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Pet Food & Animal Testing: A Horror Story

by Suzana Rose

May 22, 2018

Pet food is a controversial topic when it comes to animal testing. Because our beloved pets will ultimately consume the goods, some claim that animal testing for pet food should be necessary in order to ensure our animals' safety.

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But just because pet products and animal testing both involve animals, it doesn't mean they must be tied together. When we refer to animal testing in the pet food world, we're talking about laboratory animals being subjected to invasive tests. This is, I believe, what many animal testing advocates fail to recognize. Sadly, animal testing facilities often conduct unspeakably cruel and inhumane studies.

In this post, I'll list 35 cruelty-free pet food companies and give you options for dog food as well as cat food. But first, I want to tell you what animal testing for pet food involves.


Pet Food & Regulations

The thing is, nothing ever has to be tested on animals. Not even pet food.

Advancements in technology are allowing scientists to use microchips instead of animals to test drugs, questioning the necessity of any animal testing for any purpose.

But pet food is highly regulated in the US by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Organization). In addition to the nutritional analysis, the food has to be fed to live animals. This is called a "feeding trial".

Feeding Trials In Laboratories

In 2003, an undercover PETA investigator filmed dreadful footage inside a feeding trial laboratory. The animal testing was commissioned by renowned industry giant Iams.

The footage shows sick, neglected suffering cats and dogs confined to small cages. Dogs were thrown on the floor after their vocal chords were cut off and their back-leg muscles removed. A dog was found dead, bleeding from his mouth in his cage. The footage also showed laboratory workers talking about a live cat that had been washed down the drain. (You can read the full story via Uncaged.)

Has anything changed since? Yes and no. Thankfully the conditions are better, which isn't to say they're ideal.


Companies To Avoid

The following pet food brands still conduct laboratory feeding trials and/or test on animals in other ways. They are not cruelty-free.

  • Iams (owned by Procter & Gamble)
  • Hill's Science Diet (owned by Colgate-Palmolive)
  • Pedigree (owned by Mars)
  • Purina (owned by Nestle)
  • Friskies (owned by Nestle)
  • Natural Balance
  • Blue Buffalo
  • Whiskas (owned by Mars)
  • Eukanuba (owned by Mars)
  • Sheba
  • Bakers Complete (owned by Nestle)


Humane Feeding Trials

Today, some companies choose not to conduct feeding trials on laboratory animals. These companies provide cruelty-free dog and cat food. To be in compliance with the AAFCO, these smaller, alternative trials must adhere to the following rules:

  • conducted on at least 8 healthy dogs, of at least 1 year old
  • the trial must run for at least 26 weeks
  • the dogs must only eat the trial food, and their daily consumption must be recorded
  • the dogs' weight be tracked weekly and they must undergo blood tests throughout the trial

Since these trials are not performed on laboratory animals, they do not involve animal testing. Some companies' employees will sometimes volunteer their pets for feeding trials. The pets will be weighed daily, but there's otherwise no change of lifestyle involved.

Cruelty-Free Dog Food Options

The companies below don't use laboratory animals as part of their feeding trials. They only perform humane and non-invasive feeding trials. For cruelty-free dog food, try:


The Honest Kitchen


Halo, Purely For Pets (Vegan!)


Flint River Ranch (Vegan!)






Pooch & Mutt



Cruelty-Free Cat Food Options

Cat lovers, I've got you covered as well! Please keep in mind that unlike dogs, cats can't thrive solely on a vegan diet. They require taurine, which can only be obtained from animal-based proteins. If you're choosing a vegan food for your cat, you might want to consider a taurine (or meat) supplement. Here are some cruelty-free cat food options:




Flint River Ranch (Vegan)


Weruva (Gluten-Free)

35 Cruelty-Free Companies

Need more choices? I'm going to end this post with a list of pet food companies that don't test on animals.

  • Almo Nature
  • The Honest Kitchen
  • Weruva
  • Flinch River Ranch
  • Halo, Purely For Pets
  • Yarrah
  • Solid Gold
  • V-Dog
  • Stella & Chewy's
  • Nutri-Vet
  • Burns
  • Pooch & Mutt
  • Fish4Dogs
  • Happy Dog Food
  • Holistic Blend
  • Newman's Own Organics
  • CaniSource
  • Fromm Family Foods
  • Pet Guard
  • Feline's Pride
  • Oma's Pride
  • Dr. Harvey's
  • Primal Pet Foods
  • Dingonatura
  • Dynamite Marketing
  • Timberwolf Organics
  • Artemis Pet Food
  • Pet Chef Express
  • PoshNosh
  • Bravo Raw Diet
  • Raw Advantage
  • Azmira Holistic Animal Care
  • Sojourner Farms
  • Sauder Feeds
  • Veterinary Nutritional Formula
  • Wysong Professional Diets

Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?

Download our list of 600+ verified cruelty-free brands straight to your device. Bring it with you everywhere you go, and never worry about supporting animal testing again. Click here to download

+ Show Comments (139) - Hide Comments (139)
  • Natalia Diaz says:

    This article has been beneficial. Navigating the different cruelty-free authorities can be challenging and Sometimes seem misleading. I want genuinely cruelty-free dog food and have thrown out Orijen for The Honest Kitchen. Thank you.

  • Lou Street says:

    I think Edgar and Cooper pet foods are cruelty free,available for UK. Would you be able to clarify this,so it can go on your list please.

  • Rodriguez Evelyn says:

    Do you know if Advance Veterinary is cruelty free?

  • PJ J Jordan says:

    Thank you for this page. During lockdown I lost my cat to vomiting and diahhrea. Got onto my laptop and began digging. There was poisons in the cat food I know now. If I had only known.

