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The Impossible is Possible

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  1. Wolf

    Pet Consumer’s Protection Association (tack verified on end if compliant)

    Pet Food Protection Association (tack verified on end if compliant)

    Pet Food Truth Project (tack verified on end if compliant)

  2. Sandi

    It’s really a simple solution…it’s in the hand of the consumers. When we educate other pet owners to NOT buy pet foods/treats with crap ingredients we force the pet food industry to comply with our demands. There are too many quality foods out there and avoiding the foods with crap ingredients is easy. Money talks…it’s that simple, and it’s in the consumers hands, not the pet food industry nor big government.

    1. MaryTX

      Agreed. Facebook is a wonderful tool. Also, when I’m in pet stores, I engage others – staff, vendors and customers – and talk about the current state of pet food and this site’s mission. Most people are unaware, but I’m making my little dent wherever I have the opportunity. Grassroots, people. We can make it happen.

  3. Tom

    Okay, I’ll take a shot…
    “FIDO APPROVED” OR “FIDO CERTIFIED” with the tag line:

    I know, I know…just a start. 😉

  4. Andrea

    Honest and Transparent
    Food not Feed

    1. Tom

      I’m liking “Food not Feed”…short, simple, easy for consumers to remember.

    2. Dori

      Andrea. I vote for your recommendation. Short and to the point. Food NOT Feed!

  5. Catherine Toth

    PAWs Verified to go along with Dinner PAWsible and the 4 PAW rating for the petfoods.

    1. MaryTX

      4 PAWS up!

  6. MaryTX

    Pet Food Safety Project
    Safe Pet Food Project
    Association for Safe Pet Food
    What’s in Your Pet Food Project
    The Truth About Pet Food Project

  7. Cort

    I never post any comments, mainly because I feel as though I am way out of my league here. I work in a pet store and have worked in the pet field (various pet stores, even dog/cat food companies, as a Rep.) for roughly 5 – 6 years now. I think I have a fair amount of knowledge on pet food. I go out of my way to educate myself, and then share this knowledge with people. I have been deemed the “go to” girl for information on pet food. Many of my co-workers look to me for answers when it comes to hard questions that customers have about their pet’s food…

    None of this is very relevant to my question, I just thought I would give a little bit of my story. My question is this…. What company, what organization, or what group do people need to be a part of in order to create change? Do we need to get into job positions within AAFCO? Or somewhere else? I know we can’t all just flood the pet industry with honest people, but… let’s say there are some people out there who want to bring about change to the pet food world, what job positions would be ideal for them to be in? (Reasonable positions though. Shooting for President of the U.S. and exacting change that way is a bit far-fetched…)

    I am just curious, because as a young person (26 years old), I am still unsure of where I want to go in life, career-wise. But, I have some college education behind me, plus the years of pet experience (working in these various places, plus being a dog trainer), and I would love to stay in the pet industry, because I am very passionate about it. I am determined, even on my very small scale, to make changes, to show the people I talk to every day that what their pet is eating is very bad for them, and I give them the knowledge on why, and where they can go to find more information. If I can do this on a much grander scale… Even better! Maybe this question won’t have a clear answer, I don’t know. But… I thought I’d take a stab in the dark, and ask it anyways. 🙂

    I would want someone to stand up for me and my dog (a 6 year old Siberian Husky, named Leia), if I couldn’t do it myself (from lack of information, lack of knowing).

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Cort – you are not out of your league on this website. This site is pet owners – which you are one of. But to respond to your question – I’m not sure what the answer is. There is no one way or one group to work with or work for to make changes in pet food. We didn’t get into this situation overnight – and it won’t be fixed overnight. It’s going to take all of us – consumers, consumer advocates, pet stores, veterinarians, groomers, trainers, kennels and even pet food manufacturers to make the changes happen.

