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July 2010 Barker


If you were at the June meeting, you may have noticed that the President was sporting a soft cast on her left wrist. The cause - a broken wrist - which makes typing a real trial. So in lieu of her healing, Beverly has submitted this article of interest:

Is There A Truth About Dog Food?

In the New York Times Science Section of June 1, Jane E. Brody wrote an article, "The Truth About Cat and Dog Food." It was an interesting three column thesis which in the long run told us nothing truly new about commercial dog food. She raises some interesting questions about whether people who invest in high-end pet foods really are getting their money worth, whether their pets are healthier and happier, whether they live longer and are these high-end foods any better than the generic versions sold in supermarkets and big-box stores.

Recognizing the high value most people in America place on domestic animals and distressed by recent recalls of contaminated pet foods two scientists decided to examine the pet food industry and the evidence for the values of its products and the claims made for them. The so-called premium pet foods cost three to four times more than supermarket brands and within the premium brands there is a wide price range too but all seem to list strikingly familiar ingredients meeting basic nutritional standards. Most important it is claimed to look for products labeled "complete and balanced" indicating that they meet the nutritional requirements listed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization, in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration, state officials, and the animal feed industry develops model regulations for pet foods, which are voluntary unless encoded in state laws.

"All pet foods are made from the byproducts of human food production," one of the scientists who report on this matter stated. "No matter what the package says, your dog is not getting whole chicken breasts, but what remains after the breasts have been removed for human food," she goes on to say. No agency requires proof of pet food health claims and according to Jane Brody while pet food companies say they do research, it is rarely done in a scientific fashion, with comparable control and experimental groups.

Many people according to this article pay good money for marketing gimmicks. It is said that if characteristics like natural, organic, holistic, or vegetarian are important to the pet owner it may be worth it for them to pay top dollars for pet foods that claim to provide the desired attribute, even if there is no official or enforced definition of the claim. Sort of like a pig in a poke is it? Why not establish an agency to really ensure what is said is really being done one must wonder.

More from The Barker
Minutes of the Last Meeting • B-OB Match
• Looking Back in Time • AKC Delegate's Report


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