  • Todd says:

    Thanks for this

    Our dogs are vegan. Any idea about Natures Recipe and evangers?

  • Chris Saar says:

    How are the cattle and chickens treated humanely?

  • Wendy Shanahan says:

    Thank you!

  • Wendy Shanahan says:

    Thank you! This was great information! My cat grew up on Science Diet and I hope I can find one on the cruelty free list that she will like. I don’t feel good about supporting Hills Science Diet anymore

  • Carson says:

    I would like to comment on how you endorse these products as “cruelty free” based only on how testing animals are treated, and not how the animals whose meat is being used are treated. You could at least say “free of cruel animal testing” rather than saying is is more generally cruelty free. If fact millions of animals live a hellish life for the production of cat and dog food and we are used to this to such a great extent and have become quite disinterested in hearing about it. Please don’t feed that disinterest. We need to wake up and hear about it and protect these animals from cruelty too, or at least not claim that the hell they lived was “cruelty free.”

  • Stephanie says:

    This is the response I got from Instinct, looks like they test on animals

    The only testing we do is for palatability, stool scoring, and feed trials – all non-invasive and humane. At Nature’s Variety we are passionate about pets and deeply concerned for the emotional and physical health of all animals, large and small. The test facilities we contract with are under federal inspection; all animals are cared for in accordance with established animal welfare rules and sanitation standards. All animals are treated humanely and compassionately throughout their lives. These facilities have a “no-kill” policy, choosing to adopt-out the animals to loving homes after a few years. Moreover, whenever possible, we use in-home testing protocols, recruiting the voluntary services of our employees’ pets and the pets of our loyal consumers.

  • hannah says:

    Thanks for this awesome comprehensive list! I just wish Do you know if these ‘cruelty free’ companies also got their meat from ‘humane’ farms and sources? Specifically, Newmans Own meat products? I haven’t been able to find out much myself.. 🙂

  • caitlin says:

    Do you have any information on cruelty free cat litter brands? I have been using Arm & Hammer for ages and trying to find a replacement, but all I can find is verification about cat food.

  • Luca Lazuli says:

    Curious if you know anything about or would know how to gather info on Fussie Cat canned cat food?

  • Marisa says:

    Does Beneful dog food test on animals?

  • Rita T says:

    Hello 🙂 First of all, I’d like to thank you for all your research and for making this website! I never buy a product without looking it up first. It’s very hard to live a cruelty-free lifestyle here in Portugal. People are still very close-minded and backwards..but fortunately there’s such a thing called online orders 🙂
    Do you know if Orijen dog food is cruelty-free? I know to stay away from trash brands like royal canin and purina, whose formulas have been linked to loads of health issues in cats and dogs. Orijen has been my brand of choice for a few years, and the best that I could find here. But I’d really like to know if no animals are suffering for her belly to be full 🙂

    Thanks in advance Kitty

    • Suzana Rose says:

      Thank you for your kind comment! I don’t know about Orijen, but I see they’re based in Canada so I’ll have to look into it. All the best! 🙂

  • Jade says:

    Wow I never thought about this topic. I don’t think it ever even crossed my mind. This is going to be something I will definitely research more about. Thanks for the post and I hope you have a great day :)!

  • Bunny says:

    As of January 2019, Blue Buffalo is now owned by General Mills if that means anything. Thanks for providing the truth when marketing lies.

  • Anna says:

    This is eye opening I had no idea this was happening! Do you have any information on Orijen brand dog food? Hoping it’s ok.

  • Alison Pettibone says:

    Quick question– when you say “Veterinary Nutritional Formula”, do you mean Royal Canin? That’s the main thing that comes up when I googled VNF & our vet just suggested we switch to it, so I wanted to verify before purchasing. Thanks!

  • Carol says:

    Just posted this to FB’s South Central PA Vegans. Thank you, Suzana, for your info. that helps debunk myths and promotes cruelty free products! -Carol

    Hello, Friends! Here are the vegetarian and vegan food and treat options for pups. Penny is a fan of everything, especially the vegetable and kelp based Plaque Off System treats. I always give her a half of one after I brush her teeth, which I do every other day since getting her teeth cleaned after never having been before T and I adopted her (she had to have one of two possible teeth extracted as a result), and her eyes light up and she gently, but quickly snatches it and goes to another room to enjoy, and then drink lots of fresh water.

    With the food (pictured on the left in the group photo), which has been around since the 70s, I mix it up a bit by adding brown rice, legumes, nuts, fruits, veggies (she esp. likes ones that have been sauteed, but they can’t be mixed with even vegetarian stock, if it includes onions, or Vegetta, since the powdered stuff has onion and garlic powder, which aren’t good for them), and a bit of coconut oil, which dogs love, and she gobbles it up! The Blue brand treats have a bit of yogurt, so they are of course not vegan.

    The human products are a coconut based hand soap and body wash, which are cruelty-free and make my skin softer than it’s ever been, since I also use coconut oil for skin, plus hair and cooking. 🙂 I find the Kashi crackers to be delicious.
    For skeptics, remember that the second oldest dog on record was a vegan!

    If you even cut down on meat, it would greatly make an impact on the environment, and save at least some animal friends from becoming food for pets. Contrary to what commercials say, dogs do not need meat or bones, and kids do not need to be raised to think that meat has zero consequences, and just magically ends up packaged and appears on their plates. There is a reason that every meat processing plant is having trouble finding workers. Also, and many don’t think of this part, if you love cats and dogs, you might want to think about whether the food products you buy are animal tested. This link will help you with that, as well as a good food product for kitties, which can eat a vegetarian diet, but do need a taurine that is only animal based (which is another reason to spay and neuter feral cats!)

