P&G’s Behind the Paw Pet Influencer Summit

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Behind The Paw

We have returned from the Iams & Eukanuba Behind The Paw Influencer Summit and it was super interesting.  In my post earlier this month Iams and Eukanuba: Behind The Paw, many of you posted questions both here on our Conservation Cub Club and also on our The Tiniest Tiger facebook page.

There were many great questions on different topics. One topic in particular that keeps surfacing and brings  the claws out in some people is the unsubstantiated rumor that Iams & Eukanuba participate in animal cruelty. The comments almost always refer to  the same old pieced together video that was released nearly ten years ago. I want to get this out of the way in this first post so that we can move on to talk about interesting and helpful topics like feline nutrition.

I took the opportunity to post photos taken at the P&G Pet Care Health & Nutrition Center on our facebook page but I didn’t say where the photos were taken.  Some of the comments were; Is it heaven?, a luxury day care facility? a golf course?  Many commented how happy and healthy the dogs and cats looked in the photos. That is what we saw too during our visit, happy, healthy pets!

So what is all the fuss about?  This is what is at the root of the rumor.

Worried about the health and well being of the dogs at the Sinclair Facility, P&G, the parent company of Iams and Eukanuba, hired a person to be the eyes and ears of the dogs in the study. This person was trusted to look after the dogs and  to make recommendations to improve the lives of the dogs in the feeding studies. Instead of taking care of the dogs, this person decided to make the video that was then pieced together in a highly sensationalized way. When P&G learned about the activities at the Sinclair Facility they immediately pulled their dogs out of the study and they were adopted out into loving homes.

The video is misleading in the following ways:

  • Sinclair Laboratories was not/is not owned by P&G.
  • Sinclair Laboratories did testing for many companies.
  • Most of the dogs in the video were not part of the P&G feeding study.
  • No cats were involved in P&G feeding studies at the Sinclair facility.
  • At the end of the PETA video,  you are asked to contribute to Fifi, an Iams pet.  Fifi was adopted into a loving home. Any money sent is not being used to help any animal.
  • NO Dogs that were participating in P&G feeding studies remained at this outside laboratory.
  • The video is nearly 10 years old.

Here is what we know first paw from our visit Behind The Paw!

The cats that are living at the Pet Health & Nutritional Center are living in a cageless environment.  The habitat

P&G Pet Health & Nutritional Center Cat habitat

Part of the indoor cat habitat at the PHNC

provides different levels of platforms for the felines to perch and play. The environment is super clean and there are plenty of toys, beds, and scratching posts for the cats’ entertainment and comfort. The cats are also provided plenty of hiding places for quiet time.

The Cats living at the Pet Health & Nutrition Center, (PHNC) are a Specific Pathogen Free Colony. In order to keep the cats healthy and happy, everyone entering the center must disinfect their hands and wear booties to make sure they do not track in any bad stuff. Just like at my house, shoes are left at the door so that I am not exposed to bad things from the outside environment.

The cats are free to roam about the habitat.  They have access to outdoor enclosures at all times so they are free to

P&G Pet Health and Nutritional Center

Cats have unlimited access to outdoor enclosures.

go in and out as they desire.  The outside enclosure also has platforms, lounging areas, toys and even hammocks. The cats looked super healthy and happy.  Each cat also has it’s own litter pan!  An important amenity for sure. The litter pan door  is activated by the cat’s individual microchip. I wonder if we could install a door like that in my bathroom to keep my parents out when I need a little privacy?

Youngsters go to Kitten Kindergarten!  The kittens learn about different surfaces, stairs, get to play on slides, and interact with humans every day so that they learn socialization skills early on and that makes them ready to be adopted into a loving home.

Each cat has a name, its own personality and its own individual life plan.  They are evaluated by  veterinarians, animal behaviorists, and the humans that spend their days with them to make sure that each cat is being cared for in the best possible way. If a cat seems to be unhappy at the center, they will be adopted into a loving home.

The studies that are carried out at the PHNC are split plate studies, known as comparative food studies.  There are no terminal studies, meaning no studies are funded that require the loss of life of any cat or dog.  The only studies permitted are those equivalent to ones with a human volunteer equivalent, such as blood work, immune cell analysis, urinalysis and fecal studies. There are no induced disease studies. No dogs or cats are subjected to any study that involves pain and suffering to the animal.  No studies are conducted at external research facilities.

The Pet Health & Nutritional Center is the only facility where P&G Pet Care feeding studies take place. There are in-

Social Interaction and Play time

Social Interaction and play time.

home studies with volunteer pet-owning families and studies are also conducted where dogs and cats already live, such as assistance dog training facilities.  In fact, over 70% of the feeding/taste-test studies take place in homes with family pets.

