Earth Animal has published two rebuttals – so to speak – of the post on TruthaboutPetFood.com titled Is No-Hide Dog Chews Actually Hide? While Earth Animal claims the research published on this website was/is flawed, there are some significant flaws in their research that should be addressed as well.
Starting with Dr. Timothy Bowser’s digestibility study that Earth Animal published to validate the digestibility of their No-Hide chews. Click Here to read Dr. Bowser’s study of the No-Hide treats.
Of significance, Dr. Bowser just happens to own a patent for a process to make animal chews more digestible – a process that appears to be identical to the process used to make Earth Animal No-Hide. Patent no. US20110142993 A1, “Method for Making Pet and Animal Comestibles“. The patent claims (bold added):
A method for making ingredients for pet or animal chew products in a batch or continuous process, comprising:preparing said base by cleaning and separating out said filth and unwanted portions;saturating digestive enzymes into said base;forming said base into product shapes; andprocessing said product shapes to shelf-stable products that contain said enzymes, whereby said enzymes can aid in digestion of pieces or chunks of said products when consumed.
In one working example, rawhide base is layered, cut and wrapped by hand or mechanically pressed into forms.
In another working example, protein base is mixed with rice gluten and other ingredients to form a liquid base matrix that is molded into shapes.
In the second “working example” above – “protein base is mixed with rice gluten and other ingredients to form a liquid base matrix that is molded into shapes” – – this example is almost identical to the process described to make the Earth Animal No-Hide chew.
It would be a serious concern if Dr. Bowser – the Earth Animal ‘digestibility expert’ – is performing studies on a product he receives royalty on.
Next, let’s look at exactly how Dr. Bowser determines a No-Hide or rawhide is or is not digestible.
Q. What is the main risk of rawhide? A. A dog swallowing a large piece that can get logged in it’s throat or gut. So how did Dr. Bowser determine that No-Hide is digestible?
“Tests were conducted on 10 mm slices of the No-Hide from samples that were provided by the customer and as described in this report. The pieces were cut to simulate chunks that could potentially be swallowed by dogs.”
Ten millimeters is VERY small. As compared to an inches…
10 millimeters is less than 1/2 inch.
Would a 10 mm slice be a risk to any dog? Even the smallest Chihuahua? If tests were being done to truly “simulate chunks that could potentially be swallowed by dogs” – wouldn’t a larger piece – such as a 1 or 2 inch piece the size that an average size dog would swallow be a more appropriate test? Is a 10 mm slice the appropriate test for a digestibility claim for all dogs? Opinion: no, it’s not.
In Dr. Bowser’s patent – he verified the digestibility of rawhide prepared with “digestive enzymes” based on a 1 centimeter square piece. This gives you an example of how small that is. The brown square (cardboard) is 1 centimeter square – as compared to a dime.
It is concerning that digestibility studies of products dogs are known to swallow large pieces of are based on testing material smaller than a dime.
Earth Animal’s second rebuttal of the evidence provided on TruthaboutPetFood.com is analysis of manufacturing of the No-Hide treat, further DNA analysis of the treats, and formaldehyde analysis of the treats. This Earth Animal rebuttal was performed by Ryan M. Yamka, PhD, MS, MBA, FACN, PAS, Dipl. ACAS, Luna Science and Nutrition, LLC.
Dr. Yamka begins by questioning the validity of DNA results published on this website. “In the article, allegations were made that the majority of the No-Hide™ chew is made from rawhide, when it is not. Test samples, submitted by unknown individuals, to two labs showed the presence of beef DNA which was used to support their claim. There was a misinterpretation of that data in the article. Although beef was identified via DNA in both No-Hide™ chews, the DNA data is not quantitative (i.e. it does NOT measure the percentage of composition).”
Dr. Yamka is correct that the DNA analysis performed by Eurofins lab was not “quantitative” – BUT…Dr. Yamka neglects to mention that another DNA analysis of the No-Hide treat (purchased directly from retail) published on this website was performed by the exact same laboratory that Dr. Yamka used — Authen Technologies.