      1. Cort

        Just as most other pet owners probably feel, I wish there was a way to bring about change, or at least get the wheels turning in that direction, from a specific point or angle. I do everything I can to educate myself about pet food, because it matters to me. It matters, not only for my own pets, but for the people I help on a daily basis. It’s sad how corrupt some places can be…

        I recently subscribed to the Petsumer Report, and was browsing through some of the higher selling foods that we carry at my job. I was looking through the ingredients for Blue Buffalo (our top selling food, as far as Holistic foods go) and was surprised to see that they get some of their vitamins/supplements from China! And I must not have ever read the label that well… because I saw that they also have the Caramel coloring in their foods as well. And yet, this company claims that “all of their ingredients come from the U.S.” How can such a statement be made? And, they are one of the biggest advocates for raising money to fight pet cancer, and yet they knowingly put ingredients in the food that show a trend of causing cancer. This astounds me, because so many consumers are oblivious to this fact – for that matter, most workers in the pet industry are oblivious to this fact! It’s not even this company alone, many “holistic” and “healthy” foods get some vitamin/supplement or ingredient from China, and it’s devastating to know that these companies blatantly lie to the people they are offering their products to. (I know, it’s just like every other company in the world…)

        But, our pets have no voice, WE are their voices. And our voices? Well, you would think it should be these companies and organizations – the FDA, AAFCO, the vets, manufacturers, etc. But, it’s not. Everyone has a personal gain somewhere, whether it be making money, getting more business, getting a kickback or profit somewhere along the way…. No one is really speaking up for us and our pets. It’s sad that we are the only ones who have no personal gain in any of this. Our only “gain” in all of this is to have long, happy, healthy lives with our pets, and that’s not very selfish at all.

        I think I will look into the job-hunting further. If one person can wiggle their way in somewhere, with the intent of bringing about change… then maybe more people will do it. If we can get the corrupt people out of these positions, and bring in those who do want to make a difference, then maybe something good will happen. Now, if only we had a way of making this all happen over night……… 🙂

        (Thanks for reading through my rant! I don’t have too many people I can vent out my frustration to about these matters. Most people look at me like I’m crazy when I start rambling about pet food and everything surrounding it.)

        1. Tom

          Cort…I wish I could buy from YOU!

        2. Regina

          Cort, I commend your desire to help bring about change. Just talking to everyone that you come across about the pet food issue is quite a big help. If enough people start realizing what’s going on, the sales of crap foods will decline, and we all know that money is the only motivator.

          As for your desire to get a job somewhere, and bring about change from within . . . Sometimes that can be the worst plan of action. It could just crush you and drive you crazy, banging your head against the wall. Now, if you and a bunch of other like-minded people joined up together, working to wrest power from the people who are making all of the wrong decisions, well, there’s strength in numbers. I just would hate to see you burnt out from being in a job that sucks out your soul and saps your energy. I speak from experience with a somewhat similar situation, and I don’t wish that on anyone.

        3. Jane Eagle

          I always point out to people that the less they spend on pet food, they more they will spend on vet bills, so it is no savings at all.
          There are some small manufacturers of pet food, notably the Honest kitchen and Artisan that make dried, flaked pet food, NOT kibble. They are labeled as human grade, so I assume that means I can eat them safely. I am moving more toward making food for my dogs rather than buying most of what is on the market. I’m going to get the book mentioned in another post.

      2. Jane Eagle

        If this project flies, there will be an absolute need for people to do the verifications: not only laboratory analysis, but also checking sources, and other background work necessary.

    2. Kelley

      Cort, your post is the first from a pet owner looking for a career that could help change PF policies and practices. So commendable! Thank you for caring!! Sometimes the chicken really does come before the egg (or is it the other way around?) Meaning that I don’t think Susan ever envisioned herself a SME in PF, the industry and government agencies pertaining to it. She started from personal experience, by gathering the facts, connecting the dots, and communicating them to consumers. What she became is a truth about pet food journalist, expert and advocate.

      All change begins with communication. In this day and age with social media …communication is all powerful. If you were going to consider a possible career maybe it could be in journalism. Get a good paying “day job” while you consider how to best share the knowledge you’re gaining about pet food. And “dig” for more and more truth about PF. Someday Susan will need a successor in the field, so young people like yourself represent the trend of the future. Another area to consider is within the media and advertising, which is all powerful (influential) today. You can see how BB is deceiving consumers (for example) which is no different than most other PF brands doing the same thing. Wouldn’t it be nice to have honest, legitimate, advertising representing all the PF companies doing things correctly? Wouldn’t it be nice to even give them a voice or visibility? A lot of times they survive only through word of mouth, and recommendations from honest Pet Supply Store’s staff.

      And finally there is a great need for pet nutritionists to guide owners in the right feeding of their companions. Is there a niche (without having to invest in Vet College) to become an expert in this field? Good luck with your search and be sure to keep us posted here on the website. You are a great contributor!! Thank you so much for caring!

