Tag Archives: truth

Study found Dog Foods were Not what they Claimed- Susan Thixton

# Written By: Susan Thixton The Truth About Pet Food

We have another study proving pet foods are often not what their labels claim they are. This time, alternative meat protein dog foods (venison) were tested. They found 75% included ingredients not listed on the label.

In the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, first published late last year, authors D. M. Raditic, R. L. Remillard, and K. C. Tater provides “ELISA testing for common food antigens in four dry dog foods used in dietary elimination trials.” This study took a close look at four venison kibble dog foods for common food allergens (a venison dog food would be commonly recommended as an alternative diet for dogs suffering from food allergies). They found that three of the four dog foods tested – that did NOT have soy listed on the ingredient panel – tested positive for soy. One of the four venison dog foods tested positive for beef, yet no beef ingredient was listed on the ingredient panel.

Many times, veterinarians recommend an alternative meat protein diet such as venison to patients suffering from food allergies. In an attempt to diagnose the specific allergen, veterinarians often prescribe the pet to be put on a dietary elimination trial; eliminating specific allergic suspects such as chicken, beef, corn, wheat, and soy from the pets diet. “General practitioners, gastroenterologists and dermatologists use dietary elimination trials to diagnose food allergies in dogs. These trials are lengthy (4–13 weeks) and require a client’s strict adherence to the prescribed food.”

“The pet owner may select OTC diets based on the name of the product, e.g. venison and sweet potato, which ensures nothing more than the product will contain at least 3% of those ingredients. Pet owners and veterinarians also make the assumption that if food proteins or isolates of a food protein are not named in the product ingredient list, then the product does not contain those food proteins and therefore, is a suitable diet to be used in a diagnostic elimination trial.”

But what this study found, was that pet parents purchasing some venison dog foods are not getting what they paid for. “Three of the four over the counter (OTC) venison canine dry foods with no soy products named in the ingredient list were ELISA positive for soy; additionally one OTC diet tested positive for beef protein with no beef products listed as an ingredient list. One OTC venison diet was not found to be positive for soy, poultry or beef proteins.”

When you read the full text of this study, it does allude to be in support of prescription pet foods. However, these scientists did not include brands of prescription pet foods in their study. To read the full study, click here.

Thanks to FreshFetch pet foods for sharing this study with us.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware

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 2000 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com

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Another Dog Comes Back To Life After Being Euthanized!

Sourced www.Huffington Post.com March 4th 2011

Another euthanized dog has come back from the dead.

A cage of puppies was found sitting outside the Sulphur Animal Shelter last Friday evening. Animal Control Officer Scott Prall reports that the puppies appeared to be sick, and thus they were all euthanized. Each one was pronounced dead with a stethoscope (check out the best stethoscopes for nurses) and everything. The dogs were sent to a dumpster for disposal.

The following morning, Prall looked inside of the dumpster, and was shocked to find one puppy very much alive and healthy. The puppy has been named “Wall-E” to signify that he is the only one left alive. The name is debatably sweet or disturbing.

People around the country are volunteering to adopt Wall-E, and the clinic plans to find him a home by next week. Last year, another dog was put to sleep, only to be declared alive the following day.

While Wall-E’s story may have a happy ending, his experience highlights two broader systematic problems.

First, the vet clinic and Animal Control both report that Wall-E and other dogs could have been given the chance to live, had there been a better animal shelter in Murray County. The nearby clinics are considered inadequate, and a local group is currently trying to raise money to build a better shelter.

Second, while Wall-E has received many offers from loving families, up to 4 million animals will be euthanized this year in animal shelters. While disturbing personal stories about Wall-E and a puppy in the mail receive strong outpourings of support, millions of other animals are ignored. Local vet Amanda Kloski says there is an entire shelter of dogs with Wall-E who are waiting to be adopted. These shelter dogs and others are featured on PetFinder.com.

An interesting take on this stroy was reported by Susan Thixton The Truth About Pet Food.

