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"The Thinking Person's Pet Food"™ – Since 1979

Criticisms of Wysong

The following are criticisms of Wysong forwarded to us by pet owners and found on the Internet.

 

APPERON

Customer question submitted to Wysong:
"I am very interested in using your products Call of the Wild and Wild Things for a hybrid cat. I was referred by other pet owners to Wysong and Apperon. In reading the Apperon site I came across the following statements, which raised some concerns as we were really set on selecting Wysong. May you please have someone address these statements for us so that we may make the most informed decision for our pet?"

 

The customer included the following exchange they had with Apperon. Wysong rebuttals follow:

 

LETTER TO APPERON FROM CUSTOMER:

I just recently discovered a product manufactured by a company called Wysong that is trademarked Call of the Wild. I've been told by breeders that Call of the Wild is superior because it has "all natural" ingredients and that Apperon Oasis is outdated. I question whether these breeders have their own personal agendas. Dr. Gary, can you please help me better understand what's in Call of the Wild versus your Oasis?

 

APPERON RESPONSE:
All of our products are developed for the health and happiness of exotic animals. That is our core focus. Wysong is a company that develops products for both companion pets, horses and humans. Oasis Felidai is a specie specific formula intended for exotic cats. Call of the Wild is categorized as a companion cat supplement.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Apperon provides no proof that different species of cats require different nutrition. Wysong follows the archetypal model that clearly demonstrates that all cats in the wild eat essentially the same diet. Wysong foods and supplements try to emulate this natural model as closely as possible and we coach people how to use a variety of foods to accomplish this, including fresh foods.

 

APPERON:
Careful review of Call of the Wild's "controversial" ingredient statement raises critical red flags for the safety of exotic cats. Please appreciate that my opinion is based on the limited information from Wysong.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
"Controversial," "critical," "red flags" and "safety"—are words intended to scare. You need good information to make decisions and Wysong certainly does not provide "limited" amounts of that. The educational materials of Wysong are unmatched anywhere in the industry. The ingredients and our feeding philosophy are clearly outlined as well. In contrast, we could not find any list of ingredients on the Oasis site. If you wish to provide those to us we will comment on them.

 

APPERON:
However as a board certified animal nutritionist with over 25 years of experience,

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
No degrees, certification or experience qualifies any human to decide the precise nutrient requirements of every species of cat. We can find nowhere in the scientific literature such documentation, let alone on this company's website.

 

APPERON:
I can tell a lot from an ingredient statement and the first ingredient listed is poultry and then poultry liver. The poultry and poultry liver are probably derived from "spent hens", chickens that have finished their useful life and that are usually full of all kinds of antibiotics and feed additives, with many of them being totally unhealthy. As the first ingredient in Call of the Wild, why would anyone want to derive a supplement from spent hens?

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Assertions are made with no proof. Wysong does not contain "spent hens." Even if it were to contain them, the level of chicken meat (used as a natural palatability carrier for the micronutrients) in our supplements would be small and the recommended usage level so small that the potential for harm (assuming the "full of" statement is even correct) would be negligible. In any event, "spent hens" are egg laying chickens that produce eggs for human consumption. They are only "spent" with respect to egg laying productivity. This would not mean they were of no, or even low nutritional value. Some "spent" hens are factory farmed, some are organic. So the sweeping condemnation of them is not appropriate. Incidentally, what do cats prey on in the wild? The strongest, swiftest, and healthiest, or the sick, disabled, diseased, dying...and spent?

 

APPERON:
The fifth listed ingredient in Call of the Wild is ground bone and having worked as a health consultant for the livestock industry for so long you need to be aware of the issues associated with ground bone. These issues relate to mad cattle disease, zoonotic diseases, and heavy metal contamination.

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Wysong bone is not from cattle with mad cow disease, nor is it an agent of zoonotic diseases, nor is it laced with heavy metals. By the logic presented, all cattle should be condemned.


