I started out researching information about healthy food for our animals. Then I noticed that some info might not be truthful. So I switched my focus to point out where you can find honest and accurate information about healthy food.
I switched topics because of a website I found. It looked like the best resource ever! The Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University sponsored it. The website, The Best Food for Your Pet is a visual joy. And the blog topics seemed on target for my research!
Then I saw the disclosure at the bottom of the web page, which I’ve copied below.
“Dr. *** has received research support from, given sponsored lectures for, or provided professional services to Aratana Therapeutics, Elanco, Hill’s Pet Nutrition Nestlé Purina PetCare, P&G Pet Care (now Mars), and Royal Canin. Dr. *** has done consulting for Lafeber and WellPet, given sponsored talks for Nestlé Purina PetCare and the Pet Food Institute; and provided professional services to Balance IT.com and Mark Morris Institute. Dr. *** has received speaker fees or research funding from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Nestlé Purina PetCare, and Royal Canin, and has provided professional services for Mark Morris Institute.” (my highlights)
I’m a bit skeptical when veterinarians sponsored by pet food companies give advice about pet food. It might be good advice, but it might also be biased.
“Who’s Fooling Who Tufts University?”
Sort of by accident or good fortune, I discovered a blog titled, Who’s Fooling Who Tufts University? Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food wrote this blog. It called out Tufts University for misleading pet guardians about the difference between Human Grade and Feed Grade pet food. Because there’s a big difference.
Healthy food – Feed Grade versus Human Grade
Most of what we feed our pets is covered under FDA pet feed regulations. These regulations differ from what’s allowed by U.S. Federal Food Safety Laws for people.
Feed Grade products
The following information is from the brochure, The Differences Between Pet Feed and Pet Food.
“In April of 2019, the FDA stated: ‘We do not believe that the use of diseased animals or animals that died otherwise than by slaughter to make animal food poses a safety concern and we intend to continue to exercise enforcement discretion.’” (My highlights.)
Just to be clear, “animals that died otherwise than by slaughter” can include euthanized animals. For instance, in 2016, a woman fed her five dogs canned dog food. They immediately got sick and one died. The necropsy (called an autopsy in humans) on the pup that died found phenobarbital, a drug used to euthanize animals.
Healthy Food – Human Grade
Some pet food manufacturers now offer “Human Grade” food. They follow the same guidelines as federal food safety laws for human food. Seems like a good idea to me.
How do I tell if it’s Human Grade?
Don’t just look at the cute animals on the pet food packaging to decide if the pet food is Human Grade. You have to look at the pet food label – look for the words “Human Grade” printed on the label.
Tufts University article minimizes the difference
In Who’s Fooling Who Tufts University?, Truth About Pet Food took issue with a Tufts University’s newsletter article. That’s because the article minimized the difference between Feed Grade and Human Grade food. Their reasoning was, animals are animals, right? Why spend more money buying Human Grade pet food?
Honestly, how can you say that eating diseased or euthanized animals is no worse for our animals than eating healthy animals?
I’m incorporating more Human Grade food for my cats and dogs.
And now for something completely different – This is Why Eating Healthy is Hard
This is a weighty subject so it’s time for a break.
Most of us try to keep up with eating healthy. Or think about it. This is one of my favorite videos on the subject.
Healthy food and eating animals – a tough subject for me
Confession time: It’s extremely hard for me, a vegetarian, to talk about eating animals. But so far, my animals have not chosen to be vegetarians. So my hope is that more pet food companies will choose not to use diseased or euthanized animals in their products.
Human Grade versus Feed Grade is only one aspect of healthy food for our animals. Read Terri Grow’s excellent advice on healthy food for our animals.