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Big Heart…Really?

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  1. Marsha

    Real Big Hearts!!! How gross and low can they go? THAT IS JUST SICK!!!
    I would love to know what they feed their animals. Do they feed their own pets their food or do they go with better food.
    Should have named their foods “No Heart, Just Money”.

    1. Gitta

      Sarcasm on:

      Pet parents have Big Hearts. Big Hearts want the best for their pets and are willing to shell out quite a bit of dough. So, the name just means: Hey Big Hearts – we have a variety of pet brands for you. But that was tad bit too long. So Big Heart Pet Brands it became. Who says there is no truth in advertising?

      Sarcasm off.

      Now, why the change to pet food? Are petsumers more gullible and less concerned with ingredients than regular consumers? Have regular consumers started to walk away from junk?

  2. Colleen

    What do I do?!?!!? I just don’t know what to feed my beautiful male cat, he’s 2 1/2 years old, my best friend, he’s everything to me.

    Please, there’s so many conflicting opinions/’facts’!

    Right now he has free range of his dry food – Purina One and Beyond, and he enjoys two cans of wet food daily. For wet food, he prefers Soulistic and the Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys… What is your opinion? Anyone?

    it’s so hard to determine the best, healthiest food for him 🙁

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      You have to decide Colleen – but my suggestion would be a pet food made from USDA inspected and approved ingredients with nothing sourced from China. They are out there. But pet food regulations do not allow these companies to look any different than all the rest (label information). So you have to do a little homework. Call them and ask – are all meat and vegetable ingredients USDA inspected and approved? and What is the country of origin of all ingredients including supplements? With this information you can make a better informed decision for your babies.

      1. Ellie

        What do you mean that these companies are not allowed to look any different than the others on label? Are they not allowed to explain their ingredient list or how the ingredients are processed?
        It seems to be the hardest thing to find any information about these particular factors when it comes to pet foods.
        We feed a commercial raw with occasional homemade meals and have had great results.
        Why is it that humans can prepare meals for other humans and are not required require to have a degree in nutriion while we are made to feel that preparing meals for our pets requires a special knowledge that only a pet food company can supply?

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          AAFCO established regulations require pet food labels to all look alike. No matter the quality of ingredients – those using USDA inspected and approved meats and vegetables have to look the same as those using 4D meats and waste/spoiled vegetables. As example – Honest Kitchen several years ago had to go to court because a state refused to allow their foods on store shelves because their label stated ‘human grade’. The company won in court – because their foods are made in a human food facility.
          And I so agree with your second statement – I came to the same realization. If I could successfully feed two children from birth to adulthood – I can certainly feed my pets. It’s not rocket science…it’s food. Plus – there is nothing exact in food. The nutrition in meat varies depending on what that animal ate – how fresh the meat is – so on. Similar with vegetables – depends on the soil. The industry wants us to believe it is very exact – truth is it’s far from that.

        2. Pacific Sun

          You know, if you look at things in terms of decades, our own is really the first where consumers are asking questions. I so credit the TAPF for opening the information portal to so many people! Especially since the 2007 recall when peoples’ eyes were opened to the fact that big companies, through a lack of safety, oversight and integrity, could actually kill pets. What’s even harder for people to (still) believe is that their intentions really haven’t changed at all. The PFI is a very closed society. For whatever reasons they are reluctant to do much mud-slinging against one another nor step out of line. Blue Buffalo is probably the most innovative vocally speaking through the media. But that doesn’t mean their food is perfectly top of the line either. So most companies label and list ingredients with the barest of information, usually by permitted minimum requirements. They double-speak in industry language, use coded ingredient definitions and fracture their ranking. In truth, the PFI’s motivation is to keep the public more confused than ever, and to keep them in fear of trying nutrition that’s truly “out-of-the-box” (pun definitely intended).
          So Unless you’ve had the history and experience already behind you, perhaps from making a living through agriculture, think what it has taken to become educated about pet food. To understand that RAW, natural, primal, even home made whole nutrition is better than what is “supposed” to be designed for pets! Meaning stuff that is artificially & chemically over corrected remnants of barely edible animal & plant parts. Commercial PF is built on a foundation of “discards” from any and all sources (that are unfit for sale, aged, unhealthy, scraps).
          Think of the unnatural effort required to take this kind of “food” from potentially damaging and hazardous status to one of being able to just sustain the life of an animal! And when it doesn’t, and mistakes are made, then our pets get terribly sick and often die prematurely from unnatural causes.

    2. Rin Tin Tin

      Colleen, you could try ZiwiPeak canned food, the meat is hormone and antibiotic free plus the cans are bpa free as well. This is what I feed my cats along with Nature’s Variety.

