We are quite trustworthy in many of our day to day activities including our purchases of pet food. We believe that if a box or bag is labeled dog or cat food, we trust that the contents should contain products that are good for our dog or cat and least of all not harmful.
This trust is broken when we read articles such as recently published in the pet magazines, "Natural Pet" of Trilby, Florida and "Dog Dispatch" of West Vancouver, British Columba describing the possibility of recycled dogs and cats in pet food.
The articles titled "Does Your Dog Food Bark" by Ann Martin of London, Ontario stating, " In reality, what we are feeding is the dregs of the human food chain -- garbage which is unfit for human or animal consumption." Ms Martin goes on to describe how " One small rendering plant in Quebec was rendering 10 tonnes (22,000 lbs) of dogs and cats per week from Ontario. The Minister of Agriculture in Quebec, where a number of these plants are located, advised me that ' the fur is not removed from dogs and cats' and that ' dead animals are cooked together with viscera, bones and fat at 115C (235F) for twenty minutes."
She goes on, to quote research done on this material from the University of Minnesota, stating that the barbituate used to euthanize the dogs and cats is not degraded in the rendering process.
We ask ourselves, how could this happen? The pet food industry in Canada and the United States is self regulated with regard to ingredients, processing, labeling etc. The only requirements for the sale of pet food is that the label states that the product is made for dogs or cats, the weight and the name and address of the company.
This type of information might help to explain why we are seeing more health problems in our pets today. Conditions such as cancer, arthritis, skin problems, genetic problems and allergies are on the increase in our dog and cat population.
So where does this leave us as consumers? As we become cynical of the products we buy we start to ask questions.
Questions of the manufactures:
- what kinds of ingredients are used;
- where are these obtained and;
- what are the short and long term effects on the health of my dog and cat if I use the products?
Our other alternative is to feed our dog or cat food from the same sources that we feed ourselves and our families.
About Edmund R. Dorosz, BSA, DVM
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