Mixed Results from Reaching Out to Pet Food Companies About DCM

Long-time WDJ contributor Mary Straus and I are engaged on some articles concerning the instances of canine dilated cardiomyopathy which were mentioned in each dog-related setting for a lot of months now. One of the following problems with WDJ will include the primary of the items that we have now been collaborating on. But I simply thought I’d share one thing attention-grabbing that I observed within the strategy of gathering data from varied pet meals firms.

We wished to see what kind of response a shopper may get
from writing to pet meals firms about an issue with their meals. We went to
the web sites of 39 pet meals firms and appeared for e-mail addresses to ship a word
to, and located, to our shock, that solely seven listed any form of e-mail
deal with. Instead, nearly all of firms supply an internet kind for shoppers to
fill out – you recognize, the form of factor the place you fill in your title, e-mail
deal with, maybe cellphone quantity, after which a remark/query, after which hit

Why did I discover this attention-grabbing? Because it leaves the
shopper with no option to show they’d ever despatched a letter or query to the
firm! Or present them with a dated copy of the letter or query they despatched!

My letter to pet meals firms

This is the letter I despatched to the 39 firms:

“Hello, I’m making an attempt to assemble details about the response of pet meals firms to the FDA’s bulletins/updates concerning the obvious enhance in instances of canine DCM, particularly in canine who’ve been fed diets containing peas and different legumes, potatoes, and candy potatoes.

firm was amongst these whose merchandise had been named in reviews to the FDA by
shoppers as being probably implicated of their canine’ illness.

you please inform me if or how your organization has chosen to answer the information of
this subject?  Have you made any adjustments to any of your formulation? If so,
what had been these adjustments, and to which/what number of of your merchandise?

you haven’t made any adjustments to your formulation, might you clarify your
justification for this?

If you have got already launched a pertinent response, might you please direct me to or ship me a duplicate of that assertion?”

Responses to my inqueries

I acquired responses from 25 of the 39 firms. Now, take
this with a grain of salt, as a result of I made a customized e-mail deal with for the
firms to answer, and it’s doable that a minimum of some of the businesses wrote again as a result of the e-mail deal with clearly
recognized the inquiry I despatched them as being from Whole Dog Journal (InquiryFromWholeDogJournal@gmail.com).
Also, inside just a few days, 5 firms despatched me customized responses, primarily based
on the truth that my inquiry had been forwarded to somebody on the firm that
knew me, both from manufacturing web site excursions or conferences at pet product commerce
exhibits or one thing.

Also, I acquired cellphone calls from representatives of three
firms, every of whom I had met personally in some unspecified time in the future previously. My cell
cellphone quantity was current within the letter I despatched to every firm, however solely folks
with whom I had spoken in years previous really referred to as me to debate the letter I

I acquired what gave the impression to be mechanically generated responses
from 24 firms – the form of e-mail that claims, “We received your word, we’ll get
again to you inside 48 hours (or some such).” And like I stated, one firm’s
consultant referred to as me straight away, and two extra referred to as me inside just a few days,
and about 5 extra responded inside days with a customized response. But two
weeks later, six of the businesses who responded with these automated responses
nonetheless haven’t gotten again to me. At least (most of them) offered toll-free
cellphone numbers to name if I used to be fascinated by getting a faster response.

Of the 19 firms whose responses I’ve not but
described, just a few had been so generic as to be utterly ineffective, or urged that
I name the corporate as a substitute. For instance:

“We could be joyful to talk to you about this matter… Our
Customer Care Specialists could also be reached at 888-XXX-XXXX.”

How about this one? It appears like the corporate is addressing
my inquiry, as a result of it makes use of a few of the similar phrases in my inquiry, but it surely
doesn’t reply something I requested! “We
respect you bringing your concern relating to the canine Dilated
Cardiomyopathy and we’re joyful to reply your inquiry. Please know that as a frontrunner in
pet diet, we stand behind the security and high quality of all our meals and meet
or exceed each main meals high quality and security commonplace together with these issued
by the FDA, USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and AAFCO. We additionally haven’t
been contacted by the FDA relating to any instances involving our merchandise.” (The
response was longer, however didn’t deal with any of the questions that I requested.)

By the best way, of the three firms whose
representatives (together with two firm house owners) who referred to as me in response to my
inquiry, none had spoken with anybody from the FDA relating to the instances of DCM
that had reportedly implicated or talked about their merchandise. The two firm
house owners I spoke with instructed me that they’d tried to succeed in somebody on the FDA,
however had zero success.

I’m joyful to report that just a few firms did reply on to my questions. The relaxation tended to refer me to statements on the corporate web sites that they’d already ready in response to the difficulty nicely forward of my inquiry. Those statements, in fact, don’t essentially reply my questions instantly.

Try It Yourself

I’ll be making an attempt to succeed in the businesses once more by way of their
toll-free numbers and can report on whether or not that effort is kind of

I’ll admit a bias towards firms which have cellphone
numbers on their labels and web sites and e-mail addresses on a minimum of their
web sites, to make it as straightforward as doable for shoppers to succeed in them in case of
a canine food-related well being subject. And in fact, my bias is even stronger towards
firms who’re staffed with educated individuals who can reply
appropriately and on to inquiries in a well timed method. Don’t assume for a
second that this guidelines out all of the so-called boutique pet meals firms, or qualifies all the large pet meals

Try it your self! Write to or name your favourite pet food firm and ask one thing easy, comparable to “Have you all the time included taurine as a complement in your canine diets? Do you achieve this now?” or “Can you tell me how much taurine, or cysteine and methionine, is in (name of food you feed your dog)?”

If you ask the latter query – and so they have an
reply! – be sure you ask additionally whether or not the quantity is expressed “as fed” or on
a “dry matter basis.”

Let us know the way it goes!

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