To many Americans, the word “pet” does not do justice to the spot our four legged friends have in our hearts. Our cats and dogs are members of our family and are treated as such. Those of us that have “fur children” and animal best friends know how important what goes into their bodies is to their overall health. Do you know what is in the food you give to your cat? Do you read the labels of your dog’s treats? What do you really know about your pet food and treats?
Important Update: The FDA has launched an ongoing investigation into pet deaths and illnesses related to the consumption of beef jerky treats. It is estimated that over 1,000 dogs have died. Nearly all of the reported deaths/illnesses can be traced to jerky imported from China. See the FDA notice here. We’ve compiled a list of sources for dog treats made in the USA. Please save and share it in addition to the article below and our other related pet articles.
Here are some tips and suggestions to help you decide what is good for your furry family member. Always remember to consult your veterinarian when changing the diet of your cat or dog. Like humans, every animal is different. Some have allergies, sensitivities and medical issues which could even be associated with a certain dog or cat breeds.
Does buying dog food that says “Made in USA” on the label automatically mean that your dog/cat is 100% safe?
The answer is no, but he/she will be SAFER. Despite where pet food is made, there is still a risk of bacteria contamination. Just like human food, there are no guarantees. Most pet food is not kept in consistent temperature conditions. Heat and humidity can promote bacteria growth. Purchasing pet food made in the USA could decrease this risk as time in transport is lessened. This could decrease exposure to temperature changes.
Remember, the huge pet food recall in 2007? Cats and dogs all over the US were being sickened and killed from pet food that contained melamine. This ingredient originated from China. However, it still was found in products manufactured in the USA. How was this possible? Some pet food made in America contains “fillers”, or additional ingredients added to the product to bulk it up and serves no nutritional purpose. It is not required to list where pet food ingredients come from. The same is true with human food. Reading the ingredient label and doing company research is very important!
Does seeing the word “Natural” on the label mean the pet food is 100% healthier?
Again, the answer is no. There is no regulation in the pet food industry that defines what “natural” means. It could mean there are no added colors, which would make it safer, but not 100% “natural”. You need to read your labels and research the brands. Make sure the pet food manufacturer’s definition of “natural” matches yours.
Do all of the products manufactured by the companies named contain 100% made in the USA ingredients? In most cases, no. However, the companies we had chosen to highlight take great pride in research and putting the overall health of our four legged family members as a #1 priority.
Merrick makes cat and dog food (in both wet and dry varieties), as well as pet treats in Hereford, Texas. What I LOVE about Merrick is they state in their 5-Star Promise (located on the Merrick website) that ALL of their ingredients are from local farms and NOTHING comes from China. They consider themselves “natural” because they consider Merrick products to be food in it’s purest state- no artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives.
EVO brand offers pet treats and food for dogs, cats and ferrets. According to the EVO website, their made in the USA pet products contain more protein and fats, and less carbs and starches, like the diets of wild dogs and cats.
California Natural specializes in wet and dry dog food and dog treats, but does also offer high quality cat food and treats too. California Natural products are recommended for dogs that follow the “Rotational Feeding” program, a program that believes offering a variety of protein into a diet leads to optimal health.
Both EVO and California Natural products are manufactured in Hereford, Texas, and both brands are a subsidiary of Nutura Pet Products. According to thier website, Nutura highly regulates it’s manufacturing process.Why do I LOVE EVO and California Natural products? Only high quality, natural ingredients are used and all of it’s meats pass USDA inspection. Their product manufacturing is monitored as rigorously (maybe more in my opinion) as most people food!
Wysong manufactures food and supplements in the USA for dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, horses, and yes, humans (supplements). Wysong considers themselves natural because they use all natural ingredients and no artificial sugars, coloring, preservatives. Wysong is family run and was founded by a veterinarian, Dr. Wysong, in 1979. Why do I LOVE Wysong products? Extensive research has been put behind their products and every ingredient serves a nutritional purpose., On their website Wysong is very honest in where their ingredients originate and in MOST cases they do all come from the US. One thing that Wysong does make clear is that their are no domestic sources for amino acids and ALL are manufactured in China. And FYI, amino acids are considered important dietary supplements and are added to human vitamins too.
Many thanks to the following sources:
- Bone Appetit, Eco-Friendly Dog Store, West Greenwich, RI for the list of products mentioned. They personally research all of the products they sell. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction
- Dog Food Advisor, website for product rankings and “Think Your Dog’s Food Is 100% China Free? Don’t Count On It,” by Mike Sagman and “The Truth About “Natural” Dog Food,” by Mike Sagman.
- FDA, US Food and Drug Administration, website for recall information and other websites as mentioned.