    3. barbara m

      Cort – In your conversations with pet food shoppers in your store: if they complain about the price, remind them that a trip to the vet, when your dog or cat gets sick, is also expensive. Their illness might happen immediately, but over time. And by that time it may be too late. You have a good heart and also have this opportunity to make change.

  8. Andrea

    Approved by Pet Parents for Happy, Healthy Pets

  9. Tee 'n' the Wildlife

    CERTIFIED: Legal Ingredients
    CERTIFIED: Country of Origin

  10. Maxine Schmidt

    Trustworthy Food at Last

  11. Andrea

    True Food for Pets
    Know the Food, Pledged as True
    Real Food, Full Transparency

  12. Andrea

    The Transparency You’ve Been Waiting For!

  13. Dolores McDonnell

    Paws (insert artistic happy pet face)
    Truth Certified

  14. Cecilia

    My idea needs some tweaking but here is the essence: NO MORE LIES – which stands for
    N= Natural and
    O= Organic food

    M= Manufactured by
    O= Overcoming aafco/fda
    R= Regulations
    E= Exceeding but not

    L= Limited to
    I= Ingredients from
    E= Excellent
    S= Sources

  15. Valerie Noyes

    VIA Pet Food Project. (VIA=Verified, Inspected, Approved). If a pet food is accepted, it would have VIA Certification.

    1. brenda

      I like this one the best!

      1. Tom


    2. Barbara

      This has my vote, too!

    3. MaryTX

      YES! 4 PAWS up!

    4. DogLover

      You could do certified, inspected, approved. It could be CIA verified! That would be an attention grabber! 😉

  16. Cris

    CERTIFIED SAFE by Truth in Pet Food Advocates (all ingredients have been approved and certified to be safe for your dog to eat)

  17. Hope Valenti


  18. Pam Bishop

    Sadly, many pet owners are lazy and will buy the cheapest dog food at the most convenience place. Big box stores like PetCo and Petsmart are going to carry the brands that advertise the most, not the best for the pet.
    We need more independent pet stores that will go in and provide top quality products including pet food. Have employee’s that know and will talk to customers about what is best for their pet. Prices have to be competitive with the supermarket and big box stores. Quality at a reasonable price and near those supermarkets. This will not be easy and it will take dedicated shop owners to stick with it and know that they will slowly build a loyal following. If we can make the better quality pet food available to the average pet owner, many will switch. If you have a local store like this, get their business cards and hand them out to everyone you can. Ask for brochures on the better pet food and hand them out too. Some people will still not care and feed junk food to their pets, but there is a good sized group that can be educated.

  19. Marisol

    SAFE Pet Food verified

  20. Pam grimes

    Approved pet food fit for humans

  21. Dianne

    There is a lot of logic to your proposal. I agree that this is probably the most effective way to go. My suggestion is just a simple ATPF approved.

  22. Caralee

    “The REAL Deal” because we care.

  23. Susan

    MFG. GUARANTEED SAFE (made entirely of Human-Quality, Legal Ingredients from the USA)

    (note: this leaves TPF not liable if any mfg. is non-compliant, which is very important)

  24. Premier Dogs

    Ultimately, change is in the hands of the consumers so education is a must. Unfortunately, I’m aware of many pet owners that admit they can’t afford the “high quality” pet food and, instead, buy the cheap commercial brand stuff from their local grocery store. Education is one thing, but economics is quite another. 🙁

  25. Cande Griffin

    Thank you Susan for donating your time and efforts. Seldom do we see this devotion in today’s society and as a long time (over 40 years) breeder, trainer and exhibitor I sincerely appreciate the frankness as well as the accuracy you incorporate in your columns. However, you can only do so much – the consumer is tasked with the responsibility of how they are going to feed their pets. All of the whining in the world isn’t going to change the situation. You, the owner, make the choice of what to or not to feed.
    Susan and Dr. Cathy Alinovi have written a wonderful, comprehensive, well documented and researched book – “Dinner Pawsible”, full of a wide variety of food sources and recipes.
    As a baby boomer, commercial pet food companies advertised heavily on television (boomers are the original TV generation), convincing us of our lack of ability to feed our own pets ‘properly and with good nutrition’.
    I bought into that rubbish with my first 16 Basenjis. Several of those dogs died with renal failure, had problems with sebaceous cysts, abscesses, coat dander, cancer, liver failure, Cushings disease and a host of other problems. I fed premium dog foods. It took Promise’s Lymphoma, caused by chicken jerky treats, to wake me up.
    No more dog food. No more anything from China.
    I make my own, from the same high quality ingredients I eat. My vet thought I was crazy when I stopped feeding dog food and that it could affect the outcome of Promise’s recovery! She was right – Promise has been in remission 5.5 years now.
    Making your own dog food is time consuming and more expensive but you CAN make food that is BETTER than ANYTHING you can buy off the shelf.
    So, take the bull by the horns (so to speak) and quit procrastinating and whining – quit buying the dog food and make your own. The drop in sales will scare the devil out of the commercial dog food companies. I’ve seen this happen back in the 80’s with the Ethoxyquin boycott.
    Consumers have far more power than they use.

