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An end to misinformation? My a**e!

Published: Monday, April 1, 2019

PAWS.com critique March 2019

I’ve been looking at a website which publishes the following:

 “To our fellow pet parents

An open letter from PAWS

Written by Steph (Paws Vet Surgeon & Pet Wellbeing Ambassador)

18th February 2019

To our fellow pet parents

… The problem?  Misinformation.  It’s everywhere. And it’s not doing us or our pawed pals any good.

Our mission? To call time on misinformation and help our pet parents solve the challenges they face every day…

Paws is an online retailer and community where you can trust what you see. We’re taking on misinformation and arming you with the facts, so it’s easy to make the right choices for your dog and be the best pet parent you can be.”

(Misinform:  To tell incorrectly or misleadingly; Chambers Dictionary)

The website then goes on to parade its very own array of misinformation (aka incorrect or misleading information).

To give one example: PAWS says that dogs should have a high protein diet and that meat should be the first ingredient.  Putting meat as the first ingredient doesn’t even ensure that meat or protein is the major ingredient in the food.  For example, you could formulate a diet which reads:

Meat 20%; rice 19%; oats 19%; wheat 19%; wheat bran 10%; sugar beet 5% … etc. Meat is the first ingredient but the other major ingredients make up 72% of the total!  (One of their recommended foods which they sell breaks up the rice into brown and white so that the meat comes first rather than rice.)

Another dodge (which PAWS.com uses) is to use a percentage of “fresh” meat which means liquid meat which has a high water content.  This distorts the formulation to give the impression of more meat than there actually is. 

As to the claim that dogs should have a high protein diet: AAFCO recommendations are that dog food should have a protein content of between 18% and 23% on a dry matter basis. Although not confirmed AAFO also says that high protein diet may damage the kidneys of a health dog.

Burns adult foods have protein content of approximately 20% on a dry matter basis.

On the subject of carbohydrate, the site, which, may I remind you, claims to abolish misinformation, says: “Some carbs are needed to make kibble. However, they should ideally be kept to a minimum to leave room for plenty of quality protein and healthy fats.” As if the only reason for using carbohydrate as a food is to make the kibble!

Why am I getting het up about this website when misinformation is everywhere?  Partly because of the humbug which claims to put an end to misinformation and be on the side of the pet owner/parent and then trotting out more self-serving information. The main reason is that the site criticises Burns foods and therefore me personally as the originator of the food.  Burns has been helping to keep pets healthy for 25 years using the principles which I believe in so I get a bit touchy on the subject of what makes for a good food.

It is gratifying to be a vet, to belong to a profession which is a byword for integrity.  To “vet” means “to examine thoroughly and critically (and pass as sound or correct.)”  It is disturbing when a vet puts his name to misleading information for commercial reasons.

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