It’s Very Real, and Very Deadly – Truth about Pet Food

Another dog has died, this time a 3 year old dog.

An email received yesterday emphasized a very real problem of pet food. Yesterday (3/13/19) a 3 year old dog died of diet-related taurine deficiency induced DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy). This dog (and another dog in the same household also diagnosed with diet-related taurine deficiency induced DCM) was fed Merrick Grain Free Kibble.

A video attached to the email (sent by the pet owner’s sister) was gut wrenching to watch. It showed this young dog struggling to breath. A ‘Complete and Balanced’ dog food destroyed her heart.

Another ‘Complete and Balance’ dog food destroyed a family.

How many dogs have to die before FDA takes action?

We don’t know. FDA has issued two statements to pet owners; one in July 2018 and another in February 2019.

Of concern: the FDA has chosen to work ONLY with Big Pet Feed through their trade association Pet Food Institute on the DCM investigation. FDA has refused our requests to involve pet owners in the investigation. FDA has also refused the request of another pet food trade association that represents human grade pet food manufacturers to help aid in the investigation. Instead, FDA is choosing only to partner with feed grade pet food manufacturers (the very same companies whose pet foods have been linked to DCM sick or dead dogs).

What can you do to protect your pet?

Veterinarians are tending to instruct pet owners to stay clear of “boutique” (small brands) pet foods and attempting to lead pet owners back to grain based pet foods manufactured by Big Pet Feed. This ‘advice’ is bad for multiple reasons.

Merrick Pet Food – which was fed to the dog mentioned above – is owned by Purina. Purina or Merrick is NOT a “boutique” brand.

FDA refuses to allow “boutique” brands (human grade ingredient brands) to participate in the investigation of the diet-related DCM issue.

Grains are prone to mycotoxins (molds). Grains used in pet foods (feed grade) are not held to the same safety standards as those used in human food. Often the pet food (feed) industry receives the worst of the worst grains. When grains are contaminated with mycotoxins, they CAN cause serious health risks in pets. Click Here to read excerpts from a study of mycotoxins in pet food.

Just this week I spoke with a truck driver who used to deliver grain to pet food manufacturing (to one of the largest manufacturers of pet food in the world). He shared he was instructed to – “frequently” – deliver loads of rat infested grain (dead rats). When the load was delivered, pet food manufacturing employees would add wire grating over the pits where the grain was dumped (the ‘pits’ lead to augers which move the grain to bins). He witnessed “hundreds of dead rats” being pulled from the pile of grain slowly emptying into the pit. He stated often “the smell of rat urine in a load was overwhelming.” This man is no longer delivering grain to pet food manufacturing facilities, he is very ill – on disability – he believes is directly linked to the products he transported everyday to pet food manufacturing plants.

Most pet owners (and veterinarians) aren’t aware that most pet ‘foods’ are not food at all – they are feed. Most pet owners (and veterinarians) aren’t aware that the ‘Complete and Balanced’ claim stated on all pet food labels isn’t a factual claim. Most have no clue to the lack of regulations or the allowed violations of regulations in pet food.

Those of us that do know can encourage other pet owners (and our veterinarians) to try adding some fresh food to their diet – and with respect to the current DCM issue, fresh foods that include amino acids (Dogs use the amino acids Cystine and Methionine to produce taurine. DCM in dogs has been linked to taurine deficiency. However not all dogs that are taurine deficient have been diagnosed with DCM.)

Dr. Karen Becker provides a great snack recipe for cats and dogs made from sardines. Click Here to read. Pet owners can make pet food at home as the primary diet, or to add as a topper of minimally processed foods. Balanced pet food recipes can be found here for cats and dogs for a very nominal fee. Click Here for a dog food recipe on YouTube. Click Here for cat food recipes and tips to adding fresh food to a cat’s diet.

Because EVERYTHING is different with feed grade pet foods/feed grade ingredients, adding some fresh ‘food’ (real food not feed) to your pet’s diet daily is a great and simple thing to do. Not everyone can afford to provide their pet with minimally processed food as the sole diet, but we all can add some.

My sympathies to the many families who lost their beloved dog (or cat) due to diet-related taurine deficiency induced DCM. You have been betrayed by a pet food label claim and a lax regulatory system. I am very sorry for your loss.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
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.

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

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