    Thanks for your patience in getting you this info. I honestly wasn’t meaning to sound judgmental about asking how vegans are able to feed their pets meat, it’s just something I’ve always wondered. Is it a difficult dilemma?

    • Janie says:

      Please note that cats cannot eat a vegetarian diet and remain healthy. They are obligate carnivores (unlike dogs).
      As for the dilemma in feeding our cats meat – As a vegetarian we feed our cats raw from a local company that sources meat from small local farms & from humane farms. As a vegetarian, I don’t eat meat, but I also cannot sacrifice the well-being of another living being in trying to force them to follow a diet that is completely unnatural and unhealthy for them. So for me it’s about caring for the health and well-being of my cats & doing what is best for them in the most cruelty free way.

  • Linda Lucero says:

    What about Wellness Core for cats? Is it cruelty free?

  • Taliska says:

    Does anyone know of a company that makes cruelty free chinchilla food? Thanks

  • Silvia Borba says:

    there’s a local food brand near me that in the packaging, it has a logo that says “regularly tested by laboratory tests” as well as in the description of all products it says that the product was developed/formulated/conceived (they use one of the 3 words. which one they use, depends on the product) for the animal nutrition. Is it safe to assume that it’s cruelty free?

  • ELVA says:


  • Emery Kittle says:

    Hi Suzana,
    thanks for the info. Here is another pet food company that doesn’t test on animals
    Nature’s Select Pet Foods

  • sierra says:

    IS there any lists for cruelty free cat litter available?

  • Suzie says:

    In fussiecat.com’s FAQ, it says they do not perform any invasive animal testing in developing their products and they never will. It says: “To fine-tune our recipes, we conduct trials where our food is fed to pets. This is done in a comfortable, stress-free environment for the animals.”

    Is this enough information to know if the brand is cruelty free?

  • sara says:

    I agree that these terrible conditions need to be stopped, but P&G sold Iams, Eukanuba, and Natura to Mars in 2014

  • emily says:

    Champion Petfoods is also a marvelous cruelty free brand! (Acana and Orijen)

    • Corrine says:

      Orijen and Acana participate in AAFCO feeding trials, it says so right on their website. So no, they are not cruelty free.

  • G C says:

    I am kind of surprised that your application of “cruelty-free” to pet food doesn’t also extend to the humane and ethical treatment of the animals sourced for the food itself. Companies like Open Farm and Tender and True provide pet food that is certified humane by third party auditors like Global Animal Partnership and Humane Farm Animal Care. I think these two companies should be added to your list and also given a distinction for how they differ from the others.

    • Kym Bower says:

      Agreed! Highly recommend Certified Humane and GAP-certified brands (in addition to no animal testing), such as Open Farm.

  • Ryv says:

    I am looking for an affordable cruelty free dog food. Does that exist? I have googled most of these and they are really expensive. I am transitioning to cruelty free and this is next on my list.

  • Sumaymay says:

    Wow! I only came across this post now and I’m glad I did. Never would’ve thought that they test on animals in the pet food industry! Thank you for the research, unfortunately I live in South Africa and a lot of the cruelty free brands mentioned aren’t readily available but hopefully I will come across some of them. Thank you

  • Anna B says:

    Do you have any information about Royal Canin?

  • Amber Young says:

    Here’s the thing: AAFCO is NOT a regulatory organization. It’s composed of volunteers who set the standards in the pet food industry itself. They are not held responsible by any government agency, and pet food is not required to have human grade ingredients. Rendering factories can use any grade meat for pet food and say it’s “real meat”. It is, but there’s a good chance that cheaper brands are using spoiled or otherwise unfit-for-human-consumption meat. It’s nasty. Also, most of the brands you’re listing as cruelty-free have formulas that slowly kill cats and dogs over time because of the ingredients that are in them. They are NOT balanced diets. Many of the ingredients have no nutritional value and the food formulas contain less than 10% meat content, a good portion of which have less than 3% meat. Just an fyi.

  • Lyss says:

    Thanks for the info!
    Open Farm should be added to this list as well. They are endorsed by Certified Humane, and so are Aspen Ridge and Blue Goose.


    I’ve never heard of anyone of these CF brands here in Brasil and I work with animals..that’s sad.

  • Christy says:

    Hi Suzy, there are many many pet food companies. Are the one’s on here truly the ONLY cruelty-free companies, or are they the only that you are familiar with? I feed my dogs Dr. Tim’s food and my cats Blue Buffalo (which I will be switching asap). Are you familiar with Dr. Tim’s and do you know if they are cruelty-free? I could not find anything on the subject on their website. Thanks! http://drtims.com/

    • Christy says:

      Update: I emailed myself and got a response VERY quickly…

      HI Christy;

      Feeding trials involve my own kennel and they enjoy it a lot. No cruelty here.

      Thanks for the email.

      Tim Hunt,DVM

      Dr. Tim’s Premium All Natural Pet Foods
      Whole Dog Journal List of Approved Dry Dog Foods 2011-2017

      I think that speaks for itself! Is that enough information to be added to the list?

  • Jules says:

    How about Rachel Ray’s Nutrish?

  • Tash says:

    This was very helpful, but now my question is this, where does the meat come from that they use and how were those animals treated?

  • Valerie says:

    Just wanted to say that I have fed my cats Blue Buffalo for years and I just went to their website because I simply couldn’t believe that they test on animals. Based on their website, they do not do the invasive testing mentioned above:
    Do you do any animal testing?

    Blue Buffalo does not do any invasive animal testing. Our company was founded on the basis of providing the best possible nutrition for dogs and cats, and we treat our pets like family members. We do conduct trials in which our products are fed to pets, but only under conditions that are healthy and comfortable for the animals.

