FDA Safety Reporting Portal for Pet Food

Millions of pets consume commercial pet food (and treats) daily. Pet food may become contaminated with bacteria, molds, storage mites, and/or chemicals. The foods may also contain inappropriate amounts of nutrients such as too much zinc or low levels of niacin. If you think your pet may have become ill from eating pet food or pet treats seek veterinary assistance for your pet immediately.

In order for the FDA CVM (Center for Veterinary Medicine) to investigate your pet’s illness, have your veterinarian report the problem to them. You should report the problem to the FDA as well. You or your veterinarian can electronically report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods/treats through the Safety Reporting Portal, or by calling the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators in your state. Continue reading

Feline Obesity – Part 4 – Choosing a Feline Diet for Weight Loss and Maintenance

The good thing about choosing a weight loss food for cats is that the food will be used for maintenance as well. The following is a short list of requirements for choosing a commercial cat food. If the commercial food in question, meets the following criteria, then look for the quality of ingredients and question the company as to the source of those ingredients. (Percentages are on a dry matter basis – DMB*).

  • Protein – from meat and over 45%
  • Fat – from meat and over 25%
  • Carbohydrates – 0% but not over 10%
  • Water – at least 60% (not DMB) this excludes all dry and semi-moist foods!
  • Grain-free and soy-free

Basically, the best cat food is a wet food that contains lots of meat and fat. It is as simple as that. Cat food should never contain any grain, soy, vegetables, fruits or ingredients from plant sources such as flaxseed oil. These ingredients are poorly, if at all, used by the cat. I also recommend canned cat food that contains some organ meat such as liver or kidney (heart is considered muscle meat); many varieties contain none. Continue reading

Feline Obesity – Part 3 – Guaranteed Weight Loss for the Obligate Carnivore (Cat)

One of the biggest problems with getting cats to lose weight is realizing why they are gaining it. It is wrong to assume that it is only because they are eating too much food, particularly if fed free choice. Limiting carbohydrates is the number one weight loss and weight control tactic.

Many cats fed animal protein and animal fat with limited to no carbohydrates, may actually be fed free choice. Since their protein and fat requirements are reached, these cats will typically stop eating when sated.

Water is essential for feline health and regulation of body functions. Flushing the kidneys and bladder are also important to reduce or negate urinary crystal formation. Continue reading

Feline Obesity – Part 2 – Diet Does Not Mean Starve

So, we know that the typical 4 Step Program doesn’t work. However, steps 1 (reducing quantity) and 4 (exercise) aren’t exactly necessary if you change steps 2 (changing food) and 3 (feeding mealtime), particularly step 2. It really all comes down to the type of food you feed your cat.

While reducing the quantity of food and feeding mealtime only can be helpful, it won’t be unless you change the type of food that is being fed. By feeding the wrong type of food while reducing the quantity, you will essentially be starving your cat. The cat requires high levels of protein in its diet and will begin utilizing its own organs and muscle (digesting them) if given a reduced protein diet or a reduced quantity of food thereby reducing the protein load. The majority of overweight cats are eating a free-choice dry diet. The problem is threefold: too many carbohydrates, not enough animal protein and not enough animal fat. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require certain nutrients that they cannot synthesize which are only found in meat and are able to metabolize only a small amount of carbohydrates. Continue reading

Feline Obesity – Part 1 – The 4 Step Program Doesn’t Work

There is so much talk about the obesity epidemic that is now affecting our cats and dogs. While this is absolutely true, there is so much more talk about how to combat this growing problem, most of it false.

Before the invention of kibble, it was not necessary or recommended to put food down for your cat for the day. Why would your cat need food constantly? Yes, wild cats eat many small meals per day. However, the food needs to be found, hunted, killed and then eaten. This repeated scenario takes time and energy. Unfortunately for our cats, kibble is actually a matter of convenience for us humans. I’ll admit, I found it rather appealing when I adopted my first cat. Put down kibble, go to work, party with your friends afterwards, go home, go to bed, get up the next morning, repeat. Continue reading

Cats Cannot Taste Sweets

Sweetness is detected by a specific receptor protein (‘taste bud’) in the tongue. Cats are known to be insensitive to sweet tastes. Researchers analyzed the genes encoding the taste buds in twelve different carnivorous species, including cats. They found that those species such as cats, whose diet is exclusively meat-based (obligate carnivores), had lost the gene encoding the taste bud for sweetness. Other affected species included dolphins, sea lions, seals, otters, and hyenas. It appears that the ability to taste sweets has been lost in most carnivorous species since a meat-based diet does not consist of sugars or carbs, there was no need to be able to detect (or enjoy!) these substances. Continue reading

“All Natural” Ingredients

I find this advertising statement rather amusing. It frequents many human and pet food packages. Mercury, strychnine, and feces are all natural yet I do not want my cats to eat any of them. Don’t be fooled by advertising and pretty photos on the packages of cat food. Often these statements and photos are not legally considered “false advertising” however, they are frequently misleading and misrepresent the food and ingredients in that bag or can. Continue reading