  3. Lisa Parker

    We thought it would take a while, but we had been feeding our cats canned Natural Balance (recently taken over by Del Monte). The two older ones began throwing up each time we fed them the Ultra flavor. No more. Already changed to another quality brand. Such a shame these companies get sold then go to crap and our pets can no longer eat it. Oh and by the way, no more vomiting after food change. Proof enough for me.

    1. Suzan

      Oh no… I have been trying to switch my cat to a different wet food for the past *year* in anticipation of this and other concerns, but she REFUSES to eat anything else!!!! Ultra and Low Cal are her absolute favourites…

      Lisa, Can you tell me what are the expiry dates on the Ultra cans that made your cats sick??? Is there any other batch/lot info on those cans? I would like to check mine that I have at home…

      I’m so worried now. Very upsetting 🙁

    2. Suzan

      I just found this as well… getting really anxious now 🙁

  4. barbara

    Here’s an example of the average consumer. A friend of mine who is in remission for cancer, who watches his diet carefully, has a dog that he calls “the love of my life”. I found out that he was feeding her Kibbles ‘n Bits. After going ballistic, I looked up the ingredients; found that it contained mostly wheat, corn, soy, BHA, food dye, by-Products and “vitamins” thrown in. Here’s an average person with average intelligence, who loves his pet dearly and is unknowingly buying this junk. Somebody must be buying it or they wouldn’t be selling it.

    1. Tattie

      I am sorry to hear that, Barbara. From having read Michael Pollans’s “Omnivore’s Dilema,” to many hours of pet food research, I feel we all would be very well advised to assume that almost every product that is marketed to us is done so with little more than profit making in mind. To make a profit you HAVE to use the cheapest ingredients available. And I mean CHEAP. The products are only for us to buy, not to derive benefit from.

  5. Tattle


    I make my dogs food. After many, many hours of researching and becoming a changed person for what these companies do to make tons of money at our pet’s expense, I knew I had no other choice. Research. Purina is awful. The canned cat food is deadly. You can do it!!! If he is your world, you have little choice. BTW, I have thoroughly enjoyed making their food!!!

    Good luck. Subscribe to Susan’s truthaboutpetfood. She knows her stuff!

  6. Kelley Hayden

    I know it is very hard to get cats to accept new food. But if you can, The Honest Kitchen ( offers a pre-mix to which you can add some fresh, whole food. This company has returned the Pledge (aka transparency) and gives pet owners more control over diet plans, while still offering convenience and required nutrition. Even occasional feeding of whole fresh meals is helpful. Soaking the dehydrated pre-mix overnight helps make it more palatable, but my pets love it anyway!!

    1. barbara

      I totally agree with you Kelley. We have 7 cats and a couple are pretty picky. We try to feed raw meat and make recipes, but otherwise we rely on Honest Kitchen, (shipped to our front door). It is the best thing we’ve found – a raw, dehydrated, organic, human-grade food, with nothing from China. Even the vitamins are made from organic food. We don’t soak it, just use warm water, add few drops of omega oils, and stir it around for a few minutes. One picky cat likes a sprinkle of dehydrated salmon on top. Another likes it not to be stirred – just the water with the Honest Kitchen floating around! Cats… Love the quote: “I don’t need a higher power. I have a cat.”

  7. Pam Perryman

    What do you know about Paul Newmans”s products?

    1. Pacific Sun

      Newman’s daughter started a company specializing in organics, including a line of pet food. Organic ingredients are supposedly human grade but no confirmation if they are USDA inspected and approved according to the representative, as stated in the review. The company has not returned the Pledge (which is an example of transparency). The best way to find out the most information about any pet food is to subscribe to the Petsumer Review. Ingredients that receive a thumbs down are further explained as to the reason why.

  8. Gary

    Does anyone use Life’s Abundance pet food? I would appreciate any
    information about it. So glad I found this website.

    1. Pacific Sun

      Life’s Abundance has a fairly positive review compared to many other PFs in that the representative stated the ingredients are human grade, though no confirmation if ingredients are USDA inspected and approved. The representative also stated the ingredients are sourced in the US. However the company has not returned the Pledge (which can be one indication of transparency). The best way to fully compare any pet food to another is to subscribe to the Petsumer Report.. Any ingredients that receive a thumbs down are fully explained. And if this PF doesn’t meet your needs then it is very easy to navigate around to other brands that are listed.

      1. Gary

        Thank you, Pacific Sun, for taking the time to reply. I guess Life’s Abundance
        would be proud to state USDA inspected and approved. I think they would
        want everyone to know, so I guess their refusal to answer makes it
        quite obvious that the food is not USDA inspected and approved, otherwise
        why wouldn’t they brag about it.