    I always assumed that my pet food was going to be fed to pets prior to ensure that they will like it. Am I incorrect? I hate to change my cat’s food if I don’t have to, but I’m curious what your thoughts are on this.

  • Rudy says:

    Last I checked, Blue Buffalo also funds pet cancer vivisection experiments. When I wrote and asked about it they stopped responding. Had to stop buying it, unfortunately.

  • Lola says:

    Hey! I’ve recently started the switch to cruelty free and your site has helped so much! I know I’m late to this page but do you know if the publix generic pet food brand is cruelty free?

  • Eleri says:

    I’m in the UK and my dogs are fed with Lily’s Kitchen. Do you have any information about their testing policies please? I thought I was doing so well but seeing this has made me feel less confident.

  • CatLadyNYC says:

    Does anyone know what the deal is with Petropics/Tiki Cat?

    • Angela Fischetti says:

      Hi: Did you ever get a reply regarding Tiki Cat? I do not find them on PETA’S list, either.

  • Lizzie says:

    I feed my dog Blue Basics and I am also finding it hard to believe that a brand that puts so much emphasis on animal well being and only giving quality products, along with actually making quality food that when I read the ingredients I don’t need a dictionary, would do anything like what Peta caught in the Iams lab. I could understand if maybe they aren’t registered or don’t meet some super specific criteria to have an official cruelty free label, but I need more information. We went through hell trying to find something that worked for my pup’s sensitive stomach and I need rock solid evidence that they are doing something immoral before I put him through the difficult process of trying to find some thing new.
    Please, can there be some clarification as to how and why exactly it ended up on this list?

    From Blue Buffalo’s website

    “Blue Buffalo does not do any invasive animal testing. Our company was founded on the basis of providing the best possible nutrition for dogs and cats, and we treat our pets like family members. We do conduct trials in which our products are fed to pets, but only under conditions that are healthy and comfortable for the animals.”

    source: https://bluebuffalo.com/frequently-asked-questions/#question10

    • Angela Fischetti says:

      Hi: I avoid their cat food. In many of their products, white potato is the filler, which is really bad for cats. Most contain very little, if any veggies, which are important in a cat’s diet. I have learned that pea protein, what many companies use in order to claim “grain free,” is equally as damaging. Blue is not on PETA’s list of companion friendly, nor on this one. What I would question is Blue’s choice of the word “invasive.” This is a fancy way of skirting the issue. Possibly Blue’s choice of a word that avoids meeting some super specific criteria of being full fledged invasive. It’s sad we have to play a game of semantics, however we do. I was told once told to go to Sephora for cosmetics. I asked the store manager if the company tested on animals and she told me know, which was a half truth. A half truth is a lie. They test on their products that are sold in China. In your case, I don’t blame you for going through the process of finding something new for your dog. It’s brutal for both the animal and his family. I know, I have been there. From where I sit, I can only say you do what’s best for all concerned. For the moment, I am grateful I do not walk in your shoes. I hope your dog continues to do well.

  • Sarah says:

    Do you know if Good Natured pet food (its a petsmart brand) tests?

  • Janae says:

    I cannot believe blue buffalo is on this list…I just don’t believe it. Is there an update…a source for this information? Proof? My cats only eat BB and my little one actually gets sick eating anything else (even if all natural and the very best ingredients). I also only use BB litter, my daughter is allergic to the clay litter and I think it’s awful. Corn and wheat litter is disgusting and so is the recycled paper option. I worked very closely blue buffalo in the past, and I find this very hard to believe. I made still have some contacts that work there and cam ask for proof of the their testing methods? For a company that claims to care so much about animams…this is very concerning.

  • Jessica says:

    This blows my mind! I ran across this post by accident and decided to start switching my dog from Blue Buffalo to Holistic Blend. Thank you for sharing!

  • Donna B. says:

    Did not see my brand of dog food on either the “good” OR the “bad” list. Can you give me some feedback on “Taste of the Wild” dog foods please? I use the Wetlands formula for my 2 large breed Weimaraners.

  • Selma says:

    But… it’s pet food. Of course it’s going to be tested on animals!

  • Bri says:

    This is a great list, but I’m curious about the animals that actually go into the food as well. My understanding is that Orijen kills the animals humanely. Anyone else have any information on any other dog food company that is humane from start to finish?

  • Sara Thomas says:

    Do you have any lists of pet food that is made from animals raised ethically and humanely?

  • Rebecca says:

    Does natures variety test on animals that’s what I feed my dogs right now.

  • Kate says:

    Do you have an info on Orijen or Arcana?

  • Houda Khoshaba says:

    Hi suzi, thanks for providing so much helpful information. I do feed my cats Blue Buffalo and they are doing well on it. Changing and trying to find pet food that works well for all 3 cats is a tough mission. I went to Blue Buffalo site and this is what it says about animal testing. Back to Top

    Do you do any animal testing?

    Blue Buffalo does not do any invasive animal testing. Our company was founded on the basis of providing the best possible nutrition for dogs and cats, and we treat our pets like family members. We do conduct trials in which our products are fed to pets, but only under conditions that are healthy and comfortable for the animals.

    Would you be satisfied with this answer or do you have any other information about them that I should look into? I use only cruelty free products and do the same on my 3 cats this would include what I feed them.

    Thanks so much,


  • Polychrome says:

    I am wondering about Wellness . Does anyone know what category they fall into? That is what I feed my cats .

    • Robin says:

      I use wellness for my dog and actually just looked it up. They do use feeding trials, but do so with their own dogs/cats and no surgical procedures are performed. They said they are cruelty free, but don’t qualify for the peta certification due to the feeding trials. But I feel that since they trust this process enough not to cause harm to their own pets, I can trust enough in them. They also said that they only use food grade ingredients. Hope this helps.

