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  1. Ellie

    The big pet food companies have clout with the media. A story like this is easy for them to push especially when they have a paid person with DMV behind their name singing the praises of low quality ingredients for your dog.

    1. Carol Lobmeier


    2. Brent W

      DMV = Dept of Motor Vehicles. You mean DVM? Just playin’….Yea this is really bad advice from a vet but just like human doctors, many are clueless about the nutrition-health connection. Heck, I’ve educated my own vet! Corona Del Mar is down the street from me…Yikes!

      1. Plain Jane

        Uauu.. I live in Corona Del Mar too,just arround the corner from Her Place ! Glad I didn’t go to Her with my Cats. grrr.. it makes me SICK !

  2. Carol Lobmeier

    I don’t understand any of this. You would think that a veterinarian would do a little research before making dumb statements like that. My golden has stomach problems and last time I went to see her vet he asked how she was doing. I said not bad, not 100%, but not bad. He said I should put her on a Hill’s RX diet and she would be fine. NO WAY would I do that. I told him I was adding fresh meat to her kibble and he said make sure it is no more than 10% of her diet. What? Made me wonder about this man. I thank heavens she is a healthy dog.

    1. Brent W

      Hills’ probably paid off his student loan. Bet he has bags of the stuff all over his office.

    2. Deb A

      Just about every vet has limited nutrition knowledge and, if they were educated in the US, their “nutrition” section was probably taught by a person from the Hill’s company. I have very little faith in nutrition knowledge coming from a vet.

  3. Susan McFadden

    Two steps forward and one back!

  4. joan

    Unbelievable. How many times growing up have we heard that “you are what you eat”? All we need is the TRUTH to make wise choices for our beloveds. The TRUTH is all we are asking for.

  5. Dr. Laurie Coger

    Just tell me who to contact — I’d be happy to tell reporters how much owners can save in veterinarian costs by feeding a quality diet — as well as how many health issues are worsened by poor quality foods from Walmart or Costco, or “Science Death.”

    There is no excuse for a veterinarian to have the lack of knowledge needed make statements such as are quoted above. Was she not around for the 2007 recalls, and all the subsequent ones? Did Hills provide all of her veterinary nutrition education?

    1. Marsha

      Thank you for calling those foods what they are. Especially the Death one. An Emergency Clinic told us to buy that one several years ago for his liver problem. We bought one can and our dog would not touch it! We turned to Solid Gold Holistic Blendz. In six months our dogs’ liver was much better. We have since moved on to grain free.

  6. Caryn

    Thank you for this, Susan. I posted a comment on the WA Post website, though it seems flaky about showing up right now. But here it is in case you can’t see it on their site yet:

    This is terrible advice (the only good piece was recommending people make their own fresh food). Unfortunately seems that you got an ill-advised, ill-educated veterinarian to provide a quote for the article, but any good pet owner or educated veterinarian knows that yes, cheaper pet food does mean cheaper ingredients. As the wonderful Susan Thixton states on her website Truth About Pet Food, “what kind of quality meat can you purchase for $0.25 per pound?”

    Please, let’s use some common sense here and stop urging pet owners to cut corners to save a few bucks. Your pets will thank you for feeding them quality ingredients, and guess what, fresh and/or raw foods don’t have to be pricey despite what the pet food manufacturers would like for us to think. Not only will your pets thank you for feeding them well, but your wallet will thank you because you’re saving so much money in vet bills every year.

    And let’s be real: if you can’t afford to feed your animals good food, maybe you shouldn’t have them. It’s the same thing for folks who want to have children–generally they wait until they can afford a child, rather than having one and feeding him/her table scraps. I think we should show the same respect for all living things that we take in under our care. It’s our responsibility, after all–they didn’t ask us to do it.

    1. Mary Anne Latham Kennard

      Bravo! My belief exactly! Not only do you feed your children & yourself healthy food why not your other family members, your pets. They will be happier, healthier, and hopefully live longer. Who doesn’t want that?

