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How Safe is Your Dog’s Food?

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My dog’s food was recalled – what should I do now?

1. Immediately stop feeding your dog the recalled food; save a small sample of the food and the barcode label in case government regulators need to test the food.

2. Disinfect everything, including your dog’s food bowl, food storage container and feeding space with bleach and hot, soapy water.

3. Immediately take your dog to your veterinarian for a wellness exam, even if your dog does not show symptoms of food poisoning. In some cases, internal organ damage can accumulate slowly over time; early intervention is essential to protecting your pet’s health.

Over the last several years, numerous dog food brands and treats have been recalled for chemical contamination or Salmonella. This last summer many dog food brands were recalled due to Salmonella; all were manufactured in a Diamond Pet Foods plant in Gaston, South Carolina, USA. This plant makes many brands besides their own Diamond brand; Solid Gold, Canidae, Taste of the Wild, and Kirkland (Costco’s brand) were just some of the types of food affected. Further investigation showed that problems extended back to October 2011.  By July 2012, at least 49 people had been sickened from the Salmonella in the dog food, and ten had been hospitalized. Salmonella can cause illness in dogs as well, such as vomiting and diarrhea. It is not known how many pets were affected from this infection.  And like humans, some dogs and cats may not show any symptoms, but become carriers of Salmonella and can infect other animals and people.

An even larger problem is the chicken jerky treats made in China. It has been known for a few years that  many dogs have been sickened from them, and the number of cases is increasing. The FDA just reported that in the last 18 months, 360 dogs and one cat have died from ingesting them. Extensive analysis has not revealed the cause. They have been tested for several chemical compounds including melamine, heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins and infectious agents. The warning has now been extended to duck and sweet potato jerky treats.  

For pet owners and veterinarians, there’s nothing quite as scary as discovering the food that you feed your dog is actually making him or a human family member sick. While you can’t prevent your pet’s food from being recalled, you can take the following five steps to reduce the risk for food poisoning and contamination or at least document a problem.

1. Store food in an airtight container. Before adding a new bag of food to the container, thoroughly wash it out with soap and hot water.

2. Save the barcode. Cut the barcode off your dog’s current food bag. Oftentimes a brand will only recall certain bags of food, depending on where they were manufactured. This information is contained in the barcode.

3. Wash bowls and food space regularly, and then disinfect them in bleach.   If dry dog food falls on the floor, treat it the same as you would raw meat or chicken; clean the floor immediately with antibacterial spray.

4. Watch for symptoms. If you notice a change in your pet’s behavior and energy levels, contact your veterinarian. Common symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. It is always possible that your dog’s food may be making him sick but it has not officially been recalled.

5. Practice good hygiene. When feeding your dog, it’s natural to reach down and pick up fallen pieces of food off the floor and put them back in your pet’s bowl. If the food is contaminated with E. coli or salmonella, however, then doing so will spread these dangerous bacteria to your hands. Always wash your hands with soap and water after feeding your dog; never touch your eyes, ears or mouth with unwashed hands.

If you suspect that your dog’s food is making him sick, contact your veterinarian and government regulators. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally tracks complaints about suspect dog food and treats. You can contact the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.

Source:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

KTLA 5 News

Pet Care Is Our Passion

Pet Care Is Our Passion

AAA Animal Hospital is a full service veterinary hospital that is dedicated to the health, happiness and well being of your pet. Each of your pets becomes part of the AAA family and receives uncompromising care, service and genuine concern by our entire hospital staff. AAA Animal Hospital has thousands of satisfied patients over the past 35 years. We offer low cost vaccinations, spaying and neutering. We have a new state of the art facility which offers digital x -rays, in-house laboratory testing, a fully stocked pharmacy, ultrasound, and orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries. Our hospital carries a wide variety of prescription diets and all the latest in flea control including Nexgard and Comfortis. We also offer boarding for cats and dogs with brand new "condo" style facilities. Call us to book your boarding reservation today.

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