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Hair for the Dog (and Cat)

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  1. Karen Mitchell

    Oh NO.. Alert the authorities! You make it sound like this is something new. The sooner people change to raw, the better

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I know it’s not something new – just trying to raise awareness.

      1. Jeff

        Many thanks for all you do and making us aware of things like this.

        It appreciated more than you know!!!!!

      2. Caroline Snyder

        Susan, did you catch THIS video?? Here’s my spiel on the subject. This stinking crap is FULL of extremely toxic COPPER.. Oh My God!!

        COPPER and (likely) STEEL wire, as it is attracted to a magnet appears to be at least SOME of the contaminants in this sample of PEDIGREE Dog Food. The camera gets a close-up for us. This is bad news!
        Copper dissolves in stomac acid guys, to make soluble copper chloride and a dog’s, or cat’s stomach acid is WAY stronger than ours so they are at VERY high risk of serious illness.
        A copper overdose is VERY likely, even from just one bowl of kibble, as dogs only require a few milligrams daily. Copper poisoning can be LETHAL!!

        What in God’s name is the manufacture of Pedigree, Purina, Merrick doing? Covering up, that’s what! What are the FDA doing? Sweet F.A. Because no-one is REPORTING this to THEM!

        ACTION! Check YOUR dog or cat’s kibble very carefully! Look for tiny strands of wire or or plastic.. especially if your ingredients list includes “Meat and Bonemeal” or “Animal Fat” or “Animal Digest”. if you find anything suspicious, do NOT feed any more.

        Bag it and REPORT to the US Dept of Agriculture and the FDA (there is online reporting available!).

        Feel free to contact me personally if you want links or Susan will hopefully include them.

        I fear pets WILL start dying soon 🙁

        PLEASE go to my FB link for more information!

    2. Jeff

      Unfortunately many of the raw have been testing positive for salmonella 🙁

      1. A Rech

        Firstly, I believe they are finding salmonella in raw because they are focusing on finding salmonella in raw. If they focus finding salmonella in dry kibble, they would find salmonella in dry kibble; it’s been proven that it is there and it’s all relative.
        We all have to work harder to find the point, or personal relevancy, with these smaller ‘novellas’, if you will allow my metaphor, being intermittently released to fully understand the Epic.
        The good news (if we’re looking for good news) about salmonella in pet food, is that our pets are far better equipped to handle this bacteria in their digestive systems than we humans are. Their stomachs are points above ours in producing highly acidic juices to break down their food as quickly and completely as possible, likely killing any salmonella before it negatively affects them; in part because they don’t have our nearly 30 feet of intestines (more like 10-15 for them) to complete the digestion process.
        Please understand me, I do not accept nor do I want to feed my dogs and cats salmonella laden food, but I am confident they are uniquely built to withstand it.
        Also of note because of this very concern, I do choose to feed my elderly (20) cat a raw diet I am confident in as I know older animals can have reduced immune systems.

        1. Sage

          Agree with A Rech – pets are much better equipped than humans to handle bacteria. Their comparatively short digestive tract/system (processes and) eliminates what they eat MUCH faster than humans. If you home prepare a raw diet as I do, RINSING the chicken under running water before chopping or grinding removes all or most of the bacteria that may be present. SEE this interesting TEST comparing RAW CHICKEN to LETTUCE: My cats and dogs have NEVER gotten sick from the raw chicken formula I prepare. I cannot speak for the level of bacteria in commercial raw products but bacteria could be introduced at various points in the process which have nothing to do with the raw chicken itself being unsafe IF it is sanitized first. Dr. Karen Becker has an article on the subject here

          1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

            Hey Sage, It is obviously a witch hunt against raw foods. I also bet that an animals body is much more adept to processing raw food w/ traces of salmonella, than a dry kibble w/ salmonella. I wanted to bring to your attention that it has been proven that washing any chicken under running water is Not a good idea, because the splashing of the water & the bacteria has been proven to get all over objects such as drain board, sponge, dish detergent bottles, sink faucets & spray nozzles etc. Then wipe down those areas & continue spreading the salmonella. This has been documented by the CDC & there was a video I saw showing how easily this happens & documented ER statistics. Even if someone was really careful it could still happen. It would probably be better to get a big deep container & fill w/ water (& added white vinegar or sea salt to help nuteralize the bacteria) verses washing under running water.

