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Petco moves to Not Sell Food and Treats with Artificial Ingredients

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  1. Paula Bruckner

    I think it’s a step in the right direction. Many people aren’t like us and research what our pets eat, they just buy off the shelf products. If a sales outlet for these companies is pushing the manufacturers to be better, then its a win.

  2. Sherrie

    It is a step in the right direction. I am glad to hear this

  3. Hope

    As a former independent pet supply store owner I’ve got to say that on the surface this sounds terrific. But underneath, you and I know, Susan, that there had to have been some “negotiations” going on behind the scenes with pet big feed to get around this issue before the announcement so that Petco can advertise accordingly and the labels will not reflect artificial colors. Perhaps it will be artificial colors in the source ingredients delivered to them as manufacturers for which they will not have to disclose or just a total mislabeling farce. Not optimistic for Petco but very happy that independent pet supply always does this so well. And continues to do so!

  4. Barbara Fellnermayr

    Removing artificial colours is only removing part of the artificial ingredients. What about synthetic taurine; 95% of it comes from China. Again a simple marketing trick! Read the labels, if you can’t eat it or pronounce it, it is artificial or synthetic and probably comes from China. It costs more to 100% get rid of synthetic and artificial ingredients, but it sure is worth it!

  5. Nunya

    Seriously, if you love your pet, you will MAKE their own food! Even “non-artificial” ingredients are toxic and allowed. Look up EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT, research what it does to lab rats and THEN make your decision on what to feed your pet. Is that too much for you? Isn’t your pet worth it? There are several books out there on making your own pet food, several websites, etc. Ditch the stores and the bags and cans. You will have a healthier pet. Ditch your vaccines while you are at it. Same logic applies to your groceries for you and your family. The more you make yourself, the better.

  6. Batzion

    OFF TOPIC. I received an email this afternoon from Consumer Reports. The text is as follows, so take note for you and your pets:

    “As shoppers head to the store this week to buy Thanksgiving turkey, an outbreak of a deadly, drug-resistant strain of Salmonella in turkey continues to sicken consumers across the nation.

    “Yet neither the turkey industry nor the USDA has publicly released any details about which turkey producers or brands are part of this outbreak that has hospitalized 63 people and killed one.

    “This outbreak of Salmonella in raw turkey products has been going on for a year, and is linked to 164 illnesses in 35 states. One person in California died, and available information indicates that almost half of those getting sick are hospitalized. THE TAINTED TURKEY HAS EVEN BEEN FOUND IN PET FOOD [emphasis mine]..

    “The CDC says the outbreak strain, called Salmonella Reading, has been found in live turkeys and many kinds of raw turkey products, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry.’

    “Federal officials have shared their findings with the turkey industry, and ‘asked about steps that may be taken’ to reduce contamination. But they haven’t told the public which producers, suppliers, or brands of turkey could be contaminated.”

    This info is not on the Consumer Reports web site (at least not yet), and I have no clue why.

  7. Janet B.

    It’s a step in the right direction, however I think some of the manufacturers will just lie about what’s in their products.

  8. Pet Owner

    I think Petco should be commended for taking a new direction. Mine already offers relatively better choices than does PetSmart (not counting what’s available through In PetSmart the manufacturers actively peddle their brands. Occasionally one will help you find a food if you’re looking for it. But the problem with Petco is that their staff isn’t trained in an ounce of nutrition. They only ring up sales, clean and stock shelves.

    Independent stores (IS) can be over rated. Sadly, because they cost more (supposedly) for personal attention. And that can be conditional as to what they think you want. Or will buy. In two of the IS’s I don’t frequent, most brands are available, and they will show you anything on a shelf (if they think you’ll buy). Few will give you straight advice, especially if they think another customer will overhear the conversation. I do my homework first online. The third IS (of the 3) has shifted to 10-12 freezers of raw. Raw is their solution to any and every issue a pet owner discusses. Raw has it’s place, I get it. I rotate using it. However, they have many brands on their shelves too (from Evanger’s to Imports) just because they couldn’t exist without making “sales” first. But raw is not a one-size-fits all solution.

    That’s why the PF consumer is responsible for understanding what are their own requirements. Stores including IS’s don’t make money from “educating” consumers away from commercial products (in favor of homemade for example). So it’s very interesting that a (frequently maligned) PF chain like Petco is laying the competitive foundation, (not only for the future of PF trends) but in terms of introducing their customers to alternatives! Let’s hope they put a few strategic trainers in those stores, too. And force the competitors to meet a growing demand.

    1. Dee Dee

      As a former Petco worker I agree. We really aren’t trained properly. Every so often we were made to watch a training video with cartoon characters touting the certain benefits of vitamins, minerals and how pets need certain proteins, carbohydrates and plants for digestion and health and brain function. We were given a quick multiple choice quiz afterwards. If we failed, we could take the same quiz over as many times needed until we passed.

