Dog Food Recall Safety Tips
At least once a month, it seems a new dog food recall floods social media channels. For those who remember, 2007 was a terrible year for dog food recalls, which resulted in dogs dying from kidney failure. Yet, dog food recalls are still happening. All dog food brands have issued a recall regardless of cost and quality. Dog treats and chews are being recalled now too. With so many recalled dog food, how can you protect your dog?
What Causes Dog Food Recalls?
There are numerous reasons why a dog food or dog treat is recalled, including:
- Poisons and chemicals
- Unhealthy bacteria
- High or low levels of vitamins and minerals
Poisons & Chemicals
In 2007, wheat gluten imported from a Chinese company was contaminated with melamine, resulting in mass recalls and deaths of many dogs (2007 Pet Food Recalls, 2017). Melamine is essentially an industrial chemical that’s considered a poison when ingested. How melamine contaminated wheat gluten used for dog food is still a mystery. However, most brands are now testing vegetable proteins before adding them to dog food.
Just last month, Evanger’s dog food was recalled due to high levels of phenobarbital found in a specific flavor of canned dog food. Phenobarbital is a drug used to control seizures and euthanize animals, and it’s uncertain exactly how this drug made its way into this food.
While some bacteria is good, some are deadly. Most dogs can handle commonly ingested bacteria with minimal discomfort, yet chronically ill or older dogs can not. Plus, humans are at great risk when handling foods contaminated with salmonella, listeria and E. coli.
Treat all dog food, treats and chews like raw meat. This means washing your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and warm water after handling.
High or Low Levels of Vitamins, Minerals & Hormones
Kibble-fed dogs eat the same food every day. There’s no variation in micronutrients—just the amount of kibble they eat throughout the day. When high levels of certain vitamins and minerals are consumed every day, this can cause illness.
The same applies for low levels. More than a decade ago, many cats suddenly went blind after eating a specific brand of cat food too low in taurine (an essential amino acid). Make sure you’re feeding your dog a balanced diet of vitamins and minerals. Too much or too little of a nutrient can be dangerous.
Before feeding any type of commercially prepared food, it’s best to check the item out first. While your social media may blow up when a dog food product is recalled, many recalls go completely unannounced. For up-to-date information, check out the FDA’s website on Animal Food Recalls. This website provides a list of all recalled items, including reason for the recall, customer service number and important brand information. Before buying any pet food products, including dog chews, check the FDA’s website first.
Consider Feeding a Home-Cooked Diet
Due to dog food recalls, many pet owners are now making dog food and treats at home. Home cooking for dogs has become so popular, there are