Did you know that many of the commercial pet foods on the market are owned by large corporations?
Yeah, so what? Well, think about the bottom line for these shareholders. What do you think is more important to the board of directors for these companies – making a profit, or making reputable products that encourage health?
If you said profit, you are RIGHT. So how does one cut costs and increase profits? By reducing the quality of the ingredients, outsourcing to cheap factories, and by automation of the process to ensure that food is produced quickly, and shipped out to retailers across the U.S.
So Who Controls What?
- Nestle: Purina (Nestle is known for making snack foods: Chocolate Crunch bars, Hot Pockets, Haagen Daz ice cream)
- Mars: Nutro, Royal Canin, Pedigree, Medi-Cal (Mars is known for chocolates, beverages, and other snacks)
- Proctor & Gamble: Iams, Eukanuba, Natura Pet Products: Karma, Innova, Evo, California Natural, Mother Nature, and Healthwise (Proctor & Gamble is known for a wide range of products, including batteries, hair-dye, and detergent)
- Colgate Palmolive: Hills Pet Products (Science Diet) (Colgate is known for toothpaste and oral care)
- Del Monte: Natures Recipe, Pounce, Meow Mix, Kibbles & Bits, 9 Lives, Jerky Treats, Milk Bone (Del Monte is known for canned fruits and veggies)
Are you surprised?!
Science Diet (the “most reputable” commercial diet, promoted in veterinary clinics across the nation) is owned and produced by Colgate Palmolive – a company best known for toothpaste! So before you purchase that bag of K/D or I/D, please consider the origin of this food. Your money may be better spent on a consultation with a qualified holistic veterinarian in your area, who can help guide you to formulate an appropriate diet (with REAL food) for your pet.
A Word on Advertising
You may have heard or seen the commercials about holistic or natural pet foods. “Natural” is a very trendy term right now, and every company is looking to increase profits by capitalizing on your desire to provide healthy meals for your pets. The commercials are great – cute, healthy happy dogs and cats and a laundry list of reasons why this brand of food is the most nutritious and optimal formula available. However, if you look into any of the major pet food companies, you’ll find that they all offer a range of different diets – from low-quality cheap fare, to “premium natural” diets. If this company truly cares about the health and well-being of your pet, why does it continue to produce mediocre or lackluster diets, in addition to the “natural” diets? Why not provide just one line of high-quality cat food? Don’t be fooled by marketing!
A Mom & Pop Shop Becomes A Conglomerate Nightmare
Like many small businesses, many pet food companies start off with the right intentions – produce good food, using high-quality ingredients. Over time, as their reputation and demand grows, they expand the business and seek out ways to increase profits while decreasing costs. Large corporations offer a nice paycheck for the buyout of the company, and then, notoriously, quality of the pet food goes down. This exact scenario played out in the buyout of Iams/Eukanuba. After Proctor & Gamble purchased Iams/Eukanuba, they began to offer this line in many discount stores like Walmart. As the months went on, pets fed this food became sick with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, allergies, and skin problems, and pet owners became suspicious of changes within the formula of the food. A class action lawsuit was filed against Proctor & Gamble, and it was finally revealed that Proctor & Gamble had substituted lower quality ingredients like chicken by-product meal and bran sorghum in place of real ingredients like chicken and rice.
Recalls & Alternatives
In the last several years, we’ve seen a lot of companies go through pet food recalls. It happens so often, that it rarely makes the headline news anymore. Even the “best” natural brands are subject to a recall once in a while. Wellness pet food did a voluntary recall in February for a deficiency within their cat food line.
The only way to be sure that your pet is getting a healthy, balanced diet made with high-quality ingredients is to feed your pets a diverse selection of fresh, non-processed meals made with veggies, meats, and starches. My dog nutrition book can help guide you to formulate these diets. I also have a cat nutrition book in the works.
And for those of you who do not have the time or inclination to prepare your pet’s meals, the following resources are great for staying informed on current recalls, learning more about why commercial pet food isn’t ideal, or finding a suitable organic or holistic pet food.
Pawesome.net – See the column on the left called “Total Recall”
Not Fit For A Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Dog & Cat Food – By Michael W. Fox, DVM
Food Pets Die For – By Ann N. Martin
Fresh Food & Ancient Wisdom – By Ihor Basko, DVM (Chapter One)
Photo via: Jordan Batch