By May 2007, over 5,800 pet food products had been placed on the recall list! An estimated 39,000 pets were injured and 14,000 died.
Some safe dog foods were NOT recalled because they contained NO wheat gluten, NO rice gluten, and NO melamine.
DOGS are much more likely to die from aflatoxin poisoning than cats or humans.
Learn About

Safe Dog Food.
Learn About Dog Nutrition.

Safe Premium Quality Dog Foods Contain NO Corn, NO Wheat!

Learn to read the misleading Ingredient Lists and see what you DON'T want in your dog's food!

Dog Nutrition | Human Foods Deadly to Dogs | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

25 Dog Foods Compared on Cost and Nutrition

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.

When you learn what's in the recalled dog foods and many popular dog foods, you'll be shocked!

The quality cat and dog food products use only ingredients that provide the best nutrition.
They don't include useless "fillers" like peanut hulls or low-quality proteins like wheat gluten.
They don't put Corn or Corn Meal in dog food because dogs cannot digest corn!
They don't put Wheat or Corn in dog food because these are often the cause of Food Allergies, and these grains can be contaminated with deadly Aflatoxin.

All About the
Pet Food Recall
Symptoms of
Melamine Poisoning
Symptoms of
Aflatoxin Poisoning
Symptoms of
Lyme Disease in Dogs
Human Foods Which Are
Dangerous or
Deadly Dog Foods
Food Allergies
in Dogs
What's Wrong With
Wheat and Corn?
What's Wrong With
Soy Beans?

Do you know what most dog owners don't know - the answer to this simple question?

How many years should an average sized dog live?
Is it... 7 - or 17 - or 27 ?

Scroll down a little to see the answer.

Check the Ingredient List of your dog food (wet AND dry types) and treats, and if it lists "wheat gluten" or "rice gluten" or "rice concentrate" you should STOP FEEDING IT TO YOUR DOG NOW!
It may be on the latest recall list of dog foods poisoned with Melamine or Aflatoxin.

You need to know what items on the ingredient and nutrition labels of the dog food you buy are NOT good for your dog or puppy - such as corn, soy, wheat, gluten meal, animal byproducts, unspecified "meal", "digest", unhealthy colorings, and toxic artificial preservatives. Did you know that wheat and corn can cause allergies, skin problems, and diarrhea and vomiting in dogs and cats?

Did you know that a chemical preservative commonly used in American pet food to extend shelf life to 12-18 months is listed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture as a "pesticide"?

An average size dog should live for 27 years.

Since 1939 the longest reported dog life span was 29.5 years for an Australian cattle dog named Bluey. In the USA, a terrier-cross named Max from Louisiana, USA, was born in August 1983 and died in May 2013 at 29 years and 9 months. A purebred beagle named Butch who lived in Virginia, USA, was a reported 27 years old when he died in 2009.

But the average life span of a mid-size dog in the USA is about
12 point 8 (12.8) years!

Would you want YOUR dog to live 20 to 27 years instead of 12 to 15 years?

Almost 40 percent of small breeds in North America live longer than 10 years - but 60 percent don't!

Chihuahuas have lived up to 20 years or more; Yorkshire Terriers live from 17 to 20 years. Generally, the largest dogs have the shortest lifespans. Great Danes tend to live only 7 years.

Other dog breeds that tend to live the longest are: Jack Russell Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Shih Tzu, Beagle, Shetland Sheepdog, Toy Poodle, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Dachshund, Pomeranian, Tibetan Terrier, Collie. Mixed breeds and mutts can often live longer than purebreds because they tend to have fewer health issues resulting from inbreeding.

It's so sad and such a shame that our beloved pets are dying far too soon!

A primary cause of poor pet health and the much shorter life span of North American dogs is POOR NUTRITION!

This is also true for humans! But nobody taught us much about nutrition. We trusted the makers and marketers of our food - and our pet's food - to provide adequate nutrition for good health. We trusted our politicians and their appointed health care officials to ensure that we get food that is free of poisons and full of the nutrients we need to live a long, healthy life. We trusted our doctors and dog doctors to know about healthy nutrition and guide us in choosing the best foods.

But for most of us, most or all of those we trusted to help us live long and healthy lives have let us down!

We need to learn at least a little about healthy nutrition for ourselves and our loved ones - including our beloved furry friends who depend on us to feed them healthy food. Otherwise, our pets will be robbed of years of healthy and active life.

Aging is NOT a disease. A dog which gets good nutrition can remain healthy, active, and free of nutrition-related diseases well beyond the onset of so-called "old age" at ten years. For a dog that should live 27 years, how can 10 years be called "old age"?

A dog which is fed high-quality, nutritionally balanced food can avoid the unnecessary discomforts and pains that are mistakenly blamed on "old age" when the real cause is POOR NUTRITION.

Wouldn't you wish your pet a long life in good health? Do you love your dog enough to take a little time to learn how you can help your faithful friend avoid unnecessary diseases and live a much longer and healthier life?

There are some things here you really need to know about the 2007 poisoned pet food recall, and about other foods which can be harmful or even fatal to your pet dog. Pet food recalls continue to this day, but there are dog foods that don't contain any of the ingredients which are most often the cause of the recall. Learn why corn and wheat and peanut hulls used in some dog foods can be hazardous to your dog's health.

All you need to do is learn a little about dog nutrition and how to read the often confusing and sometimes downright deceptive ingredient and nutrition labels on the dog food you choose for your pet, so you can avoid the unhealthy brands and choose the ones which are best for your dog's health and quality of life. You can learn it all here. Read on...

At least one American company which makes its own healthy cat and dog foods and treats has NOT been subject to recalls because their nutritious and safe foods never contained ANY wheat gluten or rice gluten or rice concentrate that could have been contaminated by Chinese melamine. And their pet foods have NOT been recalled due to dangerous levels of aflatoxin contamination of grains or nuts, because they DO NOT contain any corn or wheat or nuts or peanut hulls. By putting pet health and safety ahead of pet food profits, this company spared many pets from painful deaths in the 2007 poisoned pet food recall.


All their corn-free, wheat-free pet products come with a money-back guarantee, so if your dog does not like her dog food or treats you can request a refund from Life's Abundance. Click here to order a $1 SAMPLE or to Compare 25 Popular Dry Dog Foods to Life's Abundance based on 8 Nutritional factors plus cost per day to feed a 30-pound dog (70 cents).
Some highly regarded adult dry dog foods like Hill's Science Diet Nature's Best® Chicken and Brown Rice, and Royal Canin Medium Breed Adult each contain corn or wheat or their glutens.
One of the compared adult dry dog foods with one of the WORST nutritional evalutations actually has one of the highest costs per serving (84 cents). Could it be the one you are buying for your precious pet?

The Massive Menu Foods  Pet Food Recall Started With
Chinese Wheat Gluten Tainted with Melamine

Flash back to 2007, when this sad story was first written about melamine poisoning. It's still relevant today, because it could happen again - and recalls due to aflatoxin poisoning have continued to occur quite regularly for dog foods. As of May 1, 2014, the U.S. FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has received reports involving more than 5,600 dogs and 24 cats - including over a thousand dog deaths - and all those cases were linked to chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats imported from China.

This article is about poisoned pet foods sold in the U.S.A. and Canada, but note that some of the ingredients containing melamine were also sent to Europe. Melamine has also been found in corn gluten used in dry pet food in South Africa.

The U.S. FDA also has discovered that some of the Diamond Foods recalled pet products made in October 2006 in South Carolina, USA, which were tainted with aflatoxin (deadly to dogs) had been exported to at least 29 countries, including countries within the European Union.

The massive pet food recall in March 2007 started when a shipment of wheat gluten from China was found by the NY State Food Lab to contain a toxic chemical called aminopterin which is used as a rat poison in some countries outside the USA. It was previously marketed as a cancer drug, then used illegally as a drug to induce abortions (until it was found that in nearly 50% of the failed abortions the babies were being born malformed).

Glutens are glycoproteins extracted from plants like wheat, corn, barley and oats. Corn meal gluten is the most commonly used ingredient to increase the percentage of protein in pet food without having to include the more expensive high-quality animal protein from actual animal meats.

Other glutens often used in cheap dog food are wheat gluten and rice gluten. Glutens are sticky, so they are used to help hold together the powdered ingredients processed in extruders used to make dry pet foods like kibble, and to shape the pieces of fake "meat" in some semi-moist and wet pet foods. Glutens are elastic, so they help create a "chewy" texture in these pet foods.

Though first reported by the New York State Food Lab (which was set up after 9/11 to deal with bioterrorism), the FDA labs were NOT able to confirm the presence of aminopterin in the foods that killed the cats and dogs. But the FDA later discovered the wheat gluten imported from China by ChemNutra of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, contained melamine, an industrial chemical made from urea, which when mixed with formaldehyde under high heat and pressure produces a pliable melamine resin used in making hard plastics (e.g. Melamine dishes, Formica, Arborite, floor laminates, whiteboards) and also heat-resistant and flame-retardant fabrics.

Melamine, which has a high nitrogen content, is also used in making crop fertilizers, and is used as a rat poison in some countries such as China (but in the USA is illegal to use as a rodenticide).

It was logically assumed that this rat poison accidentally found its way into the Chinese wheat gluten. But this later proved to be a false assumption.

Recent reports revealed that adding melamine to feed products is a dishonest but widespread practice in China because it raises the nitrogen level, which appears to increase the protein content of the feeds it is added to - even though it adds NO nutritional value.

A commonly used method for doing a protein analysis of animal feed is by measuring the amount of ammonia that is released by the feed product when it is chemically treated to release the nitrogen in the protein molecules. More nitrogen means more ammonia is released, which indicates more protein was present in the feed. Most companies which purchase animal feed products are not able to detect the added melamine by this method of testing the protein content, so they are easily fooled and cheated by the sellers.

The deceptively higher protein content of the feed product with melamine added increases the value and commands a higher price for the cheating supplier. Apparently, adding a little RAT POISON to a feed product did not concern the unscrupulous sellers of the wheat gluten that resulted in the deaths of thousands of North American pets.

In the USA the use of melamine as a rodent poison or animal feed additive is illegal, so any made-in-America wheat gluten would not likely have contained any of the deadly melamine. But in spite of the over-abundance of wheat grown in the USA (where some growers are even paid by the U.S. government with taxpayer dollars to NOT grow more wheat on their land), the pet food maker chose to use wheat gluten imported from China, where health and safety standards are poorly enforced.

Wheat gluten should not even be an ingredient in your dog's food!

In its own routine taste testing conducted quarterly by Menu Foods, 9 out of 20 dogs and cats had reportedly died of melamine poisoning that led to acute kidney failure in February 2007.

Menu Foods, a large Canadian-owned pet food processor who received and used imported Chinese wheat gluten brokered by an American importer, did a "voluntary recall" of the 101 brands of wet dog and cat foods made in its two U.S. plants from December 3, 2006, and March 6, 2007. Note that Menu Foods has since moved that date BACK to November 8, 2006.

According to staff at the office of U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-Illinois), a member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Menu Foods first noticed a potential problem on February 20, 2007, but did not contact the FDA until March 15, 2007. They also mentioned that the U.S. FDA had never inspected the Menu Foods plant in Emporia, Kansas, because the FDA relies on the individual States to do inspections.

Why did Menu Foods wait MORE THAN THREE WEEKS to report the problem with the poisoned pet foods after seeing nine of their own test animals die from eating their pet food? Each day, more dogs and cats were being fed those foods with the potential to kill them. How many pets might have been spared injury or death if the manufacturer had announced a recall in February as soon as they assessed the risk?

The Chief Financial Officer at Menu Foods, Mark Wiens, stated that he sold half of his shares in the company just three weeks ahead of the massive recall involving 95 different brands. Wiens said it's simply a "horrible coincidence". Owners of pets which died after eating a poisoned pet food from Menu Foods might suspect it was horrible - but not a "coincidence". Did protecting pet food profits come ahead of protecting pets from poisoned products?

This Menu Foods recall included 60 million cans and pouches of cat and dog foods. Would 9 out of 20 dogs and cats who might have eaten those recalled pet foods also have died from melamine poisoning? By May 2007, the estimates of actual pet deaths were as high as 14 thousand!

Thousands of families grieved the sudden death of their furry family members because those 60 million cans and pouches of dog and cat foods were all made by one company who imported cheap wheat gluten from a dishonest, cheating supplier in China.

Over 100 trusted brands of cat and dog food all used a plant protein called wheat gluten in their recipes to increase the protein content of their pet foods without having to include as much (or any) of the animal protein cats and dogs really need. This increased pet food profits for these companies, but cheated the pets out of some of the more nutritious ingredients which some other pet food makers were willing and able to provide in their formulations.

