Dogs in America continue to pay a heavy price for weaknesses in federal food-labeling laws. Thousands still get sick – some suffer violently, others die – when owners unknowingly feed them food containing tainted ingredients.
The problem is, U.S. law allows American pet-food makers to label products as made in America regardless of where ingredients come from.
Some manufacturers source all ingredients domestically. Others import poultry parts and “nutritional premix” from China and other unregulated offshore facilities. Then these manufacturers exploit labeling loopholes regarding origin of ingredients to mislead pet owners, who then put their pets at risk.
And the risk is substantial. Since the elusive doggie-treat epidemic began in 2007, well over 5,000 dogs have suffered intestinal, liver, kidney and even neurological damage. More than 1,000 have died from it, though many in the veterinarian community feel this figure is seriously understated.
The initial focus was on doggie jerky treats but now other pet foods are being scrutinized. Congress is considering strengthening the labeling laws that have put American pet owners at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, here are three ways to help protect your dog:
- When using commercial foods, avoid those with premixes.
- Avoid synthetic ingredients. Most chemical nutrients are from unregulated offshore facilities.
- Use products with table-grade ingredients, which means federally inspected for human consumption.
The key is to read the label on your pet’s food, and then look beyond the label. Do some personal research. Meanwhile, here are a few pet-food companies willing to protect your pet’s health by truly standing behind the Made in America label: