**This conversation is in partnership with Purina. All opinions and conversations are my own. Though I was compensated for this project, I have been given creative freedom to form my own opinion.** #behindthebowl AD
5 Pet Food Industry Myths – BUSTED!
About a month ago I was lucky enough to walk the Purina Manufacturing Plant in Clinton, Iowa. Along the way I, and the panel of media from many publications, asked a lot of questions. Many of us were surprised to learn that things we believed about the pet food industry were false. Myths for all industries run rampant, especially in a world with social media. One person posts something, another agrees and it spreads like wildfire, often with no research behind it. Even I believes certain things that I have seen over the years. The truth is that we all want what is best for our beloved pets.
Now I know some people are going to read this and immediately think I am biased because I have worked with Purina for so long. But since my visit, I have done my own research to back up the answers I got there. If you have followed me at all over the years you know that my opinions can not be bought and that my pets are right up there with my kids in how much I value them. The point of this article is to show you what myths I believed and what the actual truths are.
MYTH – No One Regulates the Pet Food Industry
Myth: A story was told at the meeting I went to in Clinton from another writer who was there. He was in a pet store and overheard an employee telling a customer that pet food companies can do what ever they want because the industry is not regulated.
Truth: The pet food industry is not only regulated, but it is the second most regulated industry with only baby food ahead of it. Purina has USDA and other inspectors on-site to make sure that all regulations are met. However, Purina has shown over the years that they strive to produce consistent products that are above and beyond even basic requirements. When your product is in 75% of American homes, you have to be sure it is what you say it is.
Find out who regulates the industry in this informative article.
MYTH – By-products are Terrible for My Pets
Myth: By-products like the heart, lungs and other organs are bad for my pets.
Truth: Pets know what they need to maintain their nutritional levels. Let me explain.
My dog Joy is a killer. She likes to pluck a squirrel from a tree, dig a mole out of the ground and to proudly drop any kill at my feet. Some she just shows me and, once praise for her work has been heaped, she walks away. But others she devours. From inspection – which I don’t advise but can’t seem to avoid – I can see that she has gone for the organs first. I will find a carcass with the stomach area gone and even the head gone. The tail, bones, feet and other parts with no nutritional value are left behind.
So by-products, which some confuse for ‘fillers’, are the parts of the animal that your dog knows they need. They have the nutrients and the values that animals instinctively go for.
Learn more about animal by-products in this article.
MYTH – Pet Food Companies Use Fillers in Foods
Myth: Pet food companies don’t care what is in my dogs food and often ‘fill’ the food with things not good for my dog just to make it cheaper and faster.
Truth: According to many articles I have read on the internet, ‘fillers’ are ingredients that have absolutely no nutritional value at all for a pet. Things like bone, hair and teeth and other items that just ‘fill’ the food.
You may see fillers described as unhealthy ingredients in pet food that have little or no nutritional value, could have been replaced by higher quality alternatives, and aren’t biologically appropriate for your dog. – see this article for more detail
The truth is, though, that there is no benefit to the dog or to the pet food industry to include ‘fillers’ in any blend. That does not go for just Purina, but ALL dog food companies. In fact, it would be a waste of money and space to try to cram ‘fillers’ into dog food.
Now (and we will talk more about this below) a lot of people think that things like corn, wheat and soy are ‘fillers’. But the truth is that those things have nutritional value and science has told us that they benefit the animal. I believe that after my own research and no longer shy away from foods that contain them.
MYTH – Corn is the Worst Thing I Can Feed My Dog
Myth: Corn, wheat, soy and grain based foods are the worst thing I can feed my dogs. They can even cause cancer.
Truth: I don’t know where I read it or how I started to believe it but somewhere along the way I believed whole-heartedly that I had to feed grain-free foods because grains in dog food led to a higher risk of cancer. I admitted this myth to the panel and they were visibly taken aback. There is NO benefit to any company, much less a pet food company, to make a product that could kill your animal. Imagine the chaos!
Corn, and these other grains, actually have nutritional value and are not bad for dogs to ingest. In fact, they can help with the overall health of your animal! See this article from the American Kennel Club that answers a lot of questions.
Yes, you can find as many articles about how corn is bad versus how corn is good for animals. But the fact is that it has minerals and vitamins that can help your dog live a happy, healthy life!
On a side note: I met and talked with one of the suppliers to Purina, their seafood vendor, Keith Singleton of Alaskan Leader Seafoods, and was amazed at how detailed and intense becoming a vendor for Purina is. From multiple inspections to detailed quality standards, they worked closely for over a year just to provide the quality fish ingredients needed for foods and treats. Purina is tough with suppliers so they can provide exactly that they say they are. Alaskan Leader Seafoods was not chosen on price, but on quality alone because Purina wants to make sure that they are providing the best ingredients as claimed.
MYTH – There is no Valuable Research on Pet Foods
Myth: Pet food companies are all about the bottom line and don’t spend the money or time on real research. The food is all the same, they just put different labels on it.
Truth: Not only is there intensive research in the pet food industry, but it is often long, comprehensive and daunting. Only about 50% of the studies started at Purina actually lead to new products. Often led by the greatest pet-focused scientific minds in the industry – like Dr. Janet Jackson, the Vice President & Director of Research at Purina who leads scientists in the fields of nutrition, biochemistry, microbiology, and immunology – these scientists are often the first go-to when trying to improve the lives of our pets.
Purina leads the industry in comprehensive research that can be found easily online. Check out the landmark, 14 year study on the life span of canines and how nutrition affected their lives! It’s the First-Ever Study that Proves Diet Restriction Can Add Nearly Two More Years Of Healthy Life for Canines.
Another interesting study? The First-Ever Study that Proves Diet Restriction Can Add Nearly Two More Years Of Healthy Life for Canines – see it now!
I will get a lot of argument on this piece and I welcome it.
What Food Industry Myths have you had busted for you?