  26. Jane

    Cande, your letter is a gem. I am so happy to hear of Promise’s remission. I agree wholeheartedly that homemade food is the way to go. I’ve been cooking for my dogs for years, and we have no allergies or illnesses. What we do have are beautiful coats, happy, lively dispositions, good appetites, normal poopie, and excellent vet check-ups. Gums and teeth are healthy too. Happy, healthy dogs are a joy to behold. Yes, I get the looks sometimes when I say I cook for my dogs, but you can’t argue with success. Please give Promise a big, atta girl hug for me.

    1. Cande Griffin

      Thanks Jane. Promise went through five rounds of Chemo. The rounds consisted of: Vinchristine, Cytoxan, Vinchristine and Doxorubisin – one injection in the order presented, one per week. Then a week to 2 weeks off, dependent on the results of her weekly CBC w/diff. Promise was weighed to the gram! She was on oral prednisone to alleviate external node enlargement. Prednisone is a mixed bag of good and bad effects, in humans and dogs. It nearly shuts down the immunity system and precipitants have to be ‘weaned’ off it because of the physical dependency that can occur.
      We supplemented Promise with K-9 Immunity by Aloha Chemicals, a preparation derived from 200 different mushrooms, grown in Hawaii. With Promise, it acted like a pseudo-immunity system. She was a very sick girl for six months and I feed her chopped beef hearts, which are nearly pure protein and rich in iron.
      She was pronounced in remission in late April- early May.
      The only notable, lasting side affects are possible damage of joint cartilage in her two front legs, which were catheter sites for all of her IVs. She’s on Metcal, a broad spectrum analgesic, every other day. She is also given tramadol if she’s more painful.
      Considering the national survival rates for LSA Canine, we are extremely fortunate. By all accounts, she was projected to die in September of 2008, without chemo intervention.
      Anyone, who is considering chemo for their dog, must not give the dog prednisone before, as it effects the chemo performance.
      Our bill for this intervention was over $13,000.00.

  27. Gitta

    Can’t think of a good name for the project just now.

    But I think we should stay away from cute and funny. This is serious business undertaken by a serious association representing pet parents. Representing many who have lost beloved companions, many who are still dealing with the aftermath. I also think it should be short.

    1. Regina

      Gitta, you make an excellent point! We should not do anything cute or funny. So many run-of-the-mill entities go for cute or funny, but we definitely want to distinguish this important designation from all the others put forth by “Madison Avenue” types or anyone trying to mislead folks into thinking it’s actually a meaningful designation.

      It should be short, to-the-point, and something that cannot be “bastardized” by less reputable entities like the folks who tried to hijack this website . . . I remember when Susan told us about it, but can’t remember the details.

  28. Andrea

    Food to Live For
    Let them Thrive
    Just Food

  29. Dianna

    Pet Parent Verified Project

  30. Jane Eagle

    “Certified Safe for Pets”.com …the .com so people can go to a website to see exactly what the certification means, as described in your article above. It needs to be super-short, or folks won’t bother to read it (!!!). A nice simple graphic, like the non- GMO folks use (a yellow stalk of wheat in a green box) Maybe be dog sillouette with a cat silouette inside; green and purple/lavender?
    A bit like this:
    Hey: they’re using green and purple! Any color combo will be in use somehwere, so pick the colors you like.
    OR: on this link:
    there is a small logo with a paw in a square, with the words “pet health network”…something like that would be ideal: small, simple, instantly recognizable. If I was a graphic artist, I’d do one for you!

  31. Margie

    How about simply, “AAFCO-approved” . . .

