UNETHICAL PET FOOD MARKETING

Ingredients + Labeling, Harmful + Worthless

Consumers are getting smarter. Many have had enough of today’s unethical pet food marketing hype and are turning their backs on manufacturers without morals. They now realize that the industry leaders have been seeking maximum profits at their—our—expense. But they are fighting back and expect to be told the truth.

Worthless Labeling Tricks

It’s just not right when caring pet guardians are confused by ambiguous wording in advertising slogans and product descriptions. When shopping for dog and cat supplies at the grocery store or specialty pet store, people see a word or phrase on a bag or can of food and think they know what it means. But do they really? Needless to say we all realize that some advertising claims can be misleading. Even so, I’m sad to say that pet food industry deception is also part of this problem. 

Harmful Ingredients Disguised

To give you some examples, here are the most common words you will read on a pet food label. In addition, this is our guide as to what they really mean and what the use of these words actually signifies.

This cat parent is wondering what "complete and balanced" really means since manufacturers use unethical pet food marketing like this to maximize profits
This cat parent is wondering what “complete and balanced” really means since manufacturers use unethical pet food marketing like this to maximize profits

Natural

The word natural leads us to believe that it is good, harmless, and something that has worth. However, what do these four letters actually tell us? Absolutely nothing. It’s that simple. 

Grain Free

When pet food is labeled grain free, that is good. The reason is that dogs and cats do not have a digestive system that enables them to process the cellulose found in plants. Nevertheless, there is a down side. Manufacturers replace these grains with other substances, such as soybeans and potatoes, to provide the required consistency. Unfortunately, such ingredients aren’t good either. However, they are considered acceptable if they are kept to a bare minimum. That said, other alternatives would be more costly which is why they are not part of the formula.

Protein

High quality meat and fish protein is beneficial, very beneficial, in fact. On the other hand, though, proteins that comes from sources that are potentially harmful to carnivorous pets, need to be avoided. 

No By-Products

On its own, this phrase is very misleading. That’s because liver is classified as a by-product yet it is highly nutritious. Road kill and euthanized animals also fall under this heading and continue to be used in the manufacture of pet food with deadly consequences. This should truly shock every single pet parent.

Scientifically Formulated

What? I would certainly hope that pet food companies rely on food scientists to formulate the products they sell and that this task is not done by some amateur in their home-based kitchen. So, is scientifically formulated supposed to convey that the nutritional benefits claimed by a company are scientifically supported by clinical studies? I guess we’d have to ask them to find out. So, this is just another instance of unethical pet food marketing hype.

Complete And Balanced

Really! According to whom? “Complete and balanced” in the eyes of the manufacturer? Or in the eyes of a nutritionist with a university degree? I hope all my readers can see through this nonsense since it’s a clear cut case of pet food industry deception aimed at driving sales.

Reliable Sources

It really is no wonder that most pet parents are confused. But, on top of that, some are downright angry. It takes effort and it can be time consuming to be properly informed. However, pet guardians have to do their research. They need to pick out reliable sources that are independent experts. These are definitely not people paid by powerful manufacturers who want to perpetuate their persuasive misinformation and profit-driven agenda.

To Sum Up

This article is just one of many more I intend to write on the topic of mealtime foods, snacks and treats. I’ll also orient you on where to go for unbiased publishing and news reporting. After all, a nutrition-rich diet will allow your dogs and cats to have the kind of lifestyle they deserve. So, please start today, if you haven’t already. See you soon!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

For an introduction to those who fight fearlessly for healthy pet food, go to https://petpeevesunmasked.com/susan-thixton-exposes-pet-food/

If you want fast, accurate details on the latest recalls of pet food, you need to check this out: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/tracking-pet-food-recalls/

DOG PARK SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

I wonder if you realize that when taking your pet to a dog park safety precautions are extremely important. It’s not enough for you to be an observant and responsible dog “owner.” Primarily it’s about what other pet parents do or do not do. And, what their dogs do or don’t do. 

