Dog Food and the FDA

by Lin Sharp, Pawz-itively Sharp

The $22 billion in sales generated from pet food lines last year has caught the eye of the traditional corporate food giants.

This bounty has led to “rampant consolidation pressures” according to Eromonitor International industry researchers.  As a result, 93 percent of the mid-priced dog and cat food sold in North America has been produced by  just three companies. Besides diversification in new markets, Big Industry expects to save money by sharing ingredients in food for people and pets.

The FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) regulation of pet food is similar to that for other animal feeds. There is no requirement that pet food products have pre-market approval by the FDA.  FDA guidance documents appear inconsistent, for they allow canned pet food to be sourced from diseased or euthanized animals.  However, their documents for raw meats suggest that raw meat pet food should be human grade.

Deceptive advertising runs rampant in the pet food industry and increased sourcing of ingredients from countries like China hides possible hazards to our beloved pets. Therefore, consumers must be vigilant in researching the specific companies’ policies regarding production as well the ingredients and their sources.

Added ingredients may not pose a hazard when sparingly consumed, but may cause cancer when eaten every day for years. Avoid the common chemical additives BHA, BHT, propylene glycol, thoxyquin, TBHQ, and proplyl gallate. This is a short list. Corn Syrup, dyes, some grains, emulsifiers like tetra sodium pyrophosphate, and carrageenan can create unpleasant reactions in pets.

An increasing number of people cook their pet’s meals from scratch to guarantee the quality of the ingredients. Your local grocery’s meat department will be glad to furnish you left over parts like kidney, heart, and liver at a low cost.  It takes only a few minutes to brown the meat and add a little water to make a gravy juice your pet will enjoy. The addition of chopped fresh whole vegetables varied by season  will ensure adequate nutrition for your dog.  If a big batch is cooked at once, meal sized portions can be bagged and frozen for convenient quick meals.

For well researched, safe dog food brands, a yearly list can be purchased from Susan Thixton at www.truthaboutpetfood.com.  Her book “Buyer Beware, The Crimes, Lies and Truth About Pet Food”, can be purchased on Kindle or in print at Amazon.com.

Local author Lin Sharp blogs about pets at Pawsitively Sharp.com

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