First thing: of course the pet food industry did not comment for this book. Why would they admit to putting garbage in pet food when they own multi-billion dollar companies? But the sort of information contained in this book has dribbled and dabbled out off and on for years -- diseased animals, road kill, zoo animals, etc. And when you consider we can't even get good laws for animal abuse, is it any wonder no one much cares what goes into pet food? If I sound frustrated, it's because I am. It sickens me to think of what these big congomerates get away with chasing after the almighty dollar!! Back to the point. It took Ann Martin 7 years to track down the information contained in this book, a remarkable feat considering she's Canadian and most of the pet food companies are right here in the USA.
One of my cats died far too young of cancer. I always wanted all four of them to eat better but advertising has scared us to death of giving our pets anything good for them. Thanks to Ms. Martin's book, I now cook for my other three cats. They are thriving. (The difference in their coats, demeanor, etc. was obvious almost immediately. If you don't cook, there are natural brands, with real meat, on the market like Innova and PetGuard to name just two.) It's hard to get people to change, I suppose, but if you want additional information, please also read THE NATURE OF ANIMAL HEALING by Martin Goldstein, D.V.M. Not only does he back up Ms. Martin's findings, being a vet, he's able to explain in great detail the health implications of poor diets. Apparently, he sees it every day in his practice. There are other books here at Amazon.com on the subject which I haven't read yet.
As to raw vs. cooked, there really are two very distinct opinions on this. Animals do eat raw food in the wild. And Dr. Goldstein eventually switched to raw (organic, however). I intend to do so when I figure out how. Ms. Martin home-cooks. Meanwhile, home-cooked is certainly better than BY-PRODUCTS. By the way, BY-PRODUCTS are essentially anything people can't/won't eat such as beaks, feathers, feet, and other sickening things I won't mention, plus the already mentioned diseased animals, road kill, restaurant grease and our euthanized pets. Ms. Martin wrote this book as a result of pet food sickening her own animals (she has independent lab tests showing why). I hope you will read the book, then decide for yourself. We owe it to our wonderful pets who give so much and ask for so little in return.
on January 26, 2000
Ann Martin's investigation into the commercial pet food industry has become a classic. This is the book I often recommend when people ask me what's wrong with (most) commercial dog and cat foods. However, I can't recommend this book without pointing out some of the errors in the second part of the book, the part that focuses on feeding a homemade diet.
First of all, it needs to be said that while cooking the meat can indeed destroy bacteria and parasites (as well as destroying valuable enzymes and changing the meat's molecular structure), cooking does *not* destroy the antibiotics, pesticides, artificial growth hormones, etc., as Martin claims. The only way to avoid these harmful substances is to stop supporting factory farming and buy ethically raised, organic meats. Yes, such meat is more expensive, but personally I'd rather pay more and know that I'm not supporting the needless torture of animals and the destruction of the environment. At this point you may wonder why we feed our dogs meat at all. Well, the humans in our house are indeed longtime vegetarians, but dogs are carnivores and while they can survive on a properly supplemented vegetarian diet, such a species inappropriate diet is far from ideal. Our family's GWPs have been thriving on a diet based on raw meats and bones for thirty years now. While it's been my experience that raw diets are indeed preferable for most dogs, there are certainly cases where cooked diets are more appropriate. Some dogs -- usually due to certain medical conditions -- simply do not do well on a raw diet, and in such cases a homecooked diet is the best option.
Unfortunately the recipes offered by Ms. Martin are not properly balanced. For instance, while she is clearly aware of the correct calcium to phosphorous ratio (as well as of the damage caused by calcium deficiencies), her recipes do not contain nearly enough calcium to balance out the high phosphorous levels of the meat and, to a lesser extent, the grains. She seems to be under the impression that one can use yogurt or cottage cheese as a calcium supplement; however, while dairy products are good sources of calcium, they also happen to contain plenty of phosphorous (some types of cottage cheese actually contain more phosphorous than calcium), so obviously dairy products cannot be used to balance the meat's high phosphorous levels. The best way to supplement calcium is to feed the meat with plenty of raw bone (nature's way of balancing calcium and phosphorous) or by adding ground eggshell powder to boneless meats. Feeding a properly balanced homeprepared diet really isn't as difficult as the pet food industry and their supporters would have us believe, but getting the Ca:P ratio right is important.
My suggestion: Read Ms. Martin's book to find out why it's not a good idea to feed processed pet foods (if you don't already know), but then get yourself another book to learn how to prepare a balanced homemade diet for your animals.
on May 31, 2000
I put off reading this book for a long time, fearing that it would be sensational. It IS sensational, but in the positive sense! Ms. Martin has carefully researched her subject and has presented it with diligent documentation to back up her shocking disclosures.