Soon the situation looked even worse...

From The Sharper Image - A mess-proof pet feeder with stainless steel bowls.
Bowls made from plastic, ceramics, or wood have microscopic scratches, crevices or cracks that could contain toxic bacteria or fungal molds your dog might ingest while feeding. Use only glass or stainless steel bowls.  Click here for pet feeder details.
Mess proof pet feeder station with two stainless steel bowls

On March 16, 2007 Nestlé Purina PetCare Company announced a voluntarily withdrawal of its 5.3 ounce Mighty Dog® brand pouch products that were produced by Menu Foods from December 3, 2006 through March 14, 2007. Then on March 30, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company voluntarily recalled all varieties of its ALPO® Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food with specific date codes.

On April 10, 2007, a U.S. chain of veterinary clinics estimated that as many as 39,000 dogs and cats were injured by eating the melamine-tainted pet food manufactured by Menu Foods.

Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning in Dogs and Cats

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advice to cat and dog owners is:
"...if your pet exhibits a sudden on-set of symptoms including loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, stop feeding the pet food and contact your veterinarian." They state that the symptoms are likely to appear within a few days.

Early symptoms of melamine poisoning in dogs and cats include:
a sudden change in urination patterns, difficulty urinating, an increase in water consumption, drinking too much water or not drinking at all, loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, disorientation, a sudden change in personality, and perhaps the sudden onset of bad breath.

Dogs and cats who are fed the recalled pet foods often vomit within 1 to 12 hours after ingesting the food, and some become listless. Some salivate and have oral ulcerations. Weakness and hematuria have also been reported.

Veterinarians report that the most consistent finding is that blood values for BUN/creatinine and phosphorus are elevated. Crystals may appear in the urine.

Melamine poisoning can cause kidney failure and death in dogs and cats. If you see these symptoms in your pet, contact your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY!.

Early treatment with intravenous fluids might save your pet's life. (Cats are especially vulnerable to kidney failure and need even more immediate treatment to survive. Nearly twice as many cats than dogs have died from melamine poisoning.)

Most of the melamine found its way into pet foods sold in cans and pouches, and thus small dogs are more at risk because they are more likely to be fed these types of dog food. Due to the higher cost of wet foods, owners of large dogs tend to feed them dry dog foods.


A pet owner might wonder if increasing profits by importing cheap wheat gluten from far-away China - even though the USA and Canada are major producers of wheat - was more important to MANY pet food makers and marketers than providing safe and nutritious foods for the precious dogs and cats of their loyal and trusting American and Canadian customers.

The brands that contained melamine-tainted Chinese wheat gluten include:
Alpo, America's Choice, Eukanuba, Hill's, IAMS, Nutriplan, Paws, Preferred Pets, President's Choice, Purina, and Science Diet.

The Menu Foods recall listed 101 brands of cat and dog food that contained Chinese wheat gluten tainted with rat poison, mostly the cheap supermarket brands.

But even some popular premium-priced brands from major pet food manufacturers like Purina (ALPO and Mighty Dog) were involved in the recall of poisoned pet foods.

And one recalled pet food that contained Chinese wheat gluten (Prescription Diet from Hill's Pet Nutrition) was only sold by veterinarians!

The first Menu Foods recall in March 2007 involved all these brands of wet dog food made in its two American plants:
America's Choice, Preferred Pets, Authority, Award, Best Choice, Big Bet, Big Red, Bloom, Bruiser, Cadillac, Companion, Demoulas Market Basket, Shep Dog, Food Lion, Giant Companion, Great Choice, Hannaford, Hill Country Fare, Hy-Vee, Key Food, Laura Lynn, Loving Meals, Main Choice, Mixables, Nutriplan, Nutro Max, Nutro Natural Choice, Nutro, Ol' Roy, Paws, Pet Essentials, Pet Pride, President's Choice, Price Chopper, Priority, Publix, Roche Bros, Save-A-Lot, Schnucks, Springsfield Pride, Sprout, Stater Bros, Total Pet, My True Friend, Western Family, White Rose, Winn Dixie, and Your Pet.

On April 5, 2007, Sunshine Mills Inc. of Red Bay, Alabama, recalled dog biscuits made in March 2007 from melamine contaminated wheat gluten. The affected brands include:
Lassie Lamb and Rice, Nurture Chicken & Rice, Nurture Lamb & Rice, Pet Life Large, Pet Life Extra Large, Pet Life Large Variety, Pet Life Large Peanut Butter, and Pet Life People Pleasers Dog Treats.

In April 2007, Del Monte recalled some pet treat products: Gravy Train Beef Sticks, Jerky Treats, and Pounce Meaty Morsels. Ol' Roy (a private label sold by Wal-Mart) recalled its Beef Flavor Jerky Strips and Beef Flavor Snack Stick dog treats.

More recent (April 23, 2007) dog food recalls involve a concentrated rice protein known as rice gluten from China, which was imported after August 2006 by Willbur-Ellis of San Francisco and shipped to 5 pet food manufacturers in the USA. Not until April 2007 was it found to contain melamine, an industrial chemical sometimes used as a rat poison in China and some other countries, but banned in the USA for use as a rodenticide.

The recall on April 23, 2007, affects only the dog foods which contain rice gluten or rice protein concentrate sold under the following brands:
Blue Buffalo, Canine Caviar Pet Foods, Costco/Kirkland Signature, Diamond Pet Food, Doctors Foster & Smith, Harmony Farms, Harmony Farms Treats, Mulligan Stew Pet Food, Natural Balance, Royal Canin, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet, and SmartPac.

Blue Buffalo, a small premium pet food maker, ran advertising soon after the initial recall began that boasted about using safe, quality ingredients. It was later embarrassed by having to recall a third of its product line which contained melamine. Those products were actually manufactured under contract by American Nutrition, who used the tainted rice gluten from China in pet foods it made for the above sellers.

It was later discovered that the so-called rice protein concentrate or rice gluten was actually wheat flour from China contaminated with melamine. The Chinese supplier had deceived the U.S. importer and its customer, American Nutrition. In turn, American Nutrition had, without consulting its customers, added what it thought was rice protein concentrate to the foods it made for the above pet food sellers - whose labels may not even list rice protein concentrate as an ingredient - as required by U.S. regulations. Thus all of the recalled products contained poisoned wheat flour from China which could kill dogs and cats.

What had first been reported as poisoned wheat gluten and rice gluten by Menu Foods was also found to be tainted wheat flour from one of the two dishonest suppliers in China who added melamine to their feed products - and also failed to label their shipments as pet food ingredients to avoid scrutiny by U.S. Customs inspectors.

Another trusted dog food manufacturer, Natural Balance Pet Foods, was inspected and initiated a voluntary recall of food containing rice protein concentrate which was contaminated with melamine. The recalled dog foods are:
Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, and Venison and Brown Rice dog treats.

On April 26, 2007, Diamond Pet Foods announced a voluntary withdrawal of three canned dog food and cat food formulas manufactured by American Nutrition:
Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Kitten Formula (5.5 oz. cans), Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Puppy Formula (13 oz. cans), and Diamond Lamb & Rice Formula for Dogs (13 oz. cans). American Nutrition initiated a recall for all canned products it made which contain rice protein concentrate.

On April 27, 2007, the U.S. FDA began to seize and detain all shipments of the following food products imported from China. Note that some might be used in human food products such as food bars and protein powders. It may be wise to err on the safe side and avoid any products for pets or people which contain these items, until you can be sure they were NOT imported from China.

The affected Chinese products are:
Wheat Gluten, Rice Gluten, Rice Protein, Rice Protein Concentrate, Corn Gluten, Corn Gluten Meal, Corn By-Products, Soy Protein, Soy Gluten Proteins (includes amino acids and protein hydrosylates), and Mung Bean Protein.

A scientist, Perry Martos, at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, analyzed the crystals found in the kidneys of animals which died of melamine poisoning. He found them to be approximately 70 percent cyanuric acid and 30 percent melamine, and extremely insoluble. Tests where melamine and the cyanuric acid in samples of cat urine were mixed together resulted in a nearly immediate formation of insoluble crystals that were identical to crystals found in the kidneys of poisoned animals. Two other substances (ammelide and ammeline) which are related to melamine are also being investigated. This may be the mechanism by which melamine causes death through kidney failure.

Cyanuric acid is a chemical commonly added to swimming pools as a "stabilizer" to keep chlorine from breaking down. How did this chemical get into the bodies of all the cats and dogs that died after ingesting pet foods containing the melamine? Did they all drink water from swimming pools - or did the cyanuric acid enter the feed supply through cross-contamination before the melamine got into the pet foods?

Richard Goldstein of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine says that it was likely the result of bacterial metabolism of melamine. Cyanuric acid is a known intermediate byproduct when bacteria metabolize melamine. Bacteria breaking down melamine to form cyanuric acid, which then interacted with newly ingested melamine to form the hard crystals? Has the mystery been solved?

Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.

Click here to see A COMPARISON of Ingredient Evaluations and Daily Cost To Feed A 30-pound Dog
for Life's Abundance (70 cents) Compared to 25 Popular Dry Dog Foods

Dog Nutrition

That pet food recall of so many brands of cat and dog food should be a "wake up call" to pet owners! But the deaths of thousands of beloved pets were perhaps not in vain... for now many cat and dog owners might start to pay more critical attention to the kind of food they feed to the precious pets that depend on them.

Read on... and you will learn some important facts about DOG NUTRITION and health, what many supermarket brand name dog foods are actually made from (you will be shocked and disgusted!), how to interpret ingredient labels on dog food, how to avoid the dog foods with low-nutrition or unhealthy ingredients, and how to choose the most healthy foods your your dog.

And, what's most important, learn how you can help your dog or cat live a longer life - and enjoy with you an active life without the discomfort of debilitating diseases.

The Real Truth About The U.S. "Recommended Daily Allowance"

First, one surprising thing you should be aware of is that on both human and pet nutrition labels in the USA, what is listed as "100%" of the "recommended daily allowance" (RDA) actually refers to the amount required for "adequate" health - not optimal good health! A "100 percent" RDA rating is really about a MINIMAL nutrition level, and not about "the best nutrition".

Some might say that's the difference between "(1) not being diseased or slowly starving to death" and "(2) being healthy and fit and full of life". You might want to get more than this minimal nutrition for yourself and your pet - and you certainly don't want to get less!

Read more about Dog Nutrition below. But first, here are some good reasons why you would want to feed your dog the most nutritious food you can afford. The long term benefits to you and your dog may far outweigh the short term savings on low-priced dog foods with low-quality ingredients that don't deliver healthy nutition to your dog.

Does Better Food and Better Health for Your Pet Really Cost More?

If you are concerned about the cost of feeding your dog healthier food, you may surprised to learn that a more nutritious dog food brand with high-quality fresh ingredients and no unhealthy fillers can actually cost the same or LESS per month than an unhealthy dog food with less nutrition and more unhealthy ingredients - because you don't need to feed your dog as much of the nutrition-rich food as the cheap dog food with a lower nutrition value.

Dogs and cats will instinctively seek to eat more of a low-nutrition food to try to get enough of the nutrition they need. So they just end up eating more of the cheap pet foods with the low-quality ingredients and useless fillers. Even though the nutrient-dense, premium-quality pet foods cost more per can or bag, you can feed your pet smaller servings of the more nutritious food. Or you might even be able to serve only one meal of nutrient-dense dog food per day instead of two lesser-quality meals. (Wild dog ancestors didn't always get two meals every day. They evolved bodies which were accustomed to irregular feedings.)

Your daily net cost may only be a little more than you would pay for the cheap pet food. It might even be a little less.

Feeding your dog a more nutrient-rich and natural dog food helps keep your pet free of diseases and allergies and digestive problems, with a healthy and shiny coat and efficient digestion (and less smelly poop to scoop) - and also helps keep your dog lean and active, not fat and lazy.

Obesity in dogs, like obesity in humans, increases risk of serious diseases and shortens life span.

When cheap dog foods with mostly low-quality vegetable proteins, too many carbohydrates, and the less nutritious ingredients like rendered byproducts and ground up chicken bones, feet and entrails are fed to your pet, it will tend to eat MORE of the food to try to get the animal proteins and other nutrition its body needs - but will also get EVEN MORE of the corn and wheat and other carbohydrates that make your dog FAT!

Dogs are omnivores that need to eat vegetables along with meat from mammals and fowl and fish - such as the kind of animal proteins that come from healthy cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and fish. They also need FATS from these same animal sources (and so do you).

