Posted by: Scientist | 2007/04/19

Dog food scare

I read that in the US, there is also a dog food recall of some 100 brands. Appareantly it was contaminated with Melamine. The specific ingeredients which were contaminted and used in the production of the dog food were rice protiens and wheat gluten, both imported form China.

Could this be SA problem too?

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Our expert says:
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It is being investigated at present and we await the report from Royal Canin who are having tests done. Hopefully the exact cause will soon be known so that similar situations can be prevented in future.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: WR | 2007/04/21


As with all dogs (most in general) , I believe the upbringing dictates their personality. However, I do also believe that good brreding makes for a better platform - mind and body.

I don't have kids yet, thus my dogs aren't very familiar with them - altough they do interact with friends' kids. Both my male & female are excellent with man-work - but their real talent(s) actually come to the fore when the kids are here - the kids can literally sit in them, and they don't even look at them funny! The mind boggles; these fearsome protection dogs being as meek as little lambs when th ekids are close!!!! It must also be said that I have NEVER left any kid alone with a dog - I just believe that it is unfair & dangerous both to the dogs and the kids - one never knows where a finger can go in or where a tooth can get stuck by accident!

As far as small dogs and cats (and other pets); Cats they don't really know - so I can't comment (on my dogs), but a friend of mine brought his 7 week old Jack Russel around.....My male got so protective of this little thing that my female wasn't even allowed to sniff him!!!!! He guided the pup around the whole evening, and didn't even get up when Mr.Puppy started biting his feet, and hanging from his lips!
Other pets; The -|- atoo (that visited us for 8 weeks) could walk right past them, and they wouldn't care - they knew he was allowed in 'our territory' (their) so they gooi-ed him a flat ignore! My Monk-parakeet could actually climb right over them - he used to chase them! Unfortunately this bugger had an affinity for the pool, and one day opened his cage, and went swimming but forgot to tell us - I cried for a week!

Obviously I'm being very objective when I say that GSDs are probably one of the best all-rounder dog breeds! haha!

My 2 aren't really fat - they just a tad chubby if dad (me) overindulges them! haha!

Anyway, that's my story again! haha!

Keep well!

Reply to WR
Posted by: Joni | 2007/04/21


I heard the same thing about our game meat too, although mine comes from the Kalahari, I mean stuff all barely survives there but I am also paranoid about the bacteria and I also freeze for about 4 months before using it. I think its something I learnt from childhood but I've always done it. But apparently it does work, so I don't think your large brain needs convincing.

Don't worry I also battled to get my very very happy & healthy round the middle Chow to loose weight after he was neutered. We tried all the lite varients, Eukanuba weight Control etc. more exercise you name it, I swear he must've been raiding the pantry at night. It's only now that he's on raw and after a couple of months that he's finally loosing it nicely, he actually has a waist and not a wobble tyre. Our vet can't believe it.

I have a Great Dane puppy (6months old), a -|- er Spaniel and 2 maltese as well, no kids can't have any, so we've got furkids who I love with every inch of my being.

I like it when I hear about responsible breeders, thats very very important, we had to put our rescue Ridgeback down last year at 12 years old due to arthritis and ED that couldn't be controlled with meds anymore, it broke my heart cause his mind was fine. That was when I swore I would only buy from a reputable breeder no matter what the price.

I am not very familiar with GSDs what are their tempraments like as pets? Are they good around children and small dogs and cats (which I've got 4 of - all rescues! Sorry sucker for an orphan)??

Reply to Joni
Posted by: WR | 2007/04/20


I currently have 2 dogs, male and female - both GSD. They used to be on Maintenance, then Large Breed Adult, but then back on maintenance - they did eat the LBA, but not with the same gusto as the usual maintenance. The mom had puppies, and while she was lactating, both mother and pups where on VC Puppy (blue bag), then I started the puppies on Large Breed Puppy, and mother went back to maintenance.

