March 2017 marks the 10 year anniversary of the largest pet food recall in history. Over 100 brands of pet food, all manufactured at the same third party factory, killed or sickened tens of thousands of dogs and cats. The recall only occurred after public outcry and a resulting investigation of why Veterinarian offices all over North America were being overwhelmed with sick, dying and dead dogs and cats.
But 10 years later we should feel comfortable that laws are now in place and standards are higher so this can happen again, right? The unfortunate news is that absolutely nothing changed to keep your cats and dogs safe from being poisoned and it could happen again very easily.
The biggest reason the huge pet food recall was such a disaster is that most pet food companies do not actually MAKE the food your pet consumes, all they do is SELL pet food. If there is a recall needed because of unsafe pet food, they are not the first ones to know, they need to be made aware by the company who was hired to make the pet food. This means you have two companies making a decision on a recall notice and that is a decision between your dog’s safety and their profits.
If everything you ate came from the same company, wouldn't you want to know it's healthy for you and the best you can get?
So what can you do? Here are a few simple things to think about when evaluating your pet’s diet:
- Make sure your chosen brand of pet food is made by the company that owns it, not outsourced. Not sure? Call them and ask.
- Don’t be fooled by the pretty food pictures on the bags, it is not what is inside. Read the ingredient label and know what each ingredient means (for example, chicken means all the leftover bits and pieces and bones, not the breast and thigh meat you would assume). Pet food ingredient definitions can be found here: http://www.aafco.org/Consumers/What-is-in-Pet-Food
- Buy the absolute best that you can afford. If a fresh cooked diet is too expensive, use real unprocessed pet food as a mix-in, topper or a treat a few times a week. Any amount of fresh food is beneficial to a pet’s health (just like us!)
- When thinking about the total cost of your pet’s health over their lifetime, remember that you get what you pay for. Quality food ingredients are not cheap, whether you are buying food for yourself or food for your dog. We know that we can live longer, happier, healthier lives by eating unprocessed food and staying active. It is the same for your pet.
- Be skeptical if your Veterinarian is selling you “dental diets” or “weight loss diets”. Would your doctor suggest this for you if you had plaque build-up or packed on a few pounds after the holiday season? There are a lot of pet food marketing dollars trying to convince both you and your Vet to buy food that has some special “purpose”.
Finally, ask yourself this: Do they LIKE it? Is meal time really exciting for them? It should be. Let them live to eat, not eat to live and they will love you even more than they already do, it’s true!!
Know Your Pet’s Food-It Could Be a Life or Death Matter!
Find out more about real food nutrition at www.tomandsawyer.com