I recently came across an outfit called PurePetFoods. It crops up regularly on my Facebook ads. They claim, among other things, that their foods are all ‘human grade.’ I’m not sure, but I imagine this means that their pet foods are made to the same exacting standards as human foodstuffs.

Much as I hate to rain on their parade, I’m going to. In the past I did a lot of work with one of the biggest petfood manufacturers in the known universe. Their production plant was huge, about the size of Rutland or so it seemed. They made everything your doggie or moggie might need, from ordinary tinned and dried chow to specialist diets to help the mutt or mog deal with various medical conditions.

Here’s the thing. The standards of hygiene on their production line were even more stringent than those applied to the production of food for us mere mortals. You could do open heart surgery if you scrubbed up first. Of course there’s a pretty good reason for this, since petfoods are made of the sort of odds and ends even burger manufacturers look at askance. Things like that tend to go off pretty easily, hence the satellite-assembly suite standards of cleanliness.

Something else you may be unaware of. Quality control for their products, and indeed the development process, require human testing. Some poor bastard actually has to fork that stuff into his or her own mouth. Now there’s a job for heroes, eh? This dubious privilege even extended to members of the advertising agency involved in the marketing campaigns. I can tell you this from bitter experience.

Hence my uncertainty about PurePetFoods. They don’t seem to have a USP here. They make some pretty wild claims about how their production processes maximise nutrient levels (http://purepetfood.co.uk/what-we-do ) and I’m not sure I buy those either. And let’s be honest, most pets are quite happy with some bits of lung or other castoffs from the slaughterhouse.

I had a friend who was vegan, and she insisted on feeding her dog some contrived vegan dogfood. I always felt that to be a bit unfair on the dog. Be vegan if you wish, but bear in mind that both cats and dogs are obligate carnivores. Some of the amino acids they need they cannot make themselves from precursors, so they need them in their diet in the form of meat. You can of course synthesise the amino acids, but since this is really just a glorified brewing process and completely artificial you may want to think quite hard about that.