Shocking Facts about Pet Food

Book Reviews by Dr. Alan Miller, ND

“Food Pets Die For” by Ann N. Martin
“Protect Your Pets” by Ann N. Martin

While living in Canada, Ms. Martin’s two dogs became ill after eating a dry commercial dog food. She had the food analyzed by two independent labs, as well as a Ministry of Agriculture lab. The independent labs determined there was a toxic level of zinc in the dog food. After nine months of waiting for the government lab to finish its testing, the results indicated there were no toxic mineral levels. She took the pet food manufacturer to court to recover the costs of her veterinary bills and the testing, and subsequently lost the case. This began her seven-year investigation of the pet food industry.

Ms. Martin claims her investigation uncovered shocking, unknown practices of the pet food industry, including the use of diseased livestock, road kill, and euthanized pets in pet food. These are very strong allegations; however, the author says many communities contract with companies to dispose of road kill and euthanized pets. Pet owners assume their animal will be incinerated/cremated, but sometimes the contract companies sell the animals to a rendering plant, which sends the rendered material on to a pet food manufacturing plant. This is an aesthetic issue, as well as a safety issue, according to the author. Sodium pentobarbital, used widely in euthanasia, is not degraded during rendering, leaving drug residue in the meat. Ms. Martin also suggests levels of other drugs in pet foods, including antibiotics and hormones, as well as molds and fungi, may be high enough to cause harm to pets.

The parts of beef, sheep, fish and other animals commonly used in pet food are, according to the author, often “unfit for human consumption” including spinal cords, cartilage, bone, lungs, brains, hooves, hair, intestines, fish heads and viscera.

Of the states in the U.S. which responded when contacted by the author, none had laws on the books specifically prohibiting the use of companion pets in pet food. These findings lead her to investigate who regulates this industry and she found, although there are government agencies in the U.S. and Canada which govern how pet food is labeled, there is no governmental body which oversees and enforces exactly what is allowed to be used in pet foods.

The bottom line: Ms. Martin suggests pet owners not buy into the pet food industry’s claims that pets can receive 100 percent of their necessary nutritional needs by ingesting pre-packaged commercial food. She advocates eschewing commercial foods and opting for a wholesome homemade diet which incorporates the protein, carbohydrates and fats pets need. She provides recipes and other helpful hints for maintaining optimally healthy pets, and lists sources of necessary vitamins and minerals.

Ann Martin’s book, Foods Pets Die For, provides information rarely seen anywhere else. It is a shocking, sometimes disgusting look into the pet food industry, and should open the reader’s eyes regarding the source of the “nutrition” most Americans trust as their pets’ sole food source.


Foreword by Shawn Messonier, DVM

Ann Martin has been investigating the multi-billion-dollar, commercial pet food industry since 1990, and is internationally recognized as an authority on the dangers of commercial pet foods.

In this new and updated edition of “Food Pets Die For”, first published by New Sage Press in 1997, Martin once again goes behind the scenes of the commercial pet food industry. She uncovers the unsavory ingredients that can legally be used by commercial pet food companies, including euthanized cats and dogs, diseased and contaminated meat, moldy grains, and rancid fat. Ann Martin also documents the ongoing animal experimentation funded by many major pet food companies in the name of nutritious pet food.

Ann Martin arms consumers with crucial information on how to read labels on pet food, and discern for themselves whether or not they want to feed their pets commercial food. Martin offers healthy alternatives for feeding animal companions with nutritious and easy-to-prepare recipes. For people who don’t have time to cook, Martin provides information on several pet food companies that produce healthy, human-grade pet food. Ann Martin builds a strong case for why our pets will live longer, healthier lives without commercial pet food.

Ann Martin’s investigative writing on commercial pet food has garnered special recognition from Project Censored, sponsored by Sonoma State University’s School of Journalism, as one of the most important yet underreported news stories. Since then, this classic has become a grassroots best seller among health-minded pet owners. Martin’s second book, “Protect your Pet: More Shocking Facts”, also addresses problems of commercial pet food as well as other pet-related health concerns such as over-vaccination, the raw meat diet, Rimadyl, bloat and more.

Ann Martin is a pet columnist for Better Nutrition Magazine. She is also a frequent guest on U.S. and Canadian radio and television shows to present her views on the commercial pet food industry.

Search for a natural pet food store in your location: e.g.

“Natural Pet Food Stores in ___________, ___________ “ (Your City, Your State)

Check your pet food labels: No corn, wheat, soy or any by-products.

For more information contact Elaine Connelly directly.