Are high-end cat and dog food less likely to be mislabeled than low-end pet foods?


  • Moloud Mazaheri
  • Ting Gu
  • Kaileigh Bunting
  • Persephone Wong


With a pet food market value of 4.5 billion CAD in 2021 and over 16 million cats and
dogs collectively in households across the nation, pets are clearly central to the lives of many
Canadians. With this much monetary value and the clear compassion people have for their pets,
people have been rightfully outraged when multiple studies showed high percentages of
mislabeling of pet foods. While many studies have confirmed high rates of pet food fraud, less is
known about how rates of mislabeling vary with perceived food quality. Thus, using DNA
isolation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and gel electrophoresis techniques, this study
compares the rate of pet food mislabelling in high-end pet foods and low-end pet foods. Four
groups were tested with five samples each: High-end dog food, low-end dog food, high-end cat
food, and low-end cat food. We hypothesized that the rate of mislabelling would be significantly
lower in high-end pet food in comparison to low-end pet foods due to the perceived higher
quality of ingredients used in production. Results showed that mislabeling was pervasive in both
high and low-end foods, with more than 60% of foods mislabeled in each group. From lowest to
highest rates of mislabeling, results showed high-end dog food was the least mislabeled (60%),
followed by low-end dog food (80%), followed by high and low-end cat foods, which had the
same rate of mislabeling (100%).