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Direct Lie or Simply Misleading?

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  1. Woofielover

    Since chickpeas and lentils both analyze as proteins, “single source” isn’t true either. They likely meant “single source MEAT protein” but, whatever. Manipulation of verbiage is just marketing and most marketing is lies. Lies are misleading. Meh. Believe nothing.

  2. Stormy

    Lies. And where they don’t directly lie, they purposely mislead.

  3. Brent

    I think you are grasping at this one Susan. While I agree marketing terms can stretch the truth, the pet food community knows what the term “fillers” means and that’s potato, corn, wheat and soy. Starch vegetables are not considered filler especially things like peas and lentils as they are also great sources of protein.

    1. Cindy T

      Are they great sources of protein for dogs? Can you provide some research supporting that?

    2. T Allen

      Do you have a reference as to the digestibility of peas and lentils by dogs?

    3. JaneeS

      Since “fillers” has no actual legal definition in pet feed or food, I don’t think the pet food community has any idea what fillers means. I know pets do best with high amounts of meat, organs and bones, so the rest of it sounds like fillers to me. Truthfully, when I see such a high amount of peas, beans, fiber, etc., I consider those to be mostly fillers like I would corn or potatoes. I think Susan is, as usual, right on spot.

  4. Jan

    Excellent summary advice. Thank you.

  5. Diana

    “Single source”? Means nothing actually. “Single protein” would imply only one protein type is used in the food. That one has salmon oil, so if someone’s pet had an allergy to salmon and thought single source meant only a single protein was in the food, oops. Sigh.

  6. Hannie

    I don’t trust any of them or anything they say. The biggest problem I have is trying to figure out what is really inside that bag seeing that I don’t trust the labels either. So my fur kid gets very little dry food & lots of good human food. I don’t think our food is as good as it once was but it sure beats the commercial crap……seeing that she’s a Lab nearly 13 yo & still doing super, I think that says something for her diet…….homecooked since the recalls of ’07.

    1. ❤️ I too have been making homemade ever since that horrible recall! by Dr. Lisa Pierson taught me a world of information and many others have marvelled as well at what a homemade diet rich with meat, organs and bone has done for their cats and dogs! I will never return to the shafy world of commercial cat and dog food. Love this site!

  7. Hope

    Unfortunately it is about marketing. Or, as we say in our retail store, it’s about deceptive practices that treat the consumer like a stupid child. And, again, many a consumer accepts it because they want to convince themselves that paying $48 for a 33 pound bag (“Breakaway” on of cereal with a bit of (probably questionable source) meat/fish oil, etc., is enough to spend for “food” for their dog. If you delve further Susan you’ll find this (beef) selection is listed with 20% Protein/12% Fat and 437 calories per cup; all of which doesn’t jive. The manufacturers of this “new food” are the newish plant owners of the former Great Life (as you mentioned) that previously did a terrific job of making real pet food in a bag. When the new owners took over they (reportedly) couldn’t make Great Life products for the previous price being charged and then raised prices beyond affordability. So it seems they have found a way to market newly created products that–in my opinion–will continue to add to the increasing health problems that dogs are experiencing on more and more inferior, cereal laden “grain-free” kibble. Our customers will frequently say when they purchase high meat based kibble or raw in our store, “pay now or later at the vet”. They are right but in reality what you pay now for real food for a dog is far far far less than vet bills and ill health. I love that you expose these issues Susan. You are a beacon of hope in an industry that has become highly complex in search for profit. You want the dogs to win and I love you for that! Thank you so much.

  8. Woofielover

    Chickpeas, lentils, pea protein – all fillers and inappropriate sources of protein for carnivores, even facultative carnivores. But, it’s kibble. Kibble is cheap and convenient, like fast food for humans.

  9. Sherrie Ashenbremer

    But you want some vegetables in the food right? I use two different brands, both on Susan’s Food List, my dogs are doing well and love the food. Thank you for all you do to help out pets. Can’t say enough good things about your work

    1. T Allen

      Sherrie when you see “peas”, you are thinking green or garden peas, like the frozen ones in the store. They are a veggie. The peas in dog food are “field peas” which are a dry, starchy legume used for protein for livestock (and eaten by people in some parts of the world). That’s why these foods are so heavy in carbs. No different than grain carbs. 🙁

  10. T Allen

    It used to be “single source protein” meant one type of protein, only chicken, only beef. Good to know that that has been taken over by marketing to mean “only one supplier”. That deserves an article of it’s own.

