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Is No-Hide Dog Treat Actually Hide?

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  1. Debra

    Hide – and I do not give my pup anything like that!!!

    1. Debi

      Some, most, of these stories are so sad, disappointing and horrific that I do not want to have any more dogs after the 3 that I have now, it seems that instead of getting better for our pets, things are actually going from bad to worse, where is the integrity? is there truly no honesty within these companies anymore? I do not think so.

  2. Ian

    WTF is wrong with these companies?? More marketing smoke and mirrors and as a result someone’s pet (who looks just like my dog) is dead. Make the punishment fit the crime… these guys should have to eat one of their own products. Maybe that should be part of your new Pledge?? That the owner of the company videotapes themselves eating their own product and uploads it to Youtube??

    1. Brit

      The dog was given an inappeotsrlwh sized chew for it’s weight, that’s why it choked. This incident has nothing to do with the ingredients. It doesn’t excuse the lies, if in fact that’s what they are, but pet owners need to be more aware size appropriate chews. A 4 inch chew is not okay for a 100+ pound dog!

  3. Donna

    Thank you Susan for bringing this in the open. I have maltese and had recently found these, thinking they would be great as I don’t give rawhide. I began to wonder how safe they were when one, pooped out a long splinter like it was rawhide! I took them away and now I will not use any Earth Animal products! I also purchased the Earth Animal Flea & Tick Program Daily Internal Powder to add to their food. I am not about to even open, much less put on my dog’s food. They are now on my banned list too!

  4. Dianne & Pets

    Did Mr. Moore seem shocked and sincere about not knowing? Did he ever actually see the plant where his stuff is made? Is rawhide allowed to be processed in a human grade facility? Did he look at any certifications? Check out the supplier?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I cannot say he seemed shocked, but he did seem sincere in his belief the treats are not rawhide. The plant where they are made – confirmed to me (verbally) the treats are not rawhide, but immediately after I asked I was told any more questions would have to be asked to Earth Animal. No – hide would not be considered ‘human grade’.

  5. Graham B McBride

    I’m so glad this information is finally being released. I’m the buyer for a pet shop and in January my collegues and myself became suspicious of the no-hide claim. I had contacted the company and was able to actually speak to the Vice President of Operations at Earth Animal. What a frustrating conversation that was! He refused to tell me several times what the “base material” (his words) was.
    I did some research on Dr. Timothy J. Bowser from PetSci LLC who Earth Animal cites as the scientist that completed the digestibility study they reference throughout their materials. I found the patent application (US 2011/0142993 A1) that Dr. Bowser has for mechanically treated skin that has been saturated with enzymes including polyphenoxidase (banana enzyme) and bromelain (pineapple enzyme.) Since these treats are produced in a FDA approved facility, the only skins available for them to use are pigskin or chicken skin.
    After discovering additional research by S. Hooda et al. on in vitro digestibility of expanded pork skin; I’ve come to the conclusion that Earth Animal No Hide chews are made from trimmed, expanded pork skin which has been saturated with enzymes to increase digestibility. They are then flavored with a slurry of chicken, beef or salmon, eggs and gelatin and finally rolled and dehydrated. After thoroughly vetting the research I do believe they are more digestible than rawhide, however I feel the products are deceiving in that they do not list the ingredient of their “base material.”

    I am disgusted to learn that this product has killed at least one dog. We stopped selling their products after my research and informed our customers of the deception. I wish that this information had gotten out sooner.

    1. Concerned PetParent

      Pig Skin has holes going completely thru the from the epidermis thru the entire corium, much like Human Skin. Dr. Kallenberger would have instantly recognized if this were pig skin without the need for even a second look. Thus, I have to disagree with your conclusion whole-heartedly.

      Someone should ask the beef jerky company producing these at what temperature and duration are they “baking” the chews. The De-naturization/gelatinzation that starts when collagen is heated could possibly explain the better “digestibility” compared to un heated rawhides. Both are still Rawhide, however…

      And then there’s that darn DNA…. It clearly shows the majority of the chew is Beef/Cow… No Porcine detected…

  6. Paula

    RIP sweet Dumplin, this is so sad. I actually just bought another package of these today; I’ve been giving them to my girl for several months! She loves them, and I’ve been thinking that they were a healthy chew. I absolutely do watch her when I give her one, and when the bone gets down to a size that looks like it could be choked on, I take it away. Susan, thank you for providing this information, and for all the work you do to help keep our pets safe!

  7. Paula

    Based on the stated ingredients, why would this be a long-lasting chew? Clearly it would not. Why would it need bromelain? To break down what? Looked suspicious and not healthy to me. Even their own website says it is only 56% digestible. Also it clearly is not made in a plant owned by the company. That means it is critical to research the co-packer. Thanks for posting this.

    1. Paula

      I am a different person from the other Paula. I have never fed this crap to my dogs. 🙂

  8. foodguy

    Nothing new. When brought into a store I worked at, I was extremely skeptical and contacted the company multiple times. The material was said to be compressed rice flour but considering the strength of the material I knee it was not.

    The store in question sold thousands of pieces over months to pet parents desparate to believe it was a long lasting hide free treat, and despite the questions I had and made known, made no effort to find out the truth.

