My elderly dog, Missy had bladder cancer, arthritis and was taking
drugs for chronic constipation. Her days were numbered so I radically
changed her diet from Hill’s Science Diet CD to a variety of home
prepared food mixtures. Mystery of mysteries: overnight the constipation
problem disappeared. I was stunned at Missy’s transformation
and curious to learn the details of pet food ingredients. It didn’t
take long to discover that MOST commercial pet foods are a nightmare
brew of unimaginable ingredients such as rubber stabilizer, rancid
restaurant grease, euthanized pets and indescribable animal tissues.It’s
a wonder dogs and cats are not succumbing to a mad-cow-like disease
known to develop out of cannibalization. “Animal feed containing
recycled animal tissue is the source of the infection that led
to the mad cow cattle epidemic in the United Kingdom.” The major
source of animal protein comes from 4 D animals – dead, diseased,
dying or disabled – that are processed in rendering plants after
being denatured with carbolic acid, creosote, fuel oil or kerosene.
More on this later.
BHA and BHT
The Animal Protection Institute (API) says nutritional factors
are known to play a role in causing and perpetuating diseases
such as: cancer, allergic skin, inflammatory bowel, food intolerance,
chronic ear infections, cystitis, bladder and kidney stones, heart
disease, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, hip dysplasia and diabetes.
Food labels speak for themselves. For example, Hill’s Science
Diet uses both BHA and BHT (preservatives) in most dry food with
an interesting exception being the Sensitive Stomach formula which
uses vitamins C & E as preservatives. Is Hill’s saying: animals
with stomach problems should not ingest BHA and BHT? I wonder
why? BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) is a preservative and antioxidant.
Safety data on BHA says: “possible human carcinogen; apparently
carcinogenic in animal experiments. May be harmful by ingestion
or inhalation. May act as a skin, eye or respiratory irritant.”
API says it is associated with stomach and urinary tract cancer.
BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is associated with esophageal cancer.
According to Cognitive Enhancement Research Institute, “BHT acts
as both a promoter and antipromoter of carcinogenesis…..When BHT
is administered after carcinogenic exposure, the incidence of
cancer is frequently increased.” Its effects are determined by
the type of cancer.
Ethoxyquin (EQ) is a rubber stabilizer-insecticide known as the
cheapest and most powerful (long lasting) preservative on the
market. A barrel of EQ directly from Monsanto production is labeled
with skull-and-crossbones with the word “poison” prominently displayed.
It is listed as a pesticide by the Department of Agriculture.
OSHA calls it a hazardous chemical rated 3 out of 6. “A compound
rated 6 is so potently toxic that 7 drops can cause death.” According
to API, EQ is associated with immune deficiency syndrome, leukemia,
blindness, DNA mutations, chromosomal aberrations and many forms
of cancer. API has a partial list of pet foods that contain
EQ: Hill’s Science Diet, Iams, Ralston One and 9 lives Friskies.
It’s listed in ingredients of cat food such as Whisker Lickens
and Whiskas. Jean Hofve, DVM, explains that EQ is not listed on
labels when it’s added to fish meal, a prominent ingredient in
most cat food. How come most veterinarians across America have
an array of Hill’s Science Diet on display in their offices?
Don Hamilton, DVM in Ocate, NM, says misinformation is the culprit.
In Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs he writes, “My
nutrition training in veterinary school was minimal, to say the
least, as it was for most of my contemporary colleagues. Table
foods, we heard, were an absolute invitation to disaster. Dry
food was considered the best choice for cats and dogs. Then we
were given literature – something like today’s infomercials –
on a couple of brands of food. Not surprisingly, these two companies
command the major share of the marketplace, largely due to recommendations
by veterinarians. I now believe much of the information to be
incorrect. Furthermore, I see this information as contributing
to the deterioration in the health of our companion animals that
we have witnessed in recent years.”
Rendering plants process decomposing animal carcasses into
a dry protein product. Ann Martin writes, “One small plant in
Quebec, Ontario renders 10 tons of dogs and cats per week.” Earth
Island Journal states: “Each year in the US, 286 rendering plants
quietly dispose of more that 12.5 million tons of dead animals,
fat and meat waste……Renderers are thankful that most people remain
blissfully unaware of their existence.”
Dr. Belfield was a veterinary meat inspector for the US department
of Agriculture. He writes in Earth Island Journal, “To prevent
condemned meat from being rerouted and used for human consumption,
government regulations require that meat is ‘denatured” before
removal from the slaughterhouse and shipment to rendering facilities.”
When you see ‘meat and bone meal’ on pet food labels it refers
to cooked and converted animals with a large % being euthanized
pets. Pets euthanized by veterinarians contain pentobarbital which
survives rendering without undergoing degradation. According to
Earth Island Journal “meat and bone meal from sources not fit
for human consumption has found its way into poultry feed……Remember
this when you are eating your next piece of chicken or turkey.”