They are rather active dogs - working trials, obedience, manwork and the regular walk/jogs.

Please don't think that Chill is mean (although I know he/she wouldn't actually care...!) - he/she has ALLWAYS only been helpful - and/but VERY straightforward! I still remember my first time on here - I thought Chill must be a real B*#^h/ BAs&%$d - haha - now that I know him/ her I actualy realize that he/she is not - he/she ONLY cares for the well-being of the animals - and sometimes the people are in the way! Ha ha!

I get my game meat from my father/ friend etc. I always have some in the freezer - as I do feel it neccessary to have it frozen for around 2/3 months before I feed it to the dogs - My tiny little brain convinced me that all the potential nasty thingees in the meat will then be dead! As a matter of interest - if you do feed game - be very careful of scratching yourself with a sharp bone etc - apparantly game animals sometimes carry some bacteria that is quite dangerous!

I think the Superwoof actually works out a bit cheaper that the VC - but don't quote me!

We might seem like an unfriendly bunch here - but we are generally good natured - yes, sometimes toes are stepped on , but it is usually done for the love of the animal...!

My Vet says that my dogs are very healthy (sometimes toooo healthy...around the middle, if you know what I mean) and that I should continue feeding the way I am. I sometimes (and this is said with NO offense intended to all the Vest out there...) feel that some Vets advise on feeding etc. strictly from th etextbooks and not from their experience that is why I'm so very happy with my Vet - she makes sense to this little piece of grey stuff upstairs...!

I'm not really a breeder as such - and I only breed from animals that are HD/ED free, prime examples of the breed standard (or as close as), and animals that are good natured working dogs! Yes, our 'stud-group' are pretty dogs - but they are not entered into breeding shows - we do obedience tests and working trials (KUSA).

Anyway, that's my little story!

Reply to WR
Posted by: Joni | 2007/04/20

Hi Chill

You should see the view from my Soapbox, it's great. I don't understand why you're soo rude, I have not attacked anyone, just vented my frustration like millions of other people do on forums. Have I not set out my facts tactfully either, if not please suggest how I do so? Would you like me to reference my facts?

Me working for Royal Canin, would be immoral as it would go against my belief system as I am a RAW feeder and advocate, although I do make a damn good Project Quality Manager, which is my current career although in IT and Remuneration Consulting. My passion for animals is my way to relax so I wouldn't want to do it full time.

As for Sudan Red, this ongoing saga is also caused by negligence and complacency (cutting corners for profit). The best do here is just refer to the Sunday Times report and see which products are banned and keep away from them.

We are living in very scary times when the very thing that should be keeping us alive is killing us.

Chill, I really would like to enjoy my time on the forum, and am trying to not force my opinion on people but want to encourage people to think out of the box (soapbox ;-)

I have read through previous posts and have found that You, WR and I are like minded when it comes to behaviour and training and I like to believe that I could make a meaningful contribution here, but if my opinions are not welcome, please tell me so that I don't waste my time further and rather spend more time on the other forums where my opinions are welcome.

Reply to Joni
Posted by: Joni | 2007/04/20


I must say that is an impressive variety you feed your dogs, with out sounding too nosy how many and are they all GSD? Where do you get you're game meat from if I may ask? I have to wait until June to get more and am on my last bits of Springbok.

I don't think its wishful thinkin about the coats though, seems Superwoof has more sources of protein than Vets Choice (i.e. beef, lamb and chicken - which is a very good thing). How does it compare price wise to Vet's Choice?

I agree with you, one should take all the information from the various sources and use your common sense to apply it. I do the same thing and believe me I've received some really scary advice on some of the overseas forums but I've also received the most helpful advice too. Please understand I am not trying to force any opinion on you but want to engage in a healthy debate.

