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Popular Vet Recommended Supplement Contains Questionable Ingredient

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  1. T Allen

    Excellent Susan! Will share widely!

  2. Mollie Morrissette

    This goes in The Encyclopedia of Sick Sh*t You Don’t Want to Know About, But Should: The Pet Food Industry Edition; under D for Disgusting Animal Digest.

  3. Pamela Mueller

    My kitty had ideopathic colitis in the past and has’t had any problems since I’ve been giving him 1/2 packet per day. Is there a substitute you can recommend? Thank you.

    1. Jane Eagle

      My dogs get probiotics every day: from Costco, same ones I take. If it’s not safe for YOU to eat, it’s not safe for your dog!

      1. Caroline

        Jane, which brand?

      2. Alice

        My 100 lb male Am. Bulldog mix was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I took him in because he often had blood in his stool and I thought he might have a blockage from something he ate. They recommended steroids I said “no thanks “. Tried this Purina product, it helped a bit. Then I decided to try Organic unfiltered Coconut oil!!! No more bloody stools. Hope this helps

    2. Sage

      You can give your kitty human probiotics.

      I do not use FortiFlora – but I do add Nature’s Way Children’s Primadophilus powder
      from a local Whole Foods Market, to the egg yolk / supplements mix that I’ve adapted from Dr. Pierson’s raw chicken formula on this site It comes in powder form and has virtually no taste and I just use half a tsp mixed in (to a pound of chicken and supplements) as a nutritional supplement.

    3. Carmine

      I use Intellaflora which I found on Amazon. Uses liver digest instead.

    4. Matthew

      PLEASE don’t change your cat’s supplement if it’s giving him relief just on the basis of one non-peer reviewed internet article!

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        Matthew – this post is not a study (peer reviewed). This post is about law. Illegal ingredients are…illegal. Animal Digest is allowed through its legal definition to be sourced from dead/non-slaughtered animals. That violates federal law. It’s pretty simple.

  4. David DesMarais

    We have used this supplement for years. Is there a “good” substitute?

    1. Heather

      @Pamela Mueller
      @David DesMarais

      My holistic veterinarian (world-renowned, 30yrs in holistic practice) prefers human probiotics (like the refrigerated kind) for pets rather than ‘pet specific’ brands. Her vitamin/mineral/superfoods supplement contains a shelf-stable probiotic blend and I feed that everyday.

      Also, I’ve been using Answers brand Raw Goat’s Milk for probiotic supplementation as it delivers more nutrients along with healthy bacteria and makes for a great ‘snack’. You could look into that brand and contact the company for more info. They do great work and offer solid products. Although their packaging leaves much to be desired:)

      1. Steve J

        Yes!! Raw Goat’s Milk is fantastic!!! Hundreds of probiotic strains plus prebiotics and more. They say it passes through the gastric system much better than powders and pills. My dog loves it, especially made into ice creams!
        And yes, the Answers packaging is different, but it is lower impact, they claim.

      2. Heather

        I’d like to add the name of my holistic veterinarian’s vits/mins/superfoods supplement product. It’s not a blend of probiotics but has shelf-stable lactobacillus acidophilus, which is pretty important. Also pretty sure prebiotic ingredients in there as well.

        Since I mentioned Answers brand I should also name hers, because she does great work and has a solid product, too:) I love the superfoods she has added in!

        It’s Deserving Pets Vital Vities. Easy to find online, great price. I’ll never be without it.

        1. Jane Eagle

          My vet, and my own research agrees that dairy products are not good for dogs or cats, much as they love them!
          I buy “Nature’s Bounty Ultra strength Probiotic 10” with 20 billion live probiotic cultures; 140 caps for $25 +/- or on sale for less at Costco. You can probably also order it online. My dogs used to be in to see the vet every few months for gastric problems. Since I went to all human grade raw food (I make it myself) and with probiotics daily, no one has been sick for over a year!

          1. Sherrie Ashenbremer

            Primal has a goat’s milk too, does anyone know how it compares to Answer’s? I have a hard time getting Answer’s food or milk but I have a local pet shop that carries Primal Goat’s Milk. Also, any reviews on Paul’s Custom Dog food? I am reading good things on their web site, it looks fresh and it looks very good.