Vegetable protein in dry food is primarily made of “sweepings
from milling room floors.” (Earth Island Journal; Summer ’96)
Literally garbage! In 1999, Dina Butcher, Agriculture Policy Advisor
for North Dakota, stated the grain that goes into pet food is
not high quality. Butcher was trying to calm fears that people
would die from mycotoxins in corn that killed over 25 dogs. Humans
don’t eat grains intended for the fur-baby market. Isn’t that
The dry-food production line sounds like an archetype of trans-fatty
acid production.Dead animals and other waste products are mixed
and cooked at high temperatures for hours before moving through
a high pressure/high heat device that puffs the material into
various kibbles, bits and nuggets. The final step involves spraying
restaurant grease, animal tissues and fat on the kibbles for palatability.
Imagine what’s in the restaurant grease. Rancid, heavily preserved
fats are extremely hard to digest and can produce a myriad of
10/03 Issue of Nexus Ann Martin spent 10 years
researching the pet food industry. Much of the information in
the Nexus article comes from Food Pets Die For. All caring
pet owners should give a look at the ingredients allowed by the
Department of Agriculture and Association of American Feed Control
Officials such as "dehydrated garbage, manure, swine waste,
ruminant waste, poultry waste and excreta from any animal except
humans." Martin writes in Protect Your Pet that California
operates more rendering plants than any state in USA. "Los
Angeles sends 200 tons of euthanized cats and dogs to West Coast
Rendering every month." Sodium Pentobarbital, drug used for
euthanising animals, is found at high levels, 32 parts per billion
in pet food samples. This is not allowed for human or animal food
yet the FDA/CVM has no plans to prohibit the presence of sodium
pentobarbital in pet food. Yet it's evident that animals killed
with sodium pentobarbital should be incinerated, not rendered
and fed back to pets. Martin writes: "Are we slowly killing
our pets each tme we feed them commercial pet foods?"
Another aspect of the pet food is experimentation conducted
by commercial companies such as Iams which ncludes the following:
The usual surgical horrows; pets confined to tiny cages for 6
years; removal of vocal cords so dogs couldn't bark. Other companies
involved in experimentation: Pedigree Pet Foods, Alpo Pet Foods,
Hill's Pet Nutrition.
a variety of fresh, unprocessed food. Variety is a major factor
in good nutrition and avoiding excesses and deficiencies occurring
when the same commercial brand is eaten for years. Quality table
scraps are preferred to commercial pet food. Use organic meat
when feeding it raw. Regular meat is known to contain hormones,
antibiotics, preservatives, pesticides and chemicals. It’s easy
to observe, smell, taste the difference between inorganic and
Recopies for balanced, home-prepared meals are available in a
number of books including Pitcairn’s Natural Health for Dogs
and Cats. Another approach is the B.A.R.F. (bones and raw
food) diet. It might be too rich for elderly and sick animals.
Read about it on the internet.
Quality commercial food uses human food-grade ingredients
without artificial preservatives and sodium nitrate (major carcinogen.)
Labels list ingredients in order of prominence. Meat should always
be first on the list in both canned and dry foods. Expiration
dates provide evidence for reading between the lines. Natural
preservatives support a shelf-life of less than a year. A long-term
expiration date indicates the use of preservatives. Look closely.
Fish-meal may be hiding EQ in a prominent position on the list
Cats and dogs have different dietary needs. Cats need
taurine, an amino acid found in raw animal tissue. Approximately
80% of taurine is lost through boiling. So make sure the cat gets
raw meat every week.
Least Do This Much
Avoid generic store brands. They use the poorest quality ingredients.
Mix table scraps and greens with commercial food. Add raw eggs
and raw organic meats several times a week. Cultured yogurt protects
the stomach and digestive system from antibiotics found in most
meat. Add a little to each meal. Avoid food with the fast-food
smell of rancid fat and oil. Cheap, unsavory dry food has an unforgivable
odor wafting from obviously oily bags. Always think variety.
Boycott a product made for indoor cats: clumping kitty litter.
It is a killer. The clumpers use sodium bentonite. When liquid
is added, the granules become hard, insoluble, cement-like and
swell to 15 times their original volume. What happens when cats
breathe the fine dust into their lungs? Does their gut become
blocked by ingesting small particles when cleaning themselves?
Have you tried cleaning it out when it’s packed between the toes?
The makers of easy-clumping litter admit to problems but say it
is a buyer-beware market. There are many fur-raising stories on
the internet under: kitty-litter problems.Be aware of what is
happening with your pet’s digestion. Chronic diarrhea, constipation
and bad breath indicate the need for dietary changes. Consult
helpful books such as those mentioned above and The Essential
Book for Dogs Over Five by Tamara Shearer. There’s a wealth
of info atDon Hamilton, DVM is available
by phone for residents of northern . New Mexico.
Missy is alive and well in New Mexico.
She’s amazingly well for a 14 year old girl with cancer. Exercise
is of major importance. We go for walks in the forest every day.
We walk when she doesn’t particularly care for exercise. It helps
to keep her bowels normal. She’s no longer the very swift runner
but her nose does a lot of traveling and she’s happy to be alive.
And of course I consider every day with her an incredible blessing.
How to Have a Healthier Dog by Belfield DVM and Zucker
The Very Healthy Cat Book by Dr. Belfield
The Dogs and Cats Get Recycled into Pet Food” John Eckhouse in
San Francisco Chronicle
“The Truth About Cats and Dogs” by Ann Martin in Summer ’96; Earth Island Journal
“Food not Fit for a Pet” by Wendell O. Belfield DVM
1989 - June 18, 2003
to list of articles