APPERON:

The barley grass powder and wheat grass powder listed also gave me great concerns over possible allergic reactions at the gut level in exotic cats.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Cats in the wild consume viscera containing grasses and do not develop "allergic reactions." We are professional veterinarians and PhDs and have surveyed the scientific literature for decades. We know of no reported case of "gut level allergic reactions" to grass in cats. For more informed and impartial information on the merits of unjointed barley and wheat grass, please do a search on the Internet. The merits of unjointed barley and wheat grass are well documented.

 

APPERON:
Since this product contained kelp and seaweed, I have concerns over mercury and other heavy metals.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
The science of toxicology teaches that "the dose makes the poison." Anything can be toxic if fed in high enough dosage...including every ingredient in Oasis products. Kelp and seaweed are used in Wysong foods because they are excellent sources of natural trace minerals. They are not contaminated by toxic levels of heavy metals. Nor would the tens of thousands of animals fed these ingredients in Wysong products over the past 30 years have thrived as they have. Again, do a search on the Internet to learn the extraordinary nutritional merits of these ingredients.

 

APPERON:
Additional review of the Wysong website indicated to me that Call of the Wild looked like a relabeled human product or a variation of.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Since humans and cats eat many of the same foods, this argument could be made no matter how the product was formulated. Call of the Wild is not a relabeled human product as can clearly be seen from the label. Even if it were, this argument would be as relevant as saying that steak and chicken from the grocer should not be fed to cats because they are labeled for humans.

 

APPERON:
As noted above, Wysong formulates products for people, pets and horses. It's generally easier and much more cost effective to slightly modify a formula than to develop one that is specie specific.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Wysong does not do things because they are easy or cheap. We have a clear health philosophy and make products accordingly. We would argue that the "species specific" claim is marketing, not science or logic. (http://www.wysong.net/learn/)

 

APPERON:
I also observed that Call of the wild contains Vitamin E supplement with no indication if the form is the correct one for exotic cats.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
This is the only vitamin E nomenclature permitted by regulation. If Apperon is labeling theirs differently, then their products are illegal. Wysong products contain a variety of Vitamin E epimers to both preserve the food and give metabolic antioxidant benefits to cats. Incidentally, the best form of Vitamin E is the mixed tocopherols found in the natural prey diet—and in Wysong products.

 

APPERON:
This is a huge problem!

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Unsubstantiated scary hyperbole.

 

APPERON:
The web site also claims that it contains innumerable micronutrients in the levels and proportions found in natural prey. I would like to know all the natural prey that has all the same components. In fact I would like to know the natural prey that contains seaweed, kelp, poultry liver, sesame seeds, calcite, whey and garlic all in the same place.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Since natural ingredients are used in Wysong foods, not a potpourri of synthetic vitamins and minerals, they are in the proportions an animal would find them in nature. The varied prey diet of the feline could contain all of the ingredients Wysong uses. The point of Wysong supplements is ignored: The mainstay the owner should be feeding is fresh meats, organs, bones and the like; the Wysong supplements are just that, supplements meant to augment the main meat course. We do not suggest that people feed our supplements as an exclusive food as Apperon is suggesting we do.

 

APPERON:
Perhaps they are feeding rats that dine in the garbage of a NY city Chinese diner.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Which do you think any feline would choose, a bottle of Oasis or a pudgy scraggly NY city rat?

 

APPERON:
As far as I know calcite is another name for calcium carbonate CaCO3 but of a lower grade and quality, why they chose to put it on the ingredient list is beyond me.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
Since these Wysong products are designed to supplement a raw meat diet which can be deficient in calcium, we have used the very best and varied sources of calcium: bone, calcite, coral calcium, egg shell, milk calcium or carrot calcium (all in Call of the Wild). Apperon does not state what special natural source of calcium they use.