  9. Erica

    Thank you Susan for posting this!! I was recommended these from a friend who is very weary about what they feed their pets and at first glance thought it looked like to be a good product. a few weeks ago I did the same water test and seen how the hide swelled up and was extremely hard to tear. I was suspicious then that they had hide of some sort in them and tossed both. These are being recommended by several people right now at the rescue I work at whom prohibits raw hides . I will be putting out the link for this article . Thank you!!

  10. Regina

    Seeing that dog’s face was a punch in the gut! This is heartbreaking. But, I’m glad that it made it onto the news. I would keep after the station with all follow-up information. Sometimes stations share content, affiliates get pre-recorded bits all the time, so it is possible this might make it to other stations, and then, maybe picked up by national news, if more people are aware, hopefully this company will be forced to face the truth.

    I know, that’s a big dream, but, Susan, if every pet parent who loses a pet to some terrible product gets news coverage, the word might spread more.

  11. Regina

    This whole issue of “safer than rawhide” is just a marketing scheme. Yes, there are products that are definitely not rawhide, but, for instance, there’s a brand that sells a “holistic” treat that has artificial sweetener AND coloring.

    So many people just read the front of the package, and take it at face value. It amazes me that people don’t look at what they are feeding their pets.

    The fact that these “No Hide” chews claim to be made in a “human food” processing plant, I’d love to know what human food is produced there. Just curious.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The plant makes human jerky and other dried meat products.

      1. Regina

        Can we find out what brands of human jerky and other dried meat products they produce? I would love to spread the word to avoid anything coming out of there!

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Pony Express Foods is the company that confirmed they manufacture the treat to me.

  12. Vicky

    Thank you for this information, I had been giving these to my dogs on an occasional basis thinking it was a safe and healthy choice. Obviously an expensive (in more than one way) mistake. The remainder will go into the trash. Really appreciate the heads up to all parties exposing this deceptive product/company.

  13. cupcakesandkale

    This is baffling as they always have advocated for products for pets that are truly human grade, made in a human food facility, and they warn customers to investigate the companies they buy from whether they are using USDA inspected and approved, to avoid factory farmed meats, and seek humanely raised meats, wild and not farmed salmon, etc. I hope this is resolved quickly either way. Trajic about that dog, though he did swallow it whole, which is always such a danger. Hope it leads to some good if we can in fact uncover the truth about a product that we trusted.

  14. Kenneth Yarborough

    This article is completely saturated with red herring appeal. Regardless of whether or not the company is producing the product that they promise to their customers, the content of the chew has nothing to do with the original problem raised in the article. The pet owner was clearly not watching their dog while it consumed a potentially dangerous treat; plain and simple. I can understand that accidents happen, but there is no reason to bring up the content of the chews in this article. Even if the chew was made of the ingredients promised by the company, the dog would likely have still choked because the texture of the treat is obviously made to simulate hide. Obviously, I don’t believe that companies should lie to their consumers about the content of their products, but i also don’t believe in needless mud-slinging due to the negligence of one pet owner. At its core, this article is distracting at best from the real problem at hand; proper pet ownership.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The article is about mislabeling of a product, misleading consumers. In my conversation with Earth Animal – Chris Moore – he too brought up the chew was small for the size of dog. He stated ‘we recommend’ a large size bone for a dog this size. But guess what? That recommendation is not on the product label. There is no feeding directions, no size appropriate recommendations on the label. My statement to Mr. Moore was that almost makes this situation worse – if the company knew there was a size appropriate feeding of the treat and did not disclose that to the consumer on the label. I was told they are working on changing that on labels.

      Do not blame the consumer.

      1. Gina

        But you did not put in the article about asking about the different size chews or even the fact that feeding recommendations were not included on the package. Right now there is not enough information to blame anyone, just a lot more research to do.
        Thank you again for all you do.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          I did discuss the lack of feeding directions with the company – and they agreed to me that should be on the label, stated they are working on correcting that (Chris Moore). Again, I’m not blaming anyone – I am presenting information/evidence. Regulatory authorities will investigate and we’ll see how that falls.

          1. Philip

            You are trying to link a dog choking on a dog chew to a product not being rawhide. How are they related? You are using this dog’s death to bring about an emotional response from consumers. It seems like a cheap method of promoting what could be a reasonable argument for transparency.

          2. Susan Thixton Author

            Because the pet owner would not have purchased rawhide. How are they NOT related? Have you spoken with the pet owner? I have – numerous times. Including just a few moments ago (Sunday 7/30/17). She would not have purchased rawhide – she thought she wasn’t purchasing rawhide with this product. Time will tell if she did.

          3. mary

            I really like your work and the things that you have exposed. But, regardless — this is a hard chew — it would not dissolve in the dog’s throat even if it were not rawhide. Nothing dissolves like that — I think everything these days needs less emotion and a little more responsibility. You don’t give a dog a chew and leave. You don’t give a dog a chew that they could swallow hole….

          4. Susan Thixton Author

            The pet owner did not leave the dog. She was right there with the dog and took it immediately to the vet.