  • NightmareLuna says:

    I never knew that pet food could be tested on animals, my cat sadly eats Whiskas, does anybody know of any cruelty free brands that are sold in Europe?

  • Amber says:

    Hi, I have a senior kitty with IBS who is currently on Purina’s HA hydrolyzed, which is a prescription diet with hydrolyzed protein. Is there a comparable product available that isn’t tested on laboratory animals?

  • Francine Pope says:

    I make my cat food using free range boneless, skinless chicken thighs, bell and evans chicken livers and get the nutritional supplement from Alnutrin. Much less expensive than high quality canned food and i can feel safe that it’s cruelty free. Cats are not vegans.

  • April Shuyler says:

    I really love that you’re sharing this, and especially that these products aren’t vegan diets. I do disagree with a below comment in regards to dogs being able to eat and process vegan diets, BUT, meat-based diets aren’t as much of a necessity for dogs as they are for cats. Cats are obligate carnivores.

    I’m a future-vegan myself, but I used to feed raw, and plan to raise animals for my dogs. I know many don’t and will never agree, but if I do it this way, I know EXACTLY where my pets’ food is coming from, I know EXACTLY how the animal was treated, and I will be able to know 100% that the animal died painlessly. I just find myself being unable to trust any other brands anymore. 🙁

    Anyways, I happened upon here because of your cruelty free and vegan makeup post. Thank you so much for sharing products that are cruelty-free! I’ve never been into makeup, but I’ve decided recently that I’d really like to try it out – mostly for the fun eye makeup!

    Thanks again for spreading awareness! I hope in the future we see more cruelty-free beauty products! (:

    • Thank you April! I’m hoping to be able to post more beauty reviews so I hope you find what you’re looking for. Makeup’s fun! 😉

    • Conchi Foranimals says:

      How do you know dogs can’t process vegan diets? Have you had a vegan dog and had it tested? I have and they are all not just fine but their blood tests are improving as time goes by! The falsehood that dogs can’t be vegan has been rebuked over and over and it’s time to admit the truth and update pre-conceived ideas. As for Cats and everyone on here continually “warning” against a vegan diet for cats, I just laugh because although partly right, those “warning” have no idea what it is cats “need from meat”. The most important nutrient that cats get and “need big time” from their food is TAURINE. Without it, cats will become very sick and possibly die. Yes, Taurine is naturally found in animal products and obviously vegan cat food isn’t going to use Taurine from an animal therefore some very intelligent people created “Synthetic Taurine” which equally as good. Now, wait for it, here’s the part that has me in stitches, almost all, if not all, cat food on the market doesn’t have Taurine from animals because it’s been destroyed in the process because quality of the meat is soooooo bad, diseased and rotten that all natural Taurine has already been destroyed…. and here’s the punchline, the Taurine cats get from cat food has “Synthetic Taurine” added otherwise the cat food you are all buying would be useless to your cats. Not only that, but the products used in pet food are so damaged that they also have to add a whole load of other nutrients and vitamins because they’ve been stripped and are not present in the garbage they put in pet food.

      Now if you want the real reason a vegan diet may not be the best for “some” not “all” cats is because certain cats have urinary tract problems, resulting in the development of crystals and blockages in their bladders, but if a cat is not “already” prone to those problems they will “thrive” not “survive” but “thrive” on a vegan diet.

      My Yorkie Elvis (R.I.P.) who was not vegan and thanks to the most expensive, veterinarian foods I kept shoving down his throat had exactly that problem and many others caused by the food I fed him. For 16 years I thought I was giving my dogs the best money could buy and I was killing them, giving them by products of rot, disease and waste!

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion but too many are quick to give opinions on things they know nothing about and have not researched or even tried personally. It would be nice if every now and then, everyone could think outside the box and perhaps admit they don’t know it all. In the past 6 years I have done extensive research, hands on tryouts and learnt so much that it would make your head spin. I’ve rid myself of pre-conceived ideas and opinions because let’s face it, we all think we know what we’re talking about all the time but we don’t. You learn something new everyday. Once upon a time we thought cows milk gave us calcium, now we know it depletes us of calcium, we thought meat gave us protein whereas now we know its carcinogenic and we can get all the protein we need from plants, we thought we could only get B12 from animals and now we know that the B12 is injected into animals and after being processed and finally cooked by us we no longer have B12 to absorbe… and on and on and on. We’ve been told so many lies whilst growing up that we have given the meat, dairy and egg industries FREE MARKETING at our own expense when we continue to spread their lies as if they were our own truths.

      Dogs and Cats can THRIVE on a vegan diet, dogs more so but all it takes is for owners to not be lazy, do their research and ensure their pets get everything they need, that’s all!

      • Ash Tree CVT says:

        CVT here. You must be joking. There is no possible way for a cat to thrive off a vegan diet. First off, you clearly have never heard of 4 yr old cats dying of dilated cardiomyopathy from being fed a vegan diet all their lives. Cats require a large amount of protein compared to dogs and their bodies will eat away at their own heart muscle to get it. It’s not a painless way to go either. Also, the feline digestive tract cannot adequately digest plant proteins which leads to enteritis because their bodies literally have plant material rotting in their digestive tracts.

        I, and many others in the veterinary medical field who took oaths to help out any animal in need and educate the public, would greatly appreciate if you wouldn’t spread false information that leads to the undue suffering of innocent animals. Good day.

  • Tiffany Montes says:

    I feed my dog Natures Recipe and I’ve been researching if it’s it’s cruelty free but I haven’t found any information that confirms whether it’s cruelty free or not.
    Can anyone help me out?

    But other than that great article and it’s very informative.

