Archive for the ‘Healthy Pets’ Category

The New No-Grain Ingredient Coming to Your Pet Food Aisle

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Analysis by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

Story at-a-glance

  • Despite growing concerns about the connection between grain-free formulas containing pulse crops and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs, the processed pet food industry continues to talk up the use of fava beans in grain-free pet food
  • In addition to the DCM connection, there are many other reasons pulse crops such as fava beans don’t belong in dog and cat food, e.g., they contain substances pets’ bodies can’t digest, that also interfere with mineral absorption

Despite the much-publicized suspected link between grain-free diets high in legumes and diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, the processed pet food industry remains very committed to searching out biologically inappropriate pulse crops for potential use in dog and cat food.

A recent favorite is fava beans (also called faba and broad beans), which “may be the next new grain-free ingredient in the pet food aisle,” according to a recent article in a pet food industry publication.1 Last year the same publication promoted a 2017 study that suggests fava beans are an “effective ingredient for use in a commercial dog diet.”2

“It appears fava beans were well tolerated at all levels tested and only influenced digestibility at higher levels,” reported study co-author Greg Aldrich, PhD. “The dehulled fava beans in our study processed well in extrusion. They would be a solid contributor as an ingredient choice in modern pet foods.”3

This study is typical of pet food industry scientific research designed to see how much of a biologically inappropriate ingredient pets can ingest before it interferes with their digestion in an immediately measurable way. The dogs in the study didn’t develop noticeable digestive issues until they were subjected to higher levels of fava beans.

This is a considered a win by the industry, because they now have yet another inexpensive, plentiful, plant-based (i.e., biologically inappropriate) ingredient they can use to inflate the protein percentage in their formulas, and also potentially use to replace meat protein in vegetarian or vegan pet foods.

Why Pulse Crops Don’t Belong in Pet Food

Pulse crops, also called pulses or legumes, are plants with a pod. “Pulse” is the term used to identify the edible seeds of legumes, and is derived from the Latin word puls, meaning thick soup. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)4 recognizes 11 primary pulses:5

Dry beans (kidney, lima, azuki, mung, black gram, scarlet runner, ricebean, moth, and tepary) Lentil
Dry broad beans (fava, horse, broad, field) Bambara groundnut
Dry peas (garden, protein) Vetch
Chickpea Lupins
Dry cowpea Minor pulses (lablab, jack, winged, velvet, and yam beans)
Pigeon pea

Because they are high in fiber, folate, iron (when eaten with a source of vitamin C), and complex carbohydrates, and are also low in fat, pulse crops are considered nutritious for humans by some nutritionists, and not by others. Some experts advise keeping legume intake minimal for the same reason I recommend avoiding feeding these foods to pets — the presence of phytates and lectins that are naturally found in legumes.

Phytates are substances that carnivores can’t break down because they lack phytase, the enzyme necessary to process phytic acid. Phytates bind minerals (including zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium), leeching them out of your pet’s body. Lectins are sticky proteins that when consumed in large quantities may contribute to gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances and leaky gut.

Pet food producers and their ingredient suppliers are aware that many pet parents tend to believe foods that are healthy for humans are also healthy for dogs and cats. In fact, they use pet owners’ lack of knowledge about pet food ingredients to create and market biologically inappropriate diets. For example, one of the marketing approaches used to promote pet foods containing bean meal is weight loss.

The nutrient profile in beans may benefit some humans and other omnivores and herbivores, but carnivores thrive on animal — not plant — protein, and they don’t benefit physiologically from starch or high levels of dietary fiber. Cats are true carnivores and dogs are facultative carnivores, not omnivores or herbivores, but that pesky little fact certainly hasn’t diminished the pet food industry’s love affair with ingredients nature didn’t design dogs and cats to eat.

Most Pet Food Research is Conducted for the Benefit of Pet Food Companies, Not Dogs and Cats

Also good news for pet food producers is that fava beans “processed well in extrusion.” Extrusion, as we know, is a manufacturing method that has been used by the pet food industry for decades. About 95% of dry pet diets are produced using the extrusion process.

Batches of raw ingredients are mixed, sheared and heated under high pressure, forced through a spiral shaped screw and then through the die of the extruder machine. Extrudate is the result — a ribbon-like product that is then knife-cut and dried.

The high temperature used in extrusion (nearly 400°F) and the short time frame to process (under 5 minutes) creates continuous chemical and physical alterations to the ingredient mixture. This not only changes the molecular activity of the food, but also potentially contributes to a heavier carcinogenic load and profound levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). So, to review, the pet food industry’s takeaways from the study are:

  • Fava beans hold up well in the extrusion process
  • Fava beans in moderate amounts can be tolerated by dogs
  • Fava beans can be used to boost the protein percentages (misleadingly, in my opinion) in pet food formulas

Honestly, the simple fact that an ingredient such as fava beans must be tested in pets to see how much they can tolerate before they become ill is all the proof anyone should need that they didn’t evolve to eat that ingredient. Therefore, the intent and result of this study is 100% for the benefit of big pet food, and 0% for the benefit of the dogs and cats who will at some point be fed processed diets containing fava beans.

Legumes and Grain-Free Pet Food

As I mentioned earlier, there’s also cause for concern now that a link has been established between grain-free dog food containing legumes and a growing number of cases of the heart disease dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. Of the DCM cases the FDA reviewed for its report published in June, 91% of the diets were grain-free and 93% contained peas and/or lentils.

It’s important to note that while legumes are being singled out as a potential problematic ingredient, no definitive test results have been released. However, grain-free kibble is often much higher in both whole carbohydrates and purified starches (e.g., pea starch, potato starch and tapioca starch) than grain-based dry dog food.