From A Vet’s Perspective

Any veterinarian will tell you that canines frequently suffer injuries while off leash in an environment with dogs they’ve never met before. Surprisingly, most humans believe that dogs instinctively know what to do when sharing a common space. However, that’s just not so. Medical professionals also point out that dog park behavior awareness dramatically helps to avoid emotional and physical traumas that can range from relatively minor to very serious.

Dog park safety precautions and behavior awareness are vital in order to avoid injuries and emotional trauma to your pet
Dog park safety precautions and behavior awareness are vital in order to avoid injuries and emotional trauma to your pet

Not A Big Fan

No. I admit that, generally speaking, I am not a big fan of dog parks. As a pet sitter and dog walker myself, the only exception I will take a canine, or two, to a dog park is when it is empty! And, apparently, I am not alone. Dog behavior professionals tend to agree. Here’s why.

Dog Park Safety Precautions – The Dogs

The following two points are worth noting. The reason being they can apply to any canine that is allowed to roam free. Firstly, many of the dogs have not been properly trained in social behavior. And, secondly, when a dog feels overwhelmed and stressed it is much less likely to obey commands. 

Dog Park Safety Precautions – The “Owners”

Very often pet “owners” pass the time at the dog park talking to other humans or else reading and texting. They don’t really pay attention to what is going on.

This means that they are not properly supervising their dogs. And, if they are unable to correct their pets quickly enough, they won’t be able to prevent an incident from occurring in the first place.

Dog Park Behavior Awareness

This short list is a warning to each and every pet guardian at the dog park. These unacceptable behaviors that a dog may exhibit apply not only to everyone else’s dog, but to yours as well. If you are observant and prepared, you can avoid the escalation of a situation. Similarly, you may well be able to prevent an incident from starting in the first place.

over excitement

playing rough

rudeness (intrusion)

bullying

overt aggression

To Sum Up

Please remember that when you visit a dog park, you do not know all the owners there. And, logically, you cannot possibly know all the dogs there, either. As I’ve just mentioned, there are risks involved. That said, if you feel uncomfortable about taking your pet to the dog park, you can always come up with alternatives. Safe socializing and exercising can be done in a number of different ways.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

More must-read articles in this category:

How to take your cat for a walk http://petpeevesunmasked.com/walking-cats-provides-enrichment

Dog walking safely means being focused http://petpeevesunmasked.com/distracted-dog-walkers

Daily physical activity for good health http://petpeevesunmasked.com/dog-exercise-consistency-is-key

Defensive dog walking is like defensive driving http://petpeevesunmasked.com/avoid-confrontation-walking-dogs

LEARN PET CPR NOW

If your dog or cat suddenly stopped breathing, and you’re unsure what to do, then you need to learn pet CPR now. Photo courtesy of Academy for Canine Educators
If your dog or cat suddenly stopped breathing, and you’re unsure what to do, then you need to learn pet CPR now. Photo courtesy of Academy for Canine Educators

If your dog or cat were to suddenly stop breathing, and you’re unsure what to do, then you need to learn pet CPR now.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is one of the most valuable tools a pet parent or pet caregiver can possess. It will save your pet’s life before you can get to an emergency veterinary facility. Quick thinking and quick action—effective action—is what’s needed to save a precious life.

Medical Emergencies

Are you confident you could handle a situation like one of these? Your dog slipped and fell into the swimming pool. Kitty decided to bite an electrical cord. Your pet just got loose and has been hit by a car. Imagine equipping yourself with sufficient knowledge that will give you the confidence to act appropriately.

Questions To Answer

Do you know how to give your pet CPR?

And, do you know when to start giving CPR?

Would you panic and freeze, and waste valuable time?

Did you know you can take an online course and learn the when and how?

