Dog Food Safety:
The Shocking Truth About
What's in Your Dog's Food

Dog food safety is a very serious subject. In fact, it is a matter of life and death. This was made evident in 2007 when pet food tainted with the chemical melamine, which is used to make plastics and fertilizers, sickened or killed tens of thousands of cats and dogs nationwide. The melamine was found in the ingredient “wheat gluten”, which originated from China.

puppy standing next to dog food bowl

This horrific incident – which left thousands of grieving pet guardians stunned and angered – was the result of pure greed and a callous disregard for dog food safety and the lives of our beloved dogs and cats. By lacing the pet food with this cheap (and deadly) additive, the involved parties were attempting to make the wheat gluten appear to be higher in protein that it really was.

Unfortunately, this is not the only example where well-meaning dog parents think they are giving their dogs "well-balanced" foods, when they are really giving them highly processed, unhealthy, and sometimes dangerous, "non-foods".

If you are purchasing processed, mass-market, commercially prepared food for your dog (even the so-called “premium” brands), you need to do careful research about dog food safety. What you discover may shock (and disgust) you.

Some Shocking Facts About Dog Food Safety

What are "By-Products"?
In February 1990, San Francisco Chronicle staff writer John Eckhouse wrote an expose of the pet food industry entitled, "How Dogs and Cats Get Recycled into Pet Food." Eckhouse wrote: "Each year, millions of dead American dogs and cats are processed along with billions of pounds of other animal materials by companies known as renderers. The finished product... tallow and meat meal... serve as raw materials for thousands of items that include cosmetics and pet food."

If your pet food uses “by-products” or does not precisely detail the type of meat used, then your pet’s protein source could be coming from euthanized dogs and cats!

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So, what does the US Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) have to say about this disgusting practice? "CVM has not acted to specifically prohibit the rendering of pets. However, that is not to say that the practice of using this material in pet food is condoned by the CVM."

What are some other “ingredients” that make up “by-products”? They can include internal parts of animals such as necks, heads, undeveloped eggs, feet, intestines, lungs, spleen and liver.

The Horrible "4 Ds" of the Pet Food Industry
Another unconscionable practice of the commercial pet food industry is its use of what’s known as the “4 Ds”: dead, dying, diseased or decayed animals and animal parts in our pet’s food. These, along with road kill, contaminated material from slaughterhouses, faecal mattered, poultry feathers and the rendered cats and dogs can comprise what the pet food industry deems as “animal protein”.

This is certainly not my idea of proper canine nutrition or dog food safety, and I'm sure it isn't yours, either!

For a shocking revelation about dog food safety and the practices of the pet food industry, read Ann N. Martin’s book Foods Pets Die For: Shocking Facts about Pet Food. The book’s third edition was released on July 23, 2008.

Product Description

The commercial pet food industry has a secret to hide — and Ann Martin wants to make sure you know it. Her research reveals some startling facts: that the pet food industry conducts animal testing in order to improve their product, and includes euthanized cats and dogs in the mix to heighten protein content. In this revised and updated edition, Martin continues to explore the shocking processes by which commercial pet foods are produced. She offers alternative recipes for feeding pets, nutritional advice, and an exploration of "Pet Peeves," in which she explores several scams aimed at pet owners. This groundbreaking book gives us a glimpse into exactly what we are doing when we buy pet food.

Protein: Not all Sources are Created Equal
In addition to these unsavory practices, the commercial pet food industry also uses poor protein sources such as soybean meal, wheat, corn glutens, corn meal, whole corn, crushed corn and ground corn. Moreover, the grains in pet foods have been found to contain mycotoxins, which are potentially deadly fungal toxins found in moldy grains. This should be no surprise, since the pet food industry can take grains that are too moldy for human consumption and put them in our pet’s food! Again, where is the regard for dog food safety in these practices?

Other Unsavory Additions to Your Pet's Food
Commercially processed pet foods may also contain such unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients as artificial colorants, pesticides, fillers, chemicals and preservatives such as BHA and BHT, which are suspected of causing cancer.

dog food safety dog with pear


Please take control of your dog’s canine nutrition and do your research so that you find fresh, high-quality, nutritious foods for your dog. One such option is a raw food diet. If you would like to find out if a raw food diet is right for your pet, please read the article I wrote for Natural Dog magazine on the

raw diet for dogs.

And, to explore some raw frozen diets, check out our section on raw frozen dog food.

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Click here to search the FDA’s pet food recall resource.

Quick Links:
Raw Diet for Dogs
Raw Frozen Dog Food

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Do you want a vibrantly healthy, happy pet? Do you want to save unnecessary money on veterinary bills and foods that are creating chronic illness?

Then hop on over to my new pet nutrition web site and blog, Pet Food Diva!

This site is the result of more than three years researching and writing about pet nutrition and is based on the new science of nutrigenomics, which is how foods communicate with cells to create optimum health or chronic disease.

Each week, we'll have new articles, videos or interviews on a fascinating new pet food topic based on the principles of nutrigenomics.

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It's all waiting for you over at PET FOOD DIVA!