Episode 011: Just Food For Dogs
This episode is our conversation with a couple of the key members of the Just Food For Dogs company. If you're one of our clients and you've been into our hospital since December of 2017, you've seen the Just Food For Dogs pantry that was built into our lobby. We analyzed Alicia Pet Care Center's standard of care for our patients and the dedication of Just Food For Dogs to improving the lives of your pet. It was a fairly simple conclusion to align our hospital with this progressive pet food company and offer their whole-food nutrition in the most convenient way possible.
APCC's Office Manager Tim Wheaton sits down in this episode with Shawn Buckley, the Founder of Just Food For Dogs and their Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Oscar Chavez. While discussing the creation of the company, Shawn and Dr. Chavez both detailed some of their startling discoveries in regards to the ingredients in commercial dog foods.
Shawn stated that when he learned what is allowed to be in dog food, he knew that he needed to create something that operated outside of that norm. Dr. Chavez detailed how using ingredients that are USDA-certified for human consumption changes the game of pet nutrition. They both discussed how the pet food industry is practically unregulated. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) was created to "regulate" how pet food is made. However, this is not a government-regulated entity. As a matter of fact, AAFCO is a voluntary membership association.
When the established AAFCO feeding trials were run by the scientists at Dr. Chavez' university, the scientists came back to him with a proposal to up the ante on the standard trials, stating AAFCO's trials were too rudimentary. Dr. Chavez brought that to Shawn, who immediately agreed to push everything further than what other pet food companies were doing.
Just Food For Dogs has published a document called the "White Paper", which is "an evidence-based analysis of the dog food industry in the USA". We talked about the toxins, contaminants, and adulterants that get into pet food.
Shawn broke down kibble in a fairly simple analysis: you can't put meat in a bag at room temperature for a year... you shouldn't do it for more than an hour. You can't really do it for a day, and they [other pet food companies] do it for a year. So, they implore us to think about what would have to be done to that kibble (that "meat") to put it in a bag for a year at room temperature. The answer is: major chemical preservatives. The most common of those chemicals: ethoxyquin, which is a known carcinogen and is not allowed to be in human food.
Dr. Chavez reminded us about the somewhat recent discovery of the barbiturate Pentobarbital in cans of pet food. He put the question out there of "how could something like that happen?". The answer to that is troubling. Dr. Chavez discussed the "compliance policies" created by the FDA that, paired with the lack of regulations on pet food, would allow something extremely unfortunate like this (to put it lightly) to occur.
The giants of the industry have thrived on a somewhat "smoke and mirror" approach to advertising their products to the public. Dr. Chavez said it very succinctly when he said: "...they've stopped talking about nutrition; because they can't really do that very well anymore...".
In an industry that is full of images of cute puppies and kittens running through perfect, green grass and looking incredibly happy, Just Food For Dogs is inviting anyone and everyone to take a deeper look.
Furthermore, in a world where nearly every segment of pet-related industries have kept pace with the idea that so many of us have embraced: that your pet is a member of your family... pet nutrition is the industry that is trailing far behind all others. Veterinarians, veterinary medicine and especially pet owners have all moved forward with the mindset of elevating their pet's status within the household. However, so much of the pet food industry has remained anchored in the past with kibble: something that hasn't progressed in over 70 years.
One of the incredibly unique qualities of Just Food For Dogs -- even amongst some of the newer competitors that are, on the outside, seeming to replicate their business model -- they are still the only company in the industry where consumers can be in a kitchen and watch their pet's food be made. In late July, Just Food For Dogs held a "Yappy Hour" and a Cooking Demo right here in Alicia Pet Care Center's lobby for a number of customers and clients.
You can find Alicia Pet Care Center on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope with our username @APCCvet. We are on Facebook as Alicia Pet Care Center. You can send any questions and topics you'd like us to discuss on a future episode to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our hospital's website is www.mypetsdr.com and the podcast website is www.PetTalkPodcast.com.
Thanks for listening!