 

APPERON: Calcite cannot contain less than 33 % calcium while the calcium we use in Oasis contains a minimum of 38% calcium and it is monitored for heavy metals.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
We cannot comment on the Oasis ingredients because we could not find them on the website. Calcium is 100% calcium and not 33% nor 38%. If the reference is to % calcium in an ingredient, that is irrelevant to the final product. If the implication is that because Oasis contains an ingredient that is 38% calcium that it is better, then all a consumer need do is shop for % calcium. If that is so, one could buy pure 100% calcium and Oasis would be out of business.

 

APPERON: In conclusion, I encourage you not to take my word as being final. Read some of the testimonials listed on apperon.com and take a look at each exotic cat picture featured throughout the site. Every single picture represents an Oasis cat and thank goodness, they can't lie like some people can.

 

WYSONG COMMENTS:
We would also invite you to peruse the hundreds of Wysong testimonials listed on our website. These people and animals (a 30 year history through generations of tens of thousands of animals) don't lie either.

Please take some time to review the Optimal Health Program. Dr. Wysong's book, the "Truth About Pet Food," and the CD, "The Master Key to Health." You will see that Wysong is not about just selling products but giving good and responsible information. A critical key to health is variety. Don't feed any single food consistently no matter what the claims of purveyors who argue such things as "100% complete," or perfect foods for specific breeds, species, ages, life stages or the like.

 

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond. In general you are faced with the following choice. Should you believe and follow those who advocate that they know all there is to know about nutrition, and that you should purchase their products because they know how to precisely formulate them? Or should you believe those who argue that nature knows best and contains secrets not even imagined by humans, and who then teach you how to apply this understanding so that you can make your own informed health and food decisions?

 .

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INNOVA

Innova Comment:
"Ground corn is the entire corn kernel, ground or chopped. Although ground corn is a good quality source of carbohydrates, it is a common cause of food allergies in pets and is not used in Natura products."

Wysong Response:

Corn, per se, is not the cause of allergy. Most allergies result from a compromised immune system due to singular reliance on so-called "100% complete" foods such as Innova.

 

Hundreds of pets that were supposedly allergic to corn have been fed the Wysong products that contain corn in combination with the other advice in the Optimal Health Program and have thrived with no adverse reactions. This is true even for pets that have shown a positive allergy/sensitivity test to corn.

 

Corn is used in dry foods to permit the extrusion of a formed nugget. Substituting other starch-based ingredients such as potato, rice, wheat, etc., all of which contain potential allergens as well, does not solve the underlying nutritional problem of feeding processed pet foods meal after meal.

 

Paranoia about corn in the pet food industry serves only the interests of marketers trying to create business by trying to be different.

Wysong has many diets that do not include corn. This is ignored since it would make Innova’s strawman comparisons invalid.

Innova Comment:
"Poultry fat is obtained from the tissues of poultry in the commercial process of rendering or extracting. Poultry fat is a by-product of meat processing. The origin of the contributing animals is never known; the source can be any fowl (turkey, chicken, geese, buzzard, etc.) and the resulting oil is very low in linoleic acid -- an essential fatty acid that is important for skin and coat health. Natura uses high quality chicken fat which has the highest levels of linoleic acid."

Wysong Response:

Wysong poultry fat is not a "by-product." Innova claims Wysong poultry fat is inferior, yet Innova products contain chicken fat (isn’t chicken poultry?), which is as much a by-product as anyone else’s poultry or chicken fat.

Fat from various species of poultry (as in Wysong) provides a broader spectrum of nutrients than fat from a single species (chicken). Wysong fat does not come from "buzzards."

Animals are not so much deficient in linoleic acid, an omega 6 fatty acid, as they are deficient in omega 3’s. Linoleic acid at high levels (as claimed in Innova) is pro-inflammatory, thus promoting the allergic reactions that Innova is supposed to prevent. Wysong foods contain high levels of omega 3’s and other phytonutrients which are anti-inflammatory to help prevent allergic reactions.


