Healthy Eating for Dogs: The Problem With Commercial Pet Food



By Katie Hamm

Commercial pet food companies have been plagued in recent years with issues ranging from false advertising to tainted food. Many consumers have lost faith in companies they entrust with providing their dog’s sustenance. As Leslie Kessinger, co-owner of Three Dog Bakery in Franklin states, “The problem with commercial pet food is the lack of transparency.”

While consumers watch television commercials showing pet food companies obtaining ingredients from wholesome sources, Kessinger says pet owners have been forced to deal with the harsh reality that what you see is not always what you get. Harmful pathogens, chemicals and dyes have led to pet food recalls, and animal by-products have been found in pet food in place of meat ingredients. In addition, fillers, with no nutritional benefit have also been added to dog food, unbeknownst to buyers.

For example, Blue Buffalo, who falsely claimed its products were natural and free of poultry by-products, corn, wheat, soy and artificial preservatives, was ordered in January of this year to pay $32 million to plaintiffs in 13 separate class action lawsuits. Consumers paid more for Blue Buffalo, believing advertising claims that it was a better choice than other brands. Blue Buffalo denies it did anything wrong.

Another example is Nestle Purina Petcare Company, which makes Beneful. Last year, it was charged with a lawsuit of its own, stemming from dogs becoming sick — and some dying — from possible toxins in the brand’s kibble. Although the company claims its dog food is safe, thousands of pet owners disagree. Dogs who got sick suffered from kidney failure, liver malfunction, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea.

“These lawsuits claim that several commercial pet foods contain ingredients they claim not to, have made pets sick and caused death, or that they have purposefully used marketing to convey a message incongruent with the true contents of their food,” notes Kessinger. “The worst part is that consumers have little recourse as victims of false advertising. Consumers have, in some cases, received reimbursements for food that they purchased, but it doesn’t happen often, and it does nothing for those whose dogs have become sick from faulty ingredients.”

“Really, all you have to do to see these truths in action is to select a bag at random from a big box store or grocery store and take a look at the ingredient label. You won’t have trouble finding an inclusion of animal by-products and fillers like corn, wheat, and soy,” says Kessinger. “And you can bet that the packaging shows pictures of bounties of fresh meat and produce in direct contrast to its true contents.”

You can always find great dog food choices at Three Dog Bakery, located on West McEwen Drive, adjacent to Whole Foods in the McEwen Shopping Center in Franklin.

Click here to follow Three Dog Bakery on Facebook.

Three Dog Bakery has two locations in Middle Tennessee: 1556 W McEwen Dr #112, Franklin, TN 37067 & 1982 Providence Pkwy #102, Mt Juliet, TN 37122.

If you have health concerns about your dog, consult your veterinarian. This article is not meant to substitute or act as medical advice for pets.

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