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happycats April 27th, 2009 01:38 PM

Interesting article in the Metro news today
 
[url]http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/Work/article/219265[/url]

[B]Pet food: A fickle beast, but worth looking into

JON TATTRIE
METRO CANADA
April 27, 2009 5:08 a.m.

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Meg Smart once made her own dog food. Consisting of old leather boots, wood chips and motor oil, the professor of small animal nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan didn’t feed it to her pets, but she could have.

Canadians standards for pet food are slack enough that the boots’ nitrogen, wood chips’ fibre and carbohydrates and motor oils’ fat are legally suitable for pet food. Smart, who co-wrote Not Fit For a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food, is quick to point out most brands of pet food don’t rely on boots and motor oil, but her concern as that a lack of regulation means owners don’t know where the ingredients come from.

“It’s not so much the standard of the food, but that … you can source one lot of dog food (from) 20 different sources of ingredients. The quality control is hard to control,” she explains.

Smart is also concerned that owners are getting hoodwinked by big companies. “When they talk about premium and super-premium, there’s very little difference between the ingredients. They might have added a few herbs,” she says. “People shouldn’t be conned into feeling they need to buy the ‘holistic’ or ‘super premium’ for their pets. The other dog foods will probably do just as well.”

She studied veterinary prescription diets during a year sabbatical and found very little science to support their claims. One company’s specialized “kitten diets” sold via vets is identical to the company’s over-the-counter diets.

“The veterinary profession, probably unwittingly, has gone into bed with the industry,” the professor says, noting the pet food industry supports symposiums, education and research at the colleges. “It’s, ‘You scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back, too.’

“The industry says you can’t feed a homemade diet to your pets, that they’re not balanced and complete. We dispel the myth about ‘balanced and complete.’”

Smart has three dogs and four cats and buys food locally. “I know where they source their ingredients from,” she explains. She tries to buy food with ingredients sourced within 100 miles, which can be tricky in the Prairies. The idea is to maintain confidence in the food, a lesson bitterly learned by many pet owners in 2007, when contaminated Menu Food products killed a number of animals.

“I would buy nothing but Canadian-made products,” Smart says.


More about : Paws and Claws [/B]

Love4himies April 27th, 2009 02:24 PM

Great article, thanks for sharing :thumbs up

sugarcatmom April 27th, 2009 02:35 PM

[QUOTE=happycats;773578] Smart, who co-wrote [B]Not Fit For a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food[/B],[/QUOTE]

I totally recommend reading this book (and wish all vets had to read it as part of their ongoing education). Very eye-opening. It's actually written by 3 vets: along with Smart, there's Dr. Michael Fox and Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins.

rainbow April 27th, 2009 02:53 PM

Since she is a professor of animal nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan why do they still bring in reps from Medi-Cal and Hill's to convince the students to promote their products when they become veterinarians? :confused:

sugarcatmom April 27th, 2009 03:00 PM

[QUOTE=rainbow;773624]Since she is a professor of animal nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan why do they still bring in reps from Medi-Cal and Hill's to convince the students to promote their products when they become veterinarians? :confused:[/QUOTE]

I don't think it's up to her. These companies give universities big grants and in exchange, they get to pimp their wares. Kinda like having Coke sponsoring the highschool football team - Coke pays for the team's uniforms and gear, and then get to plaster their logo all over everything.

Chris21711 April 27th, 2009 03:01 PM

[QUOTE=rainbow;773624]Since she is a professor of animal nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan why do they still bring in reps from Medi-Cal and Hill's to convince the students to promote their products when they become veterinarians? :confused:[/QUOTE]

$$$$$$$$$$$ Rainbow, the big companies give money to the Universities, it is a common practice :frustrated:

rainbow April 27th, 2009 03:14 PM

I know what you're saying about the big buck donations. But her students must know her feelings about the pet food so you would think that most of them, when they become vets, would understand that we don't want the stuff pushed on us either.

Chris21711 April 28th, 2009 10:40 AM

A couple of years ago Ethel was doing a college course on animal welfare and part of it included nutrition, the course instructor was promoting the usual foods available at the Vet's. Ethel asked her on the QT, what she fed her dogs............."Merrick" :rolleyes:.....so go figure :frustrated:

ProfessorMES May 13th, 2009 09:09 AM

What the vet students are taught about nutrition
 
Each major pet food company has student representatives at most veterinary colleges in North America and the company representatives come on a regular basis to give the students information about their products. I have no control over this, nor should I. My responsibility is to give the students the knowledge and tools to be critical of the industry and to make informed decisions about the validity of the information provided to them.

sugarcatmom May 13th, 2009 11:06 AM

[QUOTE=ProfessorMES;779340]My responsibility is to give the students the knowledge and tools to be critical of the industry and to make informed decisions about the validity of the information provided to them.[/QUOTE]

:thumbs up

Welcome to pets.ca, Dr. Smart!

rainbow May 13th, 2009 01:44 PM

I welcome you as well, Dr. Smart. :highfive:

I hope you can find the time to participate here on a regular basis. :fingerscr

And, we would love to see pics of all your fuzzbutts. :goodvibes:

ProfessorMES May 13th, 2009 02:10 PM

Yes I will participate
 
I would like to share with your readers my experiences in the world pet of foods and my philosophies on teaching.

