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My Trip to Iams and Eukanuba

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

Every pet food manufacturer tests their food on cats and dogs. It doesn’t matter if it is a small high end company or a leading manufacturer with brands in most pet shops and supermarkets, they all test their food on animals. The manner in which these tests are conducted have been discussed numerous times. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation in the blogosphere. A handful of pet bloggers and I participated in Iams’ and Eukanuba’s Behind the Paw tour. I received no compensation for my participation, but my hotel, travel, and meals were covered. I went because I wanted to see how the food was packaged, and how the cats and dogs were treated.

Cute kitties at the Iams/Eukanuba facility.

The tour consisted of visits to Iams’ and Eukanuba’s Health & Nutrition Center, Leipsic Manufacturing Plant, and their headquarters. The first stop on the tour was the Pet Health & Nutrition Center. (I’ve been to the Hill’s plant. They are the makers of Science Diet. So, I had some idea of what to compare this facility to.) 

To be honest, I get a bit nervous when I enter a facility with cats and dogs—whether it’s an animal shelter or a food testing site. Not knowing what to expect, and hearing a lot of rumors doesn’t help the situation. Thankfully, my fears—at both Hill’s and here at Iams and Eukanuba—had no foundation. All of the cats and dogs—there were several different breeds of dogs in all shapes and sizes—looked happy and healthy. All of the cats’ quarters were filled with sunshine, had comfy places for catnaps, and an attentive staff. Workers are on hand to exercise and play with the cats.
The dogs had indoor areas with doggie doors that led to grassy enclosed areas with plenty of toys. What surprised me was how quiet the dog area was; this was due to the open areas that let the dogs see who was passing by. When dogs hear sounds and can’t see people, they bark. So the noise level was low, and the tails were wagging. I got my dog fix during my visit.

Puppies get some exercise at the Iams/Eukanuba facility.

The dogs and cats are carefully monitored by veterinarians and vet techs on staff. The cats and dogs are so healthy, that after a few years on the job, they are put up for adoption. They are quickly scooped up because of their excellent health and socialization. There is a waiting list for many of these pets, and if you walk through the halls, you will see bulletin boards filled with photographs of adopted cats and dogs in their new homes, and letters from happy adopters who boast about their furry family members.

A Trip to the Food Plant
The next day we arrived at the Leipsic Manufacturing Plant. Cleanliness is key. We had to wear sanitized covers over our shoes. The place truly sparkled. I wish my house was half as clean as the plant. In the distance, I saw an empty bag fall off a conveyor belt and onto the floor. Within seconds someone picked up the bag and put it in a recycling bin. So if something touches the clean floor it isn’t clean enough to use.

Honesty
I know many of you have seen the video produced by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) that claims to have “undercover” footage of Iams testing on animals. It was taken in either 2003 or 2004. I have seen it too. I just don’t buy it. I swear there isn’t a hidden bunker anywhere. It just doesn’t make sense. The people at Iams, Eukanuba, and other pet food manufacturing plants want your cats and dogs to eat the food they produce. It makes no sense for these workers to force feed the food to their cats and dogs.

These cats and dogs need to like the food. It must smell good to them. It must feel good in their mouths. Yes, you read that right. They test for everything—even mouth feel. They want to make sure the pets in their care like the food so your pets will like it too. Just think about it.

Visiting these plants is eye opening. You get a good education about the types of food, how the products are made, and you get to see well cared for cats and dogs. Plus, you get to meet people who really love their jobs.

30 comments to My Trip to Iams and Eukanuba

  • Lindsy

    I’m not pro PETA. They have their place, and bring attention to important issues, and yes they do go waaaaay overboard. I thank you for this fair report.

  • Carol

    Glad to hear the dogs and cats are well treated at these places. As you pointed out, it does make sense.

  • Robin

    I didn’t know how careful pet food company food plants are about cleanliness. Good to know if something hits the floor, like a bag, it gets recycled.

  • Good information, but I just wanted to clarify one point: not all food manufactures test their food on animals. The nutritional adequacy statement on the back of each label signifies that the food meets the minimal nutritional requirements “as fed” or “as formulated”. If it says”as formulated” then they say behind a computer and punched in a recipe, but never tested the food on an animal and in effect, your pet becomes the testing ground. If it reads, “as feed”, then they have evaluated the food in a testing facility such as you described. However, manufacturers are not legally required to test, only to divulge how they determined their food meets minimal requirements.

  • Thanks Stacy! I appreciate the info.–Michele

  • Caitlin

    Michele, I trust your reporting skills, and appreciate your telling us about this. It makes me feel a lot better.

  • Thanks for the report Michelle! The Hills presentation at BlogPaws was helpful, but like most people, I tend to believe people I know more than the manufacturer. It’s good to know that the animals are healthy and well-socialized!