Cats and dogs in pet food? How can this be? Ms. Martin explains how domestic pets, zoo animals, and road kill end up in pet food, along with many other ingredients unfit for human consumption.
No wonder our pets die so young! I started feeding fresh foods nearly 8 years ago, and my dogs are living longer, healthier lives because of it. After reading Ms. Martin's book, I now know exactly why I have been feeding fresh food.
We all believe that the "government" regulates everything and ensures safety and efficacy. Not so with pet foods, where the only regulation is voluntary industry-based regulation. The definitions and permissable ingredients are clearly laid out and explained in this book. Knowing the definition of "brewers rice" or "byproducts" is important. I find myself referring back to this book over and over to look up definitions of label ingredients, as I help other pet owners sort out their companions' diets.
There are some good brands of pet food, that use healthy ingredients. This book will help you recognize those brands by reading the labels, so that even if you choose not to cook for your pet(s), you can provide a health diet.
I do wish that Ms. Martin had eschewed the recipes and instead referred readers to other books for guidance on feeding a fresh raw diet to their companion animals. But that section will not stop me from recommending this book to everyone I know.
My own veterinarian, who has been advocating fresh raw diets for more than a decade, thought he knew a lot about pet food. After he read this book, he told me he was shocked at what he learned. I wish that EVERY veterinarian in the US would read this book. Then they might have greater success in curing the ills of their patients.
This book will help pet owners provide a better diet and improved health for their animal companions. Three cheers for the courage and dedication of Ms. Martin to researching and writing this book!
on March 18, 2004
I love my dog, he's my buddy and I love him dearly. As a loving dog owner I want my buddy to eat good food, like I do. I would love to give him the food I eat, but I've always heard that it can be bad for them so I always purchase the "Premium" dog food for him because the bag says it's healthier for him than the cheaper brands. Like I said, I want my buddy to eat good food.
I AM SO GLAD I SAW THIS BOOK.
It said, "Shocking facts about pet food" Why would there be a book about that? I now know why, and thank you Ann Martin.
All the B.S. on the "big brand" bags of pet "food" can mean pretty much anything at all.
"Yeah right! How can they put something on the bag that's not true? That's false advertising!"
Yep, that's what I thought too, and that is true for human food. If there is any indication that human food has been contaminated or poisoned somehow, there is an immediate recall for safety purposes. BUT, the pet "food" industry is pretty much UNregulated by the government. Basically, the pet "food" industry is in charge of itself! That's as bad as how the government representatives are in charge of whether or not they get a raise for the next year (HELLO! What would you vote?!). The pet "food" industry has such a high profit margin because the "food" they use to make they're products are the leftovers from the human food industry, and animals that weren't fit to be processed for human food which are called 4-D. Dead, Dying, Disabled, Diseased. The most horrendous thing that was discovered is how euthanized animals from kill shelters are disposed of to the rendering plants where they make pet "food", and do so without even removing collars, flea collars, tags, or even the plastic bag they are in before they are thrown in the grinder.
That is just the sickest thing I have ever heard, and the worse part of that, the drug that is used as poison to KILL animals is recycled back into the pet "food". I WILL NOT FEED MY DOG POISON. Also, in the book it shows the requirements for the different nutritional values for protein, fat & fiber are so UNregulated that they could be qualified as "leather, crandshaft oil & sawdust". This goes for both dry and canned "food". Ann also says that alot of the "fiber" in the "food" isn't only from sawdust, but ground peanut shells too. This is completely unacceptable.
I'm not going to feed my buddy what I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't even feed him chicken nuggets from fast food places after what I found out about how they are made, I won't touch one again. Not the ones that you can actually see the meat fibers, but the ones that are just a pressed meat product.
Ann also lists a few different companies that actually make pet FOOD starting with human grade materials, or food that is regulated and healthy for US to eat. The day after I finished the book, I went out and got some of this good FOOD and threw out the "food" I was giving my buddy for years. I'm so glad I saw this book.
So actually, I could have been feeding my buddy my food, and it would have been a whole lot better for him that that "waste" I was feeding him before. She also has many recipes for homecooking for your animals, which is good, but my wife says that some of these recipes can cause weight gain, and I agree because there are too many "bad carbs" included in them. We know this info from Dr. Atkins! I would say just stay away from giving them all that rice and pasta and stuff, and they should be fine.
Ann also brings up how pet "food" companies are owned by the most unlikely corporations. A well known candy bar maker owns 4 of them, a well known chocolate company owns at least 3, and a well known kechup company owns at least 5 others.
If you love your animals like they were your kids, then I don't know how you could feed them waste. PLEASE read this book, you will not be sorry you did. Besides, I would rather support a small operation pet food company that makes quality food, than some big corporation that's just out for your $$.
on April 8, 1999
Ms. Martin is one of those people who just won't quit. She won't be quiet, she won't be stopped. Nothing has been spared in her search for the truth in what is going into our pet's food. (And I'm sure there are those who would prefer her to be less industrious.) I could only read about 4 or 5 pages at a time, as I was so sickened to think about how many of my wonderful dogs and cats have died of cancerous growths, and how much I have trusted the pet food industry. If you are really committed to your pet's health, WAKE UP and READ THIS BOOK. Since I have been making my dog's food, as Ms. Martin recommends, the change in their coats, energy, weight, and love of mealtime, has been astounding. And it's easy to do!! Ms. Martin is an angel and is doing something magnificent for our animals.
on December 30, 2000
Thank you Ann Martin for having the guts to NOT QUIT on this one. The pet food industry is, to me, no different than the processed food industry. So many people are suffering at the hands of packaged, over-processed, non-nutrition at the hands of the food processors. Why should our pets be any different? My family is from Europe and for years my great aunts and grandparents would ask WHY are you buying this smelly, sticky canned junk for your dogs and cats??? Give them whole foods just like we eat. My dog was raised eating healthy table scraps, stews, and soups (with vegetables even!!) and thrived.
It is interesting that today's American animals are getting all the degenerative diseases that their owners are, these health problems have been on the rise within the last 25-30 years. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together. The other good thing is that your veterinarian bills and your food bills will begin to diminish because you will no longer be purchasing "specialty pet food" at exhorbitant prices. Get this book and learn to take control of your animal's well being!!
on January 28, 2001
This is a well-researched book that reveals many startling truths about the pet food industry. If you have pets, be prepared to switch to a homemade diet or a small manufacturer. We did, and our dogs thank us. We tried everything for Muffin's allergies and NOTHING conventional worked. I'm a true believer now. No more icky green puke and her "hot spot" has never returned. Muffin is now 16 and healthier than ever!
Ann Martin is a diligent and brilliant researcher, who took on the powerful multi-million dollar pet food industry. Boy, did she ever! While this is a good book at understanding the shortfalls in the pet food industry, it's not ideal for recipes. If you are looking for good recipes, look elsewhere. For starters, check out Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.
on July 19, 2005
I'm not surprised to hear that the veterinary industry declined to comment on this book, and that veterinary students are panning it. The veterinary industry is seriously behind the curve on this issue. I know, because I have six cats who were very sick from commercial food, and my vets were worse than useless.
I switched to raw diet, and all their health problems were resolved in a few months. Hard to argue with that experience.
While Ann Martin is not a fan of raw diet, she does act as a whistleblower here, and brings much-needed attention to the problem of unregulated garbage going into petfood.
If you love your pets, buy this book. It'll open your eyes.
on June 25, 2001
Excellent is an understatement. The author Ann Martin has spent a considerable amount of time researching what is in most commercial pet food (well known commercial food companies). She has written a book complete with endnotes & a bibliography to factualize everything she has written. Any cat or dog owner who loves their animals will want to read this book. Wouldn't any loving cat or dog lover change their pets diet is they found out what they were feeding their animals was harmful to them & may even include euthanized dogs & cats? On page 27, she writes "In later investigations in both the US & Canada, I was to learn that the collars, tags, flea collars, and even plastic bags in which (euthanized) pets are wrapped, are not removed before they are shoved in the rendering pit. Deceased pets were are are being "recycled" into pet food, and pet owners have no knowledge of what is happening." This would also be a great book to buy a copy & pass on to a local veterinarian - perhaps if the word gets out this awful practice can be prevented.
on July 9, 2002
After her dogs kept getting sick from the pet food she was feeding Ann Martin, an average pet owner like myself and others went about finding out what was in the food itself to cause such a reaction.
Her search took her from Canada(where she lives) to the US and spaned almost 8 long years. What she found will shock and horrify you. The pet food giants are putting unbeliveable things into the food we so diligently buy for our beloved animals thinking its for their good health. After this, I would rather feed my pets my own garbage to be frank. Not that I would, but it would be much healthier than what goes into the feed they're eating from the bag.
Diseases and potential toxins are sitting in that bag of food, be it, premium name or generic, they are from the same place and cut, don't be fooled. After reading this, I will never again subject my furkids to this kind of sick treatment. These people should be locked up for what they are doing to our pets.
Ms. Martin took on the Canadian Government and the FDA with not much luck. Apparently the governments don't care what our pets are eating, so its up to us to be warned and take precautions. I commend Ms. Martin for the excellent job she has done and the thousands of dollars she's spent trying to blow the cover on the pet food giants.
A book WELL worth the money. One you SHOULD NOT miss if you're a devoted pet owner. Consumer beware, an excellent book that gives the facts, horrifying as they may be.