          2. Sage

            Hi Cheryl

            I HAVE seen the video you reference and have read Consumer Reports on this subject but have been rinsing chicken under lightly running water for over 20 years (not whole chickens – just breasts (and in recent years, thighs for the cats) one piece at a time and NO ONE (animal or human) has ever gotten sick here. All surfaces are thoroughly cleaned afterwards (a 1:22 bleach/water solution is excellent). I also NEVER use a kitchen sponge which I believe can be a huge source of bacteria in general. Instead I use clean fresh paper towels each time I clean anything. Since they are immediately disposed of, I use a LOT of paper towels!

            Chicken to be used RAW for pets should not be submerged in water with sea salt or vinegar which would then need to be rinsed off and plain running water easily removes surface bacteria if there is any.

            On a side note and speaking from my own experience, I use MARY’s organic chicken thighs from Whole Foods Market which is one of the safest brands available. Extremely fresh raw poultry has NO ODOR and on the rare occasion that it has any odor, I don’t use it. I make small batches of cat food (about 16 oz) DAILY using it the same day it’s made. An excellent Raw CAT Food formula (similar to Veterinarian Lisa Pierson’s) is at TC Feline

        2. InkedMarie

          Excellent post.

      2. T Allen

        There are alternatives between raw and kibble. There is no law that says you can’t by a raw product and lightly cook it. Salmonella stops reproducing over 120*. A quick zap in the microwave, check temp with a thermometer, let hit 125* and sit for 4 min. Add a bit of water to cool and feed. I haven’t had any issues doing this for the last year with ground chicken. has a chart showing kill temps and cook times.

      3. B Dawson

        While salmonella may represent a health risk for a few pets with illness, the primary concern by FDA is the risk for human’s handling the food. You should always use proper hygiene when feeding your pets raw and make sure children too young to know better don’t get their little hands into it. Humans don’t have the safeguards against bacteria that dogs and to a lesser extent cats do.

        Let’s face it, dogs drink out of toilets, mud puddles, chew on sticks picked up off the ground, lick each others’ butts and, given the opportunity, will consume cow flops and cat poop. The bacterial load in those items far outweighs that which has been occasionally found in raw food. Dogs have strongly acidic digestive tracts and process what they eat in 7 hours, more or less. This works to kill off bacteria and doesn’t allow the retention time necessary for bacteria that does survive to multiply in the gut. Cats are not quite so well defended but c’mon, they eat live prey that carries bacteria all over and in it.

        If you do have immuno-compromised pets, cooking the raw solves the problem.

        A little bacteria in raw food is an acceptable risk for me. The greater risk is the contaminated and nutrient deficient kibble offered by companies like Mars, Purina and Nestle. I won’t even go into their “yeah, so?” attitude about their products.

    3. Mollie Morrissette

      What’s news is that four out of four bags of pet food randomly pulled from shelves all contained copious amounts of hair. That is news.

    4. Nancy

      Perhaps the sooner we get rid of the FDA would be better.

      1. Samantha Cuellar

        I second that motion!!! I say get rid of the lot of them…FDA and AAFCO if they’re not doing the job they were put there for.

        All of the above comments are the reasons I will NEVER feed my dogs manufactured dog food….EVER! They’ve both been doing so much better since I’ve stopped buying and feeding them what you and everyone else calls “people” food. I’ve always been told that “people” food isn’t good for my pets…now I really, really believe it’s was so I would continue to feed them pet food. Can’t trust ANYONE in the pet food industry.

    5. Dayle Hudson

      You coul just say the last pFt without the rude crap

  2. Karen Mitchell

    Then the sooner we put these processed commercial pet food companies out of business!

  3. Nina Wolf

    If the hair has been in there without being “added”, then it follows logically that the other yummies are also in the rendered meat without being added. It is important that the consumer understand the definition and that the presence of these items is legal and ubiquitous. The FDA does NOT provide the protections the consumer assumes it does.

    So…I urge everyone to become a “food evangelist”. Post this everywhere, take every opportunity to tell friends and co-workers who have dogs and cats about this. Make it part of your belief system, take it to extremes. The media is not going to cover this until a huge story breaks that they cannot ignore. The marketplace is not going to take care of this unless people know and understand. It is up to us all to educate, educate, educate.

