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What is in Your Pets' Food?

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Is the Pet Food Label Helpful?

The pet food label can still be helpful, just not for the ingredient list. The most important thing to look for is a statement that says " this food is formulated according to AAFCO standards and has had feeding trials."  AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials ; this group sets national standards for animal feeds.  Feeding trials actually prove the food is nutritious.

Every day we are besieged with pet food advertisements, in magazines, newspapers and on television. Tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars are spent per year trying to convince us that their pet food is the best. Who to believe?  What is really in pet food?  Is the pet food label helpful?

A Chapman University study tried to help shed some light on the question. The research, to be published in the journal Food Control, used DNA testing to determine what meats were really in the food and compared that to the label. Fifty-two foods were tested, but the brands were not identified in the article.  The foods were obtained from retail and on-line sources.  The foods were tested for beef, chicken, lamb, goat, turkey, goose, pork, and horse.

Of the 52 foods tested, 51 tested positive for chicken, even though many did not have chicken on the label.  Pork was the most common undeclared meat, found in 35 of the food samples. Even more disturbing was the fact that seven of the foods had none of the main meat that was listed in the ingredients.

A positive note was that none of the 52 foods contained horse meat.   This had been a concern since horse meat had been found in Europe in ground meat products for human consumption.

How important are these findings?  Even though there may be a different protein than what is listed on the label, the food may still be nutritious, balanced, and good for your pet. The main effect would be for those pets that have a food allergy. Food allergy has been found to be common in dogs; signs can range from itchy skin to chronic vomiting and/ or diarrhea. The most common food ingredient that dogs are allergic to is chicken.  So this study is significant in that it shows that chicken is in so many foods, whether it is listed on the label or not.  

You can discuss nutrition with your veterinarian. Many are recommending that food-allergic dogs be fed foods where the manufacturer does DNA testing on their own products. This ensures that their suppliers are accurate and establishes the purity of their products.

Source:

www.royalcanin.com
"Study Casts Doubt on Pet Food Labeling" Veterinary Practice News, page 19, November 2014
"Identification of Meat Species in Pet Foods Using Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Assay", Food Control,  Vol 50, April 2015, pg 9-17.  
     

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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