Dogs DO NOT need "byproducts" from rendering plants which process dead animal carcasses, euthanized dogs and cats, rotting road kill, diseased animals, or chicken heads and feet.

Dogs DO NOT need fats and oils made from used, rancid restaurant cooking oils, or extracted from the rotting waste products thrown into rendering vats.

Dogs DO NOT need corn products, wheat products, soy produts, gluten meal, bone meal, and fillers like peanut hulls.

And dogs DO NOT need artificial food colorings that fool you into assuming that inferior animal byproducts and cereals are fresh red meat. And they certainly don't need meat from animals that were fed antibiotics, steroids, artificial hormones, and genetically-modified grains or other GMOs.

Dogs lack the enzymes to digest corn. It is mostly undigestible and passes right through a dog.

So why would CORN be a main ingredient in a commercial dog food?

If you see TWO types of corn, such as "corn meal" or "corn gluten" or "ground corn" in the TOP FIVE items on the Ingredient List of a dog food, quite likely there is more useless corn in the dog food than the high-quality animal proteins a dog really needs to stay healthy. Both you and your dog are getting short-changed!

You are paying good money for worthless "fillers" - and it can cost your dog years of healthy life when he is getting less of the nutrition he really needs. (Not to mention that corn is often a cause of food allergies in dogs and cats - and feed corn is often contaminated with the mold which produces highly toxic Aflatoxin that has killed many dogs.)

To minimize the development of food allergies in dogs and cats avoid foods containing artificial preservatives and dyes, and protein sources which may contain antibiotics and various growth hormones. Avoid wheat, wheat gluten, and corn ingredients too, for they are often the real cause of food allergies.

Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.


Click to see 25 Dog Foods Compared to Life's Abundance on 8 Nutrition Factors and Cost per Day to feed a 30-pound dog (70 cents).
Some highly regarded adult dry dog foods like Hill's Science Diet Nature's Best® Chicken and Brown Rice, and Royal Canin Medium Breed Adult each contain corn or wheat or their glutens.
One of the 25 popular adult dog foods compared had one of the LOWEST nutrition ratings but one of the HIGHEST costs per day. Could it be the one you are buying for your dog?

Human Foods Which Are Dangerous Or Deadly Dog Foods

If you suspect that your dog or cat has ingested a toxic or poisonous substance, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in the USA at 1-888-426-4435 or 1-888-4-ANI-HELP. (There may be a charge for the consultation.) If it came from a can or bottle or package, have the packaging at hand so you can read the ingredients to the person on the phone. Do NOT give your pet any human medications or over-the-counter drugs like Aspirin or Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen (Tylenol®), for some can kill a dog or cat.

In the USA human medications are the #1 cause of reported dog deaths from poisoning. Keep medicine bottles out of reach, for a dog can easily chew through a child-proof medicine container. (Do not use chemical flea treatments for dogs on a cat, or let a cat lick a treated dog's fur.)

You are not likely to see the following food items in a commercial dog food. But just in case you don't already know, the following common human foods can be TOXIC, dangerous, deadly, or even FATAL foods for your dog.

Some human foods SAFE for dogs, and which most dogs love are:
raw carrots, bananas, watermelon, strawberries, celery, canned pureed pumpkin (with no sugar added, NOT pumpkin pie filling), whole brown rice (but don't feed dogs much white rice), apples (only when cut up and all of the toxic leaves, stems and seeds are removed), and potatoes (but NOT any still-green skins or any green sprouts, which are toxic to dogs and humans).

Five things you should NOT assume when feeding human foods to a dog...

  1. Just because you (or a pet cat) can safely eat a certain food, don't assume that it won't be harmful or even fatal if your dog eats it (e.g. grapes, raisins, chocolate, raw salmon, avocado, macadamia nuts, nutmeg).
  2. Just because your dog has already eaten a certain food apparently without harm, don't assume that the next time it won't cause harm. Sometimes the symptoms show up days later, and you may not have associated them with a food eaten several days before. Sometimes a larger amount can be toxic or fatal. Also, some foods when eaten regularly will produce toxic effects you don't see for months, then suddenly your dog shows symptoms of a serious or life-threatening disease (e.g. onions, fruit pips or seeds, tree nuts, tomatoes, rhubarb, avocado, raw egg whites).
  3. Just because you see a fruit or vegetable listed as an ingredient in a commercial dog food, don't assume that it is safe to feed it your dog. Some fruits and veggies have skins, seeds, stems, or leaves that are toxic, even though the flesh is safe to eat (e.g. apples, cherries, plums, potatoes).
  4. Just because feeding a little of a food appears to cause no harm, don't assume that if your dog later ingests a larger amount it will not be toxic or even fatal (e.g. chocolate, caffeine, grapes, onions, alcohol, raw bread dough, broccoli).
  5. Just because you see a larger dog eat a food without harm, don't assume that ingesting the same amount won't be toxic or fatal for a smaller dog (e.g. chocolate, cocoa beans, caffeine, alcohol, grapes, onions, raw bread dough).

Potentially Fatal Foods for Dogs are Printed in Red

Grapes and Raisins. These contain an unknown substance which can cause acute renal failure in some dogs. Even a handful could cause death. Dogs have died after ingesting 0.41 to 1.1 ounces per kilogram of body weight. (1 kg = 2.2 lbs.) Early symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, followed by signs of kidney failure starting about 24 hours after ingestion, which may not be noticeable for the first 3 to 5 days. If you notice your dog ingested grapes or raisins, seek treatment immediately. It is unknown why some dogs seem not to be affected at all, while others react to a small amount and die. "Grapeseed extract" is safe for dogs, and is used in dog foods as a rich source of powerful antioxidants called proanthocyanidins.

Chocolate and Cocoa. Theobromine is a methylxanthine compound similar to caffeine, but only 25% as effective as a stimulant for humans. Both can be fatal to dogs and birds. Do not let your dog ingest types of chocolate that contain the highest levels of Theobromine, which are pure cocoa powder, baker's chocolate, and dark chocolate (in that order), since ingesting even smaller quantities may be toxic. Just two ounces of baker's chocolate can kill a small dog!  Be aware that cocoa bean mulch used in gardens may get eaten by dogs, and it also contains high levels of Theobromine (300 to 1200 mg per ounce). Ingesting over 9 ounces can kill a 50 pound dog. Early symptoms of chocolate toxicity are: hyperactivity, sudden excitement or "manic" type of behavior, muscle tremors, rapid heart rate, and increased urination - similar to an overdose of caffeine in humans. If chocolate or caffeine ingestion was observed, inducing vomiting within two hours may help. Get veterinary treatment IMMEDIATELY, for ingesting a high dose can cause death within 12 hours. See more details below.

Caffeine. Ingesting caffeine raises a dog's heart rate to a dangerous level, and has been known to cause seizures, and sometimes death. Early symptoms of caffeine ingestion occur quickly and include: hyperactivity or excitement, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, and increased urination. Note that coffee beans, instant coffee powder, coffee grounds, guarano beans, tea, "energy" drinks, weight loss pills, colas and many clear and colored soft drinks contain high levels of caffeine which can affect a dog's central nervous system and heart. (Colas and soft drinks also contain way too much sugar, which could cause pancreatitis, or could contain Xylitol which is also toxic to dogs.)

Later symptoms of caffeine ingestion are: vomiting, restlessness or hyperactivity, muscle tremors, heart palpitations, and even death. Give lots of water and take your dog to the vet immediately. Note that both caffeine and nicotine are narcotic drugs which affect the brain and nervous system, and less than a drop of pure nicotine or caffeine could kill a large human or dog as quickly as a heroin overdose.

Nicotine and Tobacco. Nicotine found in cigarettes and cigars or their butts, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, nicotine patches, and nicotine gum can be fatal to dogs, cats, birds - and human babies - if they are eaten. Early symptoms of nicotine ingestion may appear within an hour, and include: hyperactivity, salivation, panting, vomiting, and diarrhea. Advanced symptoms include: rapid heart rate, muscle tremors or twitching, muscle weakness, collapse, coma, and cardiac arrest. Give lots of water and take your pet to the vet immediately.

Alcohol. When a dog ingests alcohol it can cause disorientation and lead to injury, sickness, urination problems, or even coma or death from alcohol poisoning. Just one ounce can sometimes be lethal. Alcohol is present in beer, ale, hard cider, wine, liquor, spirits, liqueurs, vodka or rum "cooler" drinks, vanilla extract, and some herbal tinctures. "Denatured" alcohol used to fuel fondue and food warmers is a deadly poison to dogs, cats and humans.

Xylitol. This natural-source sweetener made from corn or certain trees is often used in sugar-free gum, candy, mints, desserts, baked goods, and "gummies" style chewable vitamins. Eating large amounts can cause a drop in blood sugar for dogs - but not humans - which can lead to weakness, staggering, and other symptoms of hypoglycemia. A sudden drop in blood sugar could result in loss of coordination and seizures, sometimes less than 30 minutes after your dog ingests enough Xylitol. Liver failure is associated with large doses equal to 0.5 grams per kilogram of a dog's body weight or more. Typically, one piece of sugar-free gum contains 0.3 grams of Xylitol.

Table Salt, Sea Salt, and Rock Salt Ingesting excessive amounts of sodium chloride can cause hypernatremia and Salt Poisoning in dogs. Less than a half cup of salt can kill a medium sized dog. Excessive sodium in the dog's blood can cause cerebral edema - swelling of the brain. Many processed foods for humans contain excessive salt, so do not feed them to your dog. Ingesting Rock Salt used to melt ice on roads and walkways is even more dangerous to dogs, so if they are exposed clean it from their paws and fur before they lick it off. Symptoms of salt poisoning are: diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst, frequent and excessive urination, abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body, loss of appetite, lethargy, walking as if drunk, falling over, tremors, seizures, injury to the kidneys, coma and death.

Nutmeg. This is a brownish spice often used in eggnog and mulled cider. It affects the central nervous system of dogs and may cause tremors or seizures. If larger amounts of nutmeg are ingested it can cause death (in humans too).

Raw Salmon and Trout. These two tasty fish can be infected with a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola, a type of trematode worm which itself is often infected with a type of bacteria known as Neorickettsia helminthoeca that only affects canines, not other animals. Dogs can show symptoms such as: weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting, swollen glands, and fever - and 90% of untreated dogs die. Thorough cooking kills the both the worm and the bacteria. Note that sushi may contain raw salmon.

Raw Eggs. RAW chicken and chicken eggs can be infected with Salmonella bacteria which cause food poisoning in dogs and humans, and cats are the most susceptible. Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include: fever, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Egg yolks are generally safe for dogs to eat, but raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin which can deplete your dog of biotin, one of the B vitamins (though some research indicates that it would take large quantities of egg whites to cause this condition). Symptoms of biotin depletion are: weakness, hair loss, retarded growth, and deformity of the skeleton.

However, cooked eggs are safe for dogs, are very nutritious, and make a fine doggie treat. Thorough cooking at a temperature above 180 degrees Fahrenheit kills Salmonella bacteria and destroys its toxin, so hard-boiled eggs make a safe and healthy dog treat.

Peanuts and Sunflower Seeds. These, and peanut butter, are not normally toxic. But the sunflower seeds or peanuts and particularly the hulls are too often contaminated with Aspergillus fungus mold that produces Aflatoxin which can cause liver damage and death for dogs, the mammal most sensitive to Aflatoxin poisoning. Field corn and wheat are also very frequent hosts for this toxic mold that is especially deadly to dogs and birds.

Levels of Aflatoxin too low to harm pigs or people can be fatal to dogs and birds, who are the MOST sensitive to it. Even the U.S. FDA "acceptable" concentration of aflatoxin contamination in peanuts fit for humans - a maximum of 20 ppb - may not protect your dog. Note that cooking can kill the fungus, but will NOT deactivate any of the poisonous aflatoxin which it may have already produced. Thus feeding Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts or peanut hulls to a dog may seem too much of a risk for Aflatoxin Poisoning. A similar risk of death could also come from feeding your pet those low-quality dog foods which usually contain corn, wheat, or peanut hulls.

Recalls of dog foods contaminated with aflatoxin keep occurring every year in the USA. Realize that the recall is triggered by dogs dying after their well-meaning owners unwittingly fed them food with certain contaminated ingredients in the recalled dog foods.

Moldy foods. If it's a feathery white/gray mold like Aspergillus which produced aflatoxin it can be severely toxic or fatal to dogs.

