Pet Nutrition in Japan

I happened upon this article when I was searching for something completely unrelated, so I thought I would share it with you.

The Japanese market for US-made dog and cat food, according to US government trade statistics, ranks as the nation’s second-largest export market, behind Canada. In 2005, US petfood companies shipped almost US$200 million worth of dog and cat food to Japan. This is why, for the past 13 years, the Pet Food Institute (PFI) has been actively training Japanese veterinarians on the advances in pet nutrition and working to teach Japanese pet owners about the importance of feeding the country’s 12.1 million pet dogs and 8.5 million pet cats a complete and balanced petfood diet.

Source: Proper pet nutrition in Japan

I have noticed myself that over the past few years, my cat’s veterinarians have taken more of an interest in her diet. When I first brought her to my current vet in Tsukuba (six years ago), I asked about what kind of food I should be giving her. I got a fairly vague answer with no specific recommendations. Since then, I have noticed a large number of food samples showing up at the clinic, with Science Diet, Iams, and Eukanuba dominating the shelves. These products weren’t even available in Japan when I first got my cat (1998), or if they were, they were rather hard to come by. I’m glad that we now have the option of feeding our pets these products, but I confess that in these days of pet food scandals, I am still not 100% sure which one is best for her. I have been feeding her Science Diet for many years now, but I often wonder exactly how much science has gone into the food.

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1 Comment

  1. forpaws

    Next time you go to a vet’s office take a look at the amount of literature, posters, calendars, etc. that are there from pet food companies. The bottom line is that selling pet food to clients is a huge money maker for vets. It is a well known fact that vets are NOT trained in nutrition in school. That is why I find the fact that the Pet Food Institute is actively training vets in Japan about nutrition to be rather disturbing. Doctors and veterinarians should be researching nutrition and teaching each other, NOT special interest groups who are trying to sell their products. When I asked my vet how much protein my dog with liver disease should have (he needs a restricted protein diet), she pulled out the Science Diet guidelines. She went to veterinary school. I wanted to know MEDICALLY what he should have, not what Science Diet recommended.

    One of the big shockers of the pet food recall is that brands like Science Diet were part of the recall. Their cat food, Savory Cuts, was produced by Menu Foods. So why were people paying more for a “premium” brand when their food was being produced by the same company that makes Walmart’s O’Roy? I am going to be posting a blog soon on the dangers of commercial pet food.

    Thanks for the post, Shaney. It was very interesting!!!

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