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Recall: Diamond Pet Foods Recalls

A healthy diet for your pet can be easy, because pets cannot snack or eat junk food without your permission.

The healthiest diet for most cats and dogs would be a balanced, homemade diet.  This is hard to prepare correctly - most pet owners are not pet nutrition experts.  An unbalanced homemade diet is dangerous, and we do not recommend homemade diets unless you have spent the time to learn exactly what pets require.  A poorly planned homemade diet can easily cause long term, painful illness for your pet, including kidney and liver failure.  The problems may not be visible until it is too late.  To learn more about pet nutrition, see the bottom of this page.

Instead of a $2 or $3 per pound kibble, Iowa Pet Adoptions recommends a middle level quality food, with fresh foods added.  We use Kirkland Signature dog, cat, kitten, and puppy food, at 70 cents and less per pound.  Kirkland is the store brand for Costco.  There is only one Costco in Iowa, in West Des Moines, and shopping there requires a membership.

PET FEEDING OPTIONS

  • middle quality kibble at around 75 cents per pound, adding your own fresh food - recommended
  • widely advertised food such as Iams and Science Diet, priced like Super Premium food but actually middle level quality or less - not recommended
  • Super Premium dog or cat food at $2 or more per pound - we recommended spending less on commercial food and adding healthy fresh food
  • homemade diet - not recommended unless you take the time to become a pet nutrition expert

IDENTIFYING QUALITY COMMERCIAL PET FOOD

First Ingredient - Named Meat

The first ingredient of a quality pet food will be a named meat.  It may be Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Lamb, or some other meat source.  The important thing is the meat should be specifically named.  A variation such as Whole Turkey is fine.  Chicken Meal is Chicken that has been grounded, and is probably better than Whole Chicken, so is fine.

Avoid By-Products and Corn

Meat By-Products are defined to include: "necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines." Undeveloped eggs sound absolutely disgusting.  Ground necks can actually be okay for pets, and are often part of a quality homemade diet, but doubt the goal here is to provide the best nutrition to the pet, rather it is to save money.

Corn is used in many pet foods for the same reason it is used in many human foods, US subsidies reduce the cost.  Corn has some, but minimal, nutritional value.

Iams and Science Diet are two popular dog and cat brands.  Some of their specific foods list decent ingredients, while some include Meat By-Products and Corn.  Even their foods with quality ingredients cost more than other brands of similar quality.  You can save money and provide a better diet by choosing brands which spend less on advertising.

Compare Food Labels

Compare Kirkland Signature to Science Diet and Iams.

Kirkland Signature Adult Dog Chicken Rice & Vegetable  -  $24.59 for a 40 pound bag at Costco  -  61 cents per pound

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and vitamin E), egg product, dried beet pulp, potatoes, fish meal, flaxseed, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, millet, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, carrots, peas, kelp, apples, dried skim milk, cranberry powder, rosemary extract, parsley flake, dried chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, chondroitin sulfate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Hill's Science Diet - Ideal Balance Adult Chicken & Brown Rice  -  $38.96 for a 30 pound bag at Petco -  $1.30 per pound

Chicken, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Soybean Meal, Chicken Meal, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Whole Grain Oats, Apples, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Cranberries, Peas, Carrots, Dried Beet Pulp, Iodized Salt, Flaxseed, Broccoli, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

Iams ProActive Health Adult - Lamb Meal and Rice - $54.99 for a 40 pound bag at PetRX.com  -  $1.37 per pound

Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Grits, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Potassium Chloride, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, Monosodium Phosphate, Caramel, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), DL-Methionine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Calcium Carbonate, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract.

The Kirkland Signature and Hill's Science Diet contain some similar ingredients.  Chicken is the first ingredient for both.  Chicken Meal is the second ingredient for Kirkland Signature while it is the sixth ingredient in Hill's Science Diet, after Soybean Meal.  Soybean is not a dangerous ingredient, but like corn, soybean is mostly a filler.

Iams contains Corn Meal, Corn Sorghum, Corn Grits, and Chicken By-Product, all crummy ingredients.  Yet costs $1.37 per pound.

Hill's and Iams cost more than twice as much as Kirkland Signature, and Kirkland Signature quality appears to be equal or better.  Save your money, and read up adding fresh food such as vegetables, using the resources at the bottom of the page.

Folklore

Two bad ways for a pet owner to determine the quality of pet food is whether a pet eagerly consumes a new pet food, or the poop appears to be firm or runny.  Use the resources listed at the bottom of this page to learn more about pet nutrition.

DIAMOND PET FOODS

In our search for quality pet food at a low price, various Diamond Pet Foods' brands consistently appear to offer the best quality food for the price category.    We have no relationship with Diamond other than as a consumer, we do not receive discounts.

Not all Diamond foods are high quality.  Some of their foods include corn which we avoid.  However, even there, for pet owners on a budget, for the cost Diamond brand foods appear to be a generally better value.  If the choice is between a Diamond brand which includes corn and Old Roy, the Diamond brand is probably superior and cheaper.

Diamond Brand Names

Diamond manufactures a variety of pet foods, including the following brand names.  It is not clear which brands are owned by Diamond and which are manufactured by Diamond, under contract and paid by the brand name owner.  These are approximately ranked by price per pound:

Meat Quality

We asked Diamond to describe the meat used in their pet foods.  This is their e-mail response from January, 2012:

Our Chicken ingredient is Fresh, food grade chicken that has been mechanically separated from the bone. All of our meat is FDA and USDA approved and graded for Human consumption.

From the DiamondPet.com website:

Yes. All of our meats are purchased from food grade suppliers and are certified hormone and antibiotic free.

HOW IOWA PET ADOPTIONS FEEDS OUR PETS

We try to feed our pets with a Diamond food product, and add fresh foods.  We have no relationship with Diamond other than as a consumer, we do not receive discounts.

IPA dehydrates our own vegetables and adds this to the commercial kibble we feed the pet.

We make dehydrated meat including beef liver and beef hearts, which can be added to kibble and used as pet treats.

Pets are also fed plain, nonfat Yogurt with no artificial sweeteners (which can be deadly to pets).

Cats are often less willing to try new foods.  Dogs are often highly food motivated.

PET OWNER EDUCATION

As the pet owner, you alone decide how your pet is fed and treated.

The standard for pet nutrition is the National Research Council.  Their recommendations are similar to but more advanced than the AAFCO.

For dogs, DogAware.com is the best source for canine nutrition and health issues.  SeeSpotLiveLonger.com provides high quality dietary guidelines.

For cats, there are no comparable sites for feline welfare.

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