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You could be harming your dog by feeding it commercial pet food!

That’s the alarming claim made by a growing number of websites, books and even dog health experts who link the prevalence of cancer and autoimmune related diseases to processed commercial dog foods. One world-famous Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Alfred Plechner, stated:

Long-term effects of a commercial diet is dogs become biochemical cripples with no resistance to disease

Dr. Denise Miller, DVM said:

The prevalence of cancer and autoimmune related diseases in our pets is directly correlated to the processed foods we are feeding them. We are literally starving them to death of nutrients while stuffing them to the point of obesity with garbage.

So What’s Wrong With Commercial Dog Food?

Let’s be clear, these claims are not aimed at every brand and formula of dog food. As you’ll see below, there are some brands that stand up to closer inspection. That said, here’s a top ten list of the most common claims which are also featured in the video below:

  1. The colors in some commercial dog foods are fake
  2. Ingredients not strictly as printed on the label
  3. Protein in some foods is fake
  4. Cheapest plant protein ingredients used
  5. Low nutrient value due to rendering process
  6. Some dog foods contain the same chemical (Propylene Glycol) as anti-freeze!
  7. Preservative-free is a lie
  8. Some dog foods contain pesticides
  9. Your dog food may contain the remains of euthanized animals and even pets!
  10. Worst of all – because of #9, some dog food may contain the euthanasia drug Pentobarbitol!

All ten of these claims are pretty shocking but none as much as claims 9 and 10. So we did a little digging to see if there is any evidence for these claims or just hype.

Truth or Hype – What’s the Evidence?

These claims are shocking and might leave you a little skeptical at first. So surely if ingredients in dog food were so harmful, there would be some evidence or even public health scares? Correct, just look at some of these recent headlines..

Dog Dies, Three Others Sickened After Eating Canned Dog Food

A Washington state woman has questions for a pet food company after three of her dogs became suddenly ill and a fourth died unexpectedly.  Read more

FDA Tells Pet Owners Not to Feed Two Dog Foods

The FDA was not able to determine from records whether any other Evanger’s or Against the Grain products made with beef contained any of the beef used in the recalled products.  Read more

Dog Food Recalled Over Euthanasia Drug Concerns

Party Animals, a California-based pet food maker, is recalling two lots from its line of Cocolicious dog foods after some cans in Texas tested positive for pentobarbital — a chemical that’s used to euthanize animals.  Read more

Shockingly it appears that euthanized animals are being used in commercial dog food; most likely because it’s cheap source of protein.

This is what an FDA Veterinary Medicine Center Report had to say in 2002…

Because in addition to producing anesthesia, pentobarbital is routinely used to euthanize animals, the most likely way it could get into dog food would be in rendered animal products. Rendered products come from a process that converts animal tissues to feed ingredients. Pentobarbital seems to be able to survive the rendering process. If animals are euthanized with pentobarbital and subsequently rendered, pentobarbital could be present in the rendered feed ingredients.

So the FDA has evidence of euthanized animals being found in commercial pet food, but which ones? Is it just horses and cattle or worse! Could the claims of euthanized pet’s being used in dog food be correct? Well the same FDA report above from 2002 confirms that DNA testing is carried out on pet foods to determine if dead pets are being fed to dogs and cats.

CVM scientists, as part of their investigation, developed a test to detect dog and cat DNA in the protein of the dog food. All samples from the most recent dog food survey (2000) that tested positive for pentobarbital, as well as a subset of samples that tested negative, were examined for the presence of remains derived from dogs or cats. The results demonstrated a complete absence of material that would have been derived from euthanized dogs or cats.

The FDA concluded that…

Presently, it is assumed that the pentobarbital residues are entering pet foods from euthanized, rendered cattle or even horses.

So, in 2002, it appears the good news is that dead pets are not being fed to living dogs. So fast forward to today and surely there should be no evidence to the contrary?

California Company Caught Using Recycled Pets In Dog Food

A California-based pet food company has been caught using recycled pets as cheap protein in its popular dog food. Pentobarbital is a barbiturate that’s commonly used by veterinarians for euthanasia. So how is it getting in the food? Read more

Shockingly it appears that euthanized animals are being used in commercial dog food; most likely because it’s cheap source of protein.

This is what an FDA Veterinary Medicine Center Report had to say in 2002…

Because in addition to producing anesthesia, pentobarbital is routinely used to euthanize animals, the most likely way it could get into dog food would be in rendered animal products. Rendered products come from a process that converts animal tissues to feed ingredients. Pentobarbital seems to be able to survive the rendering process. If animals are euthanized with pentobarbital and subsequently rendered, pentobarbital could be present in the rendered feed ingredients.

So the FDA has evidence of euthanized animals being found in commercial pet food, but which ones? Is it just horses and cattle or worse! Could the claims of euthanized pet’s being used in dog food be correct? Well the same FDA report above from 2002 confirms that DNA testing is carried out on pet foods to determine if dead pets are being fed to dogs and cats.

CVM scientists, as part of their investigation, developed a test to detect dog and cat DNA in the protein of the dog food. All samples from the most recent dog food survey (2000) that tested positive for pentobarbital, as well as a subset of samples that tested negative, were examined for the presence of remains derived from dogs or cats. The results demonstrated a complete absence of material that would have been derived from euthanized dogs or cats.