    And by the way – if you have a local pet store who refuses to sell foods containing such ingredients, support them in any way you can. Small businesses ARE fighting for quality, “edible” animal nutrition – but it is almost impossible to keep the doors open without loyal support. The money from being in the business is usually made from selling the big, well-known brands with high margins…if a shop refuses to do that, it takes small miracles every day to keep the lights on and the rent paid.

    So go spread this information, folks. This is a grassroots issue, and we can’t rely on the FDA, AFFCO, or anyone else to clean up this industry.

    1. Regina

      Nina makes an excellent point about getting this information out to the “average” consumer.

      Spread this information everywhere.

      Sadly, I fear using words like “ubiquitous” would not be helpful with the average American who has no idea what “them big fancy words” mean. If they can’t even read an ingredient label, I doubt using any big words would get the message across.

      Folks here may understand, but we’ve got to make the message as simple and clear as possible for the uninformed masses.

  4. Cap Pellom

    I have also found these little sharp things in Blue Buffalo. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    1. Jeff

      Red someplace it’s bone fragments.

      1. Jeff

        ^^^^^Read someplace ^^^^ (sorry)….

    2. Sage

      A long time ago when I bought Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Cat food there were a LOT of little white hairs sticking out of the kibble. I assumed these were Cow hairs even though the food was labeled to contain poultry and fish NOT animal such as beef or pork. I’ve since read the hair was likely pork. Either way it did not belong there. At the same time I found both blue plastic bits and white plastic (not bone) bits and soft black stuff in Wilderness canned KITTEN Chicken which was disgusting. Buying ANY Blue Buffalo products was no longer an option. I was feeding BB to a few feral cats who fortunately are fine and eating much safer foods now.

  5. james gearhart

    I have had the great experience of raising 14 dogs in my life. About 6 years ago, the last of my canine buddies passed on. Also about that time, stray cats started to show up around the area. Well one thing leads to another & now I have taken in 6 feral kitties. (in 2007, I had 6 doge with me).
    I can’t be more grateful to Susan & all the other wonderful people ( is awesome too) who have opened my eyes to the abuses, greed and fabrications perpetrated by these pet food companies. And to the ignorance of the FDA. From this point forward, I will give my time, effort, and what little $ I can contribute to bringing this disgusting practice to light so people can revolt against these scumbags. Thank You Again Susan

  6. Peg

    What is that saying?
    A picture speaks a thousand words?
    Thank you Susan…….I am sending this everywhere and to everyone I can think of

    The other day I even sent some of Susan’s info to non pet owners. I was thrilled when they told me they sent it to friends and family.
    I think with all of Susan’s hard work…..we can do a great job of spreading this vital info ourselves.

    1. Laura

      I’d just like to point out that trichotillomania doesn’t necessarily mean the sufferer eats the hair; that’s called pica. I have had trichotillimania since childhood, and I have never eaten hair. I completely agree though that this ingredient is disgusting. I think we all can agree that this isn’t surprising either, but yet another item to add to the list of messed up things Big Pet Feed does or supports.

      1. Laura

        Oops, sorry, meant to reply to Mollie’s comment.

  7. Mollie Morrissette

    Susan, thank you for this. It makes me want to barf.

    When we were talking yesterday, you brought up an interesting point: I said, “as sickening as it is, hair is just protein,” but, you said “think about how irritating pig hair could be to the gastrointestinal tract. Which could possibly cause the animal to regurgitate the food and have other problems.”

    That stuck with me. I would like to throw this out there to our vet friends: What do you think? If the hair is stiff enough to make hairbrushes out of, what happens to hair when it’s eaten?

    The reason I ask is there is a disease called trichotillomania, where the individual pulls out their own hair and then eats it. Problems arise when surgeons discover hair balls in their stomach (sometimes quite large), which the stomach acids did not dissolve.

    I researched wet rendering and hair and it does not dissolve, so that explains its presence. But, it still doesn’t explain why pet food manufacturers think it’s OK to charge consumers for hair infested pet food.

    1. B Dawson

      Sometimes you just get those big “a-ha!” moments, don’t you. I was thinking the same thing Mollie – hair is just protein after all.

      I have heard that IBD is on the rise in dogs, often linked to over vaccination, but I wonder if there could be a connection with scratchy hair in food?