Innova Comment:
"Extruded soybeans is the product resulting from extrusion by friction heat and/or steam, whole soybeans without removing any of the component parts. Whole ground extruded soybeans are used in some foods as a supplemental protein ingredient. Although the product has been processed to eliminate the 'bloat' often associated with soybeans, this ingredient can still pose a problem for animals allergic to soy. Soybeans are not used in Natura foods as no soy product has the biologic protein value of meat ingredients, such as chicken meat or chicken meal (dried chicken meat)."

Wysong Response:
1. Wysong uses unique whole extruded soybeans in some, not all, diets. These are not used as a supplement protein ingredient, but rather because of their high content of omega 3 fatty acids, lecithin, and important antioxidants and phytoestrogens.


2. Wysong foods have the highest levels of fresh meat that is possible to incorporate into a dry extruded product, thus, Wysong does not need to add soy for supplemental protein.


3. True, some animals are allergic to soy (very few), but so too can they be allergic to every one of Innova’s ingredients.


Innova Comment:
"Salt is a natural mineral, necessary for life and good health. Most pet food ingredients contain enough sodium to meet a dog or cat's nutritional needs. The salt in the Natura products comes only from the natural ingredients. We do not add salt as a flavor enhancer."

Wysong Response:
1. Wysong salt is a unique geologic composition containing dozens of trace minerals commonly deficient in modern human and animal processed diets.


2. Wysong salt is not refined table salt and is not added to increase sodium levels as Innova suggests.


Innova Comment:
"Dried kelp is seaweed from the families Laminariacae and Fucaeae which has been dried. Kelp is added to pet foods primarily as a source of iodine, but it can be very high in salt and potassium. Natura does not add kelp or other salty ingredients to any of its foods."

Wysong Response:

Kelp is an excellent natural source of iodine and a wide range of other trace minerals.

Potassium is universally deficient in modern processed diets. If kelp is high in potassium, that is a reason to include it, not exclude it as Innova suggests.


Innova Comment:
"Yeast culture is the dried product composed of yeast and the media on which it is grown, dried in such a manner as to preserve the fermenting activity of the yeast. Yeast culture is an unnecessary flavoring ingredient, used in inexpensive pet foods in an attempt to compensate for a lack of real food flavors. In addition, yeast is an allergen for some animals."

Wysong Response:

Wysong yeast culture is not added as a "flavoring ingredient," but as a rich source of naturally complexed vitamins, active enzymes, annanoligosaccharides, and immune stimulating glucans.


Innova Comment:
"Chicken digest is a material that results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed chicken tissue. Chicken digest is a palatability enhancer made by reducing (cooking down) chicken meat and fat into a concentrated liquid or dry product. Natura’s products have their own satisfying flavors that come from natural human grade ingredients that are used."

Wysong Response:

Wysong digest is a food that has been broken down (digested) by enzymes. The process, in effect, predigests complex foods, rendering them more digestible and palatable. Digests used by Wysong are extraordinarily nutrient dense and very expensive. They are not used as an inexpensive substitute or nutritionally depleted filler.

 

Innova Comment:
"Chicken meal is the dry rendered (cooked down) product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts of whole carcasses of chicken -- exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, or entrails. Chicken meal is considered to be the single best source of protein in commercial pet foods. Natura uses high quality, low ash chicken meal extensively. This ingredient is very digestible, very palatable, and very expensive."

Wysong Response:

Most high quality foods use low ash poultry meal, so this is not a unique Innova feature.

Chicken meal is not the best source of protein:
a. The best source of protein is whole fresh chicken minus the feathers (as in Wysong), not just rendered chicken meal that ends up being cooked four times, as in Innova.
b. Egg is considered the most complete form of protein, not chicken meal.


Innova Comment:
"Cottage cheese is the result of separating milk or cream into curds and whey. The curds are drained and pressed to form the soft, white, spoonable cheese. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, protein and vitamins. Natura uses table-quality cottage cheese, straight from its retail container. The cottage cheese has only trace amounts of lactose and because of its limited inclusion in the formula, the ultimate amount of lactose in the finished product is insignificant and would not be in sufficient supply to cause an intolerance problem."