ACE Pet CPR Mini Course

Created by 30-year practicing veterinarian Dr. Jeff Grognet, the Pet CPR Mini Course is a free, two-lesson webinar. It demonstrates the basic resuscitation techniques applicable for both dogs and cats.

The first lesson focuses on the airway and breathing. It’s an evaluation that covers checking the mouth for blockage and confirming that the airway is open. It also shows how breath tests are done.

Lesson two deals with chest compressions as well as mouth to nose breaths if the pet is still not breathing. It includes ideal body and arm positions, correct pressure, and also timing and sequence.  Furthermore, you learn when to apply pressure to the heart in the case of kittens, cats, puppies and small dogs. 

You can check it out here: http://dogtraining.academy/ace-pet-cpr-mini-course/

Also worth mentioning is the fact that Dr. Grognet is the founder of the Academy for Canine Educators (ACE). So for those people who are interested in CPR certification, ACE offers a work-at-your-own-pace course comprising five in-depth webinars, text documents and exam. The cost is around $56 (CAD69). 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

This section is about the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine/American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Pet CPR Course. Their online course has a duration of one hour and contains short how-to videos. The situations presented apply to felines and canines of different sizes and breeds. Upon completion, there’s a 14-question assessment, and a competency certificate is issued to individuals with a 70 percent, or higher, pass rate. At the time of writing, the cost of this course was $45.

For further information you can visit: http://www.ecornell.com/courses/veterinary-courses/pet-cpr

To Sum Up

Hopefully you found this short article to be informative. If so, and you are unsure about how to perform CPR the correct way, please consider taking one of these courses. And, even if you already did quite a while ago, then it might be a good idea to take a refresher. Stay tuned for more first aid tips coming soon.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

To familiarize yourself with the American Red Cross norms for checking your pet’s vital signs, go to https://petpeevesunmasked.com/three-pet-vital-signs/

And, to learn how to check your pet’s vital signs yourself, go to https://petpeevesunmasked.com/home-check-pets-vitals/


COMMUNITY RECOGNIZES ANIMAL RIGHTS

Animal Citizens Have Human Rights

A world first, this Spanish community recognizes animal rights for all dogs and cats
A world first, this Spanish community recognizes animal rights for all dogs and cats

It’s 2015, and a tiny Spanish community recognizes animal rights by enacting a Bill of Rights for pets. It’s a story about Trigueros del Valle, located in the northwestern part of the country, that has a population of only 300 people. However, despite its size, it makes history. That’s because this town is destined to become the first municipality in the world to give its “animal citizens” the same basic rights as its human counterparts.

Animal Rights Defined

The document in question is very significant. It includes statements like “all residents are born equal and have the same right to existence.” It also states, ”no non-human resident shall be exploited for the pleasure or recreation of man.” In this context the words “non-human residents” are defined as dogs and cats…at least for now. Nevertheless, that could expand and apply to other animals as well in the future.

Mayor Declares Animal Citizens Have Human Rights

At the time the Bill was passed, Mayor Pedro J. Pérez Espinosa commented, “Dogs and cats have been living among us for over a thousand years.” He added that his responsibility was to dignify the lives of dogs and cats and represent not just the human residents but also be there for the others. In essence, what the town’s lawmakers did was declare to the whole of Spain and the entire world that animal citizens have human rights. 

Centuries Ago This Happened

Giving a voice to the less powerful and less fortunate members of society is nothing new. Signed in England in 1215, the Magna Carta promised fair laws, gave everyone, even the poorest, access to the courts, and held the monarchy accountable for its actions.

Then, a few centuries on, we have the Bill of Rights of the United States of America. Enacted in 1791, it granted freedom of religion, speech and the press. It also gave protection from unreasonable search and seizure of property. And, in addition, established rights of the accused in criminal cases, and forbad excessive bails and fines as well as cruel and unusual punishments.