      We were taught to pretend to know what we were talking about and to act confident. So without them saying so, we had to pretend we were the ultimate authorities on pet food nutrition. The managers there even made us do role playing exercises where the more confident BS we spewed that sounded intelligent, the higher the scores we got and we might possibly get a pat on the back from upper management.

      What really angered me the most was that we were not allowed to bad mouth or talk negatively about any one of the brands we sold. As a business perspective I can understand, but as a lover of animals it made me feel it was all about profit. If a customer showed me different brand foods such as crap like Iams, Science Diet, Purina, etc, and asked if I thought any one of them was a good food, I was not allowed to simply tell them the truth (that it was garbage) and would have gotten fired if caught.

      I felt as though I was being paid to lie to people and had to hawk these poisons in a positive light. I am so glad I quit. It was too very disheartening and I felt as though I was working for a sinister regime.

      1. Steven Mohr

        Thanks for the info Dee Dee, of course big companies know how to circumvent rules for their profits to remain high. I am the ex-owner of Maddie pictured above from last Christmas. She was the sweetest, healthiest Bernese Mountain Dog in the world. Because of her, I made friends with at least a hundred people because she was so social. She recently passed away after a 2 week battle with an unknown (at the time) rapid ailment which took her life Sept 26, 2018. Every Specialist in NJ did x-rays, blood work, tested joint fluids, etc….no-one could find the cause.
        She stopped eating, couldn’t stand up without my help, and was only 6 years old and in what should have been the prime of her life. 2 weeks after her death I saw class action law suit “TASTE OF THE WILD” all over the internet. Unfortunately, I started feeding Maddie this “high quality” made in America High Prairie Bison Venison formula just this past April 21, as per my store receipts. This 1 “flavor” of their food is the one known to be killing perfectly healthy dogs like Maddie. There is a class action lawsuit being handled by several law firms nationwide. They have samples which prove the toxins.
        They use decayed infected dead animals knowingly in their food.
        Pets still dying as I write this information, this poison under a phony label still being sold everywhere,

        The owner of Diamond Pet Foods (the parent company) should be forced to eat this and find out the true consequences of Corporate Greed.

  9. Dee Dee

    As a former worker of Petco, trust me it’s only for PR. When we stopped selling treats and food Made In China, they got around it. Not long after the ban, when we got food and treat shipments I noticed the cases or crates that the pet food and treats came in were labeled Product of Thailand, Product of Vietnam, Product of India and other countries that one would never want food or edibles sourced in. A lot of these brands were high priced major name brands like Natural Balance, etc.

    The companies still slapped the American Flag logo on the items and since it was packaged in the USA or a certain percentage of the ingredients were of American origin, it was legal for them to get away with it. Many dog food company reps even admitted to me that most of the vitamin mixes were Made In China despite the fact the products all said Proudly Made In The USA of USA Sourced Ingredients.

    Big corporate pet food companies will change the name of the banned ingredients on the label or do something equally underhanded all in the name of profits. They will not skip a beat when it comes to money. Petco is doing this just to make more money and get some kudos from consumers. Trust me, I know what I am talking about. They were a very stingy, profit oriented company and right now they need to beat Amazon, PetsMart, and Chewy somehow to stay in business or continue to be relevant. This little ploy may make them stay afloat for just a little bit longer until they can no longer compete with these companies which are killing them. Don’t celebrate anything yet.

    1. Reader

      Bitter, much.

      Let’s shoot down an idea before it gets rooted. That would be the most dangerous thing of all. To drop the cynicism and embrace growth. Everybody can look around the country and find that philosophy everywhere. “Fear (or discount change.” Its all suspect.

      The real point is creating conversation (equals education) around emerging ideas. One starting point in this case, is the admission that dyes and artificial flavors aren’t required in PF. If Petco is looking to strengthen their consumer base, and wants to step ahead of the competition, excuse me, I don’t understand the push back. The key here is, “little as it might be, this is a step forward. Other chain stores might take a further step to one-up Petco.” It’s called creating choice.

      Ever look at where a can of most Tuna originates. Do you think fishing and processing is taking place off the perfect waterways in your imagination. And a sterling clean facility. Gosh, business being profit oriented? Surprise me. The trick is making sure a product doesn’t actually kill the consumer. So I’m just guessing here, if a product IS mislabeled and it causes a serious illness (in human or pet) then the company might just be liable. Not such a good business model after all. We know there is no such thing as perfect ingredients, whether or not human edible food. It is processed (embellished) just to the point of expected minimal safety (and no more).

      Tip: When a comment is tinged with personal bias (resentment) it doesn’t help support the testimony. I would rather hear the honest (though imperfect) truth from people in the know (like distributors) than be fooled. But idealism is always tempered with reality. If I see a product at Petco I haven’t seen anywhere else, and it seems promising, then I CALL the manufacturer and get their own claims in writing, as represented by their company logo, and a responsible signature. I don’t expect any business to do that job for me.

      1. bfellnermayr

        Distributors are not in the know. They know what they are told. Good for you for calling the company. Make sure you talk to someone that knows, not someone that spews the company line.

  10. Dee Dee

    Yes, I do have resentment. I’m not going to lie. It was not about the low wages, as I took that job just to get out of the house a few days a week. When I was first hired, I looked at it as a plus because I could share my love of animals and knowledge with the public. However, I am bitter for all of the right reasons. I saw countless live animals suffering at the hands of corporate titans who were not willing to pay an adequate staff to care for those living things, all in the name of profit. I cared for dying animals in the back who needed veterinary care desperately. Some were lucky enough to go to the vet, but only if it were in the store’s budget. The rest were left to die as we the workers with no medical training, cried as we placed the dead bodies of our animal friends in freezers. I have been lied to and also been trained to bs the public. Yes, I am bitter and will never forget the corruption I saw all in the name of profit. They will use this as a ruse to get pet parents to believe they truly care. This is why I know not to trust their little PR stunts just to make more profits.

    1. Reader

      At first was going to ignore this comment, because it’s just so sad to consider. Those little creatures suffering. But it goes beyond product ignorance, deceit, poor employee relations, and the absence of customer service, It’s called animal cruelty.

      I don’t know what community you were living in. But I know animal abuse wouldn’t be tolerated in this city’s pet supply stores. They have prohibited those stores from selling companion animals. And only permit rescue organizations to rehome pets. PETA is very active in this state. Like they are rabidly militant about even little things. The State created new legislation to promote humane treatment of livestock animals. Not perfect, but progress.

      Not only should that store have been reported to the Better Business Bureau, but to a local media outlet, a PETA chapter, and PETCO Corporate Offices. It took decades to take down Seaworld. But it was done. Through bad publicity. Through media exposure, which deterred visitors.

      A chain like Petco doesn’t want that sort of thing to get rooted. Poor business relations can strangle profits. So for those people working in the store who saw those things, they had a duty to take pictures and document the scene. What minimum wage job could ever be worth not sleeping at night, with those things on a person’s mind.

      I promise you that Corporate would’ve sited the store manager, to be put on notice that people are watching. It would only take a chain reaction among other employees (or stores in the area) to be reporting the same kind of circumstances, for a PR nightmare to erupt.

      This is a bigger issue, than just the quality of pet food.

    2. Batzion

      In addtion to Reader’s excellent observations and suggestions, keep in mind the Animal Liberation Front:

      If, between Corporate, PETA, the BBB, the media, etc., the situation is not swiftly and humanely remediated, ALF will remediate it for them.

  11. Rebecca Leonard

    I am VERY excited about this. Getting rid of products with dyes and BHA/BHT is a huge step. My local Petco already no longer carries Dog Chow and Beneful! Once things start rolling, almost every product by MilkBone, Beggin Strips, Pupperoni, Milo’s Kitchen and Smartbones will be GONE and I am elated!

  12. Troy

    All this controversy and confusion over pet food is overwhelming. Sometimes I think maybe it would be easier and safeir if I just started preparing my dogs food at home. By the way if I decide to feed my dog ingredients such as meats, vegetables with rice and pasta that I purchased from grocery stores would that be sufficient in meeting all of his dietry requirements?


    1. Pacific Sun

      Over the long term (no) canine nutrition must be balanced. Meaning, not necessarily to *the exact minute* proportion per each meal. But via ingredient variety. This is one reason why commercial pet food has so many added vitamins and minerals. But there are different ways to accomplish the same thing. Among them, by rotating the diet (as in the type of meal, and the range of protein). Using a balanced raw food product (ex: Northwest Naturals). And fresh (human grade) protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs). Additionally, a nutritional supplement (ex: Pet Kelp or Nupro All Natural Dog Supplement). It is important to get the calcium to phosphorus ratio correct, however, and a source of oil.

      A quick way to get started is by adding whole protein (human grade) minimally cooked beef (stew meat or chicken thighs) to a binder or base product (ex: Sojo’s which contains vitamins/minerals) or a carb as you mentioned. Keep in mind, protein must be predominant. Where people get into trouble is by serving the exact same PF brand and meal (ex: kibble) 365 days a year! Dogs are natively opportunistic scavengers (feeders). An expert on the subject is Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker, who provide this recipe (as an example of a recipe).


      14 oz. 90% lean ground beef (or 93% lean)
      2 tsp hempseed oil or 3 T ground hempseeds
      ½ Tsp Carlson’s cod liver oil, or 2 sardines
      ½ Tsp ground ginger
      ¼-1/2 Tsp. kelp powder (provide 0.2 mg iodine)
      1 egg
      ½ eggshell (finely ground)
      1 oz. beef liver
      1 oz. broccoli
      1 oz. red bell pepper
      1 oz. spinach

      Mix together. Can be heated or served raw.

      * I do not sell or endorse any product.
      ** There are many sources of information on the internet

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