Wysong Response:
Are we to understand that someone hand scoops cottage cheese out of retail containers into Innova products? Extruded foods, such as Innova, are produced at many tons per hour. Innova does not explain how such retail package hand scooping is compatible with production rates at several tons per hour. Besides, what does "hand-scooping" have to do with good nutrition?


Innova Comment:
"Lamb meal is the dry rendered (cooked down) product from lamb tissues, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. Lamb meal is simply lamb meat with the moisture removed, making it suitable for use in dry food. Before you buy a product containing lamb meal, ask the manufacturer about the origin of the lamb meal they use. Natura uses only high quality lamb meat from New Zealand, not the lamb by-products found in some other pet foods."

Wysong Response:
Are we to believe Innova adds lamb chops and racks of lamb to their products at a retail price of approximately $10.00 per pound? How could this be when Innova foods cost about $1.00 per pound retail, and half that at wholesale? Innova needs to describe exactly what the special "human-grade" lamb product is to explain this conundrum.


Innova Comment:
"The chicken Nature uses is not only human grade, but also tested to be free of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, as well as chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin…Natura uses only fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, like you would buy at the grocery store, in our foods."

Wysong Response:
Human grade can mean by-products from human-grade processing. These are the same "human grade" ingredients virtually all other manufacturers use. If Innova means their ingredients are human grade right from the grocery store, then it must be explained how they can process, package, and ship their products for far less cost than the price of these ingredients, and why most of the ingredients they list are not found in the grocery store.


Innova Comment:
"Glucosamine hydrochloride is a compound that occurs naturally in the cartilage cushioning the joints. Glucosamine, together with chondroitin sulfate, is believed to stimulate the rebuilding of the cartilage matrix and to play a role in the fight against osteoarthritis."

Wysong Response:
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are unapproved pet food ingredients (at the time of this writing). Wysong products provide natural sources of proteoglycans, cartilage and all classes of collagen, providing excellent building block nutrition for joints and all connective tissues. These ingredients contain glucosamine and chondroitin, but not in unapproved forms as in Innova.


Innova Comment:
"Natural flavors are minimally processed flavor ingredients that do not contain synthetic or artificial components. Natura uses only quality chicken broth as a natural flavor in the Innova Lite Cat food. This is much like a reduced broth you would use in making your own gravy to intensify the flavor of the food naturally. A proprietary blend of herbs and spices is used as a natural flavor in the HealthWise products."

Wysong Response:
If Innova is made of outstanding ingredients, why must it be spiked with a "flavoring"? Innova criticizes other manufacturers for using flavorings, so why do they use them? Why wouldn’t hand-dipped cottage cheese, buzzard-free fat and human levels of vitamins be sufficient?


Innova Comment:
"Sodium ascorbate is a non-acidic form of Vitamin C. Vitamin C cannot be stored by the body, so it must be replaced every day. Sodium ascorbate has a neutral (non-acid) pH, making it safer for sensitive stomachs."

Wysong Response:
Innova is erroneously using human nutrition guidelines for feeding cats and dogs. For humans, vitamin C is an essential vitamin. For cats and dogs, it is not, since they are capable of synthesizing it. If Innova does not understand this fundamental principle, why should consumers trust their expertise in making a "100% complete and balanced" food? (This is not to suggest vitamin C could not benefit cats and dogs under certain circumstances, but this is not because cats and dogs need human vitamin levels as Innova argues.)


Innova Comment:
"Whole raw apples are the edible fruit of the apple tree, part of the rose family. Apples provide important 'protector' nutrients, as well as plenty of carbohydrates and fiber -- essential for your pet's good health. Natura uses fresh, whole Washington apples, right out of the box, like you would find in the produce section at your local market.
Whole raw carrots are the root of the carrot plant, a member of the parsley family.
Carrots provide flavor and important nutrients, including 'protector' antioxidants. Natura uses only fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, fit for human consumption. Innova’s carrots are not pre-processed, so they retain the healthy qualities of the foods you serve at your own table."