    2. Dalmom

      “And let’s be real: if you can’t afford to feed your animals good food, maybe you shouldn’t have them”

      Although I agree with some of your comments, I feel that the statement above is not nice. Why deprive a pet of a loving human only because they can’t afford to feed them higher quality foods. I’ve seen homeless people take care of their homeless pets and they both looked very happy to have each other. (No matter what food either of them were eating.) I’ve had friends that rescued large breeds and couldn’t afford to feed them dog food at $70/40lb bag, however, they did feed them some Walmart brand…and many of the dogs lived a long, happy, loving and healthy life exceeding their breed’s life expectancy.

      I’d rather see more animals have the love they deserve without other people pointing a finger at the owners that they are feeding their dog’s crap. We all do the best we can with what life has dealt us. Isn’t it more important for dogs to have homes and not be in shelters, or worse yet, be euthanized, then telling someone they shouldn’t give them a home because they can’t afford more expensive food?

      1. KT

        I totally agree with “dalmom”. I’d much rather see a dog or cat have a good home and eat cheaper food. I can afford to feed my “kids” well but I also realize that not everyone has the means to do so but are loving parents nonetheless.

      2. Lori S.

        I agree with you, Dalmom, and thank you for what you wrote. Some people have forgotten that there is a severe economic crisis going on – that lots of folks are unemployed or underemployed, losing their homes, working longer for less money. Not everyone can afford the very best, including lots of folks who could do so a few years ago. I don’t mean that they are making foolish choices – paying later (with vet bills) rather than now (with better food). I mean they really can’t buy better food, period.

      3. Beth

        I also agree with Dalmom and Lori S. People have forgotten about the economic crisis going on now. My family has been affected as well and we struggle to feed our animal family the best we can. Beth

    3. Wanda

      I have picked up many dumped out dogs, and i feed them the best i can. They have lived long healthy lives 13+ years. I can not afford the high priced dog foods ( That most get recalled ). That does not make me a bad person. At the time i have 7 dogs and 4 cats, they get their vet visits, LOVE, and feneced in yard and a warm place to live the rest of their life. Their HAPPY and HEALTHY and that makes me happy…..

      1. Abbie

        Well said Wanda. I have 3 rescued dogs (large and medium), and among my 7 close friends, we have 38 rescued cats and dogs. We give them vet care and the best food we can afford. They are loved, live inside, have fenced yards, etc. They were saved from shelters. I think in this economy, we all are doing the best we can.

  7. Woofielover

    Proving yet again that just because somebody got a veterinary medicine degree does NOT mean they are nutrition knowledgeable. Most vets seem not to be. Considering the fact that more than 70% of an animal’s immune system is located in their GI tract so if the gut isn’t healthy the animal isn’t healthy, this is even more astounding. Consumers beware! If you’re in the Newport area, and you need a great vet, this might not be the one for you.

    1. Alex Krenwinkle

      Woolfie, I’ll take your comment and go even further: Just because somebody got an MD to treat HUMANS does not mean that person is knowledgeable about nutrition, or even interested in the topic.

      That said, I can’t understand why people don’t do what I do: get a big slow cooker aka crock pot. Throw in a mix of these ingredients: ground chicken or ground turkey (frozen rolls are inexpensive), fresh or frozen vegetables cut up very small, corn. Vegetables may include carrots, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, yams, turnips, cabbage, etc., things you would eat yourself. Fill the pot as much as you can, make enough for two or 3 days, depending on the size of your pet. Set on low, timer for 4, 6, or 8 hours depending on your machine and ingredients; after a while you’ll get the hang of it. There is no reason in the world to buy dog food, an artificial invention that came about some time after WW2.

  8. BigDogsRock

    Someone told me about the dog food adviser and that the Natures Domain brands of dog food from Costco got 4 stars out of 5., they said that it’s made by the same company that makes Taste of the Wild. Personally I’m so tired of all of this, it’s hard enough to get quality food for my family and now I’ve got to watch even more for sneaky stuff in my pet food! I don’t ever want to feed my pets anything I won’t eat!