      2. DeAnna Haase

        I will have a huge issue if the product actually does contain hide…however I believe that we as consumers do have to use our common sense when using products. Why is it ok to expect the company to accept blame and not the consumer who purchased it in this situation? Coffee is hot…I do not need a warning label to tell me that.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          I have not asked for anyone to accept blame – only presented information to alert consumers and ask for authorities to investigate.

        2. Gerald Bair

          According to information directly from Earth Animal, the dog did NOT die directly from choking on the bone. In fact the dog walked into the vet’s office under it’s own power and did not die until over 10 hours later. And the owner admits to not attending to the dog for almost 90 minutes. I wish you would post the whole story.

          1. Ian

            In these situations, historically it’s not usually helpful to rely on information provided directly from the manufacturer. That’s why Susan turns to outside experts. And once again, the issue at hand is not what the pet owner did or didn’t do to contribute to the death of her beloved pet. The issue is, is the product what Earth Animal markets it as? And are their other claims of manufacturing (made under USDA inspection for example) accurate? Earth Animal surrogates, please stop trying to make this about the pet owner. It is about Earth Animal.

      3. mary

        I have very mixed views of this entire thing. I sell these and our clients love them. I have watched my own dogs chew them and they never have any problem with them. I wonder how they have hide in them — and its disturbing if they do — but I have also never seen one swell up like the one in the photo. Most dogs don’t swallow them whole like a corn cob……clearly this dog shouldn’t have had any chews and even if there wasn’t any hide in it — swallowing it whole would have undoubtedly resulted in the same sad result. Earth Animal makes wonderful all natural products and I hope that they will get to the bottom of this.

  15. Elizabeth

    This is sick! We spend way to much on these because they are the only chew we’ve found made in a USDA inspected facility. How do I get mine tested? My Dane, Rolf, has a beef allergy and we give him the salmon one.

  16. Dog Mom

    A good portion of the problem here is that the chew in question, whether rawhide or not, was too small for that dog. But if this chew is truly rawhide, it will be quite shocking that they were able to get away with that.

    1. thepodlifeblog

      Not only too small, but anything swallowed whole is potentially very dangerous and possibly fatal. Regardless of what the actual ingredients are any chew like this should be given while the dog is being supervised otherwise the dog might be at risk for choking while the owner is away. Still very very sad…

  17. Sierra

    About time earth animal is exposed!!!!!

  18. Gina

    I am not affiliated with EA, but work in a small pet shop. It seems to me there are several separate issues here: the first is what size was the chew? A dog that size should not have been given the 4 inch chew, which he could then swallow whole and choke, which is apparently what happened. The second is the ingredients in the chew (not that this issue is less important!)—I think in fairness this article should have mentioned that Dr. Kallenberger may be a DVM, but he is also a member of the American Leather Chemist’s Association and has written many articles (and even books) on tanning and leather. That leads to the important question as to who is funding his research? We know that plays a part. Before posting an article that you know will lead to backlash, in all fairness other questions must be asked. Earth Animal has a good reputation to date—so before calling them crap and castigating them, lets make sure. And no animal should be left unattended with an edible chew (or really any chew). I am a regular visitor to this site and appreciate all the valuable information.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I’m not calling anyone “crap” – I’m presenting scientific evidence/analysis, consumers are fully capable of making up their own minds. And – as I always do, I turned over everything I was provided to regulatory authorities. (By the way, when anyone provides me with information – I will only consider publishing it if the same information can be turned over to authorities.) Regulatory are the ones responsible for a full unbiased investigation. We will wait for their investigation.

      1. Gina

        I am sorry, I was actually referring to other posters calling the chews “crap”—not you 🙂 However those are pretty low standards for calling out a reputable company. Kallenberger is clearly not a DVM, but a chemist working in the leather industry. Without some kind of background/context on his role, who is funding and why, to me this is a sad case of dog choking on treat inappropriate to his size—you wouldn’t give a small child a big peppermint sucker because it would be a choking hazard. Some things are common sense, and again, dogs and children should not be left alone with chews/suckkers.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          A DVM wouldn’t be who I would turn to for analysis in this case. If I was wanting to know if a product is hide (pre-leather) – I would turn to someone that knows leather. To me, he was the perfect choice for this analysis. And of course backed up by DNA analysis. For me – I cannot put blame on the consumer.

          1. Gina

            But he works for the leather industry, not in an FDA lab. Wouldn’t you be interested in who sent in the product (Why they sent it and who paid for the analysis?), which states was in an unopened commercial bag, but doesn’t say if it was the original manufacturer packaging. This is all clearly suspect and people should remain open minded.

          2. Susan Thixton Author

            Which is why I sent results to FDA. I know who sent the product in and I know why – there were actually multiple people that brought this to my attention. One individual contacted me as far back as a year ago – concerned about this product lying to consumers (though it was just discussion at that point – no evidence). When multiple people – who don’t know each other – bring something to me…that was alarming to me. And no – I will not betray my sources. I did not disclose my sources to FDA either – it wouldn’t matter to FDA, they will do their own investigation. And I did not disclose to any of these individuals the name of the other parties. If I want to bring these alerts to consumers – I must not betray the sources that bring these issues to my attention – our attention. Which is partly why my cell phone is a old style flip phone – because industry put spyware on my (former) smart phone. It’s why I have multiple security protection on this website and on my email. ‘They’ know I have LOTS of secrets that I keep. ‘They’ also know that I turn everything over to authorities – everything. Unfortunately – with absolute certainty – authorities don’t always do as they should. But that’s a different story (honestly it is) and that will all come out one day too. All I can do is try to alert consumers to a potential problem and trust…hope that regulatory does the right thing.

    2. RGC

      I agree with Gina. This dog died because it was given an improperly sized treat – no matter the composition of it. As a pet supply retailer, I advise people all the time to purchase an appropriate size for their dog. We proactively ask them what size their dog is in order to advise them properly. Most people buying too small a size know they are doing it and do it anyway because it’s cheaper. People buying online are even more likely to buy the smaller cheaper treat, we have observed. The 4″ chew this dog was given was nowhere close to the size it should have had. If the composition is not as claimed that is a serious matter but not the reason this dog died. I’m terribly sorry for the owner but it was her mistake.

      1. Peter

        The issue really is not about the dog’s death. It is about that after its death, questions have been raised as to the composition of the product itself, and if it is not what it is advertised and sold as.

  19. Gerald Bair

    While it’s totally sad that a beloved family member died and that a “seemingly” reputable company could potentially be lying about it’s products, did anyone notice the picture of the treat?? It’s entirely too small for the dog to begin with and the dog appears to have tried to swallow the entire treat. ANYTHING blocking the dog’s entire airway like that is going to kill it. Rawhide, not rawhide, rubber, plastic, fabric it’s all a potential choking hazard. I wouldn’t be so quick to just blame the treat.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I cannot blame the consumer. Not one little bit. There are no feeding directions, no size appropriate recommendations on the product label. The product was labeled as no hide – if regulatory investigation proves it is hide, to me – all responsibility lies with the company. I represent consumers – not any company. I will defend consumers adamantly, especially when evidence like this is presented to me.

      1. mary

        There are no feeding instructions on nylabones either but my vet says that they are the number one reason that dogs have broken teeth — if a person does’t know what size chew to give their dog, nor not to give their dog a chew and then leave the house then I am sorry they shouldn’t own a dog.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          So shouldn’t there be feeding instructions on them too? Hard for me to believe anyone would blame this pet owner. Very concerning attitude. And by the way, the pet owner was right there at home with her dog while she chewed this product. She was immediately taken to the vet. You can still believe in this product if you choose, but please don’t judge the pet owner – someone you don’t know.

          1. marybethdoyle1@gmail.com

            But I understand that the dog was not taken to the vet for 90 minutes, that the owner was on the phone — that the product was dislodged from the throat and that the dog died 10 hours later. At any rate, this entire thing is sad and again, any chew can be swallowed whole — and I hope that for all concerned all the information comes to light and all facts are revealed and everyone is satisfied.

      2. Pet Biz Guy

        Just curious…if it turns out not to be rawhide, will you print a retraction?

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Exactly what could I retract? DNA results from 2 separate labs on 2 separate products? Expert analysis? Seriously? Just curious…if it turns out to be rawhide, will you disclose who you are?

          1. Pet Biz Guy

            I’m not in any way associated with Earth Animal if that’s what you’re implying. You said re: these claims, “Regulatory are the ones responsible for a full unbiased investigation. We will wait for their investigation.” So – if the FDA investigates and determines that the products *don’t* contain rawhide, I was wondering if you’d print a retraction (maybe “update” would be a better word). Lots of “ifs”, but if the allegations about the product are proved false by the FDA, and if you printed a retraction/update, then I’d consider that to be fair, balanced and responsible reporting. Nothing more, nothing less. To me, when people have power, there is a responsibility that goes with it. You’ve exercised the power to turn many people against these products. If it turns out, via the regulatory investigation that you said you’re waiting for, that the allegations about those products are wrong, will you exercise your power to issue correcting information? Again, I’m just curious.

          2. Susan Thixton Author

            Absolutely I will publish an FDA report of investigation. Why wouldn’t I? I have no agenda against this company – if that is what you are implying. I have no agenda against (or for) any company. All I want to do is alert consumers.

  20. foodguy

    They are fully denying these claims at this point, but the only evidence they put out to support it is the digestion rate percentage of rawhide vs. this chew. That clearly does not mean this product does not contain rawhide, only that the product has been manipulated into a better digestion rate.

    Should be quite interesting…..this is the same company that pulled a bait and switch on its chicken jerky products about a year back. They used to have a kiosk system advocating and advertising their use of Bell and Evans chicken in their jerky….on the packaging etc, until one day it wasn’t there. No notice from the company etc, and they sure didn’t bother checking if the kiosks were still in store touting the benefits of Bell & Evans chicken. Not to mention the constant mold issues with the products.

    1. Mr. Smith

      Earth Animal should test , compare and post findings of their No Hide Chews , digestibility wise, with the DIGESTEEZE brand 99% digestible rawhides, or the Better Belly Brand Digestible Rawhides.