Wysong Response:
These ingredients are evidently included to appeal to human food folklore, such as "an apple a day…" and "carrots are good for the eyes." Although cats and dogs may benefit some from occasional fruits and vegetables, a practice Wysong recommends using the real fresh, whole form, they are not in a pet’s natural diet and are not required for "carbohydrates and fiber." Although Innova may add these ingredients fresh, they are cooked at hundreds of degrees in the pet food making process.


Innova Comment:
"Whole steamed potatoes are freshly-cooked Idaho and russet potatoes. Potatoes provide B vitamins, carbohydrates, zinc, Vitamin C, copper, iron, magnesium, niacin and potassium. Natura uses only fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, like you would buy at the grocery store, in our foods. They are not pre-processed, so they retain the flavors and important nutrients (including 'protector' antioxidants) of the foods you serve at your own table."

Wysong Response:
Does this mean that the potatoes are "steamed" in a home-kitchen sense and then added to a food that is being extruded at 5 tons per hour? In actual fact, all Innova ingredients are "steamed" in the process of preconditioning and extrusion just like what occurs with all other extruded pet foods. Innova needs to explain what exactly the merits of "steamed" potatoes are.

Innova Comment:

A chart comparing Innova’s products to Wysong Adult Maintenance

 

Wysong Response:

The ingredients listed in the chart are not an accurate representation of the ingredients in this Wysong product. Nor is this one product an accurate representation of the range of products Wysong produces, and it ignores how Wysong recommends that foods be rotated and fed.

Innova has selected a few Wysong features to try to frame an attack, but neglects the many other important features of Wysong, which make Wysong superior to Innova.

 

For example, Wysong products are characterized by:

●High digestibility

●Easily tolerated by allergic companion animals

●High in natural chondroitin, glucosamine and collagen for joint and connective tissue health

●Active enzymes

●Probiotic cultures and probiotic-enhancing artichoke and garlic oligosaccharides (prebiotics)

●Chelated and naturally complexed minerals and 74 trace mineral natural sea salt

●Natural pepper extract, which enhances vitamin and mineral utilization by as much as 250%

●Most bioavailable forms of vitamins

●Specific design to optimize health – not simply meet regulatory standards

●Nutrient dense to optimize health – not least-cost, nutrient-depleted food fractions

●Specialized processing to protect fragile nutrients – not production only to maximize profitability

●An emphasis on naturally complexed nutrients – not just isolated synthetics

●Fresh, non-processed living food ingredients – not food devoid of all living elements

●Freedom from non-nutritional ingredients – not additives merely to create color, texture, taste, smell, stool consistency or shelf-life

●Fresh meats, whole ingredients – not just pre-rendered by-products and grain fractions

●Nutrient preservation with natural Wysong antioxidant (Oxherphol™), Nutri-Pak™ oxygen and light-barrier packaging, and fats and oils purge with oxygen – not synthetic preservatives in permeable paper and plastic packaging with contents easily spoiled by oxygen and light.

●100% non-thermally processed meat and organ products

●A 70% meat dry extruded food—patent pending

●A full line of state of the art natural prescription diets used by veterinarians country-wide

 

Although Innova attempts to create the impression that their ingredients are "hand scooped" from retail containers right from the grocery store, this is misleading. Innova products are manufactured in a conventional pet food facility, using usual pet food ingredients, and formulated using the myth that processed foods are "100% complete."

 

Innova ignores or does not understand the most important issue in pet feeding. That is, consumers should not rely on so-called "100% complete" pet foods (which have been proven to create serious disease and death), but rather should learn how to incorporate fresh natural foods into the diet. Contrary to this, Innova attempts to persuade owners to feed exclusively processed foods by convincing them that Innova’s processed products are hand-dipped, kitchen-like steamed, boosted with human vitamins, are "just like raw," match the mythical human food group pyramid, and are only composed of grocery store human-grade ingredients.