I found this forum quite by accident this week after spending the last 4 years on overseas forums its nice to deal with a local one although I see that people can get iffy quite quickly and I've been warned by other local RAW feeders that I will not be welcomed very warmly that's why they're mostly on the overseas forums. So I thought I'd give it a try, and I see what they mean. Please note I am not referring to you here at all, I enjoy our interactions immensely, I find your posts very interesting, challenging, thought provoking and intelligent.

The old Dr, doesn't really take on very many new patients he likes to stick to his old clients, sweet old man he is! He also reckons our environment has changed and that all our food isn't as nutritious as it once was. I must say we've always had our dogs live to very old. My Grandfather's GSD was RAW fed all her life and lived to be 18 before passing on in her sleep. He used to breed back in the 50's, 60's & 70's, not showing or anything like that but more of a hobby in the Eastern Cape.

Reply to Joni
Posted by: Chill | 2007/04/20

Seems to me Joni's firmly rooted to her soapbox.

You're spot on, WR - as usual, you've taken the tactful route to set out the facts.

Joni, if you know all this stuff so well, then I think the responsible thing for you to do would be to apply for a post at Royal Canin, so that you can help them out of all their troubles.

And then in your spare time, you could maybe set out for us how come this Sudan Red stuff keeps popping up in spices for human consumption?

Reply to Chill
Posted by: WR | 2007/04/20

Hi Joni!
Point taken! I used to feed Vet's Choice (Maintenance, Large Breed Adult, Puppy and Large Breed Puppy - diifirent sized dogs etc) now I converted to Superwoof. All my (dogs life ;-) - I've fed raw bones, raw pet's mince, Protexin (lately), veggies (from our own pots...) rice, raw eggs, milk, raw liver (chicken, beef), raw kidneys (lamb), raw chicken backs, raw game meat & bones etc. 99% of the time the meat given is raw - except for the leftover chop/ wors/ fillet when we braai. I've had NO health problems, and I must add, since I started feeding Superwoof, their coats are actually even shinier (or is it my wishful thinkin...!)

The reason I do this 'inbetween' feeding is that I believe (have been told/ read) that dogs are more omnivorous than we make them out to be - yes I know all the for - and against against arguments..! That's why I say that one should listen to what the experts say AND use your common sense!

Yes, this whole debacle/ debate can & will carry on forever (well at least as long as we love our animals...!) and I do believe that it is actually a good thing - it shows that we do care for our animals! I get my advice from this forum, my Vet who has been in practice for 25 years (or more), the trainer/ breeder at the club - who has been training & breeding for 40 years now. I take all of that information - and use what makes sense to me.
Yes, I might sound very 'deurmekaar' - but I believe my dogs' great health & vitality is a good indication that so far (...) I've been on the right track!

Anyway - thanx for your inputs - I've definately taken it in - and , shall we say 'chew' - (excuse the pun) on it for a while!

Note: You mentioned that the Vet you spoke to said that there is a marked increase in th enumber of cases with cancer, kidney failure etc - I'd argue that yes - that is true, but maybe because the number of pets seen by Vets have also increased dramatically - and that these days people take their sick animals to the Vet, as compared to a few years ago people weren't that concerned - and they basically just buried the dead animal/ or even put it down themselves when they saw it suffering...! Thank heavens times have changed. Furthermore - the general life expectancy of dogs have also increased proportionally...

Keep well!

Reply to WR
Posted by: Joni | 2007/04/20


I understand where you're coming from, "Water under the Bridge" and all that, its just that this could've been avoided, they knew that there has been a problem internationally, and know one had the sense or iniative to test in light of this information. America has just started a recall of products with rice protein in because of the same problem. It has now come to light that the Chinese have been adding melamine on purpose because it increases/boosts the protein rating of their products when scanned. Melamine is also used in Asia as a fertilizer, well thats put me off my noodles! How scaly is that?

They've been exporting the following for use in animal and human consumption (must also be noted genetically modified):
Rice Protein
Corn Gluten
Wheat Bran
Wheat Gluten
Soya products
Barley etc.