Our results – which the lab did not want us to publish the full document publicly (but allowed Dr. Yamka to) provided this analysis…(below is a replica graph taken from data provided by Authen Technologies results)…
The above was testing performed on “No Hide Salmon Chew” purchased directly from retail. Ingredients of the Salmon No-Hide chew per the Earth Animal website are: “Salmon, Vegetable Gelatin, Brown Rice Flour, Organic Eggs, Olive Oil, Banana, Bromelain (Pineapple).” There is NO beef (Bos taurus) ingredient. Dr. Yamka offers the explanation that our testing found beef when none was listed was due to “has multiple animal protein DNA likely because of protein migration” during manufacturing. However Dr. Yamka did not offer an explanation as to why/how our results of the Salmon No-Hide treat – which included no beef ingredient, purchased directly from retail – could test as majority beef under analysis – from the exact same lab. Majority beef in a no beef ingredient treat would be massive amounts of “protein migration”.
Next, Dr. Yamka scrutinizes PhD colleague Dr. Waldo Kallenberger who perform analysis for us on the No-Hide treat. Dr. Yamka states “If the investigator would have known that the product contained chicken (flesh) and gelatin (partially hydrolyzed collagen), I am sure he would have questioned his findings. Since this information was not provided to him or secondary scientific analysis was not performed, his findings become fatally flawed.”
Dr. Kallenberger DID know the ingredients of the product – he received a product directly from retail purchase with label included. Ingredients are listed on the product label.
Next we get into an area where two PhD scientists are experts in two very different things. Dr. Kallenberger provided this image in his analysis…
Note the top of the slide states “Flesh Side”. A PhD scientist familiar with skin/hide refers to the underside of the skin as the ‘Flesh Side’ – the ‘flesh side’ of the skin (hide). This is the common terminology within this realm of science. Dr. Yamka – clearly not informed in the science of animal skin/hide – mistakenly interpreted his PhD colleague stating the slide simply showed ‘flesh’ which Dr. Yamka explains would be typical of a product containing chicken flesh. But that is NOT was Dr. Kallenberger stated – he very clearly wrote “Flesh Side” – flesh side/underside of the skin (hide). Dr. Kallengerger PhD – expert in the science of skin/hide – further stated “the material is absolutely rawhide split material“.
To read the full rebuttal from Dr. Yamka, Click Here.
What consumers are left with is still a lot of unanswered questions about the No-Hide treat. Does Dr. Timothy Bowser have a financial interest (royalty) in No-Hide dog chews? Is a digestibility study appropriate for all dogs using material smaller than a dime? Why did quantitative analysis find a Salmon chew shipped directly from retail to the exact same lab used by Earth Animal that contained no beef ingredient to be majority beef?
We do know – with certainty – a few things…
- The treat is still under FDA investigation; FDA will give no comment until investigation is complete.
- As required by law – Earth Animal did NOT register the treat with Department of Agriculture in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. It is unknown if the company failed to register the treat in other states. A “Stop Sale” order has been issued in the state of Georgia due to the lack of registration. Georgia Department of Agriculture is in the process of their investigation of the treat.
- The treat removed from the throat of the dog that died in Georgia was a 4 inch chew – the chew swelled to 6 inches in length (as documented by the veterinarian that removed the treat from the dog’s throat and as documented by Earth Animal’s Dr. Timothy Bowser – patent owner – who later examined the treat).
- A dog in Texas remains very ill after swallowing a piece of No Hide chew. Texas Department of Agriculture began their investigation/meeting with the pet owner yesterday (8/31/17).
We all must wait for FDA and Department of Agriculture investigation – and for all of us on both sides of the fence on the No Hide treat – we will have to trust that FDA and other authorities will do a proper investigation and provide us with the full details soon.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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