  11. Sheila Black

    Direct lies. But the pet public is not informed about nutrition for their cats and dogs, so they believe the lies. I did, for years. Only learned about raw feeding of cats by accident. And I rarely talk about raw feeding to other pet owners, as they tend to simply not believe that kibble is bad food, and think that I am feeding a fad diet to my two cats.

  12. Lisa Marie

    Lies and fairy tales … unfortunate for those who are easy prey for pet feed companies deceptive marketing schemes. It’s hard enough for humans to digest legumes, much less for our furry friends.

    I have to chuckle also at Orijen / Acana’s “biologically appropriate” kibble (an oxymoron anyway), with their inclusion of red / green lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, yellow peas, green peas, lentil fiber, chickpeas, etc… beans are not only starchy but are high in lectins and can result in leaky gut syndrome.

    Excellent work as always Susan, thank you. I continue to refer customers from the store to your site.

  13. samiswan

    Any writer on this list has probably written press releases; I certainly have. But there’s an enormous difference between “sparkling up” your product and LYING about it. What I read above was clearly lying.

    “Chicken meal” is not chicken. “Freeze-dried chicken” was the 13th ingredient, I believe. Pathetic. And lentils are just ridiculous. Reading the above label would prompt me to put that bag right back on the shelf – while laughing, mind you – in favor of finding a decent food. Damned greedy corporations.

    Why does the FDA even have regulations if they’re not going to enforce them? I’m sorry to rant. No one can be more frustrated than Susan.

  14. Alberto

    What is on Susan’s food list. Thank you.

  15. B Dawson

    The sad part is that vets are so poorly educated in nutrition. Vet endorsements are bought.

    Vets recommend diets that they have NO knowledge of whatsoever. They base their decisions on the label, pictures and sales pitch just the same as consumers. Further, food companies – human or pet – rely on consumers’ belief that a diploma means absolute knowledge and anyone who has one must know what they are talking about. It’s all marketing BS. Call it misleading, call it lies, it doesn’t matter. It’s all manipulation, backed up by a lawyer who can argue nuances to prove it wasn’t untrue and get the lawsuit dismissed.

    Time after time I’ve had Vets tell me that I needed to feed a low protein diet to cats with early kidney disease.

    The first Vet was a GP. I asked him what he meant by a “low protein” diet. He said “Hang on, let me grab a bag of Hill’s and see what it says…”. OK, he was a general practice Vet and I could sort of let that go. But c’mon, your trusted source is a bag of prescription food? This guy was less than 5 years out of vet school and he couldn’t independently tell me what “low protein” meant.

    Two weeks ago, the oncology specialist that is treating my cat for lymphoma raised concerns about increasing creatine levels and suggested Royal Canin Renal. I asked the same question. Her response? “I’d have to refer you to a nutritionist to answer that.” You can’t define a low protein diet but you’ll immediately recommend a bag of food that you sell. Argh! Here’s the first 7 ingredients: Brewers rice, corn, chicken fat, wheat gluten, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, soy protein isolate, powdered cellulose. The dry food 21 to 25% protein, the canned food 6 to 8%. The Primal raw diet I’m feeding Galen is 13% – all high quality, easy-to-digest-and-therefore-little-waste-to-process protein. Why is this so hard for the medical establishment to understand?

    “Common sense ain’t common”, Will Rogers

  16. Janet

    Lies. Deliberate lies.

    And let’s look at this.
    “Breakaway is available in beef and chicken and in grain-free lentil and brown rice formulations.”

    Grain-free rice? Who are they trying to trick? Rice is absolutely a grain! Most people know that.

    1. Tess

      Well, I would guess that grain-free is referring to the lentil formulation and not the brown rice formulation. They are two separate formulations, as a glance at the website would easily point out.

      I think you’re just grasping at straws here so that you can be outraged. I feed my dogs Breakaway and they 1. love it and 2. have never been healthier, so there’s that.