    1. Regina

      Margie, Welcome. You must be new here. We’ve already determined that “AAFCO approved” is meaningless. It is on every bag of food sold, regardless of the quality. AAFCO is just a rubber-stamp thing. That’s why Susan keeps updating us about her battles with them to improve pet food, or at least the truth about what is in the pet food.

  32. Sandra

    “Association for Truth in Pet Food Approved Product.” With a flashy logo of some kind to get consumers’ attention. 🙂

  33. Karin

    Safe Pet Food Verification (or Certification)
    Pet Food Safety Verification (or Certification)
    Pet Food Ingredient Safety Verification (or Verified or Certified)
    Pet Food Ingredient Verification (or verified)
    Safety in Pet Food Certified

  34. Kelley

    A recurring comment here is about food safety. All consumers want to be assured of food safety (whether human or PF). Gosh, you would think this could be the very least thing that we’d expect for spending our hard earned dollars, right? Companies can have testing procedures in place and that certainly should be an industry standard. Yet nobody can guarantee safety all the time. If you subscribe to the FDA’s alerts, know that all kinds of food is constantly being recalled. Witness the problem with Wawona’s fruits right now.

    But we CAN identify what basic virtues and advantages we want in a PF in order for it to be recognized and distinguished, like a product that is USDA Inspected & Approved, Human Grade Quality, sourced & manufactured in the US. And then find a way to separately highlight some add-on’s that are important to different kinds of consumers, like organic, non-GMO’d, free of additives, colors, dyes, or whatever the details might be.

    The investigation will always be about how many “perfect” commercial PFs exist (because they aren’t homemade or raw). Yet there’s only about 14 on The List, and 20 having returned the Pledge. Meaning that we’ll have to have a PROCESS that recognizes what the manufacturer is willing to certify to US! So that a “Record of Transparency” exists in order for every consumer to find their own most appropriate product. Our seal, will have to be one of consumer recognized “compliance” rather than concluding on a perfect formula status The Petsumer Report already rates PFs anyway. We must always keep the manufacturers responsible, to protect the Association’s integrity and to avoid inappropriate challenges and arguments.

  35. Sharon

    Although I don’t have any suggestions right at this moment, I do feel that, just like the “Non-GMO Project”, the name should be short and should have an immediate clear reference, i.e., in this case to pets and pet foods. As soon as you see the name, you know immediately what it stands for and you don’t have to look any further as to its meaning. Of those mentioned above, I liked Pet Food Transparency Project and Safe Pet Food Project (variation).

  36. Laura

    I agree with Regina, Jane Eagle, and Sharon, that the name should be short, simple, to the point, unique, something that rolls off the tongue well, and recognizable, with an eye-catching graphic that could be used on any background. Maybe consider hiring a qualified graphic designer with relevant experience to design a suitable logo for maximum impact.

    The Natural Resources Defense Council used to have a Label Lookup, or a database of claims on products, that they rated based on comprehensiveness, consistency, clarity, transparency, etc. They took it down a while ago and I received conflicting answers as to whether or not it’s coming back, but you can see what it looked like at I think the program should strive to meet their highest rating to be as reliable and as trustworthy as possible.

    I also noticed that a lot of commenters on this site seem to only ever mention dogs, like a couple of the suggestions pertained to dogs only, and I think that’s really unfair and doing a huge disservice to all the other animals that people keep as pets and who also deserve healthy food. I know ATPF only focuses on cats and dogs (I’m assuming because those are the most popular pets in American and all other pets are considered “exotic”), but in the interest of all the other animals that people share their lives with, I think it should at least try to include them, too.

    1. Sandra

      Oh Laura, you’re so right! I think I may even be guilty of mentioning a dog-only focus, and that’s not my intent for this program, either. I once had a ferret as a companion animal. She was very loving, affectionate, curious, and a very fun pet to have. Anyway, because their GI tracts are extremely similar to cat food and many ferret pet parents buy high-end cat foods for their ferrets in lieu of the extremely minimal choices of ferret formulated diets. But that doesn’t mean that ferret formulas should be exempt from this type of program. I also would love to see it expanded to include bird foods as well as including as many other species as possible.

    2. Laura

      I’m also assuming that this would fill the same purpose as The List?

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        This would fill the same purpose as The Pledge to Quality and Origin – actually taking The Pledge to a higher level (verification).

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