  21. Industry Vet

    The company is a total fraud and a joke within the pet industry. Most folks at bigger customers (which is why none of them carry it) are aware that the product is 100% rawhide, including, most importantly Dr. Bob. It is such a shame and gives the industry a bad stain. They should be put in jail, sued for fraud, and not allowed in the business anymore. So sad that a dog has had to die because of their fraud.

  22. Bellus

    I can’t believe this supposedly “Dr. Goldstein” can do such a thing. That is PURE MONEY GREED! I have been buying this product by the bulk (and mind you it’s super pricey) but bec i thought it’s healthy “no hide” I didn’t mind the price…

  23. Bellus

    Hi Susan!
    My apology I didn’t mean to be rude but I just came from Healthy Spot to buy no hide, when the sales person told me they pulled it out of the shelves bec It’s under investigation. I was shocked and angry because I buy this every other day for my 2 dogs. What about the fillers? Do you know if the mix some unhealthy ingredients? Thank you so much!

  24. Ronny

    It is so incredibly sad to hear that a dog dies of any product we think is safe. My deepest condolences to the family!
    I am concerned, however, that a dog the size of Dumplin should not have been given that size of a treat – it is way too small for such a large dog and if not being supervised poses a choking hazard, he just swallowed it whole. As pet parents, just like parents to two legged kids, we have to monitor what our pets are chewing on and what kind of treats we give them. I am intrigued to hear the results of the investigation, but maybe before bashing a company and ruining their reputation, the entire picture has to be clear!

  25. JMC

    I am incredibly grateful for the work Susan does. She spends a lot of time doing this and sharing her findings with us, making our jobs caring for our pets just a little easier. How I feel about this? Earth Animal lied. Or the people making the chews for them lied. Real simple. The label does not state beef, but beef showed in a dna test. So my question is: I use their tick herbal powders (the one thats ingested). Is the label correct for that product? or is that a lie also? I can honestly say I will not buy any more earth animal products and am considering dumping out the rest of the powder I have on hand. If I read a label and based on that label’s information make the decision to buy it, I expect to get what I paid for, not something else. Its very simple: labels need to be honest.

  26. Peter

    EA statement (https://www.earthanimal.com/no-hide-statement/)

    In response to a recently issued report suggesting that Earth Animal No-Hide™ Chew products contain rawhide, we have provided the following statement:

    As stated on our packaging and in our marketing materials, Earth Animal No Hide™ Chew products do not contain rawhide. Our products are made of 100% natural human-grade ingredients, including fresh chicken, salmon and beef. Our products are manufactured entirely in a USDA-registered human food facility where USDA inspectors are present on all days when production is taking place and where, by law, rawhide material would never be present. Independent testing conducted by Dr. Timothy J. Bowser, Ph.D., P.E., at PetMech, LLC (see full report:https://www.earthanimal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/No-Hide-Digestibility-Report-Earth-Animal.pdf) found that No-Hides™ digest in the animal’s system on average at a rate of 80% (compared to an average of 18% for rawhide), demonstrating that the products do not contain rawhide. As a responsible company, however, we will look into this matter immediately and report back any relevant information we discover. Earth Animal is committed to offering solutions for perpetuating health & wellness and healing conditions in dogs and cats and we stand by our products and the “No-Hide” claim 100%.

  27. Ms. B Dawson

    This company has never had my trust. Can’t put a finger on the exact reason why – Too sincere? Too slick? Too many buzz words? – but my spidey senses always tingled whenever I encountered their reps or sales materials. Kudos to you Susan for compiling multiple complaints and concerns about this company before going public. As always, your research and restraint solidify your credibility as an even-handed advocate.

    Earth Animal – and every other chew manufacturer – has a responsibility to ascertain that the product they market is as advertised and should detail all ingredients, including base materials, added flavors or basting. If they are a stand up company they won’t default to the “we’ve been victimized, too” defense so rampant in the Industry should their product turn out to be misrepresented.

    At this point, it’s looking a little hard for them to stand behind that “100% “No-Hide” claim” in the face of DNA testing. I suspect they will eventually offer some explanation that because of the way the product is processed it is no longer considered “rawhide” under legal definitions. The screen captures are a bit hard to read, but I don’t see any “contains no beef” claims. They only talk about hide and leather, not species.

    Claiming their product has “no leather” is one of the statements that causes my red flags to pop. Are they using an emotively charged word to subtly denigrate the competition (OTHER chews are leather!) or merely using a word which is irrelevant in an effort to make their product appear superior? Either way it is disingenuous. Leather is defined as “‘Hide or skin with its original fibrous structure more or less intact, tanned to be imputrescible.” vs. rawhide’s definition: “the skin of a cow before it has been prepared or made into leather.” No rawhide chew is tanned, consequently no chew is considered leather. Ask yourself this question: If this product ISN’T hide, what the heck is made of and should my dog be eating it?

    Companies are struggling to differentiate themselves as the “natural” market continues to grow – currently 25% of the US pet market, $8.2 billion in 2016. Consumers must stop and think about how manipulative marketing can be. Millions are spent researching how to get you to buy one product or another. A common ploy is to provide true information (“no leather”) that encourages you to make an erroneous conclusion (“other chews aren’t aren’t as good”). It’s the same tactic used by Pedigree years ago when they stated “our meat’s been inspected by the UDSA!”. It’s a true statement, Pedigree was NOT lying. The meat had been through USDA inspections. It FAILED for human consumption, but consumers concluded they were purchasing a human quality food because of the inspection.