      How many animals might be *misdiagnosed* with IBD based on bowel inflammation and blood/mucus in the stools when actually its mechanical damage from scratchy food?

      In addition, for dogs diagnosed with IBD and knowing that many of the prescription IBD formulas are manufactured by Mars and Purina, how much might they be exacerbating the situation if these hairs are in those products as well?

      1. Sage

        CARAGEENAN can cause or contribute to IBD and other digestive problems.
        unfortunately it’s approved by the FDA and is in many WET PET foods and just as many HUMAN foods (ice cream, frozen yogurt – Menchies and Yogurt Land list it on their websites) and a LONG LIST here It was tested here REGARDING PET FOODS – read item #1 here This ingredient is very difficult to avoid.

      2. Peter

        We must examine the societal phenomena of why pet parents choose to put trust in pet food manufacturing businesses in which they have an adversarial relationship with.

        1. B Dawson

          I think much of the ‘continue to purchase a product even if you don’t trust the company’ is driven by convenience and hopelessness. The solution costs more (at least in the short term), takes more time and takes more effort – all things that are in short supply in the modern lifestyle. It takes a lot of research to determine who owns what on the store shelves. It can become exhausting.

          We are inundated with information, much of it negative and contradictory. One side cries foul, the opposing side shouts “anti-science”. The everyday consumer, lacking the expertise to decide whose argument is more valid, eventually throws up their hands and maintains the status quo. Change is hard. And having to do it constantly where pet food is concerned is even harder. The food you pick today may be changed at any moment, putting you back into research mode yet again. Sooner or later you decide it’s all pointless and just keep doing the same thing.

          You would think that a rational person would question the quality of any food that costs 90¢/pound and features technicolor bits no matter who manufactures it. But our society has lost much of the knowledge of basic nutrition.

          Consumers ARE worried – just read some of the desperate posts here from folks asking “what’s a good food?”, “what do I feed my pet?”. They want the 15 second sound byte because they are unable to wade through all the marketing and social media hype that’s out there. Default mode now is “someone ought to do something” so that I don’t have to spend time on it.

          Regulatory agencies are supposed to be those “someones”. The agents in the field often see the problem but are stymied by higher ups who yield to political pressure in order to keep their jobs or, dare I say it, line their own pockets with graft.

          If consumers would find a small local pet supply with a select number of brands on the shelf much of this worry could be alleviated. As another post pointed out, refusing to carry the cheap easy to sell foods takes a significant commitment from the shop owner. These are the people who can help you cut through the clutter and find a food that works for your pet’s health as well as your budget. These business owners are in it because they CARE about you and your pet. They spend hours doing research so you won’t have to. Even if you have to drive an hour once a month to buy pet food, isn’t that worth it?

          Our society is awash in information and desperately short on commonsense.

          1. Dianne

            So well written and very true.

          2. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

            Hey Sage, I am wondering if these plastic bits you saw in the food are the undigested plastic that is being fed to the animals raised for slaughter from the expired rotting food that the supermarkets are then selling to the rendering Co’s! The same plastic Susan mentioned in a previous post, from the yogurt, sour creme, Margarine etc containers that inevitably get ground up along with these rendered foods & injested by the animals & make their way into the food products that then get sold to the public. Somehow the FDA thinks phthalates from plastics are safe for injestion! Meanwhile, they damn well know phthalates are endocrine disruptions & are cancer causing. It is just despicable the crap that Corporations can get away with! all in the name of the almighty dollar!!! “the bottom line”.

          3. Sage

            Hi again to Cheryl
            I agree that the plastic may be coming from packaging although it seems to only be in blue or white which I’ve read quite a few times from others who have seen it too. I suspect you are right about plastic food containers (and their contents) getting ground into cattle Feed but I also suspect food containers or some other source of (blue and white?) plastic is getting directly ground up for use directly in Pet Food. Definitely not a safe ingredient.

  8. Laura

    Wasn’t the meat and bone meal ingredient proven to likely contain euthanized animals or something?

