I think pet lovers know that I have spent a crazy amount of time for more than a decade, studying and following information and news about pet nutrition. I feel pretty confident that I have an unbiased, objective, thoughtful perspective on the various arguments and debates about pet food, which can inspire controversy and heated debates. I can appreciate many different points of view on various aspects of how and what we feed our dogs and cats.
One line of thought that I cannot tolerate is the solemn declaration that “commercial pet food causes cancer.”
There is not a shred of evidence to back up such a sweeping statement, and it makes no logical sense, yet the idea of this blame has caught on as with some pet lovers. Once proclaimed, other people perceive the “pet food causes cancer” statement as “a fact.” When they pass this declaration along to other pet owners, the alarmist claim that “pet food causes cancer” becomes a twisted scary story that can create fear and confusion.
The sad fact is that the virtual epidemic of cancer in our pets has made people frightened their dog will get the disease – and has left them emotionally and financially devastated when their dog does succumb to it (as almost half the dogs in America will). That paranoia and sadness must make them feel compelled to point the finger somewhere – anywhere. It is human nature to try to find an answer to something inexplicable, to look for something to blame for the terrible losses we are all suffering from cancer of many different kinds claims the lives of our dogs.
I can assure you with confidence that packaged pet food is not the culprit.
I have the privilege of sharing the microphone on my Radio Pet Lady Network radio show THE PET CANCER VET with my wonderful co-host Dr. Sue Ettinger, a veterinary oncologist who is a rising star in the world of diagnosing and treating cancer in dogs and cats. She has spear-headed a national campaign for VCA Hospitals called “See Something, Do Something” about early cancer detection – a topic we are going to feature in a short film starring Dr. Sue that I am producing for VCA Hospitals to be shown as a PSA at the Dog Film Festival.
On our radio show and in many venues where she speaks and is interviewed, Dr. Sue has answered the question about a possible link between commercial pet food and cancer by saying unequivocally that it does not cause cancer, which is a multifaceted disease with multiple contributing factors.
It was validating for me that Dr. Sue’s professional opinion confirmed my own evaluation of information available on the topic. There is no benefit to repeating a knee-jerk declaration that pet food causes cancer because that false information can do harm: it can make a dog owner fearful, confused, and/or guilty, depending on whether their dog is fighting cancer, or they dread it might happen to him.
Recently I learned something new and wonderful about Halo when we were recording an episode of THE PET CANCER VET. Our caller, whose dog was in chemotherapy, was asking Dr. Sue what supplements he could give her dog that might improve the outcome.
“I know you recommend Halo for cancer patients,” our caller said.
I thought he was talking to me – since I always recommend Halo kibble as the one I feed my own dogs – but when I started to protest that I would never make any recommendation for a dog in medical treatment, our caller said Halo was recommended in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, which is co-written by Dr. Sue.
It has become the go-to book for people whose dogs have cancer. I believe it is indispensable for every person who wants information, advice, support and hope from a cancer specialist, but I had no idea that Halo was one of the premium dog foods singled out as a good choice for cancer survivors. Dr. Sue confirmed that Halo was one of the premium foods recommended for dogs fighting cancer. This was a great example of how mistaken people are when they say that pet food causes cancer. It made me happier than ever to be an enthusiast for Halo, a philanthropic company that makes really healthy pet foods.
Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.
She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.