    An old adage is of value here: If it sound too good to be true……

    1. Mary Kenkel

      I dont think you should condem before you hear the whole story. I love their products because they work. They note that the USDA facility does not allow rawhide and tjat there is an i spector daily and log. I dont know but before conspiracy theories are built, I think all the i formation should be examined. I dont equate Earth Animal with Purina and dont think anyone should. Lets let the facts come out.

      1. Peter

        Sadly, on some levels, I personally do “condemn” or “equate EA with Purina…,” and while that’s anecdotal, I’ll explain why.

        In an online essay Susan Goldstein is quoted: “There is a very dark side of the pet food industry, and we’ve been battling it for a long time. We are completely opposed to factory farming and were determined to find the right source for our treats and future dog and cat food lines.”

        Several years ago (that is: during the period of increased public awareness revolving around [imported] “jerky” treats), I had a conversation with a woman who claimed that she left her employment with an EA retail outlet because she had a conflict of conscience. She described that she had been instructed to remove the “Made in [country of origin]” labels from dog chews (she described them as “rawhide”/”bones”) as they were placed in a “Made in USA” display.

        I have no evidence of this incident other than my personal (one-on-one) discussion with this person.

        1. Allison

          confirmed… and there is only one Earth Animal retail outlet.

    2. Pet Biz Guy

      Where did you see them stating that their product has “no leather”? I’ve seen them claim “no rawhide”, but not “no leather”. Can you point me to that claim? btw – a DNA test showing the presence of beef is not the same as revealing the presence of rawhide. For sure they need to explain the presence of beef protein in a non-beef product, but beef is not necessarily the equivalent of rawhide. They have indicated they are doing their own investigation which, I assume, means they’ll have their own testing done. That’s what should happen. If the FDA is investigating, they’ll also do their own tests – they will not rely on the tests Susan has posted. Consumers have a right to answers, but any company should also have the right to investigate allegations before the world decides they are guilty of deliberate lying and fraud.

  28. Ms. B Dawson

    I pointed out questionable language used on Earth Animal’s website, offered legal definitions for terminology they use in their marketing pieces and shared first hand experience with a company. This is part my evaluation before I sell products. I have learned this through experience and by talking to marketing execs about how their industry operates. The bending of words to achieve a favorable outcome is vividly exemplified by this: how many times have you read “sourced in the USA”? Guess what…that can mean the rice protein concentrate was purchased from a jobber in San Francisco who imported it from China. Companies do this in full knowledge that it is misleading.

    Manufacture in a human certified plant does exclude many ingredients routinely used in the production of pet food and treats, that is true. It should be an indication of a higher quality product. I’m sure rawhide wouldn’t be allowed in a human grade facility, but that’s different than beef SKIN. After all, pork rinds are puffed pig skin and manufactured in human snack food facilities for human consumption. Human grade gelatin is separated from beef skin for use in human food, such as yoghurt. I would surmise therefore that these chews, which have beef and beef gelatin as the first two ingredients, could very easily be made in a human facility using cow SKIN. The company rightly claims they don’t use rawhide, which has been subjected to chemical processes. Are you beginning to see why I pay attention for word games?

    There are things that are at odds in this story and that is why I remain suspicious and will suspect the company until proven otherwise. After reading the lab tests, I have a bunch of questions. Amoung them:

    1) “There is no evidence of ground or composite material.” I don’t think someone skilled at microscopic analysis would miss a ground or composite signature. Yet the ingredient list on Earth Animal’s website includes beef, beef gelatin, brown rice flour, eggs, oil. If the product isn’t ground, how have these ingredients been incorporated? Perhaps its as simple as a coating or they use a high pressure process to infiltrate the tissue. I don’t know but it doesn’t make sense to me. Flour and eggs are binding ingredients. Asking the company will get you the “proprietary information” response.

    2) Earth Animal claims superior digestibility because they don’t include hide and they cite lab results without giving a reference to back it up (56% digestible compared to 5% digestible for rawhide). I did a quick search and came up with a “Confidential Report” dated July 21, 2017 that shows the lab results from a private lab associated with Oklahoma State University (https://www.earthanimal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/No-Hide-Digestibility-Report-Earth-Animal.pdf). The cover page looks more like Earth Animal’s letterhead than a lab report but of course they paid for the tests. It’s curious that this report is dated only 10 days ago as these products have been on the market for a while now with the associated claims. Perhaps its a follow up to prior testing or those stats were recently added to the website. The numbers don’t match though. The very positive report shows much higher digestibility.

    I have a logical mind. When I see inconsistencies, unsubstantiated claims or language used in odd ways I get suspicious. As a biologist, I look for patterns. The pet food industry has some REALLY disturbing ones. That’s not conspiracy mongering, that’s “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”

  29. Mr. Smith

    Today I bought a package of the EA Chicken Twists and a bag of another brand’s regular Rawhide Twists of the same size made in China. I Soaked and unrolled them, and then Boiled them… Not that it carries any scientific meaning, but the EA twists and the Chinese Twists were identical in my visual observations, including the smell when soaked and unrolled..

