For those of you around the world who haven’t heard about this and are feeding Iams, Nutro or Hill’s to your pets, PLEASE check their Web sites.

Menu Foods is in Canada. Apparently, they decided to “go cheap” and bought wheat gluten from China for use in all of the brands of pouch and canned “cuts and gravy” type pet foods they make for just about every pet food brand sold in the U.S. and Canada. 

The wheat gluten was contaminated with melamine, a plastics material that is highly toxic. It used to be used in pesticides here, but was banned by the Food and Drug Administration. However, China still uses it and it was still on the wheat gluten they sold to Menu Foods.  Now, New York’s health department also found traces of a rat poison ingredient in the food as well.

At least 16 documented cases of deaths in cats and dogs have been reported in the U.S. as the result of the animals eating the tainted pouch or canned foods.  However, members of the U.S. Veterinary Association have been reporting hundreds of their patients sickened or killed by these foods, so the actual number of affected pets in the U.S. probably numbers in the thousands. Plus, vets here are also going back to see if recent cases of patients dying of kidney or liver problems could have been related to the contaminated food, but no one realized it because Menu Foods hadn’t yet announced the recall.

The Menu Foods Web site to get a complete list of recalled foods is:  Click on Dog Food Information or Cat Food Information to get the list.  You will see it’s massive.

The company keeps adding items and individual pet food companies also keep adding items, such as treats.  For example, POUNCE cat treats have been recalled.

Also, individual companies, such as Nutro, Iams, Hills have also put out their own press releases and updates on their Web sites.  I sent a strongly worded email to Nutro and their excuse is they use Menu Foods to  keep prices down and for economies of scale.  It doesn’t make me feel any better, I can assure you. 

There’s now a huge class-action lawsuit against Menu Foods.  They have agreed to pay for the vet bills, but who knows. 

It’s just infuriating.  I’ve been reading Dr. Strombeck and other vets’ views on home cooking and the more I read, the more I realize it’s really the way to go.  I just cook up a big batch on Sundays and store it in the fridge.  Really, when you think about it, domestic dogs and cats are carnivores and have existed for centuries on what they could hunt and kill and on table scraps from humans.   It’s the pet food companies and the vets who sell their products who don’t want us to cook for our pets because we’ll put them out of business, but with the vast line of pet vitamin supplements available today (Solid Gold for one), and a little thought, we likely can make our pets a much better diet than what they put in a can.

BTW, my dog is more active now, appears happier, has more energy, less waste, and is not chewing or scratching as much since I’ve been cooking for her and it’s only been a little over two weeks.  She even lost a little weight, which she needed to do.

I’m just starting to cook for my cats so I’ll let you know how they do. 

It may take a little experimentation for them, but whatever they don’t like I’m sure they’ll supplement on their own with the occasional vole, mouse, lizard… and yes, scquirrel.  ewwww!