The higher the starch level in any pet food, the less protein is included (hence my suggestion to avoid both grains and other sources of unnecessary starch in all pet food). You can find my most recent update on the grain-free kibble/DCM issue, including feeding recommendations, here.

Dementia in Senior Dogs

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

Stages of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

From www.dogdementia.com

Don’t Shave Dogs in Summer

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Which Dog Is Relaxed?

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Coconut oil: The “good” saturated fat

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Coconut oil: The “good” saturated fat

Your Cat In Human Years

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

How To Camp With Your Dog

Monday, April 15th, 2019

How To Camp With Your Dog

 

 

Not Sure How Much to Feed Your Puppy?

Monday, April 15th, 2019

Puppies are playful and fluffy and goofy — and a whole lot of work. How do you even begin thinking about training your new dog on a leash, much less teaching them how they can tell you (without words) when they need to go to the bathroom? It can feel like an overwhelming prospect, of course, which is why sometimes it’s easy to let the stuff like food — how much is too much and how much is too little — get away from you.
But establishing some good food habits with your puppy and knowing how much they need to eat in order to grow into a beautiful, full-grown dog, is important. Your puppy is a bundle of energy, which means that it burns through a lot of energy (calories) in a day. But it can be hard for you to judge how that translates, which is why the best, first thing you can do is establish a schedule. What else do you need to know? This graphic explains it.

Not Sure How Much You Should Feed Your Puppy? We’re Here to Help

Seven Class Action Lawsuits against Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

From:  THE TRUTH ABOUT PET FOOD

Read original article here: https://truthaboutpetfood.com/seven-class-action-lawsuits-against-hills-pet-nutrition/

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is facing a slew of consumer lawsuits linked to their January 2019 excess Vitamin D recalls.

Filed on February 26, 2019 in the Central District of California, pet owners versus Hill’s Pet Nutrition; a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit states they bring this suit against Hill’s for (bold added):

their negligent, reckless, and/or intentional practice of misrepresenting, failing to test for, and failing to fully disclose the presence of toxic levels of Vitamin D in their Contaminated Dog Foods (defined below) and for selling Contaminated Dog Foods that are adulterated and do not conform to the labels, packaging, advertising, and statements throughout the United States.”

This particular lawsuit asks that Hill’s Pet Nutrition be required to test “all ingredients and final products for such substances” (such as excess Vitamin D) and asks for pet owner financial relief in the same amount Hill’s offered veterinariansin a previous announcement; “offer Plaintiff and the proposed class $500 vouchers for each can of Contaminated Food as they have offered veterinarians and (iv) restoring monies to the members of the proposed Class.”

This lawsuit quotes several claims from the Hill’s website including these two (that the recall proved are not accurate claims):

(g) “We conduct final safety checks daily on every Hill’s pet food
product to help ensure the safety of your pet’s food.”
(h) “Additionally, all finished products are physically inspected and
tested for key nutrients prior to release to help ensure your pet gets a consistent product bag to bag.”

The lawsuit also includes a quote from the FDA alert on the many excess Vitamin D recalls; (bold added for emphasis) “Vitamin D, when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.”

Represented (among others) in this lawsuit is the owner of “Taki, a chihuahua mix” who consumed the toxic Hill’s dog food starting in November of 2018. Taki died of renal failure in February 2019.

To read the full lawsuit, Click Here.

To contact this law firm, Click Here.

In another of the seven lawsuits filed against Hill’s – Stella, a dachshund rescue from Florida – consumed just six cans of Hill’s i/d dog food. On January 26, 2019 she was in total kidney failure and had to be euthanized.

Another lawsuit appears to say that Hill’s had a Vitamin D problem much earlier and in their dry dog foods (similar to the excess Vitamin D recalls of other brands previous to Hill’s recall); (bold added) “As a result of online consumer complaints, Hill’s thus knew or should have known of the elevated vitamin D levels in the Specialty Dog Foods by at least February of 2018.”

In the lawsuit quoted above, Duncan – a seizure alert trained service dog – died on January 12, 2019. Taco died on January 24, 2019. Lily died on November 27, 2019.

All of the above heart breaking pet deaths are just a tiny glimpse into the destruction this toxic pet food caused.

To read other lawsuits filed against Hill’s Pet Nutrition (regarding the excess Vitamin D):

Click Here.

Click Here.

Click Here.

Click Here.

Click Here.

Click Here.

The price a pet food manufacturer pays for NOT properly testing ingredients: 7 class action lawsuits.

The price a pet owner pays for a reckless manufacturer that doesn’t properly test ingredients: painful illness and death of their pet.

Nothing has changed since the 2007 pet food recall. In 2007, Hill’s issued 3 recalls for melamine contaminated pet food. No pet food manufacturer in 2007 bothered to test or validate the quality of vegetable protein ingredients (such as wheat gluten) in advance of using those ingredients in their pet foods. Those ingredients were later found to be contaminated with melamine – responsible for killing thousands of dogs and cats. Fast forward 12 years, AGAIN – Hill’s did not test ingredients or validate ingredient quality.

How many pet’s have to die until each and every pet food manufacturer tests and validates the quality of ingredients?


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
TruthaboutPetFood.com
Association for Truth in Pet Food

Become a member of our pet food consumer Association.Association for Truth in Pet Food is a a stakeholder organization representing the voice of pet food consumers at AAFCO and with FDA. Your membership helps representatives attend meetings and voice consumer concerns with regulatory authorities. Click Here to learn more.

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports? Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 5,000 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. Click Here to preview Petsumer Report. www.PetsumerReport.com

The 2019 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods. Click Here to learn more.

Cooking pet food made easy, Dinner PAWsible

Find Healthy Pet Foods in Your Area Click Here