Cooked Chicken Bones. Raw chicken bones are flexible and not usually a problem, but when cooked they get brittle and can splinter into sharp little daggers that tear your dog's throat or intestines. Some other types of cooked bones like ham, pork chop, pork ribs, and veal can also get brittle and may pose a danger to your dog. Feeding RAW, uncooked bones like chicken necks and beef knuckles are the safest choice, and may help clean plaque from your dog's teeth. Rawhide "bones" sometimes cause choking when hard pieces break off, so keep an eye on your dog while he chews them. Some safer types of chew treats for dogs would be Buffalo Bully Sticks and Porky Puffs and Buffalo Meat Strips.

Corn Cobs when swallowed in chunks can lodge in your dog's throat or intestines, with sometimes fatal results. Do NOT feed your dog corn on the cob or allow access to corn cobs. Also note that dogs cannot digest corn, and it may cause a food allergy. Corn is also a frequent host for the white fungal mold Aspergillus that produces aflatoxin which is deadly to dogs.

Raw Bread Dough and Bread-making Yeast. The yeast which causes bread and pizza dough to rise will ferment and expand and produce alcohol in a dog's warm stomach, which can cause alcohol poisoning, disorientation, discomfort, vomiting or unsuccessful attempts at vomiting, bloating, and even rupture of the intestines - even in small amounts, since the raw dough expands to many times its original size. Small dogs are most at risk. If a large amount was eaten or you see the stomach swells significantly - a condition called "bloat" - EMERGENCY TREATMENT is necessary. Do not waste time! Get your dog to the vet right away, because bloat can quickly cause serious problems and even lead to death. See more on "bloat" below. ("Brewers Yeast" is different than baking yeast, and is a safe nutritional supplement.)

Raw Cookie Dough or Cake Mix. The baking powder which creates carbon dioxide gas bubbles to expand the cookie or cake mix can create gas in the warm stomach and intestines of a dog which eats the unbaked mix. The expansion of the raw mixture can cause flatulence, discomfort, and bloating. Ingesting large amounts could possibly cause a rupture of the intestines, so in this case, inducing vomiting as soon as possible may help. If significant swelling of the stomach or "bloat" has occurred, take your dog for emergency treatment IMMEDIATELY!

Fruit pips. The seeds, stems, and leaves of apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears and plums all contain cyanogenic glycosides - which can produce cyanide poison when metabolized in the dog's body. While these glycosides are not harmful to humans, some have the potential to cause vomiting and loss of appetite in dogs and cats. Ingesting large amounts can cause these symptoms: dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation, weakness, staggering - or even shock, coma, and death. The flesh or pulp of these fruits is not toxic and can safely be fed to a dog.

Apple Seeds, Stems and Leaves. See Fruit pips above. The flesh of the apple fruit is safe, and many dogs love to eat apples. Just remove the toxic stem and pips. Keep stored apples out of reach of your dog, who may eat the whole apple with stems and seeds.

Potatoes. The starchy white flesh inside raw or cooked potatoes is not harmful, but potato skins which are still green and any green sprouts or "eyes" contain the alkaloid solanum which is poisonous to dogs and humans. You should store raw potatoes out of reach of your dog, for they often grow little green sprouts which are toxic if the dog eats them. And don't let your dog get at potato peelings from the garbage bin.

Avocado. The fruit, leaves, and bark contain a toxic compound called persin - especially in the skins - which can damage the heart, lung and other tissues of a dog. If larger quantities are ingested, the high fat content of avocado fruit can trigger vomiting or even lead to pancreatitis, so keep your dog away from guacamole dip made from avocado to avoid teaching him to seek cut avocado fruit and skins from the kitchen counter or garbage bin. Symptoms of avocado ingestion include: difficulty breathing, enlarged abdomen, and abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest and abdomen and around the heart. The hard pit inside is also toxic, and can cause choking or intestinal blockage if swallowed.

Mushrooms. The mushrooms normally eaten by humans are safe, but feeding mushrooms to your dog might encourage your pet to eat wild mushrooms which may be poisonous enough to cause sickness or even death. If your dog goes outside, you should remove all wild mushrooms in your yard, and don't let him eat any mushrooms he may encounter while on a walk or hike with you.

Milk & Dairy Products. About 50% of dogs, like some humans, are lactose intolerant, i.e. unable to digest Lactose, which is also called "milk sugar". Their bodies do not produce the enzyme lactase which can break down lactose. This can cause stomach cramps, gas, foul smelling excrement, and diarrhea. Milk or cream which is FERMENTED to make cheese, cottage cheese, kefir, and plain yogurt (with no sugar added) contains less lactose, so most dogs can tolerate small amounts of these dairy foods which many dogs love as a treat. Note that cow milk is quite often contaminated with aflatoxin produced by Aspergillus mold, but at very low levels considered safe for humans. Yet that level may be unsafe for canines, who are MUCH more sensitive to this poison than any other mammals.

Onions and Garlic. In dogs, cats and other mammals, ingesting large quantities at once or the continual consumption of raw onions, garlic, chives and leeks (members of the Allium family) which contain thiosulphate, can cause red blood cells to rupture and result in Heinz-Body Hemolytic Anemia. Ingesting 2.5 grams of dehydrated onions per pound of body weight causes hemolysis and anemia in dogs, especially in Akitas and Japanese Simbas. Small puppies have died of hemolytic anemia after being fed human baby food containing onion powder, and it can make kittens sick. To stop eating onions and garlic can reverse the anemia. Garlic contains much less thiosulphate and has a much lesser effect than onions, so ingesting small amounts of garlic may be safe. When crushed or sliced garlic cloves, or granulated garlic, or garlic powder - NOT garlic salt - is added in small amounts to a dog's food it may serve as a very effective flea, lice, tick, and mosquito repellant. Garlic serves as a powerful natural antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic for dogs, just as it does for humans.

Baby Food. Do not feed human baby food to puppies, especially if the formula contains onion powder or certain vegetables in this list. Refer to "Onions and Garlic" above.

Broccoli. This vegetable is nutritious for dogs in small amounts, but if the amount exceeds about ten percent of their daily food intake the substance isothiocyanate can cause gastrointestinal irritation.

Tomatoes and Rhubarb. The stems and leaves contain oxalates, which can cause bladder stones.

Macadamia Nuts. Eating as little as six macadamia nuts can cause elevated body temperature, accelerated heartbeat, anxiety, weakness, muscle tremors, and paralysis of the hindquarters of a dog, which usually ends in a few days. The cause is not known.

Walnuts. Eating walnuts can cause gastroenteritis in dogs

All tree nuts. These nuts contain high levels of phosphorus which can lead to the formation of bladder stones in dogs. Tree nuts like Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts sold for human consumption are often contaminated with very low levels of poisonous aflatoxin from Aspergillus mold which the U.S. FDA considers safe for humans. Yet that same low concentration may be toxic to dogs and birds, which are the animals MOST sensitive to this poison.

Turkey Skin or Ham Fat. Any high-fat meal can cause acute pancreatitis in dogs that have a fixed diet like commercial dog food and are not used to high-fat foods like these. Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting and pain in stomach. Emergency treatment is needed.

Liver. Eating this animal organ is safe and nutritious in small amounts. But it contains high levels of Vitamin A, and ingesting large amounts or feeding liver to a dog already receiving Vitamin A supplements can lead to Vitamin A toxicity (hypervitaminosis A). Feeding your dog three servings of raw or cooked liver a week could lead to bone problems. Symptoms of hypervitaminosis A are: weight loss, anorexia, deformed bones, and excessive bone growth on the hocks and spine. If untreated, hypervitaminosis A can result in death.

Deli Meats. Processed and smoked meats such as sausages, pastrami, prosciutto, pancetta, pepperoni, bacon, and various "cold cuts" contain high levels of sodium and nitrates which may cause kidney and digestive problems in dogs.

Tuna fish. Canned or cooked tuna which has been deboned is a nutritious food and a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, but much of the tuna caught in the ocean is now contaminated with unhealthy levels of Mercury. A steady diet of tuna can lead to a build-up of Mercury, which is toxic to dogs and cats and humans. Albacore or "white" tuna contains the highest levels of mercury, as do shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. Lower levels are found in the "light" type of tuna fish, so avoid "white" and choose "light". Tilapia and wild-caught salmon are fish with low levels of mercury, but uncooked salmon can be toxic to dogs (see "Raw Salmon" above).

Carrots. Many dogs love this vegetable as a healthy treat that also helps clean a dog's teeth. But be aware that carrots absorb more pesticides from the ground than all other vegetables, which is why farmers often plant a carrot crop to remove excessive pesticide build-up in the soil. It would be safer to feed your dog (and yourself) organic carrots grown on farms which use no pesticides at all.

More on Chocolate... Compared to cocoa or dark chocolate, milk chocolate contains much less Theobromine - which is similar to Caffeine but only about 25% as potent as a stimulant. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate actually provide many health benefits to humans, but Theobromine can cause cardiac arrest in dogs since they simply lack the enzymes necessary to metabolize quantities of Theobromine in excess of 100 to 150 mg per kilogram of the dog's body weight. It can also cause pancreatitis.

So you should avoid feeding your dog cocoa powder, bakers chocolate, or chocolate candies, or leaving them where your dog might find them and eat a large quantity. Ingesting sufficient amounts of chocolate can be fatal to a dog. Occasionally sharing a SMALL quantity of MILK chocolate (like a few "M&M" candies) as a treat is not likely to harm your dog, but the smaller the dog, the less chocolate it would take to kill your dog. And feeding chocolate will condition your dog to seek and eat chocolate. "White chocolate" contains little real chocolate or Theobromine, for it is made from cocoa butter, but it is very high in fats and refined sugar. Remember to avoid using cocoa bean mulch for landscaping or gardening, because your dog may be attracted to the taste and ingest a potentially dangerous dose of Theobromine.

More on Bloat... Large breeds of dogs with deep chest cavities, such as Akita, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Malamute, Saint Bernard, and Wolfhound are most at risk for bloat. It is caused by grains or vegetable matter being fermented by bacteria or yeast organisms in their warm stomachs and producing gas. Extensive swelling of the stomach can be fatal if not treated quickly by a veterinarian (emergency surgery may be required). If the dog has obvious stomach swelling and discomfort and repeatedly attempts to vomit but cannot, it is a sign that the condition has already become dangerous. To avoid bloat in dogs which are prone to frequent bloating, feed the dog two small meals a day instead of one large meal. Do not allow the dog to drink large quantities of water at one time, but have water available all the time. Do not allow the dog to exercise or engage in vigorous activity for at least two hours after a full meal. Change to a dog food or diet which contains less grains like corn and wheat and is composed mostly of meats. Most cheap dog foods contain way too much corn or wheat and too little meat - especially dry dog foods which are most often fed to larger dogs because of the higher cost of wet foods. (If 2 or more of the first 5 ingredients on the label are corn, wheat, gluten or soy, the dog food may contain more vegetable protein than animal protein. You may be paying too much for cheap ingredients with low digestibility and inferior nutritional value, while increasing the risk of bloating and food allergies in your dog.)

Pet owners should only induce vomiting when directed to do so by a veterinarian, but 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) can be given at home to induce vomiting as emergency first aid to help remove poisons or potentially toxic substances from your dog or cat's stomach - such as antifreeze (ethylene glycol), which requires a very rapid response. Use about 1 millilitre (ml) per pound of body weight, not exceeding 45 ml or 3 tablespoons. Do not force it down the pet's throat or it could flow into the lungs. Make sure the animal is swallowing the liquid. Do NOT induce vomiting if your pet exhibits tremors or other neurological signs, or if it has ingested caustic chemicals which burn, or oils or other substances which could damage the gastrointestinal tract or enter the lungs during vomiting.

Using salt water or mustard to induce vomiting are not reliable enough in an emergency. Too much salt water can poison and kill a dog.

Giving syrup of ipecac is another way to induce vomiting, if you have it available. The 3% hydrogen peroxide can also be applied externally to disinfect scrapes and wounds in pets and humans. Giving activated charcoal (available at your local drug store) will help absorb poisons in the pet's stomach.

Also note that ingesting human medications and drugs is the #1 cause of animal poisonings (chocolate is #8 and veterinary medications are #4). Do NOT assume that some medications like aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) which help humans are also good for your dog. Some can be fatal to a dog! (And do not feed cat food to a dog, or use dog flea treatments on a cat.)

A Dangerous Dog Treat - "Greenies"

You should also know about this top-selling dog treat called Greenies which is sold as a teeth cleaner and breath freshener. A 2006 CNN Report states that Greenies have killed at least 13 dogs, but not from poisoned ingredients. It seems that sometimes the toothbrush-shaped chewable dog treat remains hard and undigested and becomes lodged in the dogs' throat or intestine.