  9. Kathryn

    “except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.” The issue here is ‘GOOD PROCESSING PRACTICES” — a dog eating a ‘natural prey’ diet will ingest some hair – naturally! it will not ingest the entire hide. My dogs love rabbit ears, and feet/lower legs; and yes they have HAIR’ on them; they also occasionally get a real dove or quail – and may ingest SOME feathers — but good ‘PROCESSING’ practices, even by the dog itself will leave the majority of hide/skin/feathers. The bag of PURINA Puppychow I purchased in the 60’s had WAY WAY too much hair for even reasonable processing practices.

    1. Karen Mitchell

      There is a significant difference between a natural hair and one that has been processed. There is NO such thing as “GOOD PROCESSING”!

  10. Gina Caracci

    My boy eats Taste of the Wild and its salmon…I swear I see hair in it too… I always blew it off as his or my cats hair got in the container that holds the food…This time I kept the food in the bag that sits in the container to help deter ants and Im still seeing little hairs…wth??

  11. sharon

    My vet used to fuss with me about cooking for my dogs and using the same foods that I would use for myself. Now she applauds me for doing it. She says she sees way too much fatty livers when she is doing surgery. YET, she still stocks these foods in her hospital.

  12. kitkat

    I’ve been noticing this in Natural Balance Cat food for years. I’m not convinced that it’s hair. Feathers, maybe. Can such a tiny amount be DNA tested?

  13. Sarah Melcher

    I would guess they are hanging their hat on this part: “except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.” Maybe they need to define “good processing practices”. If that is the same as their treatment of animals, I cannot bear the thought of what BAD is.

  14. carma g

    After I saw this on the news I found one in Puppy Kibble from Science Diet and that was on 08/18/2015. It was sticking right out of the small kibble. It was the small breed formula. And this is a new dog I have. The one I used to feed was Royal canine and it was for small breed and It looked like a piece or wire. I sent them a sample and again it was possibly a piece of the chicken. Again with that dog I switched to Nutro Ultra for adult and then senior and it was in there too. Don’t know what else we can feed our pet family members other than to make our own. Any suggestions? I hated to see this one in Science Diet already. Those 3 companies I mentioned are to be better than Pedigree etc.

    1. Debi Cohen

      Maybe Orijen, I know it is from Canada, but at least it doesn’t look as if it has hairs coming out of the kibbles, I feed the Tundra dry, very hard to find, not sold online only at one Petstore in Tucson, it is expensive, but seems okay.

      1. carma g

        Hmmmm I’m up in Phoenix I will have to learn more about that food. Thanks!

  15. Dianne

    So, I am guessing that including hair increases the protein content. Who cares if it isn’t digestible. We do, manufacturers don’t.

  16. Debi Cohen

    Hope it is” hair for the dog and cat” and not “hair of the dog and cat”.

  17. Sage

    Hi Carma g

    Check out ORIJEN Dry for your dog. It is one of the BEST dry foods. This company is from Canada but they have a NEW factory in Kentucky and will be sourcing natural ingredients from local US farmers. Click on images of the various formulas here to read the outstanding ingredients. NO comparison to big pet food chain store, grocery store or big box brands. ORIJEN is only sold at smaller pet food specialty stores around the country and on line. You can look for a LOCAL retailer here OR a good Web source is CHEWY which I believe has free shipping –

    ORIJEN is expensive but well worth it – healthier dog from a SAFE high quality food and fewer Vet bills! I believe this is on Susan’s recommended list and many readers here also feed it.

    1. carma

      Anybody have any thoughts about the “wellness” brand of dog food? It’s easier to get than the Orijin and a bit less expensive but the ingredients seem to be good in it after reading it….. let me know!

      1. Regina

        I personally won’t use Wellness brand because I prefer to use food that comes from a company that all they do is pet food. Foods that are still being made by people who got into making pet foods for the love of their pets and concern for their health and well being, once they “sell out” I won’t give them any more of my money.

  18. Terri Janson

    but….hair is not attracted by a magnet as Caroline Snyder has stated in her above post. Metal wires are harmful. I’m way more conerned about that than the hair in these foods.

  19. Janine

    I used to see tiny hairs in the Iams dry cat food that I purchased for my cat back in the 90’s so it’s been happening for a long time.

  20. Dayle Hudson

    I have a problem with a certain store overstocking because they don’t want any empty slots.I have ….. ..ataken back two bags of dry cat food with ants. Store across the street doesn’t order until last one is gone. They get deliveries twice a week so no biggy. I have never had ants from that store. They don’t overstock

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