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"Quality" Pet Food Makers -- Who are they really?

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"Quality" Pet Food Makers -- Who are they really?

I thought I would provide a list of the "quality" brands of foods for dogs & cats that are considered "natural/holistic" products.

People are learning about better foods, reading labels and knowing the names of the good brands.

Unfortunately some "quality brands" have been "acquired" by the "not good" ones or by private equity/investment firms (for sheer profit to shareholders)!

Sometimes reputable brands eventually cheapen their quality and ingredients for the sake of increased marketshare and profits, relying on their "reputable name-brand" -- ie: Eukanuba/Iams.

Learn to be better informed and educated about the various brands and companies, do not always believe what is advertised.

For instance, the Merrick brand: How can they claim to be proud makers of such "fine quality" brands such as B.G. and Merrick, yet sell a horrible product known as "Beef & More"? Most recently the FDA has stepped in to force Merrick to do a recall on their treats!

Avoid brands I've highlighted in RED.....I don't trust them and do not recommend them to any one, since I suspect they will eventually cheapen the quality and its ingredients.....

Any brands highlighted in GRAY.....please be cautionary, these brands experienced at least one recall (or more) which the company resolved without gov't intervention

Unfortunately things have been changing (not for the better) in the pet food industry, and most recently, Natura Pet was bought by Proctor&Gamble (no surprises).
Here are a few brands that are not recommended:
  • Freshpet: Delifresh -- too high in sodium, farmed proteins (supplied by Tyson)
  • Hagen: Nutrience
  • Elmira Pet Products: Nutram
  • Canisource -- I don't trust this company due to their misleading claims. In earlier marketing they proudly proclaimed their food comparable to the RAW diet which was not the case. They now have this statement on their website now: "This is why we can say it has the benefits of RAW with the convenience of a kibble!" How can they make such a claim? There are no grains in any raw diet, plain and simple. The company uses at least 3 grains, and for the longest time did not provide a complete guaranteed analysis (to ensure consistency of their ingredients, and breakdown of percentages).
  • Oven Baked Traditions -- Another company which I don't trust. The company features several lines which all use at least 4 varieties of grains in their dog & cat foods! I'm concerned with the fact they all have an ingredient listed as "Natural Flavour" and this warning: (This product may contain trace amounts of peanut)
OBT's new Parallel grain-free line contains Ocean Fish Meal (Ethoxyquin), and Mineral Oil (dangerous for dogs!), Natural flavor (which is questionable), and again this warning: (This product may contain trace amounts of peanut)

Their cat formula of Parallel has Vitamin K which more than likely is Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex (source of Vitamin K activity)... a known carcinogen.

** The companies noted below are the ones that I strongly stress you stay away from. They are traditionally known to be bad brands due to the poor quality ingredients alone, and if anyone needs information, simply google and find out for yourself!:
  • Colgate Palmolive: Hill's Science Diet, Hill's Prescription Diet
  • Del Monte: Kibbles 'n Bits, Milk Bone, Pup-Peroni, Snausages, Gravy Train, Nature's Recipe, Meow Mix
  • Diamond Pet Foods: makers of Taste of the Wild, are private label manufacturers for these brands: Canidae, Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance, Kirkland Signature, Solid Gold, and others....
  • Mars: Cesar, Greenies, Medi-Cal, Nutro, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas
  • Proctor & Gamble: Eukanuba, Iams, and now recently acquired --> California Natural, Innova, EVO, Healthwise, Mother Nature, Karma **Aug.5/2010: There is yet another new recall on IAMS/EUKANUBA, please read their press release here**
  • Purina: Alpo, Beneful, Cat Chow, Dog Chow, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Kitten Chow, Purina One, Pro Plan, Puppy Chow


There are many other brands not listed above, usually sold through mass merchant/big box chains, supermarkets and of course Petsmart & Walmart! If you do end up shopping at those places, or even Global/Ryan or Pet Valu, be aware they may have good food, but also sell alot of the BAD foods, because they are catering to the masses -- so educate yourself prior to shopping there!

I forgot to mention that I DO NOT RECOMMEND this website: www.dogfoodanalysis.com

Why? The people who run the website do not have any formal pet nutrition background, and they do not go far enough in their analysis to rank the foods properly. There are foods that contain harmful ingredients such as Menadione, and they are ranked high!?!? DFA doesn't factor in any past recalls, nor the actual background of the manufacturer of the brand of foods...