"A CNN investigation uncovered 40 cases since 2003 where a veterinarian had to extract a Greenie from a dog after the treat became lodged either in the animal's esophagus or intestine. In 13 of those cases, the pet died."

Note that chewing raw meat actually cleans the teeth of wolves and wild dogs, and keeps their gums healthy. Commercial pet foods without chunks of actual meat are NOT a substitute for the natural cleaning effect of raw meat in your dog's diet. Instead of using those risky Greenies, you could occasionally give your dog chunks of turkey or chicken breast or some cheaper cuts of raw meat for humans, like "stewing beef" or "flank steak". (Do not feed your pet the SKIN of turkey, which can cause acute pancreatitis in dogs.)


Click to see 25 Dog Foods Compared to <>Life's Abundance on 8 Nutrition Factors and Cost per Day to feed a 30-pound dog (70 cents).
One of these 25 popular dry dog foods had one of the lowest nutrition ratings but one of the highest costs per day. Could it be the one you are buying for your dog?

Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.

Toxic Preservatives - BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Propylene Glycol

Many chain store brand dog foods are up to 12 to 18 months old before you buy them, and contain unhealthy artificial preservatives like Ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

These additives are only there to extend shelf life and increase profits - not to help your dog be healthy and well-nourished. In fact, they may lead to needless suffering and an early death for your precious pet.

The BHA and BHT preservatives can cause allergies, and with long term consumption have been found to cause health problems. They may potentially cause cancer, and their use in pet foods has not been thoroughly studied. Even though the permitted levels are low, long term consumption could create a build-up that may prove to be harmful to your pet.

There is little information available which documents the toxicity or the safety of long-term use of the artificial antixodiants BHA and BHT in pet food.

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are known to cause brain, liver, and kidney damage, and also respiratory problems. Why would you want to feed your pet any food that contains these poisons? There are safe ways to preserve pet foods using antioxidant vitamins like ascorbates (Vitamin C) and tocopherols (Vitamin E).

Propylene glycol (also used as a less toxic automotive antifreeze) was banned in cat food because it causes anemia in cats. Yet it is still allowed in dog food.

Also be sure to keep your dog or cat away from open containers or spilled puddles of automotive antifreeze which contains ethylene glycol, for its sweet taste induces dogs and cats to keep drinking it or licking it up, and its toxicity can kill them! About five tablespoons can kill a medium size dog within days (but one teaspoon can kill a 7 pound cat, or 1 tablespoon can kill a 12 pound cat). It can be fatal to cat who just walks through a puddle of antifreeze and then licks its paws.

Early symptoms of antifreeze poisoning occur quickly and include: vomiting, sudden depression, weakness, stupor, disorientation and staggering (and sometimes convulsions), drinking lots of water, and frequent urination. Only IMMEDIATE veterinary treatment within 8 hours (4 hours for cats) may prevent death by kidney failure that can occur in 12 to 36 hours, depending on the dose. Induce vomiting and take the pet to the vet immediately!

With lower amounts of ingested antifreeze, dogs may appear to recover from the early symptoms in less than 12 hours, but kidney damage may continue and the dog may die later from kidney failure. Cats rarely recover. Get your pet to the vet fast if you want your pet to survive!

Symptoms of kidney failure in dogs and cats include: severe depression, sores in the mouth, a noticeable increase in bad breath, decreasing amounts of passed urine, then coma and death.

There are safer forms of antifreeze available which use propylene glycol, and pet owners should use them in their vehicles. Also thoroughly flush the water system of a house which sat vacant all winter and had antifreeze put into any of the pipes, so your pet does not drink any antifreeze in the tap water!

Some veterinarians consider Ethoxyquin to be a major cause of skin problems, diseases, and infertility in dogs. Some pet owners have attributed allergic reactions, skin problems, major organ failure, behavior problems, and cancer to the use of ethoxyquin in the commercial pet food eaten by their pet. Others dispute the dangers of Ethoxyquin, yet the U.S. FDA does not allow Ethoxyquin to be added to human foods.

Ethoxyquin has never even been tested to determine its safety for use in cat food. In Japan, the Department Of Pathology at Nagoya City University Medical School recently conducted a study that found ethoxyquin promoted kidney carcinogenesis, enhanced bladder carcinogesis, and significantly increased incidence of stomach tumors. The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists ethoxyquin as a pesticide.

Ethoxyquin is made by Monsanto (the same company which makes GMOs) as a rubber stabilizer, but it is also sold as an herbicide and pesticide. What is this poison doing in ANY kind of food? You should avoid feeding it to your pets. There have been rumors that lawsuits involving ethoxyquin in animal feeds have resulted in a hushed-up removal of this chemical from some commercial foods. Why would you want to feed this posion to your pet? Again, there are safe, natural alternative preservatives being used by the pet food manufacturers who care more about pets than profits.

In the USA, preservatives do NOT have to be shown on the cat or dog food label IF they were previously added to the raw materials but NOT added by the pet food manufacturer. Who came up with that bright idea? BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin and Propyl Gallate are all unhealthy artificial preservatives known to create health problems, so you may wish to avoid pet foods which are likely to contain them, even if they are not listed on the label.

An extra long shelf life (a "best before" date MORE than six months from the current date, or an "expiry date" more than 12 months from the current date) is a good clue that the product may contain one or more of these unhealthy artificial preservatives. The safe natural preservatives can only preserve freshness for up to six months ("best before" date), and prevent spoilage for 11 to 12 months ("expiry" date).

Here's another clue: the mass-market pet food brands sold through supermarkets and chain stores sometimes sit in warehouses and then on store shelves for up to 18 months before you buy them - so they are the pet foods most likely to contain those unhealthy artificial preservatives to provide an extra-long shelf life. You will find the safe natural preservatives used more often by independent pet food producers who make their pet foods in small batches and ship their cat and dog foods to your door generally within 4 to 6 weeks after they are made.

Responding to concerns of pet owners, some independent pet food manufacturers who do not mass-market their pet foods through supermarket chain stores are using safe antioxidants such as Vitamin C (ascorbate) and Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), or rosemary, oregano, clove, and other spices as preservatives. However, this reduces the freshness period of the foods to about six months, so you should be careful to look for "best before" dates on your dog foods.

Tocopherols are a source of Vitamin E, which is a strong antioxidant that retards the degradation of other vitamins and keeps fats from going rancid. Used as a safe preservative in pet foods, tocopherals can preserve freshness for up to six months ("best before" date), and safe usability ("expiry" date) for up to 11 or 12 months.

Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.

Click to see 25 Dog Foods Compared to Life's Abundance on 8 Nutrition Factors and Cost per Day to feed a 30-pound dog (70 cents).
Some highly regarded adult dry dog foods like Hill's Science Diet Nature's Best® Chicken and Brown Rice, and Royal Canin Medium Breed Adult each contain CORN or wheat or their glutens.
One of the 25 popular adult dry dog foods compared has one of the lowest nutrition ratings but one of the highest costs per day. Could it be the one you are buying for your dog?

What's Wrong With Wheat and Corn?

Many supermarket brands of cat and dog food contain a high proportion of cereals such as wheat and corn as the PRIMARY source of protein - because the pet food manufacturer is often a producer of feeds and grains for cattle or hogs. They can sell off the feed crops that are deemed unfit for animals being raised for human consumption, but are legally allowed to be fed to pet animals like your dog or cat.

By 2006, 61% of the planted area of corn (maize) in the U.S.A. was growing crops which were genetically modified to withstand higher levels of pesticides. By 2012 that ratio had increased to 88% of the U.S. corn or maize crop being GM.

In 2014 over 90% of the field corn crop was genetically modified, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (but only a small amount of sweet corn was genetically modified, which began in 2012). It's bad enough that the the field corn in your pet's food could be a GMO that was never tested for long-term health effects, and worse that it could be contaminated with higher levels of pesticide residues. The most used pesticide on corn is Roundup, made by Monsanto, whose chemical name is glyphosate. It has been linked to the widespread death of honey bee colonies. Roundup was used on two-thirds of U.S. acres of corn growing land in 2010.

In many supermarket brand cat and dog foods, two out of three of the top-listed ingredients are usually some form of grain or cereal, especially in the dry pet foods. And they will likely be grains that were graded as unfit for human consumption.

Here's the problem with feeding grains or corn instead of meat...

The nutrients in a few grains, such as brown rice, can be almost completely absorbed by cats and dogs, but up to 20% of the nutrition from other grains will not be absorbed at all.

The bio-availability of nutrients in corn and potatoes is far less than for nutrients in rice - and absorption of the nutrients in wheat, oats and beans is quite poor. Peanut hulls, often used as filler in cheap pet foods (and disguised as "vegetable fiber" on the label), have virtually NO nutritional value.

Dogs cannot digest corn and extract the nutrients, so corn tends to pass right through a dog. In a dog food, it should be considered a useless "filler" that has little nutritional value.

Yet many supermarket brands of dog food include corn as a main source of protein - even though your dog will not be able to use that protein. So the portion of what you see as "protein content" that came from corn is not nutritious protein at all. If you see "corn" or "corn meal" as the first or second item on the Ingredient List of a dog food, you could be paying for a product that might contain up to 25% useless filler.

Other useless fillers often included in cheap dog foods are: corncobs, peanut hulls, cottonseed hulls, citrus pulp, straw and wood fiber. Note that "beet fiber" is NOT a useless filler, but a useful fiber that gently aids digestion (however, "beet pulp" contains a lot of sugar). Other fibers can irritate the lining of a dog's intestines.

Feeding your dog a pet food which contains wheat, corn, corncobs, peanut hulls, or soy beans also increases the risk that the food could become contaminated with a widespread fungal mold called Aspergillus which produces a toxin called Aflatoxin. Dogs and birds are extremely sensitive to this toxin, and it has caused the death of many dogs who were fed dog foods contaminated with high levels of Aflatoxin.

Certain legume crops such as peanuts and soybeans, and grain crops such as corn and wheat, are the ones most often infested with this mold. Click here to learn more about Aflatoxin Poisoning and some pet food recalls due to contamination of corn or wheat.

Do not be fooled by an ingredient called "brewers rice". It is made out of the sweepings from the floor of feed mills and consists of small bits of rice that have broken off during the milling of grains of whole rice. It is a waste product and has almost zero nutritional value. You should also avoid "rice gluten" and "rice protein concentrate", two processed additives which have been another source of melamine poisoning.

The GOOD rice is whole brown rice, so look for "brown rice" on the ingredient list. Whole brown rice is much better for humans, dogs, and cats than refined "white rice" because most of the healthy nutrients are in the outer shell of the grain of rice, which is stripped away when refining brown rice to make white rice. For dogs, the nutrients in brown rice are much better absorbed than those in other grains. This whole grain supplies the minerals manganese, selenium, and magnesium; as well as the amino acid tryptophan and vitamins B1, B3 and B6.

A continual diet of white rice can cause diabetes in humans and animals, especially dogs. So avoid pet foods which list "white rice" instead of "brown rice". White rice, with its "empty calories", also contributes to weight gain and obesity.

Did you know that the main reason for refining white wheat flour and white rice is so that the rodents and insects will not eat the product while it is in storage? It seems that the rats and bugs know better than most humans that there is little nutrition to be found in these over-processed products. "Refining" these grains does not make them "finer" foods for you or your pet to eat, but does make them finer for preserving profits for food processors. Eating too much white flour and white sugar are the two main causes of obesity in humans.

Although dogs are omnivores and can eat both meats and vegetables, a dog's digestive system is not designed to digest grains and cereals. Whatever grains a wolf or wild dog ingested would come from eating the stomach of its prey, which often would be an animal which fed exclusively on vegetable matter and had already started to digest the food in its stomach using enzymes which dogs can't produce. About the only grain which dogs can fully digest and absorb is whole brown rice, so feeding dog foods loaded with wheat or corn does not make sense from a nutritional point of view. And since your dog does not digest wheat well, and cannot digest corn at all, it makes no economic sense to pay for dog foods that contain much of these two grains which are, in terms of dog nutrition, just cheap and useless "fillers".

Did you know that wheat and corn have been known to lead to severe digestive tract problems such as diarrhea in cats and dogs? They can also cause allergies, which may not show up for a few years. Yet CORN is an ingredient in some highly regarded, popular dog foods - including one which is often recommended or sold by veterinarians!

Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.

Click to see 25 Dog Foods Compared to Life's Abundance on 8 Nutrition Factors and Cost per Day to feed a 30-pound dog.
Some highly regarded adult dry dog foods like Hill's Science Diet Nature's Best® Chicken and Brown Rice, and Royal Canin Medium Breed Adult each contain CORN or wheat or their glutens.
One of the compared 25 popular adult dry dog foods had one of the lowest nutrition ratings but one of the highest costs per day. Could it be the one you are buying for your dog?

What's So Wrong With Soy?

(1) Soy is one of the leading causes of food allergies in dogs.

(2) Processed soy causes bloating in dogs. Large dog breeds with deep chest cavities, such as Akita, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Malamute, Saint Bernard, and Wolfhound are most at risk for bloat - which can be fatal if not treated immediately.

(3) Soy beans can cause gas in some dogs, making them rather smelly companions!

(4) Soy naturally contains plant estrogens (phyto estrogens such as estriol), which act like the hormonal animal estrogens and can interfere with reproduction and normal growth in cats and dogs.

(5) Soy contains trypsin inhibitors which block the action of enzymes which are needed to digest protein.

(6) Soy beans contain hemaglutinin, a clot-promoting compound which can cause red blood cells to clump together. This prevents the proper absorption and distribution of oxygen to the body tissues.

(7) Of all plants ever studied, soy beans contain the highest level of phytates, an organic acid which blocks the uptake of calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc - and can lead to various mineral deficiencies. These phytates are exceptionally resistant to reduction techniques during processing, and only through a long period of fermentation (by yeast) is the phytate content reduced. In other words, unfermented soy has the potential to cause mineral deficiencies; and this is the kind of soy likely to be found in many cat and dog foods.

(8) Low quality protein causes the urine to be alkaline. A dog or cat fed high quality, easily-assimilated, animal proteins tends to have acidic urine, which prevents the growth of germs and helps dissolve bladder stones and gravel.

(9) By 2014, about 94% of the soy produced in the USA was genetically modified to withstand high levels of pesticide use - and the GMO soy crops receive massive amounts of pesticide and herbicide chemicals. The more poisons sprayed on the plants, the more poison residues will be in the beans. Certified Organic soy will not contain pesticide residues or be genetically modified, but organic soy is not likely to be found in dog and cat foods.

Testing of the long-term effects of genetically-modified soy, corn, wheat, squash, tomato, papaya, or any other food crops has NEVER been done. Are you shocked to learn that U.S. health regulations do NOT require LONG-TERM testing of the effects on pets and HUMANS when consuming the new genetically-modified soy and other food crops? By contrast, in the European Union NO genetically modified fruit or vegetables are allowed on the market at all. 64 countries require the label on foods to indicate if they are genetically modified - but NOT the USA or Canada. In June, 2012: "The American Medical Association called for mandatory pre-market safety testing of genetically engineered foods." - Chicago Tribune.

(10) Dogs NEED high-quality animal protein from animal meat (including mammals, fowl and fish) - but the more soy or cereals in the dog food, the less meat and animal protein it contains.

Soy is the PRIMARY source of protein in about half of the cheap supermarket brand pet foods.

For all 10 reasons above, you may be wise to avoid dog foods which contain soy.

Note that grains which are deemed unfit for human consumption by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to pesticide residue are still legal to use without limitation in pet foods!

You would be wise to avoid dog foods that contain much of grains other than "BROWN RICE". (You would be wise to avoid "white rice" and "rice concentrate" and "rice gluten" and "brewer's rice" too.) You pay too much for pet foods that contain these low-cost and low-nutrition grain or bean ingredients instead of named animal meats or named animal meals, and your dog doesn't really need them. A cat needs them even less.


Click to see 25 Dog Foods Compared to Life's Abundance on 8 Nutrition Factors and Cost per Day to feed a 30-pound dog (70 cents).
One of these 25 popular dry dog foods had one of the lowest nutrition ratings but one of the highest costs per day. Could it be the one you are buying for your dog?

Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.

Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs

Food allergies (or a food hypersensitivity) may not show up for some time, so even though a particular dog food did not appear to cause an allergy problem after continual use - or even while eating the same food for all of the dog's life - the symptoms may suddenly appear much later. The hypersensitivity or allergy is usually a reaction to a certain kind of plant or animal protein. The following symptoms may indicate a food allergy. (The most likely suspects are: wheat, corn, soy, and artificial preservatives; but some dogs can develop allergies to milk and dairy products, eggs, beef, chicken, pork, or fish.)

Food Allergy Symptoms: A dull coat of fur (not shiny), patchy fur, overall hair loss, red skin, itchy skin, flaking skin, sneezing, dog shakes head, dog rubs face on carpet, dog licks front paws, ear inflammation, chronic ear infection, flatulence (farting), anal itching, diarrhea, vomiting, symptoms similar to asthma.

Putting the dog on a time-consuming "exclusion diet" for at least 12 weeks is the only way to identify the particular substance which causes the allergy. Wheat or wheat gluten is the most likely cause, but note that simply switching from a cheap dog food to a premium brand will not help if the new premium brand also contains wheat or wheat gluten.

Some premium brands of dog food contain none of the usual suspects - wheat, corn or soy - and are also free of artificial preservatives. So switching to one of these higher quality premium dog foods may cause the allergy symptoms to disappear. But you will still not know exactly what caused the food allergy in your dog.

Note that dog treats or a human food given as a treat may also contain the substance that gives your dog an allergic reaction.

The best way to help avoid food allergies developing in your adult dog or new puppy is never to start serving dog foods which contain wheat, corn, soy, or artificial preservatives like BHA, BHT, or Ethoxyquin.

Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.

Click to see 25 Dog Foods Compared to Life's Abundance on 8 Nutrition Factors and Cost per Day to feed a 30-pound dog (70 cents).
Life's Abundance dog foods contain NO corn or corn glutens, NO wheat or wheat glutens, NO byproducts, and NO artificial colorings.
One of these 25 popular dry dog foods had one of the lowest nutrition ratings but one of the highest costs per day. Could it be the one you are buying for your dog?

Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning and
Dog Food Recalls Due to Aflatoxin

Some grains and legumes can introduce an additional health risk to your pet in the form of a toxic mold (a fungus) sometimes found in shipments of grains such as wheat, corn and rice, or legumes such as peanuts and soy beans. Another risk is pesticide residues in grain crops or soy beans that can poison your pet over time.

Peanut hulls are a non-nutritious filler sometimes added to cheap dog foods, and often disguised as "vegetable fiber". Peanut hulls are particularly susceptible to the fungus mold that produces potentially deadly aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a toxic poison and highly carginocenic substance produced by certain fungi in or on foods and feeds, especially in field corn and peanuts. That fungus can be any variety of Aspergillus, but aflatoxin is most often produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. The Aspergillus mold is white and gray and appears fluffy or feathery.

Humans have a very high resistance to aflatoxin poisoning and rarely die from acute aflatoxicosis. But NO animal is resistant to aflatoxin poisoning, and birds and dogs are especially susceptible to the lethal effects of aflatoxin. In dogs, a high dose can cause painful death within days, or with lower doses accumulated over time it produces liver disease and triggers the growth of cancerous tumors.

The U.S. FDA most rigorously tests peanuts and peanut butter destined for human consumption because they frequently contain aflatoxins and are widely consumed. (Has anyone wondered if a severe "peanut allergy" might actually be caused by aflatoxin?)

Aflatoxin can also be found in tree nuts such as pecans, pistachio nuts, walnuts, and Brazil nuts, and in seeds such as sunflower seeds.

Some of the crops most frequently affected by aflatoxin are: corn and maize, wheat, soy beans, and especially peanuts. The Aspergillus mold is more frequently found in crops which have been stressed by drought. This fungal mold grows mainly during storage, and grows best in conditions of high heat and/or high humidity. Containers of grains like corn and wheat shipped from China by sea through moist and hot tropical regions may be fertile breeding grounds for this fungus.

The presence of aflatoxin at low levels IS SO COMMON in animal and human foods that the FDA considers it an "unavoidable" contaminant and only gets concerned when the concentration of aflatoxin in an individual food product goes beyond a certain "action level" - a low 20 ppb for peanuts and Brazil nuts, but a high 300 ppb for feedlot beef cattle feed, and 200 ppb for pig feed. (ppb = parts per billion)

The U.S. FDA and Department of Agriculture are mainly concerned with foods that enter the human food supply, dairy animals that produce milk for human consumption, and animals whose meat is consumed by humans. You can see that levels of aflatoxin deemed safe for a cow or pig eating animal feed are much higher than safe levels for humans eating peanuts (yet humans are actually more resistant to this toxin.)

But dogs are the MOST sensitive to aflatoxin, and pet dogs are being fed commercial dog foods which often contain the same wheat, corn, or soy which is fed to cattle and pigs. Your dog may be much more susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning even at those "safe" levels set for cows and pigs. Dogs have died after eating dog foods containing wheat or corn contaminated with the mold which produces aflatoxin (see below).

Peanuts and other nuts and seeds are probably something you should NOT risk sharing with your dog, because of its high sensitivity to aflatoxin poisoning and the frequent presence of some low amount of aflatoxin in peanut products, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.

The FDA does not routinely test pet food products unless there is some cause for concern, and its "action level" set to protect humans from human foods like nuts might be too high to protect dogs and birds who are especially sensitive to aflatoxin at much lower levels. In other words, the contaminated nuts may be safe for YOU - but not for your dog or bird. Still, you AND your dog should not eat any nuts or sunflower seeds that appear moldy - especially if the mold is white and gray and fluffy!

Who is checking the animal-grade corn and wheat that finds its way into dog foods? The "action level" set to protect beef cattle may be too high to protect the much more susceptible dogs who are fed the same corn, wheat, or soy (or peanut hulls or corncobs used as filler in cheap dog foods).

Now that many pet food manufacturers are cutting costs and increasing profits by putting MORE corn and wheat and soy (and sometimes peanut hulls) into pet foods - and also importing cheap wheat gluten and rice gluten from China, where health standards are lower - there is even more risk in buying pet foods containing wheat gluten or rice gluten - or "meals" made from wheat, corn or soy.

The massive March 2007 pet food recall started with 60 million cans and pouches of cat and dog foods made with a Chinese shipment of wheat gluten contaminated with a rat poison known as melamine which is illegal to use in the USA. Inspection standards are too low in China to be assured their pet food ingredients are safe. One of the bags of wheat gluten imported from China which was later inspected (too late) by the U.S. FDA actually had the name of the poison (melamine) printed on the outside of the bag!

One fungus that sometimes contaminates wheat shipments produces one of the less toxic poisons called vomitoxin which can cause your dog to stop eating, start vomiting, and have diarrhea. This toxin is produced by the Fusarium bacteria which grows in grains, most often in wheat and barley.

But other fungal molds such as Aspergillus produce a much more dangerous mycotoxin such as aflatoxin which can cause weight loss, lameness, liver damage, and even death for dogs.

Clostridium botulinum is a bacteria which produces a toxin deadly to dogs. It is an anaerobic bacterium that produces botulism toxin, which is one of the most powerful biotoxins. Cats are resistant to this toxin but humans and dogs have become paralyzed after ingesting it. Cooking can kill the bacteria but the botulism toxin is NOT neutralized by normal cooking temperatures.

Note that lameness can also be caused by Lyme disease. And a temporary hind leg paralysis can be caused by the dog ingesting macadamia nuts.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease include: a sudden but recurring lameness that may shift from leg to leg, sometimes a fever and depression, extreme sensitivity to being touched, and occasionally swollen lymph nodes. The infected dog usually walks stiffly with a hunched back. Lyme disease in dogs and humans is transmitted by the bite of a blood-sucking tick, and often a tell-tale round red lesion which resembles a "bullseye" target appears at the site of the tick bite. Then the symptoms appear a few days later. Lyme disease is most common in the northwest USA, Mississippi, and California - but year-by-year it has been spreading across the USA and Canada. It is much rarer in cats. Early treatment with antibiotics can cure it. But advanced cases of Lyme Disease are incurable.

Once the Aspergillus mold has produced its aflatoxin, just cooking, heating or freezing the aflatoxin does NOT destroy it or reduce its toxicity. The pet food preservatives Ethoxyquin and Vitamin E are antioxidants which preserve vitamins and prevent fats from going rancid, but they do NOT inhibit the growth of fungus, mold, or bacteria.

Allicin - a sulphur compound created when fresh garlic is cut or crushed - IS effective against the Aspergillus fungus itself (and has also been known to neutralize toxins produced by some bacteria such as E. Coli ). Refined and stabilized pure Allicin can be safely consumed by humans and dogs and cats, but dogs should not eat very much whole garlic. A daily dose of Allicin in capsule form keeps it circulating in the bloodstream, where it enhances the body's immune response and acts against invading bacteria, virus, fungus, yeast and mold organisms.

Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning in Dogs and Cats

Early symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning in dogs and cats include: lethargy, loss of appetite, persistent vomiting. Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible to increase your pet's chance of survival.

Later symptoms include: fever, orange-colored urine, and jaundice (the whites of the eyes, gums, and non-pigmented skin turn yellowish). Jaundice indicates substantial liver damage has already occurred. More severely affected dogs or cats produce blood-tinged vomit and bloody diarrhea, or bloody and blackened stools. Dogs can take several days to three weeks to exhibit the serious signs of aflatoxin poisoning. Immediate treatment may be your pet's only chance to survive.

Aflatoxins cause cancer in animals and humans, and they are among the most carginogenic substances known to man. Aflatoxins poison the liver and can lead to the formation of tumors. So even if your dog survives a milder case of Aflatoxin poisoning, the damage may already have been done and the dog may later develop cancerous tumors.

Illness or death caused by Aflatoxin is seen much more often in dogs because more corn products such as ground corn, corn meal, and corn glutens are used as ingredients in dog foods than are used in cat foods. Corn is one of the field grain crops (along with wheat) most often contaminated by the Aspergillus fungal mold which produces Aflatoxins.

Since corn is virtually UNdigestible by dogs, it makes no sense to risk liver damage or death from Aflatoxin poisoning by feeding your dog any commercial dog food that contains any type of corn or maize.

On December 20, 2005, Diamond Pet Foods initiated a voluntary recall after aflatoxin was discovered in corn used in its cat food product.

Then some 19 brands of Diamond, Country Value, and Professional cat and dog foods containing corn were recalled. By January 6, 2006 an estimated 100 dogs and one cat had died, according to Cornell University veterinarians. (Note how many more dogs died. Dogs are much more susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning than cats.)

In 1999, Doane Pet Care recalled a dry dog food made at one of its plants and packaged under 54 brand names, including Ol' Roy (a Wal-Mart house brand). This time, the fungal aflatoxin in their contaminated wheat killed 25 dogs.

Pet food recalls due to aflatoxin contamination continue to occur to this day. Avoiding dog foods which contain wheat or corn or soy beans or peanut hulls can minimize the risk of death for your dog. Not feeding your dog peanuts or "tree nuts" like pistachios and pecans can also minimize the risk of aflatoxin poisioning.

Aflatoxins are also highly carcinogenic because they bind with DNA and cause cell mutations. As far back as 1968, researchers Newberne and Wogan were able to produce malignant tumors in rats with less than 1 milligram of aflatoxin per kilogram of feed.

Aflatoxin may be even more deadly to dogs when you consider the following:
It is known that eating small amounts of aflatoxins over a period of time will cause cumulative liver damage or the development of cancerous tumors - even when the small amounts do not cause a dog to die within days after eating foods found to be contaminated with aflatoxin and subject to a pet food recall. Those are the cases which are KNOWN and REPORTED.

But every year there could be tens of thousands of cases of dogs dying of liver disease and cancer that were actually caused the dogs being fed contaminated human foods like peanuts and Brazil nuts, and dog foods containing wheat or corn contamintated with aflatoxin - but the link would never be reported.

Thus aflatoxin may be killing many more dogs each year than are being reported, and aflatoxin poisoning may be a far greater health risk than suspected. It may be wise to avoid this risk of your dog dying a painful death by avoiding the foods which often become contaminated with the fungus that produce the aflatoxin - peanuts, peanut hulls, soybeans, wheat, and corn. Your dog DOES NOT NEED ANY of these foods - and feeding your dog the brands of dog food which contain them is needlessly putting your dog's life at risk. Realize that recalls usually are triggered when a number of dogs have already died after being fed contaminated dog food. Don't let your dog be one of the unlucky ones. Don't feed your pet those dog foods which are frequently found to be contaminated with aflatoxin. It would be a shame to let the unnecessary addition of useless fillers like peanut hulls or an undigestable grain like corn lead to the death of your precious pet.

There are safe and healthy dog foods available in the USA which have not been the subject of aflatoxin recalls (or any recalls) because they contain NO corn, NO wheat, NO peanuts, and NO peanut hulls. Usually these are independent pet food companies which make their pet foods in small batches so they are never stored for 12 months or more like many mass-market brands of dog food. They may be "premium" brands which appear to cost more, but because they contain more nutrient-dense animal foods like actual mammal meat, fowl, and fish (not fillers or undigestable corn) you can feed your dog a smaller quantity, which can bring down the cost per serving so it is close to the same - or even LESS - than the cheap brands.

h Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.

Is a Named "MEAT" the FIRST Ingredient on the Label of Your Dog's Food?

Why do pet food manufacturers add these low-quality and sometimes tainted ingredients to the food which is supposed to nourish your cat or dog? It's because they cost less than a specified animal meat or named meat "meal"..

Yet animal meat proteins and fats are what your pet really needs for optimal health. The original commercial pet foods contained meat. Now they tend to contain less and less meat and more and more grains and fillers, plus various kinds of unspecified "meal" which are not all animal meat, but are likely ground up waste products extracted from rendering vats (unless they include the specific NAME of the animal they are made from, such as "chicken meal").

It's like they are on a mission to keep filling that dog food can or pouch with less and less meat or named meat meal, while they keep charging the same or higher prices for their pet products.

Less meat means lower costs and higher profits for the pet food makers.
Less nutrition means more health problems for your precious pet.

Whose side are you really on? Do you want good health and a long life for your pet - or more pet food profits for the uncaring corporate pet food makers?

Some pet owners believe they can't afford to pay the higher price per bag or can for nutritious dog food brands that contain actual animal proteins and other healthy and safe ingredients. In that case, then substituting some lower-quality plant proteins for the more nutritious NAMED animal proteins to keep the cost of a bag of dog food lower might make some sense.

But when pet food makers substitute cheap grains and animal byproducts for meat, just to fill the cans or bags of dog food with less expensive ingredients and earn higher profits - without the substitution of the cheap ingredients being clearly understandable to the dog food buyers who actually read the labels - this makes no sense for the pet owner who can afford to feed his dog the healthiest food and is trusting the dog food makers to supply nutritious food in the commercial dog food he buys from them.

But, alas, even the pet owner with best intentions and a willingness to pay more for the healthiest food for his pet often ends up buying dog food that is filled with low-quality ingredients, useless fillers, rendered byproducts, and unspecified meals made from byproducts, rancid fats, carginogenic food colorings, and artificial preservatives - and sometimes pesticides and poisons that contaminate the cheap ingredients like wheat, glutens, and corn.

Even if he reads the Ingredient List he may not know which ingredients are unhealthy or of low nutritional value. And even if he does, some of the low-quality and unhealthy ingredients are often disguised to keep him from seeing the truth.

His poor pet gets poor nutrition, and suffers needless health problems and perhaps a painful death as a consequence.

Poor nutrition can lead to a shorter life span, as we can see when North American dogs and cats rarely reach even half of their potential life expectancy of 27 to 30 years.

The average life span of a mid-size dog in the USA is about 12.8 years (cats 12-14 years). Toy Poodles and Toy Daschunds live an average of 14.4 years, but Irish Wolfhounds only 6.2 years. Yet the longest reported dog life span was almost 30 years.

If you're a dog owner, would you rather have your pet live with you for 12 years - or 20 years? Or 27 years?

Just feeding your cat or dog healthier food can add extra active years to its life. And a well-fed, healthy pet will likely die peacefully of old age - not from some painful disease that requires expensive and ultimately futile treatment in a veterinariary hospital.

Ensuring your pet receives a healthy, balanced diet can help avoid the difficult decision to watch your beloved companion suffer from a painful disease that cannot be cured, or that you cannot afford to pay to cure - or to make that agonizing decision to have your faithful furry friend "put down" by an injection of poison.

Ingredient lists with words which disguise the real nature of the ingredients, labels with pretty pictures and misleading names, and dirty tricks of the trade which use artificial colorings to make cheap grains and garbage meat byproducts look like fresh red meat can fool many well-meaning cat and dog owners into buying low-quality products and serving unhealthy foods to their precious pets. Read on, and you will learn about the good and bad ingredients in the food you feed your dog - and the wording on the label which keeps you from seeing the truth.

Spraying dry cat and dog foods made mostly from cheap grains and cereals (which a pet would normally refuse to eat, and probably shouldn't eat) with rendered animal fats made from garbage "restaurant grease" and rancid cooking oils can fool a dog or cat into thinking this is a tasty meat, so he eats the low-quality kibble and even begs for more.

Fats are what make a red meat taste good to dogs and cats and humans - which is why a prime rib steak which is marbeled with more beef fat than a sirloin steak is just plain tastier to a human, especially when barbequed or grilled and flavored with the smoke from burning fat which drips onto the charcoal or grill plate below.

Thus the addition of animal fats for flavor fools the pet AND the pet-owner into thinking this low-nutrition dry pet food is what the pet craves.

But these are not likely to be "good fats". We have learned in recent years that rancid oils and fats contain transfats which can potentially lead to cancer. Do you really want to feed your dog a dry pet food that has been sprayed with transfats just so he will eat something that even a dog would normally not want to eat?

The ingredient label on cat and dog foods may not even tell you exactly what "meats" they actually contain - if they contain any at all. The "mystery meat" in those products, exactly WHAT IS IT?  Is there any animal meat in it at all?

Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

To learn MORE about what's really in dog and cat foods and pet treats, read our Safe Cat Food page.

Click to see 25 Dog Foods Compared to Life's Abundance on 8 Nutrition Factors and Cost per Day to feed a 30-pound dog (70 cents).
All of Life's Abundance pet foods and treats are corn-free and wheat-free, and contain no artificial colorings or flavors.
One of those other 25 popular dry dog foods in the comparison list has one of the lowest nutrition ratings but one of the highest costs per day. Could it be the one you are buying for your dog?

The Truth Is In The Label - IF You Can Understand It!

The Meaning of "Meat"

If the ingredient list on the label says "meat", the U.S. regulations say it must contain ONLY specified muscle meats from cattle, pigs, sheep, or goats. That is the REAL meat that provides the best proteins for your pet, and it may even be as fresh when packaged as the meat sold to humans.

If the commercial dog food actually contained such nutritious meats, it would certainly state "meat" on the label's ingredient list, for this is something to brag about - and something that could entice caring and careful pet owners to pay good money for the product.

If it doesn't mention "meat" of some kind in the INGREDIENT list, then probably there is NO fresh "meat" in the pet food product at all!

If the ingredient list says "chicken", the same U.S. regulations say it must be chicken meat - but their definition allows chicken bones to be considered as part of "chicken" meat. So what the product actually contains may be cheap chicken backs - the spine and the ribs, which might contain some scraps of actual breast meat which was stripped off for human consumption. Or it might contain meat from chickens which were considered unfit for human consumption.

You just won't know from the label, so here is where you need to choose a pet food manufacturer you can trust to always use ingredients which actually are safe and nutritious for your pet, and not always use the cheapest ones that can still look good on the label.

We are talking here about the Ingredient List - not the name of the pet food product.

What's In A Name?

The product name on the label is also regulated in the USA, but not very well. You will see why when you read about the "with" rule and the "dinner" regulation.

First, when the product has a named, specified meat (e.g. "Beef for Dogs") in its name, without any other qualifying words other than "Dogs", the dog food ingredients must be at least 95% of that specified meat by weight, not counting the moisture content - or at least 70% of the product by weight must be that meat if it's a dry product. So you know what you're getting with a name like that.

If the name has a combination of named meats with no other qualifier (e.g. "Beef and Liver" or "Beef and Liver for Dogs") the two meats together must comprise the same 95% of the product by weight, with the first ingredient listed comprising the greater amount by weight. That's pretty clear and reasonable. But watch out for those deceptive "qualifier" words like "dinner" or "formula"!

Under U.S. regulations, when a product is labelled as a "dinner" (such as "Chicken Dinner") any named ingredient or a combination of named ingredients must comprise at least 25% of the weight of the product (excluding water used in processing), or at least 10% of the weight of dry matter. The product name is usually a named meat followed by the usual qualifier "dinner". But other commonly added qualifiers are: platter, entree, formula, and nuggets. A combination of ingredients listed in the product name is allowed (e.g. "Chicken and Turkey Platter") as long as the percentage of total weight is 25% as before, AND each ingredient comprises at least 3% of the product weight (excluding water for processing), and all ingredient names appear in descending order by weight.