  9. Plain Jane

    I’m SURE, ? Vets. have Promised Hill’s ! & Purina ! & Royal Canine, ! to PUSH their Food = GARBAGE on Our Pet’s, while beeing treated at their Animal Hospital.
    I have asked the Vet’s, “What do You Feed Your Dog or Cat ?
    I never get an direct answer ? They say Oh… I feed Hill’s and Purina, they are all good.

    How Disgusting ! ! Ya, they want your Pet Sick, so they have a JOB. Grrrr……. Can’t stand this anymore. My Dear Cat Has CANCER and He is TERMINAL.All because I Trusted the Pet Food Companies, with their Convinsing Beautiful Adds on TV. Fancy Feast especially. Beautiful Cat’s and Dogs Eating…. I bet they Died Not long after that Commercial.

    I HATE Them ALL Purina, Hills and the rest..

    1. Elizabeth

      Sorry to hear about your cat Jane. It boggles the mind that so many vets just don’t get it, even reg. doctors too.

      1. Plain Jane

        Thank you for your reply, Elizabeth.
        I’m so sad My Dear Bandit Lost His Battle with Cancer. He gave me a Big Kiss, and His look on His Eyes said ” Please let Me go,You tried but the Cancer is Killing Me”
        My Heart is Braking, everywhere I look where He once was, Happy and ready to Play, is empty now.

        Any one who reads this, I say “Do Not Feed PURINA Nor Hill’s, It will Kill Your Pet, it Killed My Dear Bandit. God Bless Our Pet’s who depend on Us, and what we feed them
        Cook their food, or investigate “What’s in Your Pet Food” Thank You Susan I got Your PAWsible Cook Book too late.
        There will be no more Cat’s or Dog’s for me, this has been too heart braking to go through, and the STRESS.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          I’m so sorry – please take care of yourself.

          1. Plain Jane

            Thank You , It’s hard but I have to go on, my Husband has had 4 Cancers,we never know when it will show up again ?
            Bandit was always by his side,caring for him, during our difficult times, in and out of the Hospital.
            We miss Bandit so very much.
            Thank you for your kindness.

  10. Mary Jo Janowicz

    I would like to clarify pricing on pet foods. I own a small independent pet supply store and most of us are not able to “buy directly” from the manufacture and mark up food 50%. We buy through a distributor and our “mark-up” is 20-25% on food (which leaves a gross margin of 15-20% BEFORE the fuel service/delivery charge – not to mention merchant processing fees). Also most of the “high-end” pet specialty manufacturers need the distribution network to get their products “noticed”. Although I’m sure that Walmart and Petsmart are marking up food 50% because of their buying power – it’s not possible for independents that are truly carrying the “better” foods.

  11. Colleen

    Dr. Alinovi already has me convinced that I should be making my own pet food. It’s a shame I can’t convince my mom to do the same; she buys the cats some food that the veterinarian is pushing. It’s supposed to regulate their intake; our fat cat has gained weight on it.

    1. Peter

      You should educate your Mom on the issue of calories, not intake. Calorie counts vary widely for commercial foods, even within the same brand lines. And so-called “diet” foods can be misleading, even expensive ones directly from the vet: “diet” or “low calorie” may only mean they have less calories than one of their own foods: many “diet” foods are higher in calories than other “regular” foods. I believe every pet food should have calorie counts listed on the label. But if your’s does not, examine the vendor’s website or give them a call, you may be surprised.

  12. Nina Wolf

    this article was so hideous, I HAD to go register at the Washington Post and post a comment. How did they find this vet? Her license ought to be revoked! What total crap she spewed! Susan, we are all here to support the cause, and when we see something like this it would be good for us all to speak out. So go comment right there on the Washington Post site, everyone! Sheesh…and they are one of our nation’s most respected newspapers?