My problem with the Pet Food Manufacturers is that they do not take due care and caution when sourcing their ingredients for dog food. Many of them still add one of the synthetic Vit. K stimulators which has been shown to be carcinogenic to humans and animals because it is a good preservative. I've also spoken to an old Vet (he's been in practice for a good 50 years) and he says there has been a marked increase in cancers, kidney failure, liver failure & allergies in the last 10 years. Which he attributes to the inferior ingredients now being used in the pet food industry.

Look their are some really great holistic brands out there, unfortunately in South Africa we've only got one that I know of ProPac Earthborn Holistic, which is rated very highly but is also very very pricey (and can cause noxious toxic farts, ask me, thats how I ended switching to RAW), more than Hills or Eukanuba. The Americans have got Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, Canidae, EaglePack Holistic, EVO, Orijen (which is the closest a dog food can come to feeding raw). Unfortunately I tried importing these in but the charges for shipping were 4 times what the food was worth. I just feel that us as consumers need to use our voices and demand that seeing as though we are paying a premium we need decent, good quality ingredients (from reliable sources), and reasonable testing against the common contaminants.

I think I would know before my pets got sick whether their chicken etc. was poisoned or rotten seen as though I also eat this meat and we get their meat from the same butcher I use and a lot of the time we are eating what they are (obviously ours is cooked). Even if my butcher was selling his meat through several thousand distributors, I would also insist on his testing his products before selling them, fortunately for me, he has a licence to operate and is checked on quite regularly by both the dept of Health and City Jhb. I just feel more comfortable knowing what ingredients are going into their systems.

What kibble are you feeding now? Have you had a chance to grade it on oldmissiondanes (dot com) kibble grading system under the nutrition link? If you want more info on the ProPac just shout my dogs actually did very well on it compared to the Hills and Eukanuba they were on!

I hope you understand my point and please understand that I am not trying to attack or convert you to RAW, I just want some sort of industry regulation to take place and feel that we as consumers are capable of demanding this.

Have a great evening.

Reply to Joni
Posted by: WR | 2007/04/20

Hi there!

Joni, no - I do not work for Royal Canin (and/or Vet's Choice). I'm just being realistic. If you read my post you would've noticed that I said I changed to a different brand and that I do not intend to change back to Vet's Choice. - I can see why you think I work for Royal Canin...!
They probably did check a part of the batch and let's say (theoretically) they did, and only a part of the batch (corn gluten) was contaminated....? I wonder what your reaction would be when let's say your butcher (or wherever you get your RAW ingredients from) gives you a chicken quarter that has been tested (or supposedly), but was infected by some poison/ bacteria or something along that line?
These things happen - it is sad, yes, and trust me, I'd definately be heartbroken if one of my dogs died or got sick - but there is simply nothing that can be done - yes, RC can definately look into more quality control and testing measures - and I'm sure they've already started discussions on the matter!

I guess what I'm trying to get at is; Don't go on a rampage, dissing RC and then sommer all kibble manufacturers in the process, just because you believe that RAW is the way to go. Yes - it is easy to say "scientific studies have shown" blah blah - but they also say that - and they have heaps of nutritionists and scientists etc in their stall!

That's my opinion - I respect yours - but not when you go on an ANTI_Royal Canin (KIBBLE) mission.

Keep well!

Reply to WR
Posted by: Mon | 2007/04/20

I completely agree with you!! As of last night I became a RAW feeder too. Wanted to ages ago but my (then) vet advised against it. So I decided not to. But after this food scare I ahve decided to trust my gut feeling rather than the "experts"

Reply to Mon
Posted by: Joni | 2007/04/20

WR - Do you perhaps work for Royal Canin or one of their affiliates?? Sorry no offence being meant I just have to check cause you really seem to be taking their side and defending them!

Why couldn't they have checked that batch knowing that America was experiencing a problem with product imported from China? There is also a list of common contaminants available which would have narrowed the amount of tests to be done.

