Interview with Author Susan Thixton

by Mary Haight on January 30, 2009

MIAMI - MARCH 19:  Veterinarian Michael Fusco ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

After blogging about Thixton’s website discussing dangerous ingredients in pet foods, and announcing her new radio show in a more recent post, I had promised to provide more on her background.  I was pleased to get the following response to email interview questions sent just days before Thixton’s new blogtalkradio show debut.

Can you tell me how and why you got started researching pet food ingredients?
Approximately 19 years ago I lost an 8 year old dog to bone cancer my vet told me was probably caused from the chemical preservatives in her food (needless to say, this vet knew more than most about pet food).  Although this man had been our vet since I was a kid, and although I trusted him completely, it was really hard for me to believe that the pet food could have that many chemicals in it.  I was feeding my dogs the leading pet food at the time.  So, I called the company and asked them ‘what is the shelf life of your dog food?’  I’ll never forget what they told me…she told me the food would stay fresh for 25 years.  That was more than 3 times what my dog lived.  The chemical preservative was ethoxyquin – which is still used in some pet foods and treats today.  That very day I started learning as much as I could about pet food. 

Were you able to get cooperation from scientists or nutritionists to help you sort out synergistic effects?

It’s quite amazing the help I’ve had over the years to aid in my learning process.  My own vet years ago provided me with a wealth of information (he would be the answer to your next question – by far he stands out as the one who inspired me the most), his name was Dr. Bruce Catlett.  Dr. Catlett was friends from Vet School with Dr. Wysong who developed Wysong Pet Food, one of the very first high quality pet foods.  I’ve been provided with access to scientific research from many professionals, including some from individuals who were probably not supposed to be providing me with information; some have asked me not to use their name or the company they worked for in my reporting.

Who and what stands out in your mind as helping you the most in achieving your goals?

Dr. Bruce Catlett, DVM – the kindest and most caring vet I’ve ever been blessed to know.
Are there organizations who became willing to work with you and spread the word?
Many websites re-publish my articles; thanks to them, more and more pet owners can learn the truth and their pets can become healthier.

How many newsletter/site satisfied customers do you have?

I don’t exactly know.  However, I am SO proud to say that pet owners from all over the world visit the site.  That’s very humbling to me.  Most of the information I write about has to do specifically with US or Canadian made pet foods and US regulations, however pet owners all over the world feel our pains and learn from the site.  They too have similar pet food ingredient and regulation problems.

Have any Industry reps joined with you or referenced you as an authority?

I just this year have begun contacting some pet food manufacturersbecause of TruthaboutPetFood Radio on BlogTalkRadio.  The very first show (this Tuesday 1/27/09) will interview two former FDA agents; one was former Chief of Imports and the other an expert in canning and packaging.  The next two shows (each Tuesday) will interview ‘top dogs’ from Honest Kitchen Pet Food and Nature’s Logic Pet Food.  I’ve wanted to do such a show for quite some time, but it seemed the opportunity never presented the exact right timing.  After publishing my article ‘2008’s Stupidest Act in Pet Food’, the former FDA agent emailed me and told me he agreed with my position that the FDA win the 2008 Stupidest Act Award.  I felt the timing was right; and the show began.  Now, whether any of these folks consider me an ‘authority’, you’d have to ask them.  I’m just thrilled they have agreed to do the show with me.

What measures if any are you working on to get more transparency in labeling, or, if you support a group who does.  What are your target goals for the coming year?

For starters I would like to find government support to force the FDA to abide by Federal laws with regards to pet food.  I [sic]and many pet owners across the US got the ball rolling with this in late 2008, but to date, we haven’t made any significant headway.  However, I’m fairly stubborn, I’m not giving up.  Beyond that, I’m not sure; it’s early in the year.

What’s the one question you wish more people would ask you?

It’s not a question I wish pet owners would ask me, I wish every pet owner would ask more questions of the manufacturer of their pet’s food.  Things like country of origin of ingredients, and grade of ingredients.  I wish more people would become more involved in knowing what their pet is consuming every day.  I sound like a broken record…the more we learn, the healthier our pets can become.

You can check out Thixton’s show scheduled at 11 ET on Tuesdays.

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  1. […] Susan Thixton of  Truth About Pet Food fame who I interviewed back in January has this on her blog today: Before noon I heard from Wysong […]

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