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The Truth Pet Food vs Human Food

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  1. Christine

    Thanks so much for this! I do like that you provide FDA links to compliance policies as well

  2. Christine

    May we post your PDF (with credit given of course) in our blog?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      No problem Christine – you can share the pdf.

  3. Reader

    Such an excellent Infographic. Thank you! This Quick Reference Guide hits at the heart of the matter. Meaning, oversight & regulation for human food versus none for animal feed. The authorities just don’t care about the impact on our companion pets that are classified no better off than livestock.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Thank you!

  4. Marcus

    Does honest kitchen use the usda standard?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Honest Kitchen pet foods have obtained a ‘Letter of No Objection’ from the FDA proving each ingredient is human grade and proving the manufacturing meets human food standards.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      You are right – the FDA doesn’t do the best job. But part of the problem is unscrupulous food manufacturers. The difference with pet food – is we still have unscrupulous manufacturers, plus little regulation. The combination of the two is horrific to consider.

  5. Sharon Norris

    Finally, my vet is getting the picture. She recently told me that in the past few years instead of seeing spleens that need to be removed from dogs having issues–she is seeing fatty livers in more that 60% of them. That only means one thing—the liver is getting the poison from the food that the dogs are eating.
    Now she is applauding my efforts to cook for my dogs and cats and use freeze dried raw foods.

  6. Ellen

    All pet owners should read this. I would like to share this on my blog, with the appropriate credit, of course. Your diligence and dedication are much appreciated by pet owners everywhere!

  7. Kathy N-V


    I want to thank you for opening my eyes. I found your website and newsletter by chance while I was looking for food recommendations for our new rescue dog. Upon the recommendation of the rescue organization, we began to feed our little guy Blue Buffalo food, and he didn’t seem to be doing well. He got fat and had little energy. I switched to Bil-Jack, the food I used for my previous dog, which had worked so well for her. My poor dog seemed even worse. His coat looked dull, he had horrid breath and was constipated.

    I read your list of 2014’s list of food, and was shocked to see that none of the foods I had used was on there. After seeing the “food” that was put in pet food (and a picture is worth a thousand words!), I decided then and there that our little guy deserved food of the same quality we ourselves eat. He now gets organic chicken or beef, a grain, and three or more vegetables in each meal. I cook his food once a week, and it takes me less than half an hour and the cost is negligible. (He weighs about 20 lbs., a large dog would cost more.)

    When he saw the vet last week, she complimented him on his health and how good he looks, and asked me what I feed him. I told her and she said that not only was it “great for him,” it was better than the food she eats. When I made his weekly dinner last night, I looked at it and thought that it looked like food I would eat. That’s because it’s exactly what it is!

    Thank you Susan!

  8. Becky Brooks

    Are Wellness Pet Foods Human Grade?

    1. Reader

      As a consumer that would be a very good question to ask the manufacturer. Besides getting a verbal response (if you do) it’s also prudent to receive the same comment via email. Another way to be assured of which PF brands are human grade quality is through “The 2014 List”

      Also here is a link from a previous TAPF article discussing a claim of human grade and Wellness PF.

      1. Becky Brooks

        I already contacted them. I am waiting to hear back from them. This is so frustrating to not be able to just get labeling that is helpful. Frankly I would rather seem what is actually in the food rather than the minimum and maximum I do not see what would be wrong with making the labels look like human food and tell me exactly how many carbs/protein grams are in it. You have to read the really fine print to even get a calorie count and it’s not even on all foods.

        1. Reader

          In full agreement with your comment!

          Wellness Grain Free Core Original Kibble ingredients are: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, (followed by) Vitamins and probiotics … .

          The guaranteed analysis is not less than:
          Crude Protein 34% (Boneless Turkey & Meal, Chicken Meal)
          Crude Fat 16% (Chicken Fat)
          Crude Fiber 4% (Peas, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potatoes)
          Moisture 10%

          Total 64% guaranteed minimum (not maximum)

          Proportions 36%

          Additional ingredients listed include: Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver, Flaxseed, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries)

          On this food they do tell you how many calories per cup which is 421 kcal per cup. The recipe is mainly Turkey/Chicken Meats AND Peas/Potatoes (according to ingredients as ranked). No grain. Problem is, there’s a gap of 36% content that’s not specifically identified and certainly not in which proportions. That’s a pretty wide gap. The first 5 ingredients usually hold the most weight per recipe. There are 11 more (mainly vegetable) ingredients. Sooo, if the consumer doesn’t care whether those additional “energy” calories come from meat OR carbs, it doesn’t matter. Except that the reality (or possibility?) of the recipe does contradict the Wellness verbiage on their own website, which is:

          “Wellness® CORE® is based on the nutritional philosophy that pets, based on their primal ancestry, thrive on a diet mainly comprised of meat. Each formula is packed with a high concentration of quality animal protein, without fillers or grains, along with a proprietary blend of botanicals and nutritional supplements.” “ To create a protein-focused diet the Wellness Way, we carefully control the quality and quantity of the ingredients we use, … .” “ If you are looking for a food with more meat and no grains, CORE is truly a more thoughtful alternative. This diet delivers the meat content you’re looking for, … .”

          Potatoes can be a decent “binder” in a high protein diet. The whole food version works great for my dogs. It’s just that the perception this commercial food creates is one of high protein or possibily even higher protein than might be the case, simply because no MAXIMUM statements are required!

          Unfortunately that’s really the point of deceptive labeling. And worse brands than Wellness can certainly take advantage of the loophole.

          By the way an effective customer service department should be able to answer consumer questions live, not by having to leave messages.

  9. Ellie

    They also expect us to believe that we are too stupid to know how to feed our pets properlly. According to them only veterinarians can possibly figure out what is best for our pets to eat. Then we look at the ingredient list (which they tell us we also cannot understand) and we see waste products, corn, more and more grain and “meat by products” followed by a bunch of chemicals and then the ever present list of synthetic vitamins.

    I honestly find it overwhelming that Americans can look at these ingredient lists and still feed the stuff to their pets. People have become so trained to just accept whatever is put in front of them. Someone with some letters behind their name can convince people to do just about anything. Seems like people are in a trance, or at least filled with apathy, just accepting this kind of thing.

  10. Alex

    The one thing that people often miss when reading labels is the “splitting” of ingredients, especially the high protein vegetable sources like lentils, peas, chickpeas, “pea protein” and “potato protein”. Is there really any difference between red lentils, brown lentils and green lentils, or is it done to list ingredients individually to mask how much is really int he food??

    I have found only one food called Farmina N&D that lists the actual “as fed” animal protein in the GA on the bag. It ranges from 90% – 95% of the actual protein the dog eats.

    I am very happy with this food.

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