Example: Costco Kirkland-brand pet food (so many people swear by it because its cheap), an average at best food which does not deserve its high ranking. Its manufacturer is Diamond, which has traditionally recalled foods on a seemingly regular basis! And yes the Kirkland Signature brand dog food has been recalled before....for melamine.

Serious about foods and ingredients? I recommend this site for starters: www.dogfoodproject.com
The site is run by an actual certified/trained pet food nutritionist, and the site deals with in-depth information on ingredients, labels, nutrition and continually monitors food and recalls.
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1V4N, I am wondering if you could give your opinion of Solid Gold Hund and Flocken or other formulations. I'm almost afraid to ask ... 4* rating at Doogfoodanalysis.com.
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milhaus wrote:
Jun 22nd, 2010 2:36 pm
1V4N, I am wondering if you could give your opinion of Solid Gold Hund and Flocken or other formulations. I'm almost afraid to ask ... 4* rating at Doogfoodanalysis.com.
Please switch the food!

Solid Gold at one time, was a considered a good food (several years back, before the studies indicating grain-free/higher protein was better). They pretty much went to hell in terms of food quality, and the continued changes in their ingredient (gotten worse).

Unfortunately they had too many recalls in the past few years, plus they have really done a number on their products. Cheapened ingredients, and of course, made by Diamond!!


Solid Gold Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog

Ingredients

Lamb, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Millet, Rice Bran, Oatmeal, Ocean Fish Meal, Canola Oil, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil (source of DHA), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Parsley Flakes, Pumpkin Meal, Almond Oil, Sesame Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Thyme, Blueberries, Cranberries, Carrots, Broccoli, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Panthothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid

  1. Brown rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Millet, Rice Bran, Oatmeal - too much carbohydrates, high GI
  2. Ocean Fish Meal - AAFCO: The clean, rendered, dried ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish or fish cuttings, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil. Like with all other animal sources, if a type isn't specified, you never know what type or quality of fish is used. According to US Coast Guard regulations, all fish meal not destined for human consumption must be conserved with Ethoxyquin (unless the manufacturer has a special permit). This preservative is banned from use in foods for human consumption except for the use of very small quantities as a color preservative for spices. So unless the manufacturer either presents a permit or states "human grade" fish or fish meal is used, you can be pretty sure Ethoxyquin is present in the food even if it is not listed.
  3. Rice bran - Rice bran is a by-product of the rice milling process, and is the hard outer layer of grain
  4. Tomato pomace - An inexpensive byproduct of human food processing. Does not contain the whole complement of nutrients as whole fresh or dried tomatoes.
Sorry time to change to a better all-around food for your pet :D
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I have fed solid gold Hund-N-Flocken in the past...and probably will again, although I was somewhat disturbed to learn there are trace amounts of ethoxyquin in it.
You mentioned "Unfortunately they had too many recalls in the past few years"..since mine have been on the food on and off for the past few years can you post links to the Hund-N-Flocken recalls ...I usually don't miss that sort of thing..thanks!
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Thanks OP for an informative thread, should be a sticky!
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jackie999 wrote:
Jun 22nd, 2010 6:33 pm
I have fed solid gold Hund-N-Flocken in the past...and probably will again, although I was somewhat disturbed to learn there are trace amounts of ethoxyquin in it.
You mentioned "Unfortunately they had too many recalls in the past few years"..since mine have been on the food on and off for the past few years can you post links to the Hund-N-Flocken recalls ...I usually don't miss that sort of thing..thanks!
Sorry I wasn`t clear regarding the recalls for Solid Gold.

The Hund-N-Flocken was never part of a recall, however there were a few other products varying from treats to canned food that were recalled due to mold growth!

Here`s the link to Solid Gold Recalls: http://solidgoldhealth.com/news.php

I caution anything from Solid Gold, because they have been cutting back on better quality ingredients such as the Salmon Meal, and switching to Ocean Fish Meal.

How can a company that claims to be holistic switch from a named protein source (Salmon) to generic Ethoxyquin preserved ingredient such as Ocean Fish Meal :?:

I know Solid Gold has lost quite a bit of market share in the past few years, because more and more people have been reading and educating themselves regarding better nutrition and understanding ingredient labels and switching to more Grain-Free diets.
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1V4N wrote:
Jun 22nd, 2010 10:06 pm
...more and more people have been reading and educating themselves regarding better nutrition and understanding ingredient labels....
Very true...in my opinion it is best for each of us to do our own research and decide what is best for our particular breed of dog. Self proclaimed experts on the subject, posting their idea of what food is 'quality' and what isn't, does, in my opinion, more harm than good. I would urge pet owners to research the special needs their pet may have. For example, being a Mini Schnauzer owner, I know I must stay below a certain fat percentage.
Sites like Dog Food Project arm you with the knowledge on how to choose..they don't presume to suggest what is best (or not).
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Thanks OP for the informative post. We feed our dog Wellness Health Super5Mix.

