Feeling Despondent

It’s not often I write blog posts, but today I’m feeling rather sad and despondent. I’ve written pet food reviews for a number of years now, and over this time I’ve had no end of contact with retailers and consumers alike.

Ingredient Awareness? Red flags!

I can’t tell you how many sad stories I’ve heard about sick pets or pets that have died at a young age. A friend’s dog just died at the age of 7 through health issues that could’ve likely been avoided on a nutritious diet.

Here’s an email I received over the weekend from a lady who’s 7 month old kitten died last week:

My kitten was only 7 months old. His name was Birl and he was so playful and an awesome cat. We were feeding him [Supermarket Brand] which he liked and was doing good on. Unfortunately we ran out of it and didn’t have much money, so I bought some cheap [Cheap Supermarket Brand] kitten food for him. He died on March 12 2015. I loved him so much and I had no idea something like cat food which is SUPPOSED to be good for keeping them alive, could kill my precious baby boy.

I find this heartbreaking, and I never feel my reviews have much of an impact. Our pets can become sick or die for a number of reasons, but to me a nutritional, healthy diet has to be a major factor. We all know very well how important our diets are, so why is it so hard to consider the diets of our beloved pets?

Feeling Despondent

Just the other day I wrote a review of a supermarket brand dog food based on cheap fillers like wheat and sorghum, with a severe lack of nutritional value. I gave the food a resounding 1 Star.

I posted a link to the review on a Facebook group for the supermarket in question, hoping to raise some awareness. The responses I had were saddening. About 20 people commented, and I felt I didn’t reach a single one of them.

Here’s some of the responses:

I’m not confident my dog is getting the right nutrients, but I’m happy that he is eating.


Dry food…yes, but have turned to Pedigree!


This lady obviously didn’t read my review of Pedigree!

I am using the dry and wet and they love it.


He also gets “MY DOG” small tins…89cents compared to $1.29 at Coles etc!!!!!!


This lady obviously didn’t read my review of My Dog!

If there hungry they eat


…of which another person responded with…

so true!!!!

Another comment really got to me, but has now been deleted. It stated the review of the food was far better than all the others reviewed on the website. I found myself really despondent at that point as there’s currently 18 foods on my best rated list of 4 or 5 star, and a number of others rated a decent 3 stars (some very reasonably priced supermarket brands).

I don’t know why it’s so difficult to communicate, and I understand some are restricted by a tight budget or live in a rural area where decent foods are hard to come by, but it doesn’t take much to have a little understanding. We’re talking about our pets here, and pets are loved aren’t they? If people love their pets then why is it so hard to take a minute to consider what we’re feeding them?

Feeling despondent 🙁

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David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

  1. Please don’t feel despondent. I’m often researching and learning online, but rarely comment. I stumbled on your website some time ago. If you had saved only one animal, your reviews were a blessing. I don’t usually make comments online, but this is an exception, you have done more good than you can imagine! I wish we could all lobby for better laws on food sold for animals. Thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do. Don’t ever give up! <3

    • It’s definitely in the works but Susan said it could take another 20 years before something actually happens, hopefully it won’t take that long, we’re changing things already so hopefully it will only be 5 years.

  2. Hi again. I want you to know that thanks to you & the research you do, my 5 very much loved pets are all eating HEALTHY & REAL food now. It all started after I lost my 11 year old Ragdoll (my soul mate in animal form) and I started googling why or how he suddenly got so sick…I came across diet being a possible factor & then I found your website! Since losing my boy & now being aware & educated I feel my other pets will live a far longer, happier & healthier life. So, thank you so much for all you do & remember not everyone will agree, like or believe you, that’s not possible, however you are clearly helping people & changing the lives of our pets, even one owner/pet a day is success!!

  3. Hi, I was just checking your reviews yet again and saw you were despondent, which makes me sad too. You have done such a great job, I have all my dogs on grain free and fresh now thanks to you. You can’t reach everyone, but you reach lots and if you hadn’t bothered, there would be many more poorly fed animals out there. Be proud of yourself and thanks so much for all your hard work.

  4. Agree with all the comments on here. It is very hard to sift through all the “fake” ingredients listed on labels. To have a website that feels it’s important to make this information available to responsible pet owners is very much appreciated. My apologies for not relaying this opinion earlier so that you may know many people appreciate your website even if we don’t comment.

  5. I have been really educated and encouraged by your website. Thank you. I love the way my dogs and cats are looking since I have changed their diet. They really are enjoying the food (Canidae and raw meat and cooked chicken for the cats;and Canidae and cooked meat and chicken for the dogs.
    My little Pom x Chihuahua has allergies and it is clearing up. I normally bought my food from the supermarket but I really appreciate you setting me straight on a few things.
    Sincerest Thanks,

  6. Just wanted to say that, I like the other comments, have found your site extremely informative and helpful – not to mention easy to understand/comprehend
    sure – not everyone will ‘get it’, some don’t care except for cost, some will believe the ‘hype’ regardless, and some will just prefer to be ignorant (for whatever reason)
    but there are lot of us who sincerely appreciate what you have done, and are very grateful you are here Oz, so we are getting info on products available here
    Pls, pls – don’t let the negative get you down – you do a lot of good 🙂
    from furry friends all over australia – pls Keep It up