    Also soaked some of the EA Salmon Rolls,,, some were very thin, and tore fairly easily.. One, however, was over 1/4″ thick when I soaked it and i could not cut it even with scissors. It even had what looked like knife marks on the inside.

    I continued boiling the 1/4″ thick one, and the twists for 2 hours….They were rubbery but still the same shape, just slightly swelled up. They are re-drying now outside on my deck. I’ll post how they look when totally re-dried..

    I suggest anyone in doubt of the report above do the same.

    But I think this can be put to bed quite easily and quite quickly. Someone should send a bag of the no hide chews to a leather tannery and ask if they are able to turn the No Hide chew into actual Leather. EA’s statement that it’s meat protein is an essential portion of the “Dough” is the first i’ve seen them explain (partially) what the base white rolled material is. If it’s truly Meat and Gelatin and Rice Flour, then it 100% cannot be made into Leather, as only COLLAGEN can be tanned into leather…. And since the number 1 ingredient is Meat,, a large % of the white rolled chew must be the Chicken, or Salmon or Beef or Pork. I also firmly believe it would have fallen apart when I boiled it for 2 hours,, rather than retain it’s rubbery shape/ Or would have changed color/appearance.. It sure didn’t smell like chicken, gelatin and rice flour cooking….

    We all should b able to re-create this in our own homes as these ingredients are simple to obtain at the grocery store – I just have to figure out how to get it all perfectly white and to remain so tough, even if boiled……..

    It is VERY intriguing that the white rolled portion is the same exact color, whether its “Chicken & Chicken Gelatin” or “Salmon and Vegetable Gelatin”, or “Beef and Beef Gelatin”, or “Pork and Pork Gelatin” all apparently cross contaminated with the Beef processed at the facility making these for EA. I Also find it perplexing that, if as they say it’s blended dough that’s rolled out and specially baked,, why, then do the rolled white portion vary so much in thickness? If it were truly man-made in a meat plant as they continue to state, why then are the rolls not perfectly uniform, say like Petmatrix’s DREAMBONES? http://dreambone.com/

    As to what FOODGUY said above – Has Anyone asked EA how their No Hide Chews compare, digestibility wise, with Salix’s DIGESTEEZE brand 99% digestible rawhides made in South America? Or 8 in 1’s Better Belly Brand Digestible Rawhides made in Vietnam? http://www.salix-llc.com http://www.dingobrand.com/Products/Better-Belly.aspx

    I have a bit of sympathy for consumers, retailers and distributors who may be sticking their necks out to defend EA in this case. For they are likely going to feel really terrible when it’s all said and done, not to mention how people will view them going forward from a position of trust.

    In the end, I think we’re going to find out that Earth Animal was duped by “someone” as it’s difficult to believe they would knowingly market these “No Hides” as being rawhide free if they thought for a second it contained rawhide. Some may say, “well, if they didn’t know, they should have”.. I say look at the thousands and thousands of customers, retailers vets and distributors experienced with the No Hides in some way and none of us suspected a thing. If they did know, well no need to comment further..

    My biggest sympathy, however, if with Dumplin’s parents. I hope we can hear the results soon of the testing done on the chew that was removed from the poor girl.

  30. Mr. Smith

    Update on the Boiled Rubbery No Hide Chews – They are now almost rigid again from air drying for 18 hours, but have shrunk in size considerably. I found this link which may help explain why they have shrunk so much:

    ” A characteristic of hides, skins and leathers is that if they are gradually heated in water, they reach a temperature at which they are subject to sudden, irreversible shrinkage. Raw hides or skins shrink very easily at temperatures of about 65ºC, whereas chrome tanning, for example, increases the point at which shrinkage occurs to temperatures up to a maximum of around 120ºC.”

    The link is here: https://www.satra.com/bulletin/article.php?id=1422

  31. Chloe

    I work in pet retail and have giant breed dogs, and am floored that someone let a dog that big have a treat that small. I’ve seen this customer a thousand times. They want something to keep the dog busy while alone, and you tell them not to give a dog a chew unsupervised, and on top of that they go against your recommend treat size because they don’t want to spend the extra money.

    This dog didn’t die because a treat was made of rawhide. It died because it’s owners learned a basic lesson about large breed treat safety the hard way. You don’t give a brachiocephalic 125+lb dog a 4″ long chew EVER.

    For them to try to place that blame on the treat manufacturer is clearly a sob-story set-up for future litigation.

    And as far as your claim that there are no feeding instructions, I’m looking at a cigar-wrapped EA chew right now and it says “Remember to always supervise when giving treats to your dog. Always provide fresh water. Wag it up!” The owner stated she was on a conference call and watching the dog, but I highly doubt she really had a good eye on her.

    If she had actually been watching the dog with an appropriately sized chew this whole mess could have been avoided.