  • Claudia says:

    the only issue for me is that my cat is the fussiest eater. i’ve tried to feed it tons of different brands and every time we go back to purina fancyfeast because its all she will eat. also, i’ve never heard of any of these brands before, nor do i think i’ve seen them in the supermarket. i really don’t know what to do

    • Carrie Nicole Daly says:

      If you would like to try new foods for your cat you can always go to Petco and try a few brands out. The great thing is you can return open bags of food in exchange for a different one. The open bag of food gets donated so it doesn’t go to waste and you don’t waste your money. They usually have someone who understands pet nutrition and can answer a lot of questions.

  • Viola says:

    Hi, what about sanabelle cat food? It is manufactured by bosch tiernahrung.
    And hier is their statement:
    “No. Our standpoint on animal testing is clearly defined by our quality management handbook:

    The developping of new products is based on projects which rest on a scientifically researched and recognised foundation. We are strictly against any kind of animal testing which majorly affects the life of animals or which is associated with any kind of pain or suffering. Therefore we judge all animal testings associated with torture and pain that recently became public news and in which sadly pet food companies had been involved also.
    In our opinion, the tests, pain and suffering is in most cases in no relation to the results and consequences for which purpose the tests are taking place. Sometimes there is even an impression that tests are misused as a cover to promote marketing statements.

    Of course, our products have to be “evaluated” through animals, in order to see the influence of e.g. new raw materials or a new manufacturing process on the quality of our products. Dogs and cats are living creatures, and reactions cannot be foretold. Therefore, when developping new products, there might be an acceptance test which only proves the acceptance and digestability of the food. The manners of intaking food, stool consistancy, fur quality and, if applicable, the over all development and condition of the animals is monitored by the pet owner. Those acceptance tests take place in either private house holds or in proper kennels and are administered exclusively by the owner himself. Since it’s in the best interest of the pet owner to keep inconveniences from his pet, the acceptance tests we use have nothing in common with animal testing.”

    Thanks for all those helpful lists:)
    It is very sad to get to know that we have to take care even with our pets food….
    Unfortunately out of this list here in Austria i only found the happy cat, but they only sell here dry food.
    Would be very helpful to get to know is there any more companies who do not test on animals but also available in the EU.
    Thanks for ur help and infos

  • shana18 says:

    all animals raised on factory/conventional farms live tortured lives and their entire existence involves cruelty …. and almost all meats used as ingredients in pet foods are from factory/conventional farms …. but i think the article was referring to the pet foods being used in labs and tested on animals ….. sort of an inaccurate read … as the entire pet food industry is based on cruelty ….. they even use euthenized pets as ingredients ….. they have contracts and agreements at ‘kill’ animals shelters for this http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/rendered-products-in-pet-food/ …..

    • Conchi Foranimals says:

      Agreed and they even use diseased animals that didn’t even make it to the slaughter line that can’t be used for human consumption!

  • Lindsay Oberle says:

    I switched from blue buffalo to Solid Gold for my kitties because of this site. Thank you! Im tryi g very hard to change out all my products to cruelty free and mostly natural, i find this site to be very helpful as it can be a stuggle

  • Kevin B says:

    Hi, just wanted to share my e-mail exchange with Victor Dog Foods, an affordable brand, with quality ingredients and great reviews. Does anyone else know anything about this company’s testing procedures? Or would you take this response as acceptable?

    My initial inquiry asking if they tested on Laboratory animals got this response:

    Greetings Sarah,
    Thanks for your growing interest in Victor Super Premium Pet Foods. We Scientifically formulate our products without lab animal testing. We have enough faith in our products that we feed them to our own animals.
    Thanks again The Victor Team

    Further exchange ensued to garner more details:


    Thanks for the response, I’m glad to hear that your products are formulate without lab animal testing! I’m looking for the very best food for my dog as well as other animals. Would you be able to go into more detail on your product test process?


    We source the best quality ingredients from trusted producers. Most of our ingredients come from the USA. However, in certain circumstances some ingredients do come from another country (like lamb from New Zealand).
    All Formulas are proudly made in the USA. Victor Dog Foods are free from Corn, Wheat, Soy and Gluten Free as well as all Processed Grain by-products. All Formulas Are Naturally formulated with Added Vitamins and Complex Minerals. All Victor foods are formulated with scientifically advanced ingredients from Alltech, ZinPro and Diamond V ; that work together to support excellent digestive and immune system health.
    Each and every ingredient must meet our own high quality standards. Ingredients are tested upon arrival, samples are tested throughout production, and all pet food is tested before we release it for sale.

    Thanks for the information. I guess the process I’m most interested is the last part when you say “all pet food is tested before we release it for sale”
    What methods do you use for this testing?

    Thanks! Sarah

    This are chemical test.We check the finished product to make sure it meets our quality standard before we will release it for sale. If does not pass this test it is not released to be sold.

  • They’re not vegan, but they’re cruelty-free (which means not tested on animals if you look it up).

  • Shameni Vasuthewan says:

    Hi, does anyone know if the brand Addiction cruelty free?

  • Sarah says:

    Wow. Never thought about pet food being tested on animals. Will definitely make sure what I feed my pets in future is cruelty free. Do you know anything about Oxbow? I feed it to my rabbits, a quick google search seems to say its okay, but I trust you much more!

  • Scott E. Myers says:

    In addition to animal testing, there’s also the question of where and how the meat in the pet food is sourced. Are there any dog food companies that do not test on animals, and also have relatively cruelty free means of sourcing their meat? By “relatively cruelty free” I mean the cows/chickens do not live miserable lives in cramped, inhumane quarters and are killed in a manner that seeks to minimize pain and suffering as much as possible.