Humans Have Obligations

In many countries, when children are at risk, there are laws in place to help protect them. The reason being they have no voice and cannot defend themselves. Sadly, though, when it comes to protecting companion animals, it’s an entirely different matter. In so many parts of the world, even where laws do exist, they are often poorly enforced. And, also bear in mind the fact that when penalties are handed down by the courts, they are frequently far too lenient.

It really is time for communities large and small, across the globe, to step up and do the right thing. And, in this context, the right thing is to make sure that all animal citizens have human rights. They, too, are sentient beings and deserve their own Bill of Rights.

In Trigueros del Valle, animal citizens have human rights and Spaniards declare this town their Animal Capital
In Trigueros del Valle, animal citizens have human rights and Spaniards declare this town their Animal Capital

Domesticated Animals Deserve No Less

Just like the world’s first Bill of Rights for the dogs and cats that cohabit with the citizens of Trigueros del Valle, companion animals deserve no less than the following.

  • Basic right to exist
  • Right to a life of dignity and compassion
  • Given food, shelter and medical attention
  • Allowed to be the creature that nature intended
  • Recognized as a sentient being that has needs, feelings, emotions and intelligence, each with a unique personalty.

To Sum Up

It is my hope that other communities will replicate this historic achievement. All companion animals deserve dignity, protection and compassion. After all, it is their God given right.

To continue reading, we’d like to share an animated short film about human compassion for animals that had never known kindness https://petpeevesunmasked.com/kitbull-animated-animal-oscar

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!

 Equal justice under the law should not only apply to the human race. Those principles also need to be used to protect the sentient beings who happen to be our companion animals. The following examples highlight what is wrong in our society and what can be done about it.

Please take the time to read about Rocky and what he and his human family had to endure. https://petpeevesunmasked.com/are-current-dog-on-dog-mauling-laws-unjust/

Then we have the poignant stories of Buckles and Reese and the courage it took to fight for change. https://petpeevesunmasked.com/seeking-justice-for-dog-on-dog-maulings/

LOST PETS SEARCH TIPS

FB page run by local volunteers in Florida has lost pets search tips
FB page run by local volunteers in Florida has lost pets search tips

If your dog or cat ever went missing, would you know these lost pets search tips and be able to implement them without hesitation? This may be a hypothetic question. Or perhaps you’ve already had to deal with such an unfortunate experience at some time in the past. In any case, it’s worth knowing the basics. Ones that every pet parent should follow when getting the word out that they have lost a companion animal.

EDITED AND EXPANDED VALUABLE CONTENT

Before going any further, I just want to make a comment. This article was one of the very first I published when I launched my site a few years ago. However, now the content has been updated and expanded to offer more tips about lost and found pets. What’s more, I’ve also included first-hand accounts of success stories as well as valuable information from animal experts. 

So, please check this out in its entirety. There is no doubt in my mind that it will make you better equipped and more confident. You will be able to help yourself as well as others get reunited with their beloved canines and felines.

Make a missing pet flyer and nail it to a tree or wooden post. Photo courtesy of petfbi.org
Make a missing pet flyer and nail it to a tree or wooden post.
Photo courtesy of petfbi.org

BONDED DOGS ARE SAFELY HOME

Family Member Tells Her Side Of This Success Story

Last January two Miniature Schnauzers went missing from their home in a golfing community in Oldsmar, FL. Without the occupants realizing, the terriers had ripped a hole in the screening and fled. My guess is they were reacting to wildlife and decided to give chase.

“It was mid afternoon when I noticed the dogs were gone,” said the lady. She had been at the home assisting her older relatives, the pets’ parents. Incidentally, she declined to give her name and wanted the family to remain anonymous.

The Search Gets Underway

“We called out their names, knocked on doors, stopped everyone riding a bicycle,” she added. “But after four hours it was already dark and we called off the search.” The lady explained that they then notified the microchip company in case someone had reported them found.