    1. Ian

      “this whole mess could have been avoided”…. really ? The issue at hand is not whether the pet owner did or did not do something which contributed to the tragedy of losing her pet. (as a pet owner, how would you like to be attacked online after your pet died, whether you made a mistake that contributed to the death or not ?). The issue at hand is that due to the tragedy, the treat was scientifically examined and the examiner found that the treat was apparently not what it was marketed to be. That’s the starting point for the story.

      This is sadly unfolding just like the Evangers story: pet dies, pet product that caused death tested and found not to be what it was marketed as, story gets published online, pet food company and surrogates attack owner online trying to deflect blame from company, it follows a sad standard script for these cases.

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        I couldn’t agree more with you Ian. So disheartening to me to see so many judge the pet owner in such a harsh manner.

    2. RGC

      Chloe, you are exactly right. No matter what this chew was made of, it was an inappropriate size for the dog. If the No Hide treats are actually rawhide, that’s a serious matter and Susan is right to bring it to the attention of the consumer. But that is not why the dog died.

  32. Ms. B Dawson

    As others have commented, there are two issues here.

    The primary issue is whether yet another treat manufacturer is selling a product that is as advertised. The chew’s ingredients may not have contributed to the death, other than the owner has stated that she would not have purchased the product had it been rawhide, but the tragedy drew attention to the company and their product claims.

    I too have had customers who either bought smaller sized treats or cut large ones into smaller pieces to economize because their dogs went through the chews rapidly. I always counseled them about the dangers, often to no avail. As a former retailer I completely understand how incredibly frustrating it is to see customers do something ill advised and then fault the product.

    There is only so much that can be done to keep consumers from making poor decisions, but we must make the attempt. Manufacturers must also make that attempt even knowing that many consumers don’t read the warnings or ignore them. Instructions/warnings are a good idea if for no other reason than their own liability! Things can happen in an instant, anyone experienced with animals knows this. The dog could have upended that chew in mere seconds, right in front of someone who was on the phone watching. Once lodged in the throat, it would require professional expertise to remove.

    Providing a larger chew would have perhaps prevented this tragedy, but it does not change the questions that have been asked since then concerning the ingredients.

  33. Ms. B Dawson

    Susan…

    Are you aware that the statement Earth Animal has up on their website contains the following:

    ..”First, unlike most investigative reporting, in which information is gathered from all sides and then presented to the pertinent parties for comment, we were not asked for information or given the chance to review or respond to the information posted on the Truth About Pet Food sites. So we saw it when you saw it.”…

    They are also offering a completely different timeline of events than the owner seems to have provided you, which other comments have cited, i.e.. 90 minute delay getting to the vet, dog died 10 hours later probably from anesthesia and stress, etc.

    How long was the drive to the vet for this owner? Are they using drive time in a way that makes it look like there was a delay in seeking treatment?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I was aware that they were not happy with me. But I wasn’t aware they were saying these things about the pet owner. That shouldn’t be.

      More is coming on this issue – I provided FDA with more information today (cannot say what that is – FDA needs to verify). And we are expecting another analysis soon.

    2. Peter

      It’s interesting also that EA readily acknowledges the issue of “protein migration,” even in a facility that is supposedly “human food processing…”/”UDSA certified…” etc. etc. and all so very controlled and monitored. Its just an ordinary thing and consumers should just… well… accept all these ordinary things.

  34. Watching to see what happens :)

    These guys need to be shut down….again they don’t get to the heart of the issue which is that the #1 ingredient in all of their chews is beef, which is fraud. I also believe that they are using enzymatically treated rawhide to call it something other than rawhide but at the end of the day its the same thing. Going after the customer shows how poorly managed this company is… The FDA and USDA should shut them down….imagine if your pet was allergic to beef and the #1 ingredient in the fish chews is beef….unreal and sad

  35. Mollie Morrissette

    Another glaring misleading and false advertising tool the company is using is its claim that their products are sourced from “humanely raised” and/or “grass fed beef.” In order to qualify for a humane standard claim the company needed to provide Animal Welfare Approved or Certified Humane label. They did not. As far as verifying it is indeed “grass-fed beef,” the USDA no longer verifies such claims.

    From the USDA:

    Grass Fed Marketing Claim Standard

    Grass (Forage) Fed – On January 12, 2016, the Agricultural Marketing Service withdrew the Grass (Forage) Fed Claim for Ruminant Livestock and the Meat Products Derived from Such Livestock (Grass (Forage) Fed Marketing Claim Standard)”.

    1. Ms. B Dawson

      Spot on! As I posted earlier, this company uses all the buzz words they can find and that’s a red flag for me.

      I’m also rather miffed that Earth Animal claims on their website that TAPF never contacted them for comment when Susan has posted about the conversation she had with company reps and email attempts with the owner. It seems a direct attempt to discredit this site. That’s not cricket.

  36. JMC

    My problem with all of this is that there is so much “blaming” going on. Let me make this clear. Susan did what most of us couldnt or wouldnt do for various reasons. She sent samples to labs. Those lab results show that a product that wasnt made from beef (as per company label) was in fact made from beef! This shows there is either gross negligence or intentional misinformation. How can you trust a company after that?

  37. Ian

    She hired an expert who did the research and she published the results. Did you not read the original post?

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