  17. Peter

    Manufacturers are responding to the growing consumer demand for “grain free” pet foods, which they cannot defeat. Consumers don’t realize that on both technical and financial basis,grains must be replaced with something else. Consumers simply can’t cope with the understanding that the manufacture of “dry” foods they insist upon, for example, necessitates 40% (or more) starch in order to extrude the product. It just can’t be made without starch… These “novel” starches and proteins are just a by-product (sorry) of manufacturer response to consumer demand that must be conditioned by the realities of ordinary profit metrics. The ingredients may change, but the over-arching framework of the vendor-consumer relationship is adversarial, and that won’t budge a bit.

  18. Laurie

    This caught my attention “…..Alexia Heldman, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist for 4health. “You will never see starchy fillers,…..” because I could never imagine a board certified veterinary nutritionist making such a statement. I went to the directory of board certified veterinary nutritionists and she isn’t listed. Her Linked in profile educational experience reports a DVM and a MBA Finally I called Diamond and asked if Alexia Heldman is a board certified veterinary nutritionist and was told she is a veterinarian but not a board certified veterinary nutritionist. How did the release/article get this so wrong?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Very good detective work Laurie!

      1. Stephanie

        Hi, Susan and Laurie! Can Alexia (Wilde Maclae) Heldman even call herself a “veterinarian” given the fact that her license to practice veterinary medicine was revoked by the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board in 1998 when she went by the name of Alexia Wilde?

    2. Peter

      The term “veterinary nutritionist” is very specific. There are only a handful (my words) of certified veterinary “nutritionists” in the country, and indeed, the entire world. I found this out, when needing one, and because she was out of state, the cat’s insurance policy would not cover the cost. Now knowing this, when I see this kind of terminology in marketing materials –in fact, almost anywhere– I instinctively discount its veracity, and by extension, the rest of the so-called “research” or “data” that accompanies it. I disbelieve that the writer of the release “got it wrong,” I expect that this lack of accuracy was intentional.

  19. Ms. B Dawson

    Given that this article features testimonial from a Vet (who apparently isn’t quite as certified as the press release indicates) I found this article from Petfood rather interesting. The article is entitled “Purina banks on pet food science and consumer transparency”. It’s focus is all about the stand up job Purina is doing creating new foods for our pets.

    Part of the article deals with how much time Vets spend de-bunking myths that consumers see on-line. But Purina is there to help:

    “At least one Purina executive believes veterinarians can help counter this and the misconceptions that many consumers believe about pet food. “Vets often have to dispel myths that pet owners are finding on the internet,” said Kurt Venator, DVM, PhD, chief veterinary officer and a practicing vet in upstate New York, USA. He tells vets he talks to that they must be the “bearer of nutrition facts and science.” He said he thinks vets have slipped in this mission, letting others take over delivering nutrition education and information, and he believes Purina should play a strong role in supporting vets in the effort.

    In response to my question about general consumer distrust of science and whether most veterinarians have the nutrition knowledge to help dispel myths, Venator indicated that because vets are trained to seek evidence-based medicine and science, providing them with that information is helping. “The most common questions vets get today are about nutrition and behavior,” he said. “I think the pendulum is swinging to where vets are educating themselves more, seeing this as part of their job. We go into vet schools, especially ones where they don’t have board-certified nutritionists, and give unbiased research. I think it’s getting better,” he added, referring to vets’ knowledge of pet nutrition.”

    Do any of you buy the “unbiased research” line? It used to be only Science Diet who was in the schools providing education and texts on nutrition but apparently pet food manufacturers, having discovered this is the best place to indoctrinate the Docs, are maneuvering to be the source of nutritional guidance.

    Here’s the whole article:

  20. Chris

    How do you tell if a can (or dry) is Diamond? Any list of brands? For Evangers it’s my understanding the curved date on the bottom of cans is the key. Do they do dry as well? Thanks. My local pet store has quit carrying Evangers but I’ll make sure no other cans have the curve.

    1. Woofielover

      Not all Evanger’s cans have the circular stamp anymore. They used to be proud of that but there are other cans they make not stamped on the can roller.

      Diamond is a large co-packer. For those of us that are retailers and refuse to carry anything made by Diamond, we make it our mission to find out who copacks what. Same with Evanger’s.

      The obfuscation is deliberate with regard to anything in the petfood industry. The less you know the better for them. The info is out there and if you know how to dig for it you can find it. But it won’t be easy – by design

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