We originally had him on Orijen, but our vet told us that he's heard of puppies/dogs going into renal failure because the protein level was too high.

Dog food/treats are serious $$$. I purchased a 300g bag of PureBites cheezies for $21 @ Petvalu for our dog and then walked across the street and purchased a 300g bag of Cheetos for $3 @ Walmart for us. :cry:
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Our dog was eating the EVO red meat for a while, but might have developed an allergy or there might have been a bad batch of dog food, as he was puking after each meal of EVO red. It's not worth buying another bag to find out.

Switched to Orijen and everything seems fine. We plan on rotating between the Orijen flavours - Regional Red, Regular Adult and and Fish to prevent potential allergies developing.

It's interesting that you pointed out that P&G has bought out the EVO brand. It raises additional concerns about the real reason our dog got sick.
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jackie999 wrote:
Jun 22nd, 2010 6:33 pm
..thanks!
my pleasure!
west wrote:
Jun 22nd, 2010 6:43 pm
Thanks OP for an informative thread, should be a sticky!
NP! :D

I'm just trying to help those who don't know where to begin researching about the various foods here in RFD
jackie999 wrote:
Jun 23rd, 2010 8:09 am
Very true...in my opinion it is best for each of us to do our own research and decide what is best for our particular breed of dog. Self proclaimed experts on the subject, posting their idea of what food is 'quality' and what isn't, does, in my opinion, more harm than good. I would urge pet owners to research the special needs their pet may have. For example, being a Mini Schnauzer owner, I know I must stay below a certain fat percentage.
Sites like Dog Food Project arm you with the knowledge on how to choose..they don't presume to suggest what is best (or not).
+1
9394 wrote:
Jun 23rd, 2010 9:09 am
Thanks OP for the informative post.
:D
[OP]
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9394 wrote:
Jun 23rd, 2010 9:09 am
Thanks OP for the informative post. We feed our dog Wellness Health Super5Mix.

We originally had him on Orijen, but our vet told us that he's heard of puppies/dogs going into renal failure because the protein level was too high.

Dog food/treats are serious $$$. I purchased a 300g bag of PureBites cheezies for $21 @ Petvalu for our dog and then walked across the street and purchased a 300g bag of Cheetos for $3 @ Walmart for us. :cry:
If you dog liked the food and was also doing well on Orijen, I would suggest switching back to that food.

Most of the comments attributed by traditional vets, regarding higher proteins have been over-blown. There has been numerous research/studies that have proven there is no direct link to health issues in pets with compromised/failing livers being fed a high protein diet.

Check out Orijens FAQ on higher protein:
http://www.championpetfoods.com/faq/

If you need more information and links to other independent studies, please let me know!

You don't always need to feed treats made commercially, you can always give them fresh fruits and veggies (beware of the specific ones which are harmful to them), you can also make your own dehydrated treats, baked goods, etc.
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T-Bone wrote:
Jun 23rd, 2010 1:18 pm
Our dog was eating the EVO red meat for a while, but might have developed an allergy or there might have been a bad batch of dog food, as he was puking after each meal of EVO red. It's not worth buying another bag to find out.

Switched to Orijen and everything seems fine. We plan on rotating between the Orijen flavours - Regional Red, Regular Adult and and Fish to prevent potential allergies developing.

It's interesting that you pointed out that P&G has bought out the EVO brand. It raises additional concerns about the real reason our dog got sick.
Its always recommended that you switch around the foods/proteins for your pet. This ensures they do not develop allergies to them, so what you are doing is fine! Keep in mind you can rotate between the Orijen Grain free and the Acana Grain free (if everything is to be consistent).

I don't think the Evo food you fed your dog, were the ones under control of P&G yet. It could be a bad batch, mold growth or other variable.

Either way its good that you have switched, I've never trusted anything Natura Pet made to begin with.
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What do you guys think of Actr1um? It's a holistic good looking, affordable cat food from Walmart.

6.79 for a bag, uses brown rice instead of corn.
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