They "might" have our animals well being in mind when they rake in their profits. But they stuffed up and stuffed up big time, yes they are suffering and I hope they do, because they were negiligent in not testing when they knew there was a problem with imported corn gluten (which by the way I checked we manufacture here - only reason why ours is more expensive is that we don't use cheap genetically modified corns and grains - but that is a whole other saga).

I am sorry if you feel a couple of pet owners losing their beloved pets to someone else's negligence "unfortunate", please explain that to my colleague crying his eyes out because he lost both his beloved 10 year old Golden Retrievers within days of each other, he doesn't mind the R20 000 at all he would have paid more to save them! I was chatting to a Vet friend of mine today and she reckons our death toll while not like Americas 35 000 plus will probably reach in the thousands. Unfortunate, I don't agree.

American Congress is investigating their recall, as they say the manufacturers were negligent.

Anyway I am a RAW feeder and am doing my bit to support South African farmers and the economy! I just feel for those who have lost their "furkids"!

Reply to Joni
Posted by: WR | 2007/04/20

Hi there!

Look, the quick and easy answer; Royal Canin (& thus Vet's Choice) make money from selling food that make our animals look good and stay healthy. So, lets assume that they "do not care" for our animals - I'm SURE they DO care for their pockets then? Right or wrong? So, do you NOT believe that they'd do EVERYTHING possible to make sure that they keep their customers, and make as much effort as POSSIBLE to gain new customers? Trust me - this poison-saga is not their ideal idea for "Making a name" blah blah! They are loosing HEAPS of money! Not even mentioning the customers they lost, and the stigma that will be attached to their name for another while atleast!
I honestly do believe that they really have our pet's best interest at heart (and if you don't believe that - do you believe that they wanna make as much money as possible???) and that this whole saga is really a sad AND bad situation for them!
I know of 20 plus GSD owners (from our club) that gave their pets Vet's Choice (and luckily they are all fine) and changed to a diffirent brand - AND that all of them said they will not change back to Vet's Choice - and not because they are afraid that soem form of contamination will happen again - but because they all found that their dogs are doing just well on the new brand.
So in the long run, Royal Canine (Vet's Choice) will be loosing quite a bit of money!

I say good on them (RC) for making every possible effort to try and lessen the effects! And good luck & I hope they can pull through this!


Reply to WR
Posted by: Scientist | 2007/04/20

I sort of agree with Joni. They could have at least tested the imported ingredients from China for melamine to see if it has been inftected, especially after the chaos in the US. No need to test for every single possible substance but at least make sure that they don't have the same problem as in the US.

Reply to Scientist
Posted by: mon | 2007/04/19

Its NOT an "extremel.y unfortunate incident" when your dog dies!!! To some people theri dogs are like children. How would you react if your child was poisoned by some contaminated food? I am sure your perspective would then change

Reply to mon
Posted by: Chill | 2007/04/19

Geez, Joni - get off your soapbox.

Do you really expect the manufacturers of petfoods to test EVERY ingredient for EVERY possible contaminant? If so, you're being highly unrealistic - such a thing is totally out of the ballpark even for human foods. There are so many possible toxins that unless one has reason to believe one is present it's impossible - literally - to check everything.

Do you really believe Royal Canin were careless?

I don't. I think this is an extremely unfortunate episode, and I really feel for the pets and their owners who have been adversely affected.

Let's try to retain some sort of perspective here!

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Joni | 2007/04/19

It has just been reported on News24, that the Corn Gluten imported from China was also contaminated with Melamine.

But I have suspected this all along, that is why I asked what is wrong with our South African products, the old adage "Goedkoop koop is duur koop".

What I want to know is why it wasn't tested before being used, especially since the US recall started in December already???????????? and they new at the end of Feb in the US already that it was caused by ingredients from China.

Menu foods has had to recall over 142 different brands of Cat and Dog food.

Reply to Joni

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