Pet food mislabeling – it happens!

Researchers in Chapman University’s Food Science Program have recently published a study on pet food mislabeling. The study focused on commercial pet foods marketed for dogs and cats to identify meat species present as well as any instances of mislabeling. Of the 52 products tested, 31 were labeled correctly, 20 were potentially mislabeled, and one contained a non-specific meat ingredient that could not be verified.

“Although regulations exist for pet foods, increases in international trade and globalization of the food supply have amplified the potential for food fraud to occur,” said Rosalee Hellberg, Ph.D., and co-author on the study. “With the recent discovery of horsemeat in ground meat products sold for human consumption in several European countries, finding horsemeat in U.S. consumer food and pet food products is a concern, which is one of the reasons we wanted to do this study.”

Chicken was the most common meat species found in the pet food products. Pork was the second most common meat species detected, and beef, turkey and lamb followed, respectively. Goose was the least common meat species detected. None of the products tested positive for horsemeat.Pet Food Fig. 1 Color

Of the 20 potentially mislabeled products, 13 were dog food and 7 were cat food. Of these 20, 16 contained meat species that were not included on the product label, with pork being the most common undeclared meat species. In three of the cases of potential mislabeling, one or two meat species were substituted for other meat species.

In the study, DNA was extracted from each product and tested for the presence of eight meat species: beef, goat, lamb, chicken, goose, turkey, pork, and horse.

“Pet food safety was another area of concern, particularly with pet foods that are specifically formulated to address food allergies in both cats and dogs,” continued Dr. Hellberg.

The pet food industry is a substantial market in the United States. Nearly 75 percent of U.S. households own pets, totaling about 218 million pets (not including fish). On average, each household spends $500 annually on their pets, equating to about 1 percent of household expenditures. In the past five years, pet industry expenditures have increased by $10 billion, with $21 billion spent on pet food alone in 2012.

The foods developed for pets are regulated by both federal and state entities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine regulates animal feed and pet foods. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates the interstate transportation and processing of animal products, as well as the inspection of animal product imports and exports.

While a seemingly high percentage of pet foods were found to be potentially mislabeled in this study, the manner in which mislabeling occurred is not clear; nor is it clear as to whether the mislabeling was accidental or intentional and at which points in the production chain it took place.

The study was published in the journal Food Control and was completed with Chapman undergrad student Tara Okuma.

I contacted Dr Hellberg to see if she would disclose the brands of foods that were mislabeled.  She replied “It was not our intention to single out pet food brands, but rather to investigate the issue as a whole. Therefore, we will not be releasing the names of the brands or specific products that were tested in this study.”

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Source of content:  Chapman University media release

Wordless Wednesday, part 51

Photo courtesy of Annie Thorne

Photo courtesy of Annie Thorne

Blog Hop

Dog waste and waterway contamination

Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Americans love their dogs, but they don’t always love to pick up after them. And that’s a problem. Dog feces left on the ground wash into waterways, sometimes carrying bacteria — including antibiotic-resistant strains — that can make people sick. Now scientists have developed a new genetic test to figure out how much dogs are contributing to this health concern, according to a report in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Orin C. Shanks, Hyatt C. Green and colleagues explain that our waterways are susceptible to many sources of fecal contamination, including sewage leaks and droppings from farm animals and wildlife. Contamination from dog feces is a concern because it can harbor antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli and other bacteria and parasites that can infect humans — and there are nearly 70 million domesticated dogs in the U.S. Scientists have had few tools to determine the extent to which waste from dogs is adding to the pathogens in rivers, lakes and beachfront surf. Current methods look for certain genes from gut bacteria that end up in dog feces. However, this is not foolproof — the microbiota of humans and the canine pets they live with often overlap, making the analysis complicated. So Shanks’ team set out to create a more specific test.

The researchers developed a new genetic testing method to specifically detect canine fecal contamination in water. They identified 11 genetic markers that were common among most of the dog samples but missing from the human ones. To determine whether their method would work for real-world monitoring, they sampled storm water from a rain garden where people often walk their dogs. The technique successfully detected some of the same markers they had identified as evidence for canine waste.