          2. Heather

            @Sherrie Ashenbremer

            Not sure how it compares in palatability as I haven’t fed Primal’s but the ingredients are different between brands. For one, looks like Primal includes additional strains plus other ingredients like inulin, which is a prebiotic…actually, I like their RGM ingredient line up and will give it a try.

            I do feed Primal’s raw frozen nuggets (feline version) exclusively after trying a few brands. My cat loves it and I really like the product – organic produce and human grade ingredients, along with lots of other good stuff:) They also indicate on the label the different “Protein Temps” according to TCM as explained on their Education>Feeding page under “Food Energetics.” I like that, too. Might want to look into the brand for your dog if you haven’t already.

            Good luck!

          3. Sherrie Ashenbremer

            Thank you Heather, I have five dogs, one of my dogs has very bad allergies. He has been tested and has been seeing a dog dermatologist since April 2015. He has environmental allergies, but when I fed him chicken a few weeks ago he seemed to get worse. He has been red on his front legs, paws, neck area, belly and groin. He chews and licks, I have to put a cone on him at night. He has been fed food from Just Food for Dogs, Stella & Chewy’s Rabbit, Dr. Harvey’s, Evermore, Mulligan’s Stew, all good foods from Susan’s list. Maybe I should try Primal, it can’t hurt. Thank you

  5. vicki W

    exactly- it helps, what are the options?

  6. Joan Johnston

    I sometime use this product sprinkled on kitty food, to encourage eating when they are off eating. What else will work?

    1. Lynn Lava

      This is same reason why I formerly used it and then stopped. I can’t recall why I stopped using it but I need something to help encourage my 2 furballs to eat the new (healthy!) canned food and it’s hard because they are walking away. They want their (bad) canned food! They will nibble one bit and then walk. The Floraforta helped years ago, but was used for a cat with the runs. (she liked it but I think it made her issue worse…wish I could remember) While I hate to use it, I wonder if it would be worth the risk to help with the switch over to the new food..Once they get used to the food, I can slowing taper it down to nothing…

  7. Susan Thixton Author

    Human grade probiotics would not include the ingredient animal digest. Any health food store would carry multiple brands to choose from.

    1. Pamela Mueller

      Would the appropriate amount for an adult cat be? Divide the recommended amount by the cat’s weight or how do recommend determining the appropriate amount to add to the cat’s food?

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        I would ask your vet for dosage suggestions.

    2. Lynn Lava

      She’s not looking for probiotics, but something to encourage her cat to eat better & this product does work when sprinkled on food that is being rejected during transition to a better food, or when a cat isn’t eating enough..I too would like to find something else that’s safer for same use.

  8. Momtoza

    Is anyone surprised? This is Purina after all.

  9. Nancy

    Thank you Susan as always. A very good probiotic that my holistic vet introduced me to is
    Animal Essentials plant enzymes and probiotics.

    1. Jill R

      Excellent product!!!! Good choice!!!!

  10. Caron

    Thank you for explaining this Susan.
    I’m going to be making my own batches of home made cat food today, and I add real, safe, human grade probiotics. I feel more at peace knowing I’m not feeding trash and poisons to my cats.

  11. Anthony Hepton

    Purina is not likely to change their ways, they will just say that FDA allows it to be used, we must change the mindset of FDA, if they wrote regulations saying that products from animals that died by means other than slaughter are adulterated, there was a valid reason at the time. That reason was that some of the byproducts contained toxins that dan cause disease, USDA recognizes this, so there is no general agreement that these products are safe. FDA/CVM must stand firm on enforcing their own regulations and will be asked to do just that.

  12. Midge Kelly

    Susan, I was around in 2002 when the expose report came out naming many of the dog food brands that were explored for content and were discovered to have this euthanasia drug in them! They deduced that the only way to have the euthanasia drug in them was to have gotten the dead dogs and cats from the veterinarians. Yikes. I’ll try to find this report in my old old computer files if it would be interesting. One I remember caught doing this was Purina. Another was Nutro. Midge in Texas

    1. Sherrie Ashenbremer

      I would be interested in this report. Thank you Midge Kelly. Just awful what they put out there for dog and cat food

  13. Teresa Johnson

    Just the term “animal digest” sounds pretty darn disgusting to me. Add to that all the recalls Purina has had in the last 12 months and I don’t trust anything they promote or sell.
    When I had hedgehogs go on antibiotics for various reasons, I gave them a dab of yogurt each day for gut support. It worked. I still give them a dab just as a treat and preventative, especially if we are traveling for a show (yes, there are hedgehog shows!) I use a probiotic myself now – a capsule that can be easily opened and sprinkled onto kibbles. And most “human” supplements are priced more affordable than those labeled for pets. The pet industry, realizing some folks will set no limits when it comes to their pets, are capitalizing big time with pricing.

