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!  

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!  

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!  

A BILL OF RIGHTS FOR PETS. WHY NOT?

Spanish town is world’s first to enact Bill of Rights for pets
A protected “citizen” of Trigueros del Valle

At the end of 2015, a tiny town in Spain became the first municipality in the world to enact a Bill of Rights for pets. With a population of just 300 people, Trigueros del Valle in the province of Valladolid in the northwest of the country gave the town’s “animal citizens” the same basic rights as its human citizens.

The document includes statements like “all residents are born equal and have the same right to existence” and “no non-human resident should be exploited for the pleasure or recreation of man.” “Non-human residents” is defined as dogs and cats, at least for now, but could apply to other animals in the future.

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.

Centuries Ago This Happened
Giving a voice to the less powerful and less fortunate members of society is not 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, protection from unreasonable search and seizure of property, rights of the accused in criminal cases, and forbad excessive bails, fines or cruel and unusual punishments.

Spaniards declare this town their Animal Capital
Proud Spanish advocates award themselves the Animal Capital Prize

We Have An Obligation
When children are at risk because they have no voice and cannot defend themselves, in many countries there are laws in place to help protect them. But this is not always so when it comes to companion animals. Even when laws do exist, often they are poorly enforced and the penalties handed down by the courts are too lenient.

Domesticated Animals Deserve No Less                                                                                            * The basic right to exist                                                                                                                       * The right to a life of dignity and compassion                                                                                 * To be given food, shelter and medical attention                                                                           * To be allowed to be the creature that nature intended                                                                * To be recognized as a sentient being that has needs, feelings, emotions and intelligence, each with a unique personalty.

It is my hope that other communities will replicate this historic achievement and give all companion animals the place in society that is rightfully theirs.

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

LOST PET – THE SEARCH IS ON

Don’t despair and give up looking too soon
FB page run by local volunteers in Florida

These are the most important basics that pet parents should adhere to when getting the word out they have lost a pet.

Go In Person To Your Local Municipal Shelter
* Your pet may have been found and taken there by a member of the public or Animal Services.

* 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 but remember that descriptions are not necessarily accurate and a photo taken by the staff may be deceptive.

* 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 is operated differently and hold times vary. 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.

Put Up Flyers
* Immediately make 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.

Use The Internet, Social Media And Other Tools
* 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 owner. Do so multiple times a day.

Suggested sites and tools include:
* 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…

Word Of Mouth
Inform as many people as possible who live or work in your area, including 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 tell you not to despair.
* They will tell you not to give up too soon.
* They will urge you to keep searching actively for at least 8-12 weeks.
The reward will be worth it.

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