    • Chelsea Metcalfe says:

      I’ve been thinking this same thing throughout the article as well… All of the regulations about the pet food industry aren’t as easy to understand as the cosmetic regulations, so I don’t know how to find it out myself

  • Nicole Joyce says:

    As far as I know, Natural Balance is cruelty free and they also donate money to local animal shelters.

  • Sonya Deschênes says:

    Ok so after reading this article, I was wondering if the food I give to my dog is cruelty-free and I can’t found it.. I give Acana to my dog and when I look on google it’s the only part I can read :” Oct 22, 2015 – Pet food often involves painful animal testing on laboratory animals. … They are on PETA lists and Orijen & Acana are owned by CHAMPION … ” the link brought me here but I don’t see the answer.. Can you help me ? Is it cruelty-free food or no?

  • Yessica says:

    Are any of these available at petsmart/petco?

  • Stephanie says:

    We have dogs with special dietary needs and love Merrick. I didn’t see them listed on either list. Do you have any information on them?

  • Alison says:

    Unfortunately I have 2 diabetic cats and they’re on prescription diets, so I’m kind of screwed there.

    • Susan says:

      S’okay, Alison. I’ve got an immunocompromised cat, and she’s on a prescription diet, too. You’re not alone.

  • Becky Teague says:

    I wanted to contact Merrick about their testing policy, since they were recently purchased by Purina. However, I have never contacted a non-beauty company before, and the various laws for the pet food industry seem a bit less straight forward than cosmetics. I was curious what the emails you sent contained. I want to ask in the most direct way.


    • TT says:

      Also would like to know what to ask for this! I came across a pet food site that donates pet food and helps animal shelters whenever you buy a bag (BOGO Bowl http://www.bogobowl.com/) but can’t find any information about testing. I’d like to keep supporting them but want to make sure they are in line with cruelty-free procedures.

  • EY says:

    Wondering if you know whether Authority cat food by Petsmart is cruelty-free? It’s a Petsmart only brand and I tried to do research to see if they are owned by a larger parent company, but couldn’t find anything. Thanks.

    • Laura says:

      Look for the fine print near the ingredients where it says how it meets nutritional requirements. If it says “…is formulated to meet nutritional requirements…” it is not animal tested; if it says “Animal feeding tests have determined…” (or something like that, it is cruelly lab animal tested. Authority is one that still does it the old, sadistic way.

      • Sílvia Summers says:

        if the fine print says it was conceived or developed instead of formulated and has a symbol that says “regularly controled by laboratory tests”…does that mean it’s cruelty free? i wanna see if the brand i use for my dog is cruelty free

  • Karis Moore says:

    Can anyone find out if Petsmart carries a cruelty free brand of cat food? I’ve been researching but I’ve come up with very little so far.

  • Anna says:

    Hello, Suzy! Found another petfood company: http://www.brit-petfood.com/about-us/company-profile/ Can we trust them?

  • Jade says:

    i suggest another cruelty free company: Nova Foods http://www.novafoods.com all their brands are cruelty free! 😀

  • Conchi Foranimals says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I believe that LILY’S KITCHEN – APPLAWS – ACANA – ORIJEN are also cruelty free. They are on PETA lists and Orijen & Acana are owned by CHAMPION PETFOODS who confirmed to me that they do not test on animals but rather have their pets do the food test trials.

    • Notfurlong says:

      I’m so relieved. I was just trying to find out the status on Orijen. You just made me a very happy cat lady. 🙂

      • Conchi Foranimals says:

        You’re very welcome 🙂 I should mention though that all those foods are not cruelty free. They may not be tested on animals but they’re still not cruelty free. The animals that have to die for pet food still have to go through slaughter and terror and torture their whole lives. At least, if you can choose not tested, it’s one less horror in the world 🙂

  • Lexi Alexandra says:

    Good to know! I stopped feeding dry Blue Buffalo to my cats quite a while ago. They now eat Orijen. For wet food they eat Halo and Nutro. I’d be interested in finding out whether those brands are cruelty free as well. What are your thoughts on how to phrase questions when I inquire about it?

  • Chelsie says:

    I’d like to stress the necessity of meat in a cat’s diet. Gluten free foods are perfect for them, but I’d try to shy away from any vegan options for cats. Dogs, on the other hand, can safely be vegan if absolutely necessary. I’m a vegetarian myself (future vegan), but I can’t deny my cats and foster cats what they need to survive and thrive. Thank you for sharing this, Suzi! I’m happy that our Fromm (from Wisconsin) is cruelty free! Everyone adores it and it’s healthy for them!

    • Suzi says:

      Thanks Chelsie! 🙂

    • NightmareLuna says:

      Even if you’re vegan, you shouldn’t force veganism on your pets, a dogs natural diet is to eat meat, so you’re ripping away part of it’s natural diet by making it vegan!

    • Brad says:

      Thank you. My sister fed her cat a vegan diet for the last 7 years and now the cat is dying from kidney failure. She is only 8 years old. I am so angry at my sister for this.

  • Suzi says:

    I’m not familiar with this company, but I couldn’t find anything stating they don’t test on animals. Definitely contact them to verify.

    • Lynette says:

      I contacted them and here is their response:

      Dear Lynette,
      Thank you for your inquiry.
      We would like to assure you our commitment to animals includes superior nutrition and the humane treatment of the animals involved in any necessary feeding trials. In order to ensure the safest and most nutritional food possible, our formulas are analyzed for nutritional content. The USDA regulates facilities used for this testing and we choose them based on their reputation and dedication to nutritional research and animal care.
      Product Specialist

      kind of ambiguous! i think i might be finding a new pet food! that stuff isnt cheap either, but I thought it would be better for my dog. i try to not buy any cruel products. If they cant give me a definite answer it is just as bad as saying they participate in testing.