Susan wrote

“Yes… a tragic failure on so many levels.  Litter mates of this beautiful young pup were killed.  This lucky fellow will find a home but I can’t help but consider the lives of his litter mates.  What a horrible crime it was to kill them.  And then there is the looming question of how this little puppy could have come back to life after receiving the euthanizing drug; the second dog that has come back to life in just a few months (that we know of).

Back in 2000, the FDA tested dog foods for pentobarbital, the drug used to euthanize animals.  They found levels of the drug in many dog foods purchased right off store shelves. In their own words, the FDA initiated this test because of complaints from Veterinarians that the drug was losing its effectiveness.  So ten plus years later, dogs are still consuming foods that contain pentobarbital and the drug seems to be loosing its effectiveness even further.  Another tragic failure”

Sourced March 4th 2011 The Truth About Pet Food

This is yet another reason why here at The DogSmtih we recommend a Holistic Pet Food formulated by a Veterinarian that we know and trust.

If you would like to consult with your local DogSmith about pet nutrition, please complete our FREE consultation form

We’ve Been Denied Access to Pet Food Industry Forum By Susan Thixton


I requested a press pass to the Petfood Forum and Petfood Workshop to be held in Chicago in April 2011; I was denied access to report on this pet food event to Pet Owners. Industry doesn’t want a consumer advocate to see and report on what they do! Do they have something to hide?

Yes – they told no. No, a consumer advocate is NOT allowed to attend an industry forum. No, a consumer advocate is NOT allowed to “arm yourself with knowledge” and meet “key contacts” in the pet food industry. No – go away kid, you’re bothering me.

The following email was received from Steve Akins, WATT Vice President/Publisher this morning. This email was in response to a phone conversation I had with Mr. Akins two weeks ago requesting a press pass for the 2011 Petfood Forum and Workshop.

Hi Susan,

After consulting with our owners, advisors, and business partners, I’ve decided it’s in the best interest of our conference and exhibition to deny your request for a press pass to Petfood Forum 2011 and Petfood Workshop 2011.

I do appreciate your request and hope we can work on other ways to communicate with you appropriately.


Steve Akins
WATT – Vice President/Publisher
Global Petfood/North American Agri-Food
Cell – 815-209-6444 sakins@wattnet.net

I sent Mr. Akins the following response…

Ya know Steve, I’m quite shocked. It proves to me Petfood Forum definately has something to hide from Pet Owners. I’m confident my readers will feel the same! This attitude furthers the lack of trust and confidence consumers have with industry.

Susan Thixton

And then I sent Mr. Akins the following question…

Would I be allowed entrance to the forum if I paid your attendance fee?

His response…

“I’m sorry Susan, but the answer is still no.”

The strange thing is, two pet food companies (that I respect) suggested I attend this conference (actually they more than suggested – they said ‘you HAVE to go’). These two pet food companies wanted pet owners to learn more about the industry and ingredients – both felt it would be in the best interest of consumers to learn more. Both felt this show was the best way to learn and share with Pet Owners. I shared this information with Steve Akins; I told Mr. Akins that while I would be representing consumers the suggestion was originally from industry (those in industry that have nothing to hide). But it appears Pet Food Industry.com doesn’t care whose suggestion it was; they don’t want consumers to know what goes on at their get together.

I’m shocked and quite angry. Pet Owners support this industry, yet the industry wants Pet Owners to know nothing about what’s going on inside. The Pet Food Industry doesn’t want me to speak with ingredient suppliers (exhibitors at the Forum), doesn’t want me to report to all of you about what is really in those ingredients you are feeding your dog and cat. The Pet Food Industry wants your money at the pet store, but forget about learning detailed information about pet food ingredients!

So our truth is that they want to keep us quiet. Go away Pet Lover, you’re messing with my profits. Forget about it! Just continue to buy our product and stop asking questions. I’m appalled.

