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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Point Loma Pet Pantry: A Passion for Providing the Perfect Food

Apr 26, 2011 05:47PM ● By Gloria Taylor-Brown

In 2007, when a Chinese-based manufacturer of various pet foods recalled its products, thousands of pet owners learned a tragic lesson about killer pet foods containing wheat gluten contaminated with two chemicals: melamine (used to make plastics), and cyanuric acid (used to sanitize pool water). Both were added as cost-saving bulk agents. The lethal mix of these two chemicals caused acute kidney failure, resulting in death for 250,000 pets.

“Heightened awareness and demand for quality pet foods skyrocketed after that,” says Dr. Carol Osborne, a world-renowned veterinarian and leading authority on alternative and holistic veterinary medicine.

Osborne notes that cyanuric acid is still being legally added to pet food. “It artificially boosts protein levels and misleads pet owners as to true protein content, while camouflaging a toxic chemical at the same time,” explains Osborne. “Updated manufacturing guidelines and safety regulations are essential to ensure quality and safety of pet food ingredients. Unfortunately, both are lacking.” She further notes that slaughterhouse floor scraps, considered inedible for human consumption, comprise the bulk of ingredients in pet foods, regardless of the label or price.

Consumers confused by labels and marketing buzzwords can expect to find helpful information and answers to their pet food questions from Samantha Sarsilmaz, owner and manager of Point Loma Pet Pantry. As an expert in animal nutrition, Sarsilmaz likes to offer a species-appropriate diet that feeds her clients’ pets much of what they would enjoy if they were able to graze or hunt in the wild. “Many of our customers like to bring their pets in to visit us and show off their shiny coats, bright eyes and all-round good health that happens naturally as a result of eating the right food,” she advises. “They also take pleasure in informing us that they save on vet bills and pet prescriptions.”

Passionate about the subject of pet food, Sarsilmaz teaches her clients to read the listed ingredients on any pet food label before purchasing. “I encourage everyone to feed their animal natural foods whenever possible,” advises Sarsilmaz, who adds that many trainers report a shift in an animal’s behavior after switching their diet to natural foods. “Trainers tell me that natural foods have a much more calming effect, making the animal a better companion,” she says.

“It makes my heart sing when a customer tells me that coming here is an educational experience and that they will never buy generic pet food again, now that they know the difference,” remarks Sarsilmaz.

Location: 3704 Voltaire St. (near Stumps Market), San Diego 92107. Call 619-222-1986 or visit Also visit their second location: Paw Country, 5652 Lake Murray Blvd., La Mesa 91942. Call 619-463-1134 or visit