    1. Ellie

      The larger pet food companies have vets on staff. They supposedly “research” proper nutrition for pets and help create foods.
      This is amazing considering that nutrition is a minor 6 week course in most vet schools. These vets are paid to produce the cheapest foods possible for pets. Their paycheck depends on it.

  13. Heidi

    So then would it make sense that not all vets care enough to educate themselves on healthy food because a healthy pet is NOT spending time in their office? I say make your own or pay a little more for the good stuff. And keep Rover happy and healthy, at home.

  14. anastasia

    Guess who I just saw on the TV this evening pushing VetGuard Plus for dogs? Dr Liz Hanson! She’s obviously paid to be a spokesperson for crap products. She said it’s much cheaper than brands like Frontline, etc. and can be found at Walmart and Sam’s Club. Obviously she has no standards, she’s a corporate paid shill. She’ll say whatever for money.

  15. Peter

    If you have one of the various browsers set for “alerts” you will see articles like this appearing most days of the week somewhere on the web. Often, they are just part of an over-arching protocol for ongoing publicity from corporate agribusiness interests. It’s depressing, but you get used to it.

  16. Dr. Laurie Coger

    Not only is Dr. Hanson a fan of foods she can buy at Walmart, she’s also featured in a commercial hawking their spot on flea product! She compares this permethrin product to Advantix and Frontline (whose ingredients differ greatly). See for yourself –

  17. Tammy Baugh

    Yeah well not only is it best for your pet to make their own pet food or feed them nothing you wouldn’t eat, it’s also best to make your own flea and tick repellant using lemon juice and water. And of course a vet will tell you it’s best to feed cheap stuff to your pet or apply poison to it’s coat, once you listen to that vet and have to visit your own vet, you are continuing the vets a rollin in the money,your money. It dosen’t have to be this way. We all need to get smart for the sake of our pets.Ever apply a spot on to your pet only to catch them foaming at the mouth later? That’s what they do to pets. And it’s sad and gross. It also never kills the fleas either, and really seriously irritates the skin the spot on is actually on. I will never use this again!

    1. Brooke

      2 of my cats had the same reaction to advantage, foaming at the mouth and lethargic for 2 days! Ridiculous, I haven’t applied that stuff since although I did use some natural shampoo when the fleas got out of control a few summers ago.

  18. FedUp

    Here’s the sad reality:
    News/Investigative Journalism is DEAD anyway. Gone. No more.

    On top of that, Dr. Cathy Alinovi, Dr. Lisa Pierson … and their honest contemporaries aren’t pumping all that advertising revenue into the mainstream mediot rackets, which are barely afloat now. “News”papers are dying, for good reason.

    If it comes from a mainstream mediot racket, it’s either gossip, or propoganda to protect the precious conglomerates whose advertising $$$$s keep them in “business”.

  19. FedUp

    Apparently too many pet owners got on there & made comments — not even archived!!

    Here’s what comes up when link to article is clicked:

    “Page Not Found
    In the News Okla. tornado London attack Immigration Boy Scouts IRS

    We’re unable to locate the page you requested.”

    Even if they charge a ‘subscription” fee, aren’t articles usually archived?

  20. Pam E

    A lot of vets don’t even pay attention to what’s in dog food. It’s great if you have one. Most customers need to do the research for themselves. I like Dog Food Advisor and this website.

  21. Jess

    Sure, cut costs on the pet food on the front end, but pay for it later at the vet, maybe not this year or next, but when your dog is 8, has diabetes or cancer, and now you can’t afford treatment unless you have pet insurance, and have to do economical euthanasia or just treat the symptoms. Yeah youre gonna save so much money in that grocery store…..

  22. Elfo

    I have noticed that many cheaper dog foods require that I feed my dog a measurement of the cheap dog food that is 150-200% of the recommended measurement of my premium dog food – thus slightly negating the cost savings.

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