  14. Donna

    Why would a probiotic have animal digest (or any form of protein) in it anyway? It’s there to balance the gut flora. I give my girls Nature’s Farmacy Dogzymes Probiotic Max. The site indicates: “It contains 8 strains of specialized beneficial bacteria and 10 different enzymes for a MINIMUM of 6.8 Billion Colony Forming Units PER GRAM!” Plus it has Fructooligosaccharide prebiotic and is in a a dried organic whey base…although there might be some issue with it being a milk derivative.

    One of my dogs has had bad allergies for the past 2 years, and we ended up putting her on an oral immunotherapy, along with a low dose of prednisolone. However, after the first 6 months the price went up exorbitantly and, particularly since it didn’t seem to be doing her much good and we were having to continue the prednisolone anyway, we opted to stop. Lo and behold, she actually seems to be doing just fine and we’re slowly weaning her off of the prednisolone. We’re down to a 1/4 of a 5 mg pill (for a 15-lb. dog) every 4 days now. I recently read that probiotics can be very beneficial for allergies by balancing/healing the gut (where about 70% of the immune system is), thereby modulating the immune response. At this point, I’m pretty convinced that’s what’s happened here.

  15. darlene

    Yes, animal digest is a disgusting product. But be aware if you are feeding dry food chances are extremely high you are feeding it and don’t even know it…even if you are feeding an expensive brand, And your pets are ingesting a whole lot more than what they would get from giving them FFlora.

    Pets usually love animal digest….that’s why they spay it on 99% of all kibble.

    However, the worst part is animal digest doesn’t have to be listed as a separate ingredient, but instead can be hidden under the ingredient’natural flavor’. Yes, even better companies who claim ‘no by products’, etc trick you into buying these products- just as they trick your pets into eating dry, highly processed, lifeless food.

    I would be more upset about the ‘natural flavor’ fraud than I would be about another Purina product containing this ingredient….esp a product consumed in minute quantities compared to kibble.

  16. Lisa

    Nexabiotic is what I use for my two cats, contains S. Boulardi strain and is really helping my IBD kitty.

    1. Jack

      Thanks Lisa, I tried Nexabiotic for my dog when she was having diarrhea and her stools are much better now.

  17. Gypsy

    I buy Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom have not considered anything else.

  18. Heather

    To All who have Animals with Allergies:
    There is a non-invasive, holistic, and effective way to eliminate allergies. I’ve personally used this technique as per my holistic veterinarian/s for my animals over the past 20+yrs (as needed) and the results are always there. It works. And it’s something anyone can do at home once they have the instructions from the vet trained in the technique.

    It’s either called Allergy Elimination Technique, NAET, or JMT. Each is a bit different but all have the same basic premise which is using kinesiology to reprogram the immune system – because allergic reactions are an immune system issue, NOT an issue isolated to the skin, paws, ears, GI tract, etc etc. Those are physical locations where reactions manifest and symptoms present, and it varies body to body. Which is why things like probiotics, prebiotics, and healthy diet help heal allergies – they address and support the immune system – and why things like symptom targeted treatments do not work long term, like topicals or steroids (which often depress the immune system especially when used long term).

    Here’s a link to great resource with many articles about allergies and Allergy Elimination:

    If posting links here is not permitted, Susan – would you be able to connect those interested (like Sherrie and Donna) with me privately via email? I hate to ask you to do one more thing but I also know how painful allergies can be for animals and their people. This is good information for them to have. Thank you!

    1. Sherrie Ashenbremer

      Thank you Heather, I will check this out. My dog, Bailey has been suffering for over a year. He is so bad, he has sores on his red skin. But the dermatologist keeps giving him steroids, and I don’t want that. I have changed his food at least 10 times, yes all of them foods on Susan’s list so they are good foods. Thank you,

    2. Donna

      Thank you, Heather. I will check into this as soon as I’m able. My husband and the dogs are all clamoring for dinner.