Mat&Murph May 13th, 2009 02:26 PM

Hey and Welcome Dr Smart> I am curious to learn better ways for my boys. Important for a healthy lifestyle for them,. We would love to see pics of your furries here

rainbow May 13th, 2009 02:41 PM

[QUOTE=ProfessorMES;779340]Each major pet food company has student representatives at most veterinary colleges in North America and the company representatives come on a regular basis to give the students information about their products. I have no control over this, nor should I. My responsibility is to give the students the knowledge and tools to be critical of the industry and to make informed decisions about the validity of the information provided to them.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=ProfessorMES;779479]I would like to share with your readers my experiences in the world pet of foods and my philosophies on teaching.[/QUOTE]


I am very happy to hear that you will share your wealth of knowledge with us. :thumbs up

I do have a couple of questions for you ....

1. Is it only Medi-cal, Hill's, Purina and Iams that come to the vet schools?

2. Are invitations sent out to any of the smaller companies that manufacture the grain free foods?

ProfessorMES May 14th, 2009 06:30 AM

alternative nutrition and othjer companies
 
Yes only the big four companies come to the colleges. I invite manufacturers of alternative diets or supporters (users of) primarily raw diets to come to speak to my elective students. The students appreciate the opportuntiy to discuss alternative nutrition.

rainbow May 14th, 2009 02:12 PM

Do the manufacturers (of the alternative diets) accept your invitations and are they from Canada?

If so, do they offer the big incentives that the top four companies do?

Love4himies May 14th, 2009 02:32 PM

Welcome, ProfessorMES.


I regularly foster kittens for my local humane society and most of them are drop offs of about 5-6 weeks old. I feed them a raw diet and have noticed that they consitantly have a much better physique and muscle mass than kittens fed manufactured cat food (have had vets comment on their wonderful physique). Have there been any studies on the benefits of raw over even what is considered quality cat food?

sugarcatmom May 14th, 2009 03:20 PM

[QUOTE=Love4himies;779919]Have there been any studies on the benefits of raw over even what is considered quality cat food?[/QUOTE]

Not Dr. Smart, but I can say the answer to that would be a resounding no. Almost all pet food research is sponsored by the pet food companies themselves, and they don't exactly want to prove that their own products aren't as optimal as they'd like us to believe. Having said that, there is currently a study being funded through the Winn Feline Foundation regarding whether commercial raw and homemade raw diets provide any health benefits to cats: [url]http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/Pages/WinnGrants2009p2.html[/url]

I'd love to know the parameters of the study and still have my doubts about the validity of it.

ProfessorMES May 14th, 2009 03:28 PM

Raw pet food manufactureres and kitten diets
 
I am very fortunate to have several raw pet food manufacturers within the Saskatoon area. I will not accept raw diets from just any manufacturer unless they met the requirements I have set for all pet foods such as honest advertising with no embelishments, a reliable, justifiable, and safe source of ingredients, a sound knowledge of nutrition and metabolism as it relates to dogs and cats, ongoing nutrient analysis done at an independent certified analytical laboratory, and meets the range of nutrient requirements I have set out and an appropriate manufacturing facility. None of the companies I am involved with offer incentives to the students.

Kittens and cats should never be fed more than 3% carbohydrates and all protein and fat sources must be animal based whether raw or cooked. The nutrient requirments should approximate that of their natural prey. Plant based proteins supplemented with the limitng amino acids are not metabolically appropriate. Some research does exist to support these statements. The chapter on research in our book outlines the problems confronted when doing nutritional research.

chico2 May 14th, 2009 04:37 PM

Wow,this is interesting,WELCOME Dr Smart:thumbs up

Love4himies May 14th, 2009 05:28 PM

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I actually make my own as I find commercial is expensive and sometimes freezer burnt.

I base my homemade raw on this formula, except no egg whites, only yolks:

[url]http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood.htm#The_Ingredients[/url]

I would also like to let you know that I changed my senior cat's food from kibble (PC Nutrition First) to a quality canned/raw diet and her fur went from horribly greasy, thinning and loosing muscle mass. At 12 years old after about 6 months on her new diet, her fur is beautiful and she developed muscle. This tells me that although cat food may be "nutritionally complete", they may not be allowing a cat to thrive. Very sad as consumers put their faith in the companies that make them.

Dovaleh May 28th, 2009 12:14 PM

Great article! Thanks for sharing!


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