The FDA concluded that…

Presently, it is assumed that the pentobarbital residues are entering pet foods from euthanized, rendered cattle or even horses.

So, in 2002, it appears the good news is that dead pets are not being fed to living dogs. So fast forward to today and surely there should be no evidence to the contrary?

California Company Caught Using Recycled Pets In Dog Food

A California-based pet food company has been caught using recycled pets as cheap protein in its popular dog food. Pentobarbital is a barbiturate that’s commonly used by veterinarians for euthanasia. So how is it getting in the food? Read more

How Can This Happen? Isn’t There a Law to Protect Pet Food?

Strictly speaking, there are numerous laws to prevent euthanized animals of all kinds being used in commercial pet foods. But are they being enforced? This excellent article by author Susan Thixton sums it up perfectly…

A euthanized animal is absolutely illegal in pet food. It was illegal in 1995 when Van Smith wrote What’s Cookin?, it was illegal in 2002 when FDA published Risk of Pentobarbital in Dog Food, and it is illegal in 2017 when pentobarbital poisoned meat was found in Evangers Pet Food. It is beyond criminal that it took 22 years to finally get a recall on a pet food using ingredients that all regulatory authorities know with absolute certainty are illegal (and know with absolute certainty have been used for decades in pet food). And we only got this recall because a little dog named Talula died – with a ‘Mom’ that would not give up.

How Can You Protect Your Dog?

Simple; know what’s in your dog’s food! According to Reviews.com who surveyed 300 dog owners about their dog’s food, “70 percent admitted that they didn’t know all of the ingredients in their dog’s food”.

Unless standards improve through pressure from the public or regulators, nothing will change.  So if you value your dog’s health you have a choice; either make your dogs food yourself at home or source more ethically produced commercial products.  As public awareness of dog food ingredients increases; there are more healthy dog food brands available but you must know what to look for on dog food labels to avoid feeding your dog harmful ingredients.

Check the Label! Which Dog Food Ingredients to Avoid

Ultimately, the only sure fire way to know what goes into your dog’s food is to make it yourself. After that your greatest ally is food labels, read them closely and know what to look for. If it lists any of these ingredients, seriously consider leaving it on the shelf…

  • Rendered meat
  • Rendered meat derivitives
  • Generic “meats” and “meals”
  • Animal “by-products”

For a more detailed run-down of the best and worst foods for your dog, watch the video below by Dr Karen Becker.

10 of the Best Healthy Dog Food Brands

One of the biggest reviews of dog food brands was recently carried out by Reviews.com who checked 2,223 formulas from 115 brands and reviewed their ingredients. Just 134 products from 29 brands made it onto the approved list! Ten of their favorite healthy dog food brands that made the list are…

  1. Orijen
  2. ACANA
  3. Eagle Pack
  4. Fromm
  5. Natures Logic
  6. Stella & Chewy’s
  7. Wysong
  8. Pinnacle
  9. Primal
  10. Hi-Tek Naturals

See the full list of dog food 29 brands and 134 formulas at Reviews.com.

How to Take Control of Your Dog’s Diet and Health

If you’re determined to protect your dog from poor pet food standards and worrying recalls but find labels confusing, there’s only one way to guarantee your canine gets a healthy diet: make your own healthy homemade dog food from scratch.

Sure it takes some extra effort but the health benefits and peace of mind it delivers outweigh any negatives for many dog owners. Plus there are a number of good books and courses available to help you take control of your dog’s diet with step by step guides, videos and recipes to make the switch to healthy DIY dog food a breeze.

However before you make any changes to your dog’s diet, it’s important to consult your veterinarian for advice that takes into account your dog’s own needs and medical history.

Top 3 Best Selling Home Made Dog Food Books On Amazon

The Healthy Hound Cook Book

Your best friend deserves the best, and the simple, all-natural recipes in this book will make it easy to create healthy treats and meals for your favorite canine. Featuring more than 125 nutritious recipes using healthy, fresh ingredients from your kitchen.  Read more

Home Cooking for Your Dog

This is the first holistic cookbook for dogs to include recipes for cooked meals, treats, and the raw food diet with user-friendly recipes to create balanced, nutritious meals for a healthier, happier dog.  Read more

Feed Your Best Friend Better

If you wouldn’t eat processed food, why feed it to your dog? An essential nutrition book for dogs and the only one you’ll need, with guidelines, charts, tips, and more than 85 easy recipes for healthy dog dishes. Read more

Other Home Made Dog Food Books and Courses

If you need a little more guidance creating the best DIY dog food recipes for your dog’s diet needs then there are a number of more in-depth video courses and books.

Complete Canine Nutrition - Videos, ebooks, Facebook Group

Complete Canine Nutrition is a self-paced, 100% online Master Course in canine nutrition developed and taught by W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Diana Laverdure-Dunetz, MS, global canine nutrition leaders and authors.  Read more

Dog Food Secrets - eBooks

Dog Food Secrets is a series of ebooks, recipes and guides that reveal a simple solution proven to increase the lifepsan of your dog by up to 134% and save you up to $10,000 over the lifetime of your dog.  Read more

How to Add Years to Your Dog’s Life - eBook

A beginner’s guide to raw feeding that will provide you with all the information you need to take the first step into feeding raw.  Read more


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Polly Russell

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