Thursday, October 18, 2018

Food Pets Die For - Book Review

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As one focused on saving animal lives on a daily basis, it is my responsibility to do as much as possible to help animals thrive.  Certainly, nutrition is a critical factor.  Many ailments and diseases, even deaths, can be linked directly to the food consumed by companion animals.  This is no surprise.  What did come as a surprise to me was how reading Food Pets Die For, by Ann Martin, would shake me to my core.  It is my hope that what I share here will make a difference in helping others avoid the heartache of losing a beloved pet, or of having a pet suffer needlessly.

Let's start with why I felt shaken and shocked as a result of reading this book.  Having learned quite a bit about commercial pet foods through my shelter work, I didn't expect to be horrified by the contents of Food Pets Die For.  What did I find horrifying?  Well, would it make you sick to know that the furry members of your family have eaten euthanized dogs and cats?  I'll never get over that ugly reality.  Are you up to hearing more about the "ingredients" in Fifi's so-called premium pet food?  I hope you haven't just eaten.

For starters, it is not unusual for pet food (and not just the cheapest brands) to be made up of:  fecal matter, decomposing garbage, road kill, poisons, known carcinogens (herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides), the ingested stomach contents of dead animals, drugs used to kill animals, diseased animals, chicken pen shavings, blood, toxins, feathers, additives not approved for dogs and cats, and unregulated levels of supplemental vitamins that can kill our animals.

You may be wondering how this is possible.  Largely, this is the result of a self-regulated, multi-billion dollar industry.  The author has meticulously researched the commercial pet food industry for nearly 30 years.  Though it seems too shocking to be true, and though many pet food manufacturers have attempted to block the release of damaging information, the evidence is compelling.  What pet-lover could ignore these facts?  To do so is to be an accomplice to crimes against animals.

And speaking of crimes, I found it beyond disheartening to learn of the animal experimentation supported by well-known pet food companies.  I would never have purchased food from these companies had I known about the extreme pain, and premature deaths, inflicted upon the subjects of their so-called nutritional research.  I will continue to be haunted by the barbaric experiments documented by undercover employees.

At this point, you may be wondering if you have the stomach to read this book.  If we care about animals, we can't afford not to.  How can we justify supporting practices that hurt innocent creatures who depend on us for their safety and well-being?

There is much to be learned from Food Pets Die For that can move us to making a positive difference (whether you currently have companion animals or not).  In addition to enlightenment about the lesser known inner workings of the pet food industry, you will also be introduced to options for feeding your pets homemade meals and treats.  Key considerations, including the nutritional needs of dogs and cats, are presented.

While reading this book, I found myself standing in the pet food aisle of my neighborhood big box store.  I have to admit that I could not bring myself to purchase a single can or bag of food from their pet food offerings.  I knew too much to be able to do that to the animals I treasure.  I am making the commitment to cook meals for my animal family.  It is impossible for me to fill the stomachs of my pups and kittens with lethal substances given what I now know.  I just hope I can forgive myself for not knowing sooner.  Ignorance is no excuse and with knowledge comes new responsibility.

What can you do starting today?  Please read and share this book widely.  You will likely save lives.  Also, please consider doing something for shelter animals.  Many of the animals arriving at shelters are already in a greatly depleted state (suffering from malnutrition and starvation).  Shelters are often dependent on donations of pet food.  One powerful thing you can do is to provide a gift of high quality pet food for the animals awaiting adoption.  There are few things more satisfying than filling the empty tank of a beautiful companion animal with what that creature needs, and deserves, most.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Diana, I have no doubt this would be a book we all should read. I had heard about some of the food additives in pet food and their lethal possibilities. However, you mentioned several things I have never heard before. I certainly never heard about pet food companies experimentation. I am already disgusted by just reading your review. No doubt, I would be hopping mad after reading the entire book. We spend ghastly amounts of money on the dog food we buy simply because it is the one our vet recommended. You make me wonder if that is even enough. We may need to switch to cooking their meals ourselves. Ironically, I always worry about tainted meat when I feed our pups bites of leftovers from our meals. We all depend on our government agencies and on basic human morality and ethics. Of course, saying that makes me realize how ignorant and naive I am. Money often supersedes morality or ethics. Thanks for the recommendation! Frankly, I would be more interested in the homemade recipes the writer offers.

    1. Two of the food brands I have fed my pets for years came at the recommendation of my vets. However, those two brands are two that sponsored horrific animal experimentation. Also, one of the things pointed out in the book, is that many vets are not nutritional experts. Some vets have incentives for promoting certain products. Don't get me wrong, I have a deep appreciation for the vets with whom I work. I'm just saying that we need to do our own research when it comes to what we feed our companion animals (along with working closely with medical professionals). I am on the lookout for more recipes for homemade meals for my cats and dogs. Will share as I find excellent sources.

  2. I will be sharing this widely as most of my extended family are both dog and cat lovers. This sounds truly horrifying. We think we are doing good things by donating food to shelters, only to find out we may be harming these animals by our charity. This is truly upsetting, but a necessary read for anyone who loves their fur babies.

    1. Thank you for sharing this resource. Many animals are sure to live longer lives as a result. Every animal lover wants to do right by their beloved furry family members. The more we know, the more we can be what they need us to be.

  3. Thank you for bringing this book to the attention of all pet lovers and the role "quality" food plays in their health.

    1. I would be failing an incredible number of precious animals, and those who love them, if I did not share this vital information.

  4. Wow, I had no idea. Very enlightening (and scary), Diana. My brother & SIL have 2 cats and a dog and they make homemade food for them. It actually began because Abby (the Boston Terrier) was very fussy about eating - refusing brand after brand after they rescued her. To get her to eat, they began making their own dog food (cooked chicken mixed with sweet potatoes & rice is a favorite). Do you suppose Abby somehow knew the store-bought dog food was not good for her? Makes you wonder. :)

    1. Abby is one very intuitive dog. Kudos to her family for providing such nourishing food.

  5. I know of two people in family who would appreciate this book. I can only imagine how hard it is to read! One of my sons is also an ethical people food eater. He only buys his meats from a farm where he can see first hand that the animals are ethically treated. He also got his hunting license and hunts for food as well. One of my stepsons is an avid, ethical hunter, and hunts for his family and fills his freezer. He's careful about every scrap from a deer. When my son comes home, he won't eat any of the meat I buy from the grocery store. He's says he won't be a hypocrite and go against his principles. Gotta love him. I can imagine that for animal food it's a similar story based on your review of this very important book.

  6. There is great strength shining through every ethical behavior and action. Knowing what you stand for, and living a life of principle, matters. To live undivided is to be authentic, and to be authentic, is to be true to what you value. I can see, from what you have shared, that your sons understand what this means.


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