Pet Cuisine; Feeding Galloping Gourmets

By Ackerman, Stephen J.; Willis, Judith Levine | FDA Consumer, March 1991 | Go to article overview

Pet Cuisine; Feeding Galloping Gourmets


Ackerman, Stephen J., Willis, Judith Levine, FDA Consumer


Will your dog really be better off if you buy the 70-cent-per-can "gourmet" dog food instead of the ordinary half-dollar brand?

Will your finicky cat thrive, yet lose weight, if you switch to an expensive "diet" dinner? Finding the right answer for your pet can be important to its health and to your pocketbook.

Feed for pets is more than a $6 billion industry, with almost 5.7 billion devoted to dogs and cats. According to the Pet Food Institute, a trade association, there are 54.5 million dogs and 63.2 million cats in the United States.

After the first dog biscuits were sold in 1860, change came slowly. Canned horsemeat joined dry dog foods in the 1920s, with dry meat meals and the first cat foods appearing in the 1930s. Commercial variations flourished in the 1960s. The Human's Dilemma

If you stroll down the supermarket pet food aisle today, you may find some 100 varieties of dog food.

Most common are "low-calorie" products to help Rover lose weight. Prominent, too, are brands with nutrients suited to dogs of different ages. Some victuals claim benefits purely cosmetic, such as alleviating canine "bad breath'-a condition more likely to trouble the master than the mastiff. Amid such a profusion of products, how is one to choose?

Specialized pet foods, sometimes called "prescription" feeds or diets, have been marketed primarily through veterinarians or kennel clubs, and intended as part of a comprehensive health regimen. Recently, however, they've begun showing up on supermarket shelves.

"We are opposed to the sale of prescription' diets in supermarkets," says George Graber, Ph.D., director of FDA's division of animal feeds in the Center for Veterinary Medicine. He explains that feeding a pet such foods without the advice of a veterinarian could harm the pet.

The regular dog and cat foods on the market provide a "complete and balanced diet" for pets, and clearly show this in their package labeling. While some products may claim to taste better-and large manufacturers maintain kennels with the happy mission of testing such claims-all foods so labeled are adequate nutritionally for healthy animals. FDA insists that pet food be as safe for animals as human food is for people. Labels list ingredients in order of preponderance, along with a chemical analysis. Even a product's name may not be misleading as to content or nutritional properties.

FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine works closely with the states through the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to insure the safety of animal feeds. Manufacturers must provide scientific support to justify nutritional claims, including the assertion that a product constitutes a "complete and balanced" diet, either throughout an animal's life or during a specified part of its life cycle. Who's the Gourmet?

Whether or not a pet becomes a demanding "gourmet" depends on its owner. In choosing varied, "gourmet" diets for our pets (diets to which they may become quickly and expensively accustomed), we fall into an anthropomorphic fallacy, a tendency to attribute human characteristics to animals.

Dogs and cats are creatures of habit. A pup or kitten raised on an ordinary feed will grow to like it, sometimes shunning rarer delicacies in favor of "the usual." Though Fido may clamor for your steak while his own chow waits in his bowl, he'll ordinarily go for his regular meal if other temptations don't compete. Variety is not so important to him as it may seem to you.

Some "gourmet" pet foods (and especially pet "treats") are designed to appeal more to the human purchaser than the animal consumer. Color-blind canines are indifferent to the pastel hues that beckon the buyer of dog candies, just as kittens value the cute shapes less than the content of their bonbons. We pay extra for such gimmicks because we consciously or unconsciously equate human tastes and needs with those of our pets. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Pet Cuisine; Feeding Galloping Gourmets
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.