  7. Just want to say thanks you do a great job,
    And I want to tell you that we that care share your information, with family, friends, and FB groups it comes up often people asking what’s the best food or my dog has a skin prob and we that want to help pass on your information. I post a link to your site it gives them a choice and we will share what we have leant ie that we have all heard good things about black hawk but don’t take our word for it it’s good to now where your food comes from and what’s in it. It can be life changing for your dog.
    A post I made not long ago, now their was lots of post with what’s good and one lady had posted your link she had beaten me to it but I was super proud that others wanted to share this info for even though I have my top 3 I love, I feel you should let people choose for themselves. That’s why I love too share your site with the people in dog loving groups, so it went like this copy of post; You can get 20kg for $80 black hawk and it’s the best food iv just change to it and I’m so thankful : iv tried Eukanuba, Nutro natural choice, advance, hill’s Science diet, and my dogs have had skin probs diff skin prob and iv spent heaps on vets meds shampoos done coconut oil anything to help them and I just went on black hawk-chicken n rice, I was going to get grain free but thought we would try that first and in less than two weeks. Both my dog are better *like new. I was told my BC would aways have bad skin but he is free from it for the first time since we have had him, we thought we would have to go on the raw diet but our chi would not like that so we have been learning what’s goes in to dry food. And thanks to the link above that —pet food reviews—- has posted we have our top 3 to try black hawk being one and Canidae (I believe grain free is the healthy’s but we have found that these brands have such good ingredients that any is better than the other brads and healthier) ie Canidae: from PFR # The Canidae company makes good dog food, there’s no doubt about that. They only use ingredients that are “human grade”, and they never put fillers in their food. >For us we have being paying around 15kg $110-$140 so we could not believe black hawk one of the best is such a great price maybe because it’s Aussie? Grain free is more and we can’t wait to try it. You might like wag for great dog treats go to
    I could not get black hawk at my petbarn and I don’t buy from pet shops that sell puppy’s and kittens so I got mine online only cost $5 for deliver got it 2days later (I ordered black hawk cat food too she loves it

    • I must have posted the link to your site on FB over 15 times since I found it, and I’m know seeing others doing the same, pet lovers, breeders, and well informed dog people. It has come in very handy because it’s a very nice why to help someone and support them when they are asking for information on what to choose for their beloved pet, they don’t have to listen to anyone persons word but make a informed choice on what’s important for them and their pets needs. Your site has helped me heaps my dogs skin is looking so much better and it great to see them free from the pain of bad skin. A big thanks from us, we love your work and I will keep sharing the link to your website it’s the best xx

  8. Thank you for continuing to do what you do. I’m glad I discovered your website because it really opened my eyes! Hopefully, more and more people will learn about what they are REALLY feeding their pets and take steps to improve their diets.

    Last year, in September, I finally took action and changed my dog’s diet. This all really started after I had talked with a work colleague, who mentioned how expensive the dry dog food was that she was buying for her pure bred border collie. I thought, wow, it must be really good quality food and it made me want to look at what I was feeding my dog. The breeder that she bought her dog from used and recommended Purina Pro Plan. I, at that stage was feeding my dog a mix of raw meat in the morning and Purina Supercoat (which my dog really loved) in the evening.

    I went home that night and started my research on the internet and was absolutely appalled at what I found out about Purina and other brands. So, I changed my dog’s diet. I am now confident that she is healthier for it. I still feed her raw meat, because I think raw IS best. She is fed kangaroo meat, which is high in protein and low in fat…which is mixed with Vets All Natural Complete Mix. Have you heard of it?www.vetsallnatural.com.au. She also eats holistic dry food (Black Hawk, chicken and rice) as well as raw carrot/other veg for snacks and the occasional raw chicken wing. When on her previous diet, she used to scratch constantly at times and now it has completely stopped. So, I’m thinking the diet change has certainly helped. Her diet does costmore than previously, but I don’t care. She is a much loved and important member of our family, so cost isn’t an issue. I buy my Black Hawk in economical 20kg bags on the internet as it’s the cheapest option.

    Unfortunately, after informing my work colleague as to the ingredients of Purina Pro Plan and mentioning your website (which she did go to) and others…she is sadly, still feeding it to her dog, even though she also said that her dog very regularly vomits, has frequent diarrhoea and even rejects her food at times. So, in regards to her poor dog, I am also feeling a little despondent.

    Please don’t give up. All we (you, I and others) can do is but try to inform others. It might not happen overnight, but hopefully it WILL happen! Have a good day!


  9. What you have to remember is that many people just don’t want to hear it and you can never reach everyone. People will only hear it if their mind is open in the first place. If you consider how many people feed themselves crappy, unhealthy, processed food – even when they know they shouldn’t because of the negative impact on their health. Apply that same theory to pets and you understand why price and brand marketing will win over common sense and education…because people don’t care, they don’t want to hear it and don’t want to take responsibility for their, or their pet’s health. Don’t feel despondent. For the people who want to hear, your reviews are invaluable and enlightening. You are doing us a great service – please keep going.

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