That's not very much, that 25% of the total weight. What else comprises up to 75% of the pet food? When you pay for a "chicken dinner" product do you want to be paying for a can of food that might be 25% chicken meat plus 75% byproducts, rendered meals, cheap grains, and useless fillers?

Generic "Meal" = Ground Up Garbage

Don't be fooled by any ingredient on the dog food ingredient list that includes the word "meal" - such as "animal meal" or "meat and bone meal" - UNLESS it also specifies the name of the actual source, such as "lamb meal", "chicken meal" or "catfish meal", in which case the ingredient must actually made from that specified animal, fowl, cr fish.

"Meal" may sound like something good for your pet to eat, but if it is an unspecified kind of "meal" or just "animal meal" it does not come from fresh slaughtered meat and is more likely "byproducts" (i.e. waste products).

Dry meals are most often used in dry dog foods created by the extrusion process, and these will also contain meals from grains or starchy vegetables because the process requires lots of starch to bind the ingredients together. The same applies to wet dog foods which contain fake pieces of shaped "meat" formed from meat and vegetable meals by mechanical extruders and then colored with artificial colorings to resemble actual chunks of meat.

Any type of animal "meal" is likely the output of the rendering process which removes fats and water by boiling for several hours at a temperature of 270 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, then drying and grinding up the output. (Bu see the expections below.)

The term "digest", such as "animal digest" is a form of "meal" which has undergone further processing with heat, enzymes and acids to make insoluble material soluble and form a concentrate. Animal digests are often added as a flavoring to the fats sprayed onto dry pet foods to add a meat flavor and make them smell and taste good to a dog which would normally avoid eating the dry concoction.

The long cooking time at high tempertatures kills germs, but it also breaks down the enzymes naturally found in the meat ingredients, and can also "denature" (mutate) the animal proteins. The actual nutritional value of rendered meals will be inferior to the meat of fresh-slaughtered beef, pork, or poultry. Animal meals do not contain the natural animal fats because they are removed in the rendering process.

The exception to "meal" ingredients to avoid may be meals made from a specifically NAMED species of mammal, bird or fish. Examples are ingredients that say... chicken meal, turkey meal, duck meal, pork meal, lamb meal, beef meal, or catfish meal. These ingredients will have been rendered and dried, but will not be made from those disgusting rendered "byproducts".

Named "meals" are acceptable additions to wet pet foods which list a named "meat" as a main ingredient (near the top of the list), but when the "meal" is listed higher than the named "meat", or if no specifically named "meat" is listed at all, then that pet food is an inferior product with more byproducts than real meat. To make a dry pet food, some of the water content of any raw meat needs to be removed, so a named meat "meal" such as "chicken meal" at the top or near the top of an Ingredient List is acceptable even if a named "meat" is not listed.

If you know what species of animal went into the rendering vat (and nothing else with it) - such as a "chicken meal" or "beef meal" - this is not such a bad thing. But when the type of animal is NOT specified, you can expect the "animal meal" to be made from some really disgusting things.

3D = "Dying, Disabled, or Diseased"
4D = "Dead, Dying, Disabled, or Diseased"

The "animal meal" can be the dried and ground-up garbage produced by a rendering vat into which have been thrown the carcasses of one or more of what the U.S government and the pet food industry calls "4D" animals - "dead, dying, disabled, or diseased". They should add a 5th "D" for "decomposing" because by the time the dead animals reach the rendering vat they are already decomposing (i.e. rotting).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines "3D" animals as ones that have been slaughtered. Presumably this means they were not already dead and rotting when processed as pet food, but this seems to imply that the other 3 "D" words still apply... "dying, disabled, or diseased".

They refer to 4D and 3D animals as "Inedible" and require that chemicals be applied to "denature" the meat so it is not mistaken for meat that humans would eat. It would be bad for a human like you, but they seem to think it's okay for your pets.

Although it is happening less frequently in recent years, those 4D animals may include euthanized pets, euthanized stray dogs and cats from animal shelters and veterinarian offices, and any "road kill" or dead wild animals and birds picked up by humane society or municipal personnel.

Some humane society branches pay to incinerate their euthanized cats and dogs and dead wild animals - but not all. And just one city can produce many tons of animal and bird carcasses for delivery to rendering plants in just one year.

It was not long ago that the 4D animals were banned for human consumption in the USA, but the 4D animal carcasses are still permitted in pet foods in the USA. Your dog or cat has probably been eating them for some time now.

Note the word "diseased" in the definition of "4D" animals. It does not matter if the animal was riddled with cancer, or died of some infection, or died from a build-up of melamine or pesticides in its organs, or was poisoned to death with pentabarbitol - its entire body gets thrown into the rendering vat and goes into many pet foods as a generic "meal" or as "animal byproducts".

It's not cost-efficient for the renderers to take time to remove flea collars, pet I.D. tags (which may contain lead), or even the bags the dead animals are delivered in; so this all gets thrown into the rendering vat that will eventually produce a ground-up generic "meal" that finds its way into many commercial cat and dog foods that are not good for your pet - and not a good value for your money.

The high temperature of the rendering vat (270 degrees Fahrenheit) will kill most bacteria and other microbes. But the high heat also destroys the natural enzymes and some of the nutritious proteins in the animal meat.

But the rendering process DOES NOT deactivate the barbiturate poison called pentabarbitol used to euthanize (i.e. kill) the diseased, dying, or unwanted dogs and cats and horses. It is still in their dead bodies, and can get into your pet's food if it contains "byproducts" or a generic "meal".

Even in recent times, testing by the U.S. FDA labs has revealed traces of pentabarbitol in some pet foods, which could only come from euthanized pets which were rendered down into some form of "meal" or "byproduct" that was added to the pet food. The FDA claims the levels are too low to cause illness or death in dogs and cats - but some veterinarians disagree. And, of course, the smaller the pet, the less of the poison it will take to cause illness or death.

Is this the kind of dogfood you want your precious pet to be eating?

If not, avoid any pet food with "byproducts" or an unspecified "meal" in the ingredient list.

Also note that "byproducts" or "by-products", such as "chicken byproducts" also refer to "rendered" 4D meat or fowl that went into the same kind of rendering vats with fur, feathers, diseased organs, and all. Just thinking about this kind of "food" could make you feel sick - and it probably does make your dog or cat sick over time if you keep feeding it rendered meals and byproducts.

You are more likely to find the words "byproduct" and a generic "meal" (i.e. the specific animal source is not named) on the ingredient lists of the pet foods which are most frequently advertised on television. Don't just believe the hype in the ads or be fooled by lovely but misleading images. Read the product labels and you will see the truth.

Your pet needs food that contains animal "meat" - not some generic "meal" made from rendered bones and hooves and rotting 4D animal carcasses.

Mill Run is the vegetable version of an animal byproduct, being the residue left over after the nutritious part of the vegetable product (i.e. grain or legume or vegetable, such as wheat or beans or corn) is removed after a milling process. "Corn Mill Run" would be a pulverized blend of the corn cob and husk which is left after a milling process has removed the kernels. When added to a cheap dog food, it is just a "filler" that does your dog no good - and displaces other foods that might actually be nutritious and usable. Dogs cannot even digest corn kernels, much less the cobs or husks. If there is corn in your commercial dog food, it's there to make more profit from waste material, not to make your dog healthy.

Ever since the huge multi-national conglomerates started to buy up pet food manufacturing companies, they have used them as a means of making profits from what were waste materials from the meatpacking and feed milling industries. To them, pet foods are a way to turn waste material into money, and that is why you see so many inferior food items being added to that bag or can of commercial pet food. If your dog will happily eat the foods which humans won't eat, and they provide safe and healthy nutrition for your dog, then that can be a good thing for your dog, for you, and for the environment.

But when your dog is fed waste material with little or no real nutritional value, your dog is being robbed of the real nutrients it needs for a long and healthy life - and you are being robebd of the money you thought was paying for good nutrition for your dog.

It seems like the makers of these inferior pet foods spend more money on advertising than they do on putting nutritious and safe ingredients into their foods for your dog or cat. And who pays for the advertising? You do, when you buy their products.

Wouldn't you rather invest your money in the healthiest foods for your pet, rather than pay for TV ads for low-quality pet foods with cheap fillers and unhealthy ingredients?

It's true that quality pet foods with safe and healthy ingredients can cost more to produce and cost more to purchase, but the benefits of health and longer life for your pet are worth it!

But also consider this... when a pet food contains more nutritious ingredients, the cat or dog will tend to EAT LESS of the nutrient-rich food than of a cheap pet food with less nutrients. The difference might be as much as half, so do you really save much money by feeding your pet a half-price cheap food with less real nutrients?

Also consider that when your pet eats more of the inferior foods containing lots of soy beans, corn, other grains, and fillers it will produce more smelly methane gas and excrete a higher volume of stinky stool for you to clean up.

When you also consider that a cat or dog food which supplies the best nutrition will help your pet remain healthy and avoid more of those costly veterinarian visits, the purchase of those cheap, low-quality pet foods may be "penny wise and pound foolish".

And feeding your pet the healthiest foods can help extend its life by several years. Cutting costs on your pet's food may be cutting years from its life. The mass-market pet food manufacturers are already doing that. You don't have to.

Some companies which make cat and dog foods and treats have NOT been subject to recalls because their healthy and safe foods never contained ANY wheat gluten or rice gluten or rice concentrate that could have been contaminated. And they have NOT been recalled due to aflatoxin contamination because they DO NOT contain corn or wheat or peanut hulls.

And they DO NOT contain unhealthy artificial preservatives like BHA and BHT and Ethoxyquin, artificial food colorings, or toxic residues like melamine or pentabarbitol.

Premium dog food from some companies contains only quality ingredients such as premium natural chicken and top-quality catfish with the best fruit, vegetables and select farm foods. They also contain a superior blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They never contain artificial colorings or artificial preservatives, because they don't need to!

In some premium dog foods like Life's Abundance, Chicken Fat, Catfish Meal, Flaxseed Meal, and Eggs provide a natural balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and shiny coat. Ground Brown Rice provides an excellent source of highly digestible carbohydrates for short-term energy and dietary fiber that is gentle on the stomach. Beet Fiber and Natural Bacteria Cultures help the digestive system work at peak efficiency, allowing your pet to get even more nutrition from the wholesome foods.

Feed nutritious and safe dog food to your beloved pets to give them a healthy, active, and long life!


Click to see 25 Dog Foods Compared to Life's Abundance on 8 Nutrition Factors and Cost per Day to feed a 30-pound dog (70 cents).
Some highly regarded adult dry dog foods like Hill's Science Diet Nature's Best® Chicken and Brown Rice, and Royal Canin Medium Breed Adult each contain corn or wheat or their glutens.
One of the compared 25 popular dry adult dog foods had one of the lowest nutrition ratings but one of the highest costs per day. Could it be the one you are buying for your dog?

To learn some MORE interesting (and disturbing) facts and comments about the pet food recall, the REAL ingredients of many popular brands of dog and cat food, and how they can harm your pet, click here to read the Safe Cat Food page.

Dog Nutrition | Dangerous or Deadly Dog Foods | Toxic Preservatives to Avoid | Symptoms of Melamine Poisoning | Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning | Food Allergies
Where's the Meat? What IS the Meat? | What's Wrong with Wheat and Corn? | What's Wrong with Soy? |

©2007,2014 Michael Star Co.  All rights reserved.

The content of this article is intended "for educational purposes only" and should not be construed as veterinary or medical advice.
E&O excepted. Any pet food product brand names mentioned herein are registered trademarks of their respective owners.

GIFTS for Dogs

GIFTS for Cats

How long can a well cared for, medium-sized dog live?

Is it
7 years?

14 years?

21 years?

27 years?

30 years?

37 years?

The longest-living dog in the USA lived nearly 30 years (a terrier-cross named Max from Louisiana died in 2013 at 29 years and 9 months).

(The longest-living cat lived 37 years.)

The potential life span of a medium sized dog is:
27 years!

The AVERAGE life span of a medium-sized dog in North America is
less than 13 years (12.8)

That's less than HALF of the dog's potential life span!


is robbing your pet of many years of healthy, active life
... and all those extra years you could share together.

Dog and cat foods with SUPERIOR BALANCED NUTRITION are supplied by this American pet food maker:  Life's Abundance

All Life's Abundance cat and dog food products contain NO wheat, wheat gluten, corn, corn gluten, byproducts, artificial colorings, BHA, BHT, or Ethoxyquin.

Safe Dog Food. Dog Nutrition. Human Foods Toxic To Dogs.