Each pet is given proper care and attention. The estimated cost per cat and dog is $10,000 for the first year at the center.  All the training and health care  is to make sure that the pets are happy, healthy and will be easily adopted into a loving home at the end of their study time. The pets from the center are so loved that nearly 70% are adopted into homes of P&G employees.  When they meet a dog or cat that they want to adopt, they are placed onto a list and if the human meets the strict criteria and proves worthy to provide a great home for the pet, they will be lucky enough to share their own habitat with one of these fabulous felines.

P&G is an industry leader in finding alternative solutions to animal testing. The company has spent over $250 million  to alleviate animal research.  Many tests are now completed in vitro (Latin: within glass) meaning in the lab and do not require animal testing. Many other companies benefit from the in vitro studies carried out by P&G. By virtue of their size, they have the ability to lead the way towards eliminating animal testing.  Outside the Pet Care Unit, under the broader P&G umbrella, the only tests that are conducted are when the government requires testing.  For example, environmental studies are done with fish in streams.  The government also mandates studies to test the best solutions in case of accidental

Pet Health and Nutritional Center love session

Chin scratches and love session at the PHNC

poisoning, for example if a child swallows detergent.  These studies help emergency room doctors know how to best treat the victim.  If you do not like these government mandated tests, then you are scratching up the wrong post.  You should be telling your government regulators, and not the Iams & Eukanuba folks.

Overall, every person that we met at the manufacturing facility,  the Pet Health & Nutritional Center, and  the Mason Campus from the Vice President of P&G Pet Care, Americas to the Customer Service Specialists are passionate about their pets!  They love and honor their pets just the same as you do. I can tell you that they feel hurt and sad that these rumors continue to circulate that they are cruel to animals.  They take these accusations personally and want to dispel the myth.  If you still have questions, you can contact Consumer Care at 1-800-675-3849 and they will be happy to answer any of your questions.  You can also visit IamsTruth.com.    You don’t have to just take my observations for it either.  The other Behind The Paws attendees will be posting on their blogs about their own personal observations.  Please read what they have to say too.  You can find them at My Brown Newfies, KnobNotes, Preston Speaks, DogTipper, The Daily Oskar, Thoughts Fur Paws, Pawcurious, My Wee View, Hearts into Home, Dogs, Dogs, Dogs.  Between all of us and all the pet loving people at Iams and Eukanuba, I hope this helps put an end to the vicious rumor about animal cruelty at Iams.  Thank you for reading.

Moving on to your questions about nutrition and ingredient questions in the upcoming posts.

We received no compensation from P&G other than hotel, transportation, meals and bowling during the Behind The Paw Summit.
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  1. Oskar & Pam says

    Great post & detail on the subject!  We can’t wait to get to know you better.

    Oskar & Pam

  2. Gracey, thank you so much for this valuable information. I feed my girls Iams so I was concerned to see they might test on animals. I appreciate all of the hard work you put into seeking out the information and then writing it up in such a straight forward manner. Let’s please talk about pet nutrition next because I want to move my girls to some adult dry food that has real meat as the first ingredient, instead of by-product or corn. It’s important to me that my girls eat good food that allows them to live happy healthy lives. (and Abigail needs to lose weight, but don’t tell her I told you that.)

  3. Magwhisk says

    Wow, this is Great Gracey!!!  Thanks so much, for checking it out!!! 

  4. MALIA RAGAN says

    Thank you for taking the time to research and post such valuable information concerning Iams and P&G.  Hopefully, this will squelch a good portion of the unfounded information floating around in various forms of media.  It appears that P&G is NOW a company that believes in transparency and disclosure when it comes to the day-to-day operations of caring for the pets housed in their facilities.  As Gracey would say, “Super Hurrah, it’s great to hear that the animals are happy and well cared for just as if they were in our own homes.

    • Anonymous says

      Malia, I agree.  It is much  more interesting and fun to talk about positive subjects.

  5. Dances With Cats says

    I’m glad to hear that Iams is not using testing that requires kitties to get diseases or be killed. Although I still have no interest in feeding my cats Iams, primarily because one of my kitties has special dietary needs, I’m glad to hear – -and see–that cats at the Iams facility are treated so well.

    • Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger says

      I am on a low allergen formula too.  What special dietary needs does you kitty have?

  6. Laura Davis says

    Is that a wall of shelves for kitties?  My cats would totally flip for that!

    • Anonymous says

      Yes, that is a wall of shelves.  I am not the best at leaping so I don’t know if they would work for me.  But the cats loved them for sure.

  7. Dawn White Nyc says

    Thank you for this informative post. I recently saw Iams on a list of products that are “tested” on amimals and became worried because this is the dry food I feed my cats. I’m happy to hear the opposite is true.

  8. Dawn White Nyc says

    Thank you for this informative post. I recently saw Iams on a list of products that are “tested” on amimals and became worried because this is the dry food I feed my cats. I’m happy to hear the opposite is true.