I’m keynoting the launch of the 2022-2023 Dr. Rogers Prize at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, 1000 Burrard Street, 6:00 pm reception, my talk is at 7:00 pm. I’m not getting the $250,000 prize (alas), I’m just celebrating it. It’s for a Canadian doing complementary and alternative medicine.
Currently browsing posts about: Pet food
It’s bad enough to have to worry about avoiding getting sick from Coronavirus, but now we have to worry about making our pets sick too.
- Hong Kong reports a case of Coronavirus in a dog; it looks like the dog caught it from it owner.
- The Animal Wellness Foundation urges restraint and care in dealing with Coronavirus in pets. At the moment, there is no evidence that we can catch the virus from pets. Nevertheless, the Foundation suggests not “letting your pets lick you on the nose, mouth, and mucous membranes.”
- FDA alert warns pet owners of Salmonella contamination in raw food: The FDA is cautioning pet owners not to feed their pet’s certain Aunt Jeni’s Home Made frozen raw pet food “as it poses a serious threat to consumer and animal health” because of Salmonella Infantis contamination. The Salmonella was discovered in January when the FDA collected one retail sample of Aunt Jeni’s Home Made Turkey Dinner… Continue Reading
- Blog: Global Pet Expo debrief: CBD, DCM, party time for pets: Lindsay Beaton reports on what she saw at the Expo: “There weren’t a lot of surprises at Global Pet Expo 2020, but there were a few items of note…the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation….more than 100 China-based exhibitors [were] unable to attend due to travel restrictions.” She reports: hemp and CBD dominate new products, nobody can figure out whether grain-free foods really do cause dogs to get dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and some companies are making wild-caught octopus chips and ice cream for pets.
- CBD dog treats blamed for pets’ death, illness: Currently, few studies have examined the effects of varying dosages of CBD on dogs and cats, reports Pet Food Industry.
My pet food mantra: more research needed!
Although I haven’t written anything much about pet food since Pet Food Politics (2008) and Feed Your Pet Right (2010), I occasionally run across articles of particular interest. These come from Pet Food Industry, the exceptionally intelligent trade magazine for this industry.
The Pet Food Business
- Global pet food sales hit $91 billion in 2018: The highest growth rates for pet food are in treats, Asia Pacific and online, according to Euromonitor.
- North American pet ownership demographics shifting: North American pet owner demographics continue to shift, which is creating new challenges for dog and cat food brands in a competitive marketplace.
Hill’s Recall Because of Excessive Vitamin D
- 35 lawsuits combine over Hill’s vitamin D dog food recall
- FDA warns Hill’s that vitamin D dog food reply deficient: FDA concluded that Hill’s response did “not address the root cause of this incident.”
Protein in Pet Foods
- Blog: Pet food protein: How much is too much? Debbie Phillips-Donaldson: The current pet food trend of pushing protein levels ever higher may not be sustainable, for a variety of reasons, and research is lacking to understand the long-term effects on dog and cat health.
CBD, in case you haven’t noticed, is the hot food trend for 2020. But for pets? Yes, them too.
Pet Food Industry reports the results of a survey by WoofWhiskers.
Dog owners may be spending $42 a month on CBD (cannabidiol) oil for their pets.
Why? Anxiety and stress were the top reasons given.
More than half of respondents, 57%, reported using CBD oil for themselves.
Pet Food Industry also reminds readers that sales of CBD-containing pet and human items are illegal
because they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in animals and/or intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of an animal. Further, as discussed below, these products are unapproved new animal drugs and marketing them violates the FD&C Act.
Maybe, but I see them sold everywhere.
I wonder if anyone is doing research to see whether CBD oils do any good for dogs? If you know of any, please let me know.
Pet food continues to be an ongoing source of news, and pet food politics an ongoing source of interest:
- The FDA reports and classifies pet food recalls on a dedicated website. There have only been a few recalls recently, but for the big picture, check the recall archive.
