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We’re not buying it…but Vets are

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  1. Ian

    I still suspect the real issue with grains and corn in pet food is not the type of food itself but the moldy poor quality of the grains and corn used in the pet food industry… basically garbage unfit for consumption that is then diverted into pet food. I think this was clearly demonstrated in TAPF testing of pet foods that found sky-high levels of different mold-produced toxins (as I recall). So it’s not so much the grain, it’s that the grain used for pet food is contaminated with mold and mildew and/or pesticides/rodenticides. Isn’t there also some horrible gas they use on the grains in storage for pest control that is toxic to the workers but eventually goes right into the pet food?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Yes – the gas is aluminum phosphide. Very, very dangerous substance.

  2. Tanya A

    I just adopted a cat (approx 3 years old) and am in the process of switching him to the freeze-dried raw diet. He loves Primal Foods. After my last cat had renal failure issues, I didn’t want to continue to feed the standard accepted dry diet to this cat. I have no idea how my vet will react. The vets are too in the pockets of the pet food industry.

    1. Ian

      Yes, one time I was researching a vet who had made some statements about pet food and was really surprised to see how much pet food companies had their $$ all over vet schools and vet student programs. They get very intertwined early on in their studies.

  3. Richard Stone

    Ian, the largest pet food and probably one of the worst, Purina has purchased VCA so a lot of these Vets are now working for Purina and therefore they’re probably recommending Purina.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Slight correction…Mars is who purchased VCA, not Purina.

  4. Reader

    The point of this comment is to suggest the survey is relevant to generalities.

    One point to remember, is that many owners (especially new and uneducated) ask their Vet what to feed. And a Vet rarely says I don’t know. So the Vet has settled on a “constant” (depending on their relationship with a brand). Now within the owner’s question, are often other issues. (Like overweight, IBS, skin problems). So then medical treatment accompanies a food recommendation.

    It happens that our (TAPF) biggest dispute with Vets regarding nutrition (which might otherwise be a solution to some of the issues above) is that Vets are not the primary (or even secondary) resource for PF knowledge and education! We’ve learned far more from Susan Thixton’s research and articles about manufacturing deficiencies. And contrary to supporting our fight for regulation enforcement, Vets actually denounce alternative PF diets. They fight tooth and nail against RAW. And certainly don’t make time to encourage the owner’s ongoing education.

    However – IF ingredient deficiencies & poor processing wasn’t the real issue regarding PF, (let’s say the product is actually what it should be) then it would be a difficult job indeed, for a Vet to evaluate (judge & compare) over 200+ possible brands and recipes. Much less to take the position of recommending one (or not). Then keeping up with new products being introduced. Some of which might be an improvement. Vets would have to become an expert in the PF field, the latest trends, and have super knowledge of manufacturing practices. (It’s nearly a full time job already for Susan Thixton).

    We have over judged some ingredients like corn [[ http://www.hillspet.com/en/us/pet-care/nutrition-feeding/benefits-of-corn-in-pet-foods ]] because of how the product is grown and stored (including GMO, pesticides, mold, etc.). And because the product has been substituted for quality protein. And inappropriately marketed as an acceptable diet for cats. Any and all “grain” has become a catch-all explanation for most digestive issues, when in fact, defective production and handling of ingredient is an issue. As is, certainly, rendered protein which is not USDA Approved for human consumption. Of course any pet can have a particular sensitivity to anything in a PF. The newest trend is pea. However it’s been introduced without any particular assurances of non-GMO, sound processing and “more” benefit. Just that it works as a binder, and the alternative may “seem” like a solution. For the moment. But is there any comparative testing.

    One reason (IMO) Vets focus on single manufacturers (like Hills) is because of stability. The process of communication is simpler with a single (or fewer) relationships in the mix. And if “we” can’t trust a hundred manufacturers out there (like Purina) then how much worse is it for a Vet to recommend an untrustworthy product? The danger becomes (as discussed here many times before) over prescribing an inappropriate product, for the purpose of revenue, when it’s not in the best interest of the pet. And to the exclusion of other purposeful options. And without the owner being encouraged to do independent research.

    My dog eats a commercial RAW pet food, also the Honest Kitchen, and homemade meals with lots of goodies, and cooked chunks of pure beef. But there is a place in that rotation for a Hill’s (sensitive stomach) product. The benefit is keeping his system running smoothly, while ensuring he is getting all the proper balance of nutrients. I wouldn’t have had access to the product without working with my very “understanding” and open-minded Vet. And I know enough, that it should never be my dog’s sole source of nutrition.

