The reason you’re reading this is that you have some interest in the small animal world, whether it pertains to chinchillas, guinea pigs, mice, rats, rabbits, gerbils or hamsters. In this article, you will learn about the nutrition, housing, and health concerns your small pet will need/have. Most small animals share the same nutrition and housing needs, but there are some variations as well.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds of pet food have been recalled for contamination with aflatoxin. Such recalls have been responsible for hundreds, and maybe thousands of pet deaths – and you may be wondering why such recalls keep happening. The truth is that recalls for contaminants like aflatoxin contamination are preventable. When pets become ill or die it is very frustrating for pet parents and anyone in the pet industry. Illness from aflatoxin is called aflatoxicosis. It can be hard to diagnose since signs associated
Many pet owners, retailers and veterinarians believe that ‘voluntary’ pet food recalls show that pet food companies have caught problems as a result of quality and safety checks. However, this is mostly false. In fact, some of the largest and most dangerous pet food recalls were not caught by the pet food manufacturer – and instead a regulatory authority. So why are these recalls labeled as ‘voluntary?
Recently a recall of SportMix dog and cat foods due to ‘potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin’ was announced by the FDA & Midwestern Pet Foods. SportMix is manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods who also makes well-known brands Earthborn, ProPac, Venture, Wholesomes, CanineX and most recently their ancient grain food Unrefined. The first FDA update indicated 28 dogs reported dead, and at least 8 more ill, with 70+ ill and 80+ dead as of the second announcement. It’s likely the FDA announcements will
Pet owners, veterinarians and retailers often rely on the guaranteed analysis (GA) of pet foods to help determine if the food provides adequate nutrition and to assess quality. Is this a good way to evaluate foods? The GA provides percentages – but does it tell us anything about the grams of protein, fat or other amount of other nutrients like calcium?
A ‘consumer advocate’ recently stirred up drama from July 2017 re-circulating an article (figure 1) claiming that Earth Animal No-Hide® treats were rawhide, again. This was on the heels of the announcement of a class-action lawsuit (figure 2) against Earth Animal Ventures (EAV) questioning the ingredients and sourcing of No-Hide® products. I didn’t think I would have to address this issue
You’ve likely been told to focus on the top 5 ingredients and the percentage of protein or fat when it comes to picking out food for your pet. While these may appear to be important, they aren’t the ideal way to pick out food. None of these factors consider what happens to ingredients when they are processed and enter a dog or cat’s body. Believe it or not, these factors can make the ‘best looking’ and most expensive pet food
The benefit and necessity of grain-free pet food have come under scrutiny in recent years due to an FDA investigation due to a potential association with a canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). As a result of this potential association, many have been told there is no scientific evidence to support the use of grain-free foods in canines and felines, or that these foods do not provide any benefit over grain-inclusive foods. For the most part, grain-free refers
Recent reports discussing the potential relationship between grain-free pet foods and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) have given pet owners and veterinarians alike a cause for concern. Pet owners and the veterinary community have been led to believe that some pet foods – particularly grain-free pet foods – are causing heart disease in dogs. However, the data buried within the FDA report tells a different story
The way consumers purchase their pet food has changed dramatically over the last few years, and particularly over the last few months in the wake of COVID-19. The majority of this change has been driven by the consumer’s need for convenience. Prior to the big box retail boom and online stores, most people purchased their pet food from small local pet food stores and farm supply stores. These small family businesses generally provided quality products for an affordable price. These
In June of 2018, Lisa Freeman, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist from Tufts University published a blog titled “A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients.” This blog warned pet owners and veterinarians that ‘BEG’ (boutique, exotic, grain free) diets were causing heart disease in dogs. This left professionals and the public scrambling for more information, which was further fueled by media frenzy. As a result, the FDA launched an investigation which was complicated
In 2018 a blog from a veterinary nutritionist sparked a controversy between ‘BEG’ diets and heart disease in dogs. For the past two years, despite an FDA investigation, scarce and vague scientific data has created major issues for pet owners and the pet industry. For clarity, ‘BEG’ diets are known as Boutique, Exotic protein or Grain Free. A recent article published in the Journal of Animal Science titled, “Review of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in the wake of diet-associated concerns” that appeared
Transparency rarely exists in the pet industry. Despite what marketing tells us. So how do we fix it? There are a lot of products and companies that make health claims and clean sourcing which aim to provide a certain level of comfort to the consumer. However, most companies are not willing or able to prove it. Simple email requests for documentation of processes and testing from me, as a retailer, often go unanswered. The lack of response is sometimes from companies
Every day there is more information made available to educate owners on various diets available. However, determining fact from fiction can be a challenge. Commonly discussed and debated topics include grain-free foods and the age-old practice of giving your pets “table food”. Should we feed human food to our pets? The short answer is it depends. Some of these foods can be very beneficial and some could have unintended consequences. Do you have a dog that begs for and loves eating
Many pet owners are facing shrinking budgets due to job losses, layoffs, and minimal hours. A lot of raw and canned petfood feeding households are making the switch to kibble or supplementing with kibble. For many avid raw feeders, this is a tough thing to consider. However, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are some things to consider: Look for a lower carbohydrate kibble. To calculate the percentage of carbohydrates, add together the percentage of protein, fat, moisture, fiber, and
The current economic situation is a grave concern for most of us: job loss, small businesses closing, and plunging investments. Many people have stocked up on essentials for themselves and likely for their pets as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. We know the shelf life of most human products, and that we can extend the shelf life of certain things by freezing – but what about pet food? According to industry data sources, pet owners have significantly stocked up on
Varying your dog’s diet - also known as “rotational feeding” - not only keeps your pet from becoming bored with his food but also may have significant health benefits. Believe it or not, many processed foods like kibble or canned foods may not actually be 100% complete and balanced - even if the packaging says it is. The truth is that many companies don’t complete 3rd party analysis on their finished products to ensure proper nutrient levels. Therefore, feeding the same