- US pet spending grew at double rate of household income. Pet owners in the United States spent US$87 billion on pets in 2018, up from 2013’s US$57.8 billion according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Consumer Finances data analyzed by MagnifyMoney.
- Blog: 2020 outlook: Top human food trends, insights for pet food: Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor of Pet Food Industry: Pet food in 2020 and beyond can look to human food trends like storytelling, sustainability and ones focused on ingredients and customization.
- 35 lawsuits combine over Hill’s vitamin D dog food recall: A Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated 35 lawsuits against Hill’s Pet Nutrition into a single federal legal action.
- Pet Food Processing is another useful source of news and information.
Comment: My book with Malden Nesheim, Feed Your Pet Right, is actually an analysis of the pet food industry. It came out in 2010 but holds up pretty well, I think, as a means for understanding recent events in pet food politics.
Plant proteins for dogs? I’ve written about this before, but now there’s more.
Contrary to prevailing rumor, dogs are well documented to be able to digest grains. Whether grains are optimal for dogs is another matter and I sure wish we had some decent research on the question.
What we do have is pet-food makers scrambling to sell pet foods to owners convinced that grains are bad for their dogs. These products are often made with proteins extracted from peas and lentils.
The FDA has gotten reports that dogs fed such pet foods have developed a form of heart disease called Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).
When the FDA asks owners what dogs with DCM ate, this is what it finds.
Not displayed here are cases of DCM among dogs eating standard commercial pet food. Those are listed here.
What causes DCM and why so many cases are associated with plant proteins is not known. One hypothesis is deficiency of taurine (synthesized from sulfur-containing amino acids) in pea and lentil proteins, but adding taurine to diets does not seem to help.
Pea and lentil farmers have complained to the FDA that its warning is hurting their business. Pet Food Industry reports that sales of grain-free pet foods have declined since the FDA announcement.
The author of a 2016 book about obesity in pets and conflicts of interest in the veterinary nutrition community, who is also the founder of a plant-based pet food company thinks that plan-based ingredients have nothing to do with this.
While the arguments are raging and the FDA continues investigating, what to feed your pet?
Basic advice (from my book with Malden Nesheim, Feed Your Pet Right,” which is actually an analysis of the pet food industry):
- If you are using commercial foods, make sure they say they are “complete and balanced” and have been tested at some point.
- If you are cooking for your pet, make sure your recipe includes the needed nutrients (we give generic recipes in the book)
- Know that no evidence exists that expensive pet foods are better than cheap ones (that research has never been done)
- Vary the products you use. Variety, balance, and moderation work just as well for pets as they do for people.
- Most important: do not overfeed. Calories count!
If you are a pet food maker, and the FDA finds Salmonella in your products and insists you recall them, what should you do?
A. Recall the products immediately
B. Apologize to your customers and promise this will never happen again
C. Hire a food safety expert to review and revise your food safety procedures
D. Train all employees to follow food safety procedures diligently
E. Sue the FDA to allow you to continue selling Salmonella-contaminated pet food
The correct answer? E, apparently.
Incredible as it may seem, Lystin LLC, the parent of Answers Pet Foods which sells raw meat and poultry, is suing the FDA on Constitutional grounds to allow it to sell foods contaminated with Salmonella. Why?
According to this company, people should be able to feed their pets whatever they like, especially because its brands already carry this warning:
WARNING: NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. THIS PRODUCT HAS NOT BEEN PASTEURIZED AND MAY CONTAIN HARMFUL BACTERIA.
You want to continue buying this pet food? OK. You were warned.
Personally, I’d find another brand more committed to the safety of dogs and their owners.
I can’t wait to see who wins this one.
Ah the wonders of modern technology.
Cats like to catch and eat mice (that what cats do), but if you believe in mouse rights and are appalled at the idea of killing mice for food there is a solution to this problem in the works.
Meet Because Animals, a company devoted to feeding pets “safer and more nutritious foods without harming the environment and other animals.”
These are not yet on the market—regulatory issues are involved—but stay tuned.
And no, you can’t make this stuff up.