  5. Jan

    I will never ever forget the day I took my cat in to see the vet. He diagnosed her with IBS/IBD and prescribe a prescription pet food. I took it home and began feeding it to her. It just so happened that I had recently started to study nutrition to improve my own health. I had read about GMO food, grains, and the common typical things that one learns in the beginning. It didn’t take me long to realize that why would it be any different for an animal to suffer from the wrong foods as we humans do. I closely read the pet food bag which was either Royal Canin or Science Diet where I saw the few first ingredients, corn, and gluten meal to name a couple. I almost fell over. Just what my fur girl needs! Sheesh! I adored my vet but could not continue to feed her that horrible Rx cat food. I returned the bag and told the vet’s office about the contents and my concerns. They were stunned. I then said that I would be using a different food that did not contain any of those ingredients. This was before I knew about raw food. After I switched, Nutmeg improved and has done fine. I’m still in the process of switching her to raw but am grateful she is off that food. We need to complete the transition which we will. Most traditional vets have no clue. Like human doctors, their knowledge after leaving med school is pretty much based on what the medical journals, pharm reps and other closely tied groups tell them. It is tragic. Any wonder why so many animals are getting sick with diseases that were once very rare in the animal world.

  6. David Boothman

    It’s a common misconception physicians are scientists. The closest they typically come to the scientific discipline is epidemiology and it deals in association not cause and effect, isn’t really science at all. Until protocols are rigorously based upon hard science this will continue.

  7. Sharon Bilotta-Testa

    If NOT for Susan’s input on the pet crap industry and Dr.Karen Becker I’d still be feeding my cats mostly dry crap! (I refuse to call it food) It’s been 4 months now no more kibble just raw and better quality canned wet the more people know about the what really goes into these pet food and understand that most vets have little to 0 knowledge on pet nutrition the better for our pets…just must stand our grounds when it comes to the vets pushing the crap they say is optimal and a must….DO NOT buy ANY cat or dog crap from them!!

  8. Sandra Schermerhorn

    Just a little fyi. Both our dogs are vegetarian and couldn’t be in better health. They are both 13 years old and no problems with obesity. Vets have scoffed and said they never heard of dogs being non meat eaters.

    1. Reader

      It’s kind of unfair to make a comment like this out of context. Because it’s working for your dog, there is something you’re doing to make it so. But without explanation, others are going to try this. And doing so is especially dangerous for cats. (And yes, I double checked opinions and advice on the internet, including WebMD, etc.).

    2. Deep Search

      Some vegetables are much lower in carbs. When I had dogs I prepared food for them that was usually oats or rice cooked with ground meat and added vegetables and yogurt. Hopefully in the future I will be able to adopt a dog again and I would still cook for them, but I would not feed them all those carbohydrates or grains. I figured I would prepare meals that are part veg, like greens, carrots, rutabaga or pumpkin, with more yogurt and eggs. I would also consider the benefits of a diet rich in fish– as certain fish, those that are not contaminated with heavy metals, would be very nutritious.

  9. Jane Democracy

    Just a little side note about organic food. Don’t be fooled into thinking that organic means pesticide free. That is definitely not the case. Organic just means they have to use natural or naturally derived pesticides instead of synthetic ones. Also don’t be fooled by the word natural is does not necessarily mean safer nor does it mean non-GMO. They never used to test to see if natural pesticides were carcinogenic or not. They are now testing them and are finding they some are in fact carcinogenic or extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic species. Factory farming is factory farming. Not trying to discourage people from buying organic… just know that mass produced, factory farmed organic is not the same as locally grown organic farming where you personally know the farmer doesn’t apply these chemicals.

    1. Reader

      Thank you for that insight. Something I certainly wouldn’t have realized without your comment. The problem being (factory farmed) organic sold in major chain retail is almost double. Maybe better to seek out local Farmer Markets to support smaller growers! Thanks!

      1. Jane Democracy

        Yes it frustrates me that they don’t make it known that organic certification doesn’t mean pesticide free. They know that is what people think and they charge based on this. It is scary that some factory farmed organic food could possibly have more pesticide residues than regular food yet people may not wash it with as much care and attention that they would non organic because they don’t think it poses a risk.

  10. Deep Search

    The expensive vet prescription diets are chock-full of corn and this can’t be for the benefit of dogs and cats. The carbohydrate content of vet prescribed foods is very high. Corn gluten meal, which is predominantly protein, may be more digestible than plain ground corn, but why not include more meat, instead? The food the vet wants my cat to eat is about 44% carbs, for the dry food, and the wet food isn’t much better at 34%. Both foods are also higher in fat and carbs than protein. The canned diet contains wheat gluten, but there’s no rational reason to substitute meat with gluten. I have to take a wild guess this is done to save money, as using these ingredients is cheaper.