        Could you please give me the names of some cat and dog foods that
        meet all the criteria that Susan proposes. I was interest in Nature’s Logic
        but although it was rated highly, it contains montmorillonite clay and
        Porcine Plasma, and I don’t understand why these things are ingredients?
        These ingredients would scare anyone away. Also I considered Honest Kitchen until I read about the recalls. I am going crazy trying to figure this
        out. Also neither one of these products is available locally .

        So, could you please give me the names of some foods that you could
        at least recommend, or perhaps what you feed your own companions?

        Thanks again. This is really driving me crazy.

        1. Pacific Sun

          The best way to choose a PF for your circumstances, budget and convenience is by using Susan’s Petsumer Report. Over 2500 brand/formulas are there. Every ingredient that receives a “thumbs down” is fully explained. No brand is perfect, so you have to pick one that is least objectionable. For the products that have reached the top recommendation, there is the 2014 List, all have returned the Pledge to Quality and Origin. There are few cat foods listed.
          Since you asked I’ll provide detail: First, please read the circumstances of THK’s 2012 here @ It was prevention not correction. A 3rd party supplier of parsley issued a recall due to a potential problem. THK acted proactively, transparently, and upgraded their safety protocol, and quit the supplier. Prowl (for cats) and Preference (for dogs) doesn’t use parsely anyway. “Prowl™ is an all natural cat food made with free range chicken, eggs and produce like sweet potatoes, spinach and cranberries. It is almost 70% meat, and is a natural human grade cat food that’s ideal for adult cats, particularly those who need a diet without gluten.” I can’t recommend a “kibble” for cats because they need wet (at least moist) diets, of protein, as close to archetype as possible. The trick is getting a cat to eat what they’re actually supposed to however!
          I truly believe in RAW. Only when a local protein source can be trusted. For years I’ve used THK Preference premix. My dogs are (15 lbs each) 14+yrs and 3+yrs. Added to the mix is minimally baked beef or properly cooked chicken. With non-fat natural greek style yogurt (26 grams of protein), cooked oatmeal bran & flakes, sometimes a cooked egg, power-seeded toast, banana, pumpkin, etc. Both have endless energy, great teeth, free of health problems, excellent temperment, perfect stools. The food is digested very well. As a backup I have Mulligan’s Stew, a baked kibble. Both THK and Mulligan returned the Pledge to Quality and Origin. They are willing to answer all questions. THK is human-grade ingredients processed a human-grade facility. Hope all of this has helped. Thank you for following TAPF. I do not work for, nor sell any of the products discussed.

          1. Gary

            Thank you, Pacific Sun, for your time and honesty. This is such a
            great website. Thanks Susan.


  9. Dillon

    Susan –

    You need to create a forum on this site for pet owners. Too little space is devoted to food on the other major cat site forums. The one that used to be pretty good providing information, itchmoforums, isn’t that active anymore. I know that moderating is very time consuming and could be the reason that there aren’t forums here.

    What I never understand about the big pet food manufacturers like Nestle’s Purina and now Del Monte is why, with their superior quality control at their canning facilities (in comparison to the smaller ones we all know), they can’t:

    1) subcontract canning and distribution to the boutique, natural brands
    so they could get a piece of the distribution money

    2) start producing a better, top shelf, higher quality food with those proteins that are only produced by the smaller companies. Yes, they might not make as much on it at first, but with word of mouth and their huge advertising budgets, it would be profitable for them within a few years.

    I know it’s difficult to fathom one wanting them to distribute the pet food we spend more for, but their plant quality controls are superior to what we expect from the smaller brands we buy.

  10. Pacific Sun

    It’s been a pleasure to see how frequently TAPF Readers help one another!

    What sets this site apart from ordinary chat forums, is that folks are not only helping one another. But the focus in on how they are helping through social media awareness. Pertaining to the topics centered around pet food safety and quality “advocacy.” This education is grounded by well researched articles and behind-the-scenes information not found in mainstream news. And it is completely unbiased due to the lack of commercial sponsorship.

    People help one another through enlightenment. It’s not just about whether somebody’s dog or cat is doing well on just “any” old food. But what’s central to this discussion is that the PROBLEM of inferior food is causing so many issues! We’re very fortunate to have a specialized site for this purpose.

    About moderation, TAPF Readers seem to be pretty civilized thankfully. On the older site there was indeed a lot more snarking! But the improved format of this site, social media manners, and reduced use of psedonyms, seems to keep the conversations moving along, polite and well meaning. My guess is the author has hands full just keeping up with research and advocating on our behalf, without moderating the comments section on a full time basis. Wink!!

  11. Kenneth

    Maybe they mean “big hearts” as in enlarged hearts because of illnesses due to eating this food 🙂

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