  • Kitty O'Possum says:

    Thank you for this! I have a couple of questions. Do all the companies listed as testing on animals actually do lab feeding trials, or are some included because their parent company tests other products on animals? I’m also interested in how to find out whether a company who’s not on these lists tests on animals? For instance, Nutro, Merrick, and Rachel Ray’s Nutrish. Thanks!

    • Suzi says:

      Hi Kitty! Yes, all companies mentioned here test on animals themselves (as opposed to their parent company) as far as I know. From my research, I couldn’t find any evidence supporting that Rachel Ray’s brand is cruelty-free. I haven’t looked into the other ones, but I’ll do my best!

      • Loula says:

        Merrick is owned by Purina and Nutro is owned by Mars Corp. so I wouldn’t trust either one.

        • Lexi Alexandra says:

          OK, I just checked your Nutro info above, only to be disappointed that it is indeed owned by a company whose products I do not like for their skimpy nutritional value. I thought Nutro was better than that! I’m going to try Halo again (it means going to a big box shop vs local) as my boys used to eat it, even if they pushed the veggies aside – hehe… I try to feed them carrageenan-free canned food, so I’m limited on that account. OK, here we go! And thank you 🙂

  • Erin says:

    Thanks for this up to date info. I am not surprised but saddened to read all the academic studies that supported these experimental methods. Money talks, animals can’t. Thank you for being their spokesperson.

  • Lexy Johnson says:

    Thank you for posting this!!! I had never even thought to check if the stuff I’m feeding my dog has been tested on animals! Luckily my pet store carries halo for the same price as blue buffalo so I’ll definitely be making the switch.

  • Rizza says:

    Do you know anything about Canidae? From what I’ve read they don’t test on animals but I haven’t emailed to confirm, and I know you have specific questions that you.

    • Suzi says:

      Hi Rizza, I just e-mailed to verify but here’s an excerpt from their FAQ:

      “CANIDAE neither conducts nor condones any inhumane laboratory live animal testing. After many years of making pet food and over a million tons a month being fed without incident world wide, we have passed the real world test without harming or inhumanely caging a single dog or cat.”

      It’s not totally clear based on that so please stay tuned for their reply!

      • Rizza says:

        That’s what I found as well! It seemed really vague. Thanks so much for contacting them! Looking forward to their response.

  • Loula says:

    I love that you are sharing this. People need to know more about the pet foods they are buying, and the companies that own the majority of the brands. But, there is one major issue here. I and many others would agree that feeding a cat or dog a vegan diet is a form of animal cruelty by itself! This is more serious with cats as they are obligate carnivores. We should not be feeding them a diet based on our lifestyle when it is not appropriate for their bodies. Feed them what they were designed to thrive on and find a reputable company. I feed my furbabies frozen raw.

    • Suzi says:

      Definitely agree with you when it comes to cats. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Loula. 🙂

      • Lexi Alexandra says:

        I’m a vegan crazy cat lady, lol, but wouldn’t ever feed my cats a vegan diet for that reason. I just assumed that their animal-based food is a result of cruelty, and therefore I have to live with that guilt ? but didn’t consider less cruel ways of acquiring their food. Dammit now I’m sad, so I’ll just end with: thank you for *all* your research. I love your blog, and it’s a great resource for those of us (trying to live) living a more compassionate lifestyle. Thank you.

    • Conchi Foranimals says:

      Everyone has a right to their opinion of course but to say that feeding your pets a vegan diet is a form of animal cruelty is ridiculous to say the least. On one hand you have commercial pet food which is made up of antibiotics, euthanized pets, cadavers of animals from the farming industry that have died from disease and are rejected for human consumption, feces, pus, tumors, already rotten corpses, not to mentioned each and every animal that has been killed for meat has been tortured and slaughtered in a horrific and terrifying way which is the cause of cancer, liver problems, cholesterol, blindness, early death, bone problems, heart disease, etc etc… then on the other hand you have a really nasty cruel vegan whose only hope in life is to rid all animals from any kind of suffering and they research the foods they buy ensure no cruelty is involved, ensure that absolutely all the nutrients and vitamins are included and even go as far as to add fortified nutrients and vitamins which are 100% complete like VegeDog™ and VegeYeast™, and some disgusting vegans will go all the way and cook the food for their pets making sure that absolutely nothing is missing nutritionally always including VegeDog™ and VegeYeast™ and even Green Mush™, have their pets checked time and time again paying for expensive blood tests to ensure that their pets are getting everything they need…. yes I can see how you arrived at the conclusion that vegans feeding their pets a vegan diet is a form of animal cruelty…

      • Dixie says:

        I agree. At least feeding pets a vegan diet ensures that no other animals were slaughtered for pet consumption. I mean, isn’t slaughtering animals cruelty? Genuine animal lovers are going to love ALL animals, even the farm animals traditionally slaughtered for meat: Chickens, cattle, pigs, sheep, ducks, and even quail. Otherwise, we shouldn’t even have pets that are carnivores.

        • Cheshire says:

          No, Dixie, if you’re going to feed a vegan diet, you SHOULDN’T have a pet that’s a carnivore. There are plenty of pets that aren’t carnivores that will allow you to maintain your views and thrive on the diet that you give them so you’re not selfishly compromising an animal’s health.

          • Emma says:

            I think a great idea for dogs is locally sourced eggs because then you know no one is harmed and your dog can still get enough protein since they are omnivores (obviously only when added to something like the honest kitchens base with no meat) I don’t know about cats because I’m allergic so I never have had to research for that purpose.

  • Never even thought about this :-O Thanks for sharing.

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