    One can purchase pet foods that have far fewer carbs and human-grade ingredients for less money. I don’t want to feed my cat the vet’s food as I am afraid he will develop diabetes or problems with his weight. He has issues with cystitis and stress, but a diet full of carbs, or one low in moisture, can cause more problems. A cat’s diet should not be more than 10% carbs.

    I know there are vets who are pro catkins diet– that is, cats should basically eat a balanced diet of meats/organs. Just wish there were more of them out there. The vets I’ve gone to don’t even want to talk about alternatives, they trust brands like Hill’s and that’s basically all they will recommend. The vet I’ve gone to recently even has Hill’s info-graphic signs posted around their offices that tout the goodness of corn and state how other brands, like Blue, aren’t as good for your dog or cat as Hill’s is.

  11. Joe

    The same paradox that is occurring with our medical doctors/system being swayed and perverted by big pharmaceuticals. These vet schools are partially sponsored by big pet food companies so the vets are brainwashed from the beginning on selling their garbage. “An investment in the future.” Money trumps all, the few screwing over the many for selfish/financial gains, pathetic scum that need to be fed to the earth 🙂 We know what’s right and sites like this is a great way to share it and counter the billions of marketing BS

    1. Reader

      Vet Practices (offices) are a different problem. Because they have to stay in business. But I don’t think individual Vets are to be blamed. Mine, has always wanted the best for my dogs! I think only one phrase has to be inserted into their vocabulary. “Please research homemade and alternative diets.” That would at least open up the world of research and discovery to the average owner. Otherwise, it’s about ignorance. But Vets sweat far too many unhappy, sad and grieving owners, not to want the best for their pets. We live in a world based on practical applications. We may know what’s right. But we also have to have the capacity to do it, and to afford it. Everyone should connect their well-intentioned Vet to this site. Education is a process, that takes time. Because enough has to be printed (proven) to lead to conviction. Vets are based in science.

  12. Anna

    Vets are rewarded by companies for selling and promoting their products. I was told this by a vet. I feed my dogs raw diet and they have never been happier or healthier. One dog was under the vet for 5 yrs for colitis and he was never well despite the many foods we tried. I put him on raw and he is 14 now and hasn’t had a flare up in 4 yrs. Raw food companies aren’t rewarding vets for selling their products.

  13. Kyle R.

    As usual, you make very good points; however, I have one complaint about your assertion that organic food is inherently better than conventionally grown food. Glyphosate has been found to pose no health risks to humans or pets in the amounts used on crops. This is according to the USDA, EPA, Extension Toxicology Network, BfR (German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment), World Health Organization, and the Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN. Call me a skeptic, but I find it very hard to believe that Monsanto has paid off all of the above organizations. The alarmism over glyphosate stems from the IARC report that cited a Seralini study, which has been retracted due to lack of scientific integrity. Since you clearly take the time to research the truth (heck, it’s in your name), I highly encourage you to look into the controversy over the IARC report and the numerous studies discounting it.

    I’d also like to add that organic does not mean pesticide-free or fungicide-free.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

  14. Terry L.

    Two days ago I brought my 6 month old kittens into our vet for a wellness check-up who was a different vet than the one who spayed/neutered them as she wasn’t available at the time. We were discussing food and I explained my two adult cats were a bad influence on the kittens as they became addicted to kibble at the shelter before I adopted them and one of the kittens had begun to eat a lot of kibble. (Their mother and I have raised her litter of six kittens since birth. I found her, this incredibly sweet, beautiful half-starved pregnant cat as a stray and kept her and all 6 of her kittens after she gave birth and only feeding them the best quality wet or re-hydrated cat food. Because I’ve never been able to fully break my other two cats’ addiction to dry, I do give them Farmina grain-free kibble in addition to their wet food and that’s why the kittens eventually discovered it.)

    Anyway, to my utter shock and dismay the vet said, “Actually dry food is good for cats, it cleans their teeth as they eat it.” Wouldn’t that mean hard candy is good for children/people because it cleans teeth as it is eaten?! What kind of logic is that? And, wouldn’t that also mean who needs toothpaste, just eat hard food?

    While waiting at the vet’s office I roamed around looking at the various pet food sold reading the ingredient labels–Royal Canin sp? and Science Diet are what they sell, astounded at the horrific ingredients. I asked one of the employees if they sold any grain-free cat food and she looked at me and asked, “Why? Do your pets have issues? We only recommend grain-free if your pets are having problems.” Huh.

    What’s sad is vets are highly intelligent people attending school more difficult to get into and graduate from than med school and yet they are ignorant about healthy, proper and safe nutrition for animals.

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