  • Linda

    As you said, it makes perfect sense for companies to test their food on animals. As for petsweekly, I would not buy food that isn’t tested on animals–humanely tested that is. The big problem is Iams’ and Eukanuba’s parent co.–P&G. They do test their products on animals. They do repeated tests, which should stop. Parents must keep cleaning supplies, makeup, and other household items away from children. There are child safety locks for cabinet doors. Animal testing–not in this case–is cruel. Our dogs like Eukanuba, and I know you have done some contests with Iams, so I know they are okay. But I don’t buy other P&G products. We have to send a message to the parent company!

  • Donna

    Thanks for the report. I, like you Michele, get a bit nervous before I enter any animal shelter. I do rescue work, and am glad to know that these animals are well treated.

  • Thank you, Michelle, for this great article. Far too often, and without any justification, the major pet food companies are vilified and we need to get more information like this out there. Just like Dr. Vogelsang (of pawcurious.com) has done with her trip to Natura recently, you have shown that companies like Iams, Hills and the others are not villains, but actually good-hearted companies that are trying to do their best to make sure our pets are fed nutritionally sound diets backed by great research.

    Also glad to see Stacy helped with the comment on “formulated” vs. “feeding trials”. That is another area of pet food that many people don’t understand.

  • Connie

    Our dogs eat Iams Naturals.

  • George

    As your other readers said, this is good to know.

  • Cara

    My cats eat Iams, and I’m glad toknow the facility is super clean and the testing is humane.

  • Rachel

    More bloggers should visit these facilities–even plants like The Honest Kitchen. Mainstream papers don’t tell us about this. I’m glad to hear it is humane.

  • Hannah

    My cat eats y/d for his thyroid–like your Earl does. My dogs get Iams Naturals. Glad to know both companies are kind to animals.

  • Charlie

    It is true, you only read negative stories about pet food. So, I’m glad to hear that the dogs and cats in their care is positive.

  • Thanks Vicky! I really do get nervous when I hear negative reports and when I visit a place where cats and dogs are held–whether it is a shelter or pet food company, etc. The dogs and cats I saw here and at Hill’s were so well cared for. And the people at both facilities really love their jobs.–Best, Michele

  • Charley

    Thanks for sharing. I agree with Vicky that I tend to trust people I know, and while I don’t know you personally, I trust your blog. Thank you Michele!

  • Ella

    Our dogs (we have two rescues) eat Iams naturals. Thanks for the post.

  • Louie

    The pet food companies are not the bad guys. My dogs eat food from The Honest Kitchen. It is people grade!

  • Patricia

    We adopt and foster older cats, and some are on Hill’s prescription food like y/d. I am glad to hear Iams and Eukanuba are kind when it comes to the care of the cats and dogs at their facilities.

  • Tony

    Nice to hear that the dogs and cats are easily adopted after they completed their work at Iams and Eukanuba.

  • David Groves

    Thank you for this report, and especially the reasoning you used to come to your conclusions. It makes sense. You’ve changed my mind.

  • Naomi

    Hey Michele, Great post again! I agree with your other readers, and love that they have an area with photos of the happy and well cared for adopted cats and dogs.

  • […] Leipsic Manufacturing Plant, and their headquarters. The first stop on … … View post: My Trip to Iams and Eukanuba « Pet News and Views ← Exciting News from Holistic Select | Holistic Select Iams ProActive Health Adult Ground […]

  • Janet Vandenabeele

    In all fairness, even Iams says the lab where the undercover video was shot was at the time a contractor (of some sort) — so at that time, the criticism was valid. But Iams doesn’t do that anymore.

    After another blogger visited them a while back, I was one of the former skeptics/boycotters who changed my mind. I found the evidence compelling and a rep from Iams even answered some of my questions directly.

    So now, I feed Iams to my cats. In particular, my cat who is nearly 20 years old and who has enough fur for any 3 cats and always suffered from matted fur all year round. Because of his age and his stubbornness, it’s tough keeping ahead of them even with brushing every day. He honestly has *bent* the Furminator tines! But after about 3 weeks on Iams, he stopped getting mats on his back. He only gets them now on his belly during the summer time, and they are far easier to control, although I still have to occasionally wear an oven mitt to brush him, lol.

    Anyway, it’s awesome to see a company come around and do the right thing and be honest and open, esp. at a time when food purity is such a concern.

  • S A GOULD

    I’m glad you had a nice experience, but when companies invite you in, they generally make sure you only see their best side. (Most, if not all, abuses are discovered in undercover investigations, no matter who conducts them.) By the way… if your “hotel, travel, and meals were covered?” That IS compensation.

  • Dear S.A., I was not compensated for my time, and I truly believe that when a company spends millions of dollars for a facility that is outstanding and impressive that there is no secret backroom.–Michele

  • S A GOULD

    I’m glad there is no “secret backroom” there. They may even be a totally swell corporation. But would a large company spend millions of dollars to try and influence consumers? Yes they would.

  • Of course they would S.A., but I’m glad I went and saw how well the dogs and cats are cared for.–Michele