can be found here
The research does bear out a problem with using potato filler for grains, but does that mean we should discount a wide swath of healthy alternative kibble options? I don’t think so. When I first read this article, I knew immediately something foul was in the air—only healthier alternative kibble names were listed as “dangerous” but mainstream brands that had poisoned THOUSANDS were no where to be read. Evidently, the mainstream pet food brands have deeper pockets than the smaller, healthier brands, but how does this affect the market?
You may be thinking: “But veterinarians went to school for YEARS to learn about animals… They know what’s best!”
If traditional vets are trained on animal diets, why do Pet Nutrition Specialists need an additional board certification? And why are vets recommending brands that have poisoned THOUSANDS of pets? Someone should investigate the funding for veterinary schools. Do these big brand giants funnel in funding to influence the advice?
It seems that all too often when competition starts, “scary” research surfaces to sway the minds of consumers who never take the time to investigate on their own.
But maybe the research is faulty! Bobby, horrified by the latest kibble headline, rounds up his dog and heads to his vet to inquire further. The vet proclaims:
“Yup, those healthy kibble alternatives sure are causing a crazy amount of heart problems; let’s put little Dorris on this great Purina diet! Don’t worry about the internal bleeding reports and other adverse effects you may have heard about; the FDA hasn’t put out any NEGATIVE studies and that’s good enough for me!”
Bobby then buys the recommended food, and sometime later, Dorris begins howling in the family living room. Bobby hears her and rushes downstairs to find her dead in a pool of bloody vomit. It turns out she was poisoned by her food—a commonly reported death linked to some mainstream pet foods.
This is based on a true story. The owner—and many other pet owners who found their pets howling in anguish, and then dead—are now involved in lawsuits against the pet food industry. We never seem to hear much about these horrendous cases of pet death.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence and dying a horrific death is commonplace for pets, or is it? Take the time to search the Internet on the following:
“Purina Internal Bleeding”
You’ll find that lawsuits are working their way through the legal system.
Let’s compare ingredients on a mainstream brand and a healthier boutique brand. Think about which brand you’d rather feed your pet and why:
Option 1 (Mainstream): Whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, beef fat naturally preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, barley, egg and chicken flavor, ground rice, chicken, mono and dicalcium phosphate, poultry and pork digest, fish oil, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, MINERALS [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], VITAMINS [Vitamin E supplement,niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (Vitamin B-2), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (Vitamin K), folic acid (Vitamin B-9), biotin (Vitamin B-7)], L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Yellow 6, Yellow 5, DL-Methionine, Red 40, Blue 2, garlic oil. C400118
Option 2 (Boutique): Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chicken Broth, Oat Groats, Pearled Barley, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Potatoes, Chicken Liver, Whole Oats, Salmon Oil, Whole Barley, Cheese, Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Duck, Lamb, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Celery, Monocalcium Phosphate, Alfalfa Meal, Monosodium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Chicory Root Extract, Taurine, Calcium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Chicken Cartilage, Vitamins, Minerals, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), L-Tryptophan, Sodium Selenite, Probiotics.
OMG! I’m pretty sure all of us would choose option 2.
Reading Option 1 almost made me sick. Option 2 is a healthy kibble brand that was attacked by the FDA. We know that potato (used as filler for grains) was linked to heart problems, but potato was pretty far down on the ingredient list, and certainly not enough for vets to strike this from their recommendation list. Option 1 doesn’t begin with a meat like option 2! It starts with corn and ends with colors! Why are COLORS in a dog food?! These dyes are linked to ADHD in humans, so why add them to dog food? Option 1 also doesn’t have real meat; it has chicken by-product meal. By-products are what remains after the human consumption components are removed. So are by-products healthier or are they just cheaper?
I also have a personal account. In the late 2000s, a family friend lost a pet at the hands of these food companies. Unbeknown to her, the pet food she bought wasn’t regulated and was riddled with a serious toxin. After several days of consuming this food, her dog fell ill. She found him in her closet lying in his own mess, she cuddled and embraced him in his final moments—another sweet soul lost to the fouls of this real life ogre industry. It later came out that due to the lack of regulations, a poison slipped into the food, killing a vast number of pets. This event “woke” pet owners to the horrors of the industry and healthier alternatives started springing up. Competition can be quite a nuisance…
Educate yourself on your own food choices AND food choices for your pet. Don’t poison your pet.
I feed my Karelian Bear Dog Steve’s Real Food for Dogs and Cats. The ingredient list is short but sufficient for her dietary needs. She has thrived on it the past year and has never gotten sick. I rotate out the proteins—beef, turkey, chicken, and pork—to keep her body acclimated to a variety of proteins. We are both happy with this diet choice, and I’m relieved to know what she’s actually eating. I am confident I won’t find her in a pool of vomit.
As always, ASK QUESTIONS. Get answers yourself. Don’t settle for a headline or advice from a “specialist.”
To start this pet food poison investigation yourself, consider this headline from a Business Insider article:
“Millennials are treating pets like ‘their firstborn child’, and it’s reportedly causing problems for some of the best-known pet food brands.”
So extensively caring for your pet hurts the pockets of best-known pet food brands? Why would that be the case? If mainstream pet foods were providing quality nutritious pet foods, why would their pocket books be hurting?
Consider this reply to the article:
“Younger people are treating their pets like living, breathing f*cking animals, and it’s reportedly causing problems for some of the best-known pet food brands that have been selling garbage filler that barely qualify as nutrition. There, fixed your sh*tty headline.”
I would urge you to start asking “WHY?” and find the answers to your questions yourself. Don’t allow an article or uneducated word of mouth scare you or fill your brain with noise.
*DISCLAIMER: I’m not a veterinary or a pet specialist, and I urge you to do your own proper research.