If you feel the same, here is the contact information for the executives of Watt Publishing (corporate entity responsible for this decision)…

Corporate staff

Greg Watt
President, CEO
Phone: 815.966.5517
Fax: 815.734.5649

Bruce Plantz
Vice President – Director of Content
Phone: 815.966.5425
Fax: 815.734.5649

Joyce Neth
Vice President – Director of Research & Insight
Phone: 815.966.5500
Fax: 815.734.5649

Steve Akins
Vice President, Publisher North America
Phone: +1.919.387.7961
Fax: +1.815.968.0941

Wishing you and your pet the best,

Susan Thixton
Truth about Pet Food
Petsumer Report

What is AAFCO?


Here’s some official and some unofficial information to help Pet Owners understand what AAFCO is and isn’t.

AAFCO stands for American Association of Feed Control Officials.  From the 2011 AAFCO Official Publication “The purpose of the corporation shall be to establish and maintain an Association through which officials of any state, dominion, federal or other governmental agency on the North American Continent, and employees thereof charged with a responsibility in enforcing the laws regulating the production, labeling, distribution, or sale of animal feeds or livestock remedies may unite to explore the problems encountered in administering such laws, to develop just and equitable standards, definitions and policies to be followed in enforcing such laws, to promote uniformity in such laws, regulations and enforcement policies, and to cooperate with members of the industry producing such products in order to promote the effectiveness and usefulness of such products.”

AAFCO members are representatives from State Department of Agriculture.

AAFCO is not an enforcement agency; but the Department of Agriculture representatives who are AAFCO members are enforcement.  State Department of Agriculture representatives can test pet products at will and have the authority to remove pet products from store shelves.  AAFCO members develop ingredient definitions and labeling regulations, then individual states accept and enforce these definitions and labeling regulations or they don’t accept and enforce these definitions and labeling regulations depending on the state.  No two states are identical with their pet food/animal food regulations.  Are you confused yet?

Kentucky AAFCO Member Meagan Davis provided the following example of differences in states…with regards to pet food labeling…

In Kentucky, labeling means all labels and other written, printed or graphic matter including radio and television.  In New Mexico labeling does NOT include TV and radio.  So in New Mexico a pet food/treat manufacturer could air a radio or TV commercial and make claims that would not be allowed in Kentucky.

Some states license all pet products sold within the state boundaries, some states review all pet products sold within state boundaries.  Those that license don’t review labels.  From what I saw, those that review labels take this job very seriously.

Some states include a travel budget for their Department of Agriculture employees, some states don’t.  As example, 2010 AAFCO President Kent Kitadae – from California – was forced to take vacation time and pay his own expenses to travel to this meeting in Florida.

Department of Agriculture employees that accept positions of leadership in AAFCO or accept board member positions in AAFCO are not paid for their work by AAFCO; yes they receive their state salary but no additional salary is received for work done for AAFCO.  The only employee AAFCO has is Sharon Krebs assistant secretary-treasurer.

Within AAFCO are Officers, Board of Directors, and various Committees.   Committees are…
Collaborative Check Sample Committee (provide laboratory quality control tools)
Current Issues and Outreach Committee (disseminate information to AAFCO membership, industry and interested parties)
Education and Training Committee (seminars)
Enforcement Issues Committee (all issues of enforcement policy)
Feed and Feed Ingredient Manufacturing (define processes to prevent, eliminate or minimize contaminants)
Feed Labeling Committee (feed and pet food labeling)
Ingredient Definitions Committee (development and revision of ingredients definitions)
Inspection and Sampling Committee (inspection and sampling procedures)
Laboratory Methods and Services Committee (feed control laboratory)
Model Legislation and Regulation Committee (feed and pet food regulations)
Pet Food Committee (pet food regulations)
Strategic Affairs Committee (AAFCO by-laws)

Committees develop new regulations or definitions or testing protocol, the new regulation or definition is proposed at meetings, and committee members vote as to what stays and what goes.  It’s all quite official…“all in favor say I…all against?” Before a new definition or regulation becomes official, discussion is heard from committee members, committee advisors, and anyone in attendance (which I didn’t understand until after several committee meetings).