Source:  ACS news service

Sports Bras: Not Just For Athletes

DoggyMom.com:

Sports bras: the latest in dog rehabilitation equipment?

Originally posted on Adventures at Run A Muck Ranch:

Sarah got a pretty bad cut on her ‘good’ front leg late Tuesday afternoon.  Not bad enough for stitches, and we already had Tramadol at home, so we decided to hold off on going to the ER, instead deciding to see how she was the next day to determine if she needed to go to the day vet.

Despite being superficial, the cut was very painful, meaning Sarah didn’t want to put weight on the leg.  Remember, Sarah already has a bad front leg.  With the good leg injured, Sarah couldn’t walk at all.  Every attempt at a step ended with a face plant.  Though I steadied her with her collar, it seemed like all I was doing was insisting she stand while choking her.

Somewhere in the sleepless night, my already scattered brain came up with an idea:

Yes, Sarah is wearing one of my sports bras.

Yes, Sarah is wearing one of my sports bras.

Mock me all you want, but whenever Sarah couldn't get up or was unsteady on her feet, I  was able to stablize her. Mock me…

View original 482 more words

All American or Mutt? What to call our mixed breed dogs

This article by columnist Britt Peterson lends some interesting perspective on what to call our mixed breed dogs – now that even the Westminster Kennel Club is allowing them to compete in dog shows.

Good cur! – Ideas – The Boston Globe

Teddy’s journey: core strength

Teddy continues to be a happy boy.  During his appointment this week, we discussed two aspects of Teddy’s rehabilitation:

  • Variety/mental stimulation
  • Core strength

Jill remarked that she and Teddy now have a routine, but it means the same walk every day in the same location, and of course adjusting to limiting his activities to avoid stress and strain on his joints.

The solution:  variety!  Teddy’s is a smart boy and he needs jobs to keep him mentally active.  Little things like distributing food around the house and garden for him to find will provide Teddy with stimulation and something else to do.  Changing paddocks for Teddy’s walks and even getting other dogs to visit with him for play dates will also give Teddy variety in his day-to-day life.

And, as mentioned last week, Teddy needs greater core strength.  I showed Jill the value of supervised balancing exercises using a large peanut-sized ball from the FitPaws range.  These exercises, done on a soft surface that ‘wobbles’ slightly, require Teddy to balance on his 3 remaining legs.  In doing so, it means he works on his core muscles to keep his body steady.

I want greater core strength in Teddy before progressing to exercises for his proprioception.

And in case you missed it, I’ve already answered What’s proprioception?

Teddy concentrates as Jill helps him to balance

Teddy concentrates as Jill helps him to balance

 

Teddy core strength photo

Teddy’s a little unsure about these exercises, but trusts Jill

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

IKEA and pet adoption

Furniture company IKEA has used its profile with consumers to help spread the word about shelter pets.

Starting in Singapore with the Home for Hope initiative, life-sized cutouts of adoptable pets were displayed in stores.  The cutouts had two purposes:  Firstly, they gave perspective on how a pet of that size would look in a home.  Then, a QR code on each cutout allowed people to download more information about the animal and its care needs – thus giving insight into the costs and responsibilities of pet ownership.

Really innovative idea, IKEA!

Stores in the USA have begun to adopt similar programs.  Here’s a photo of an adoption event in Tempe Arizona:

A cardboard cutout of Daisy, an Arizona Humane Society shelter dog, on display at Ikea Tempe (photo by Ikea Tempe)

A cardboard cutout of Daisy, an Arizona Humane Society shelter dog, on display at IKEA Tempe (photo by IKEA Tempe)

A Home for Hope display in Singapore

A Home for Hope display in Singapore

This YouTube video gives background to the initiative in Singapore:

There are ways we haven’t even thought of yet to encourage adoption and responsible dog ownership, but it is wonderful to a big corporate like IKEA using their influence over consumers to help shelter pets.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand