Review of Big Kibble by Shawn Buckley and Dr. Oscar Chavez

Big Kibble

Shawn Buckley and Dr. Oscar Chavez

December 1, 2020

St. Martin’s Press

Blurb: A big, inside look at the shocking lack of regulation within the pet food industry, and how readers can dramatically improve the quality of their dogs’ lives through diet.

What’s really going into commercial dog food? The answer is horrifying.

Big Kibble is big business: $75 billion globally. A handful of multi-national corporations dominate the industry and together own as many as 80% of all brands. This comes as a surprise to most people, but what’s even more shocking is how lax the regulations and guidelines are around these products. The guidelines―or lack thereof―for pet food allow producers to include ever-cheaper ingredients, and create ever-larger earnings. For example, “legal” ingredients in kibble include poultry feces, saw dust, expired food, and diseased meat, among other horrors. Many vets still don’t know that kibble is not the best food for dogs because Big Kibble funds the nutrition research. So far, these corporations have been able to cut corners and still market and promote feed-grade food as if it were healthful and beneficial―until now.

Just as you are what you eat, so is your dog. Once you stop feeding your dog the junk that’s in kibble or cans, you have taken the first steps to improving your dog’s health, behavior and happiness.

You know the unsavory side of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. Now Shawn Buckley, Dr. Oscar Chavez, and Wendy Paris explain all you need to know about unsavory Big Kibble―and offer a brighter path forward for you and your pet.

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We humans have an interesting and questionable capacity for turning a blind eye regarding what we eat as well as what we feed our cherished pets. We turn a blind eye toward how our food makes its way to us as, and we do the same for our pets. It’s easier that way. And most of us do like to do the easy thing, even if it’s at a cost.

As many of you know, at the beginning of the summer I lost my beloved Scout. The cause of death was an aggressive form of cancer that he hid from me until a week before he died. In the subsequent months I’ve done a lot of thinking about dogs (and cats) and cancer. Oddly, I have lost every single one of my pets to cancer–except for one. Cha developed acute kidney failure at 11. She was literally at death’s door, my vet said. She wouldn’t eat the renal kibble food (to me it smelled rancid so I didn’t blame her) and I was at wit’s end. I found an online support group who provided recipes and discussed supplements and other necessities for combatting renal failure. From that day on, I home-cooked her meals. She left me five and a half years later due to complications of degenerative myelopathy (a hereditary disease). Home cooking her meals had given her many years that she wouldn’t have had otherwise, without a doubt.

Is it coincidence that the only dog I cooked for never got cancer? I frankly don’t think so, and after having read Big Kibble by Shawn Buckley and Dr. Oscar Chavez, I feel even more fervently that it’s no coincidence at all.

First, I want to tell you that Buckley and Chavez formed a company that makes real, human-grade food for dogs. The cynical amongst us would suggest that they are promoting this book to garner sales. And, perhaps that’s true. However, the information provided in this book is information that is available to anyone wanting to do the research.

The authors provide case after case, many of them infamous, about how pet feed (not a typo) is not regulated. I remember very well the incidents with melamine in pet feed that killed thousands of dogs and cats in the late naughts. I counted myself extremely lucky that my three dogs and cat survived that time when so many others didn’t. And then recently there was the case of pentobarbital, a drug that is used in animal euthanasia, killing several dogs who ate particular dog foods.

All of us believe that the same regulations that are imposed on human food are also imposed on the feed we give our pets, but we would be wrong. Big Kibble provides eye opening details about how companies get away with suggesting that a pet food is totally made in the USA when in actuality ingredients have been sourced from China.

I do believe that the authors want consumers to be aware of how kibble is made and are not just out for themselves. They point toward other companies that are making whole, human-grade food for dogs as well as offer several recipes for home-feeding your dog–which I very much appreciate. They also inform the reader that there are veterinary resources for doing home-cooked meals for your dog. They don’t pretend to be the end all for creating healthy meals.

I just needed a slight nudge to stop feeding Sophie kibble. What I received what a great big old shove and I am thankful.

Big Kibble is necessary reading for any dog owner. Period.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.



5 out of 5 butterflies

4 thoughts on “Review of Big Kibble by Shawn Buckley and Dr. Oscar Chavez

  1. Yech. Poor pooches. They seem to gobble it up though. Occasionally there is a canned cat food my cats will not touch and I am always suspicious of that.

  2. My daughter’s golden lab eats anything, and eats it fast. She inhales vegetable scraps, apple cores, salad, and once she ate several pounds of rocks from under a barbecue grill that had dripped grease on them. The vegetables will probably make her healthier. The rocks didn’t. She had to have surgery to get them out.

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