Found But Searching For Their Home

What they did next was publish a missing pets post on the local Nextdoor website. It was seen by neighbors in another subdivision who had given the dogs food, water and shelter overnight. And, fortunately for everyone, their own pet Husky was delighted to have some unexpected fun with the new visitors…at least for a few hours. 

Thankfully, the next day, after less than 24 hours of anxiety, the dogs were back home. This was such a great outcome. And, I even heard that all three pups may now be enjoying regular playdates as a result of this incident!

A PERSONAL COMMENT

I have always said this to pet guardians who rely solely on a microchip ID. When pets go missing, one form of identification is not enough! If the animal has a collar and tag on, this visible ID will likely save a lot of time and heartache. You can read more about this by clicking here http://petpeevesunmasked.com/one-pet-id-isnt-enough

When pets go missing, they look stressed and afraid Photo credit: Paul Sableman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
When pets go missing, they look stressed and scared
Photo credit: Paul Sableman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How To Get Them Home Again

Use The Internet And Social Media

  • Post a description with photo of your missing pet and your contact information. Re-post daily until it is found.
  • Check the section that contains postings of missing pets that are looking for their owners. 

Flyers, Always High On The Lost Pet Search Tips List

  • Immediately print some flyers and put them up in your neighborhood.
  • Make an extra big one and display it in your own yard so people know where the pet lives.
Make a found pet flyer and post it outdoors. Photo courtesy of petfbi.org
Make a found pet flyer and post it outdoors.
Photo courtesy of petfbi.org

More Lost Pet Search Tips And Tools

  • private, locally-run pet lost and found
  • Craig’s List
  • Facebook
  • Local newspapers, online AND print versions (lost and found ads are usually free)
  • Your Home Owners Association, country club, school, church…

The great thing about having a professional profile on LinkedIn is that you meet some interesting and very talented people. I joined several groups whose members share information on cats and dogs. In one of these I met T Mac, who has spent her whole life rescuing and advocating for companion animals and livestock. 

She gave me a number of very helpful recommendations to include in this new expanded list of websites. Places to go where parents have more options to locate their pets when they go missing. 

Check out these search tips to get your lost pet home Photo credit: Niks1331, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Check out these search tips to get your lost pet home
Photo credit: Niks1331, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More Lost & Found Websites To Visit

It takes perseverance and consistency to locate a missing pet. You will probably be unable to post, and look at them all, repeatedly, without any help. Ask friends, family and neighbors to assist. Anyone reliable who will check for updates. Several times a day, every single day, until they are safely back home. Ask them to focus on one website each. Sharing the responsibility will help prevent stress and psychological burnout, especially if the job takes longer than you had hoped.

HOW THE INTERNET CAN GET YOUR PET HOME FASTER

http://www.lostmydoggie.com

877.818.0060

“A lost or missing dog locating service that can dramatically increase the chances of finding your lost dog, missing cat, or stolen pet.”

Create a free lost or found pet listing. Through their national lost pet recovery system, they will email and fax it to local shelters, vets and rescue groups.

http://petkey.org

866.699.3463

“If you have lost or found a pet please add a free listing and search our lost and found database by city, state or postal code to see if you can find a match. If you find a possible match, make note of the reference number and contact us.” 

This is a nationwide lost and found pet recovery database. When you register your pet’s microchip, and report your pet lost or stolen, an alert is immediately sent to shelters, vets, animal companies and members within a 25 mile radius of where it was last seen. 

http://www.fidofinder.com

Register to obtain the phone number

“Register your Safe Dog and your Safe Cat BEFORE they ever get lost. 

“With safe dog/safe cat registration you will receive notifications any time a dog of the same breed, color and gender, or cat of the same color and gender, is found in your exact Postal Code.” 

In addition to contacting local shelters and vets, they will also email Neighborhood Watch about your lost or found dog/cat.

This is a registry for pets in the USA and Canada, and they have named their canine and feline databases Fido Finder and Tabby Tracker.

http://PawBoost.com

“Sign up for local lost pet alerts. Join the PawBoost Rescue Squad, a group of volunteers, rescue owners, shelter employees, veterinarians, and pet lovers just like you.” 