  19. Linda Horn

    I’ve used Bene-Bac brand probiotics for my cats. The powder form is fairly inexpensive (around $14 for a 1lb. jar), and easily added to their food. Here’s the ingredient list, for anyone interested:

    Dextrose, Maltodextrins, Sodium Silico Aluminate, dried Bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus fermentum fermentation product, dried L. acidophilus fermentation product, dried L. casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried L. plantarum fermentation product and dried Pediococcus acidilacticii fermentation product.

  20. Dr. Laurie Coger

    I recommend Total Biotics. It is designed for dogs and cats, whose digestive systems differ from humans. Their LEADS system protects the bacteria from harsh stomach acid. The number of bacteria contained and concentrated formulation with no added ingredients save beet juice for coloring make mixing it in even a small amount of food easy.

    1. Sherrie Ashenbremer

      Will this help with allergies

  21. Lara

    Can it be that the animal digest contain MSG? My cat was fed only with Orijen dry food, had an intestinal inflammation (had vomiting, constipation, severe heart murmurand and pancreatitis, too) and as a result now there just eats only Hill’s i / d and I’ve noticed that Hill’s includes “animal digest” in its composition. I hope it’s good because it does not accept any other.

  22. Nouble

    Just hearing about them defending the ingredient would make me steer away from it. In fact, I’ve learned to do that if every company that defends its use of poor ingredients.

    1. Sydney

      I have used Dr. Bassent’s MicroFlora Plus. I’ve also used both Answers and Primal Goat’s Milk products and tend to like the Primal because the Answers has raw honey and I don’t really wanted added sugar in a probiotic, and also the Primal has tumeric in it, which I do want. I’ve used human health food store probiotics but the strains for people are not usually as beneficial/bioavailable for dogs so I don’t generally use human probiotics. But I’d also avoid ANY supplements for me or my dogs, from a “big box” store, especially considering there was a news article discussing how what was labeled in some of those supplements at places like Walgreens, Walmart and so on – wasn’t actually accurate.

      1. Sherrie Ashenbremer

        Sydney, my dog has allergies do you think the Primal will help? I have used Answers and it didn’t seem to help him. I am trying to keep him on a diet of “rabbit” that is what I hear is best for allergy dogs. He has environmental allergies. He has been on Stella & Chewys, Answer’s, Just Food for Dogs, Honest Kitchen, all good foods. He is currently on Vital Essentials Rabbit. Some days he is still red and some days he is ok. I hate to give him Apaquel, but I still do on some days

  23. Lynn Felici-Gallant

    Sherrie Ashenbremer, This is a long, long overdue response to your question about Paul’s Custom Pet Food, my and my husband’s small company in Connecticut (I found your question when Googling us for a project). Thanks for your comments on the website; it is forever a work in progress. Here is one review from Tonya Wilhelm . . . well . . . from her pup, of course. You’ll note at the end one of the “cons” is a request for muscle meat. Since her review, we have added muscle meat to all of our prepared foods. We make a meat blend that includes muscle meat and organ meat. All best.

  24. Treena

    For those who use Fortiflora to encourage their pet to eat and want a replacement, I am guessing it’s the brewer’s yeast that is so palatable to them (and on its own, has beneficial properties.) I’d say giving that a try on its own is well worth it.

    Otherwise, aside from the worrisome animal digest ingredient, FF only has one probiotic in it, so it could very well be that the brewer’s yeast is what is giving pets the positive results people are seeing. Given what brewer’s yeast costs on its own, it’s sad what vets charge for FF, not to mention all the other issues with it.

  25. Melanie Petridis

    I have started using bentonite clay as my dog [11 yrs Husky x Malamute cross] is refusing Fortiflora and Hills KD kibble for my dog’s treatment [she has renal failure brought on by Lyme disease]. Also I am not happy with the ingredient list as we have always fed her Taste of the Wild Salmon food [which after becoming sick – she also refuses to eat]. I am preparing my own whole foods for her but would like to add probiotics. What is your opinion about bentonite and raw goat’s milk.? I have a friend that raises goats. My children were raised on goat;s milk and my first rescued puppy was too.

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