Advisors to each committee are mostly from industry or trade associations.  There was no consumer advocate or holistic veterinary representative on any advisory committee; only members of industry or trade associations.  While these advisors are not allowed to vote, you can safely assume they do hold a certain amount of persuasion with committee members.

But not always.  As example…
During the Pet Food Committee meeting, the discussion of kcal (calorie) information on pet food labels was discussed.  The question of a time frame allowed to manufacturers was asked – how long would manufacturers have to implement the calorie information on pet food labels.  Nancy Cook of the Pet Food Institute (the lobby organization representing Big Pet Food) didn’t like the proposed six months for new products and 18 months for existing products implementation requirements.  In fact, she whined and moaned and went on and on and on (and on and on) about how impossible this was for manufacturers.  AAFCO members asked her how long she wanted…she wanted at least five years for both new products and existing products!  Five years to add one tiny line to the pet food label; five years to add calorie information that would be valuable information to consumers.  I was screaming inside (I wasn’t aware that I could have spoken up during this session – or believe me I would have!).

Jan Jarmon, AAFCO Representative from New Mexico didn’t agree with the whining from PFI’s Nancy Cook; she wasn’t swayed by the trade group.

Nothing was settled.  Calorie information will be required information on pet food labels in the future (it is only optional now) but it will take more time to implement into regulation.

AAFCO has historically been responsible for establishing the nutrient levels in pet foods.  However at this meeting there was some discussion of this practice being eliminated and nutrient levels for pet food/animal food would follow NRC (National Research Council) guidelines.

Some AAFCO Representatives showed they have the interest of industry in priority.  Others showed they really care about performing their jobs to assure the safety of pet food/animal food.  A couple showed real kindness and human concern.

After my interview with AAFCO President Chad Linton from West Virginia and Director Robert Waltz from Indiana (full interview will be posted soon), I headed to the ‘girls room’ before getting some lunch.  While washing my hands, I heard someone in a stall say “Oh no!…OH NO!” A moment later a young pregnant woman came out of the stall; holding her belly.  I asked if she was ok, she said she was bleeding.  I walked her out of the restroom and tried to get her to sit down while I fetched her business associate – she insisted on going to get him herself.  I followed.  When we found him in a nearby restaurant, the quick decision was made that he would drive her to the hospital.  She was in tears by this point.

As the business associate of this young woman gathered everything together and ran to get the car, I slowly walked with the tearful mom to the front of the hotel.  As we were walking, Chad Linton and Robert Waltz (fresh from our talk) noticed us.  Chad mouthed to me (no words spoken so not to alarm the young mom – just moved his lips) ‘Is everything ok?’.  I mouthed back ‘No’.  I sat the young mom down, fussed at her a bit (I’m a fully trained mom – couldn’t help myself) to remain calm for her baby, and learned she was from New York, 7 1/2 months pregnant, this was her first child.  I tried my best to reassure her and keep her calm.  Within a few minutes, her business associate had pulled the car to the front and off they went to the hospital.

As I turned back into the hotel I noticed that both Chad and Robert had stayed within a close distance of the young mom and myself; just in case we needed help.  They weren’t involved, but they made themselves available just in case.  Hats off to you gentlemen!  You did good.  (No, I don’t know what happened to the young mom.)

The point of sharing this story with you is that from my experiences at the AAFCO meetings, I believe many of these folks are good people with good intentions.  AAFCO has people just like us along with wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Our task will be to figure out who is who.

Wishing you and your pet the best,

Susan Thixton
Truth about Pet Food
Petsumer Report

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 2000 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats.  30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee.  www.PetsumerReport.com

Are you subscribed to Truth About Pet Food Newsletter? Click Here to subscribe.