And over three million of them already have. Sign up for email alerts. To get PawBoost on the go, download the PawBoost mobile app for iPhone or Android. 

http://akcreunite.org

880.252.7894

“Call our Helpline to let us know your pet is lost and confirm your contact information is up to date. You can also activate a Lost Pet Alert to shelters, veterinarians and pet lovers in your immediate area.”

A lifetime enrollment to the American Kennel Club website is only $19.50 online and there are no annual fees. If your pet’s microchip was purchased with prepaid registration, enrollment is free.

And, by the way, you’ll be hearing from T Mac next time in a follow up article. But, for now, go check out Canine Protection League non-profit in Vermont, where she is president. I’d really like to help her continue to help the helpless and give a boost to her fundraising efforts. http://www.CanineProtectionLeague.com

Another example of how to create a missing pet flyer
Another example of how to create a missing pet flyer

Go In Person To Your Local Municipal Shelter

When pets go missing, a member of the public or someone from Animal Services may have already found the dog or cat and taken it to the local municipal shelter. So, please remember to do the following.

  • Go in person and verify if your pet has been surrendered there. Do not rely on making a phone call or looking at their website.
  • Take a recent photo of your pet, a copy of a flyer you may have already printed, and proof of ownership.
  • Check the shelter’s website for postings. However, bear in mind that descriptions are not necessarily accurate and a staff member could have taken a photo that distorts its appearance. 
  • You must visit the shelter personally every two days at the very least, preferably daily. Do not rely solely on the shelter’s website. You are the only person who can truly identify your pet.
  • Each shelter has its own rules and regulations, and hold times at different facilities can vary quite a bit. After a certain number of days, a pet can be put up for adoption or, sadly, it may be put down (destroyed). Typically, kittens, cats and seniors, as well as sick and injured pets, have a very low survival rate.

Word Of Mouth

Inform as many people as possible who live or work in your area. That includes veterinarians, emergency vet clinics and privately-run rescue organizations.

Stay Strong And Positive

The volunteers who run a Lost and Found FB page for pets in my area do a wonderful job. They also encourage owners who feel helpless and desperate and are starting to lose hope. They will…

  1. tell you not to despair
  2. encourage you not to give up too soon 
  3. urge you to keep searching actively for at least 8-12 weeks

To Sum Up

Reach out to your neighbors. Communities have a history of working together to help in situations of adversity. Nobody wants to suffer the heartbreak of losing their four-legged family member.

Start a search party the very first weekend. You’ll be amazed how many people will show up to help. And, when pets go missing in your neighborhood, not only will you be better prepared to take action, you’ll also be able to help others.

But That’s Not All

No, it isn’t, because there’s much more coming your way very soon. This topic is far too important not to share what I’m already preparing for the next article. 

So, get ready for information about:

  • contacting shelters 
  • more success stories from Florida
  • tips on how to prevent your pet from wandering off in the first place                                             
  • providing medical attention for animals taken to a municipal shelter in Colorado, and
  • an exciting pilot program to evaluate new imaging software designed to increase Return To Owner success rates.

See you soon!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

More must-read articles in this category:

Pet guardians forget that dogs have wild instincts and can easily run off https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dogs-run-away-because/

What pet parents did to reunite with their precious canine and feline family members after they went missing https://petpeevesunmasked.com/helpful-strategies-find-pets/

Chip scan 24/7/365 to get a missing pet back home http://petpeevesunmasked.com/take-lost-pets-here-for-microchip-scanning/

And, a reminder about the importance of having more than just one ID https://petpeevesunmasked.com/one-pet-id-isnt-enough

Also, if you’d like to read about the safety concerns of domesticated cats that are allowed to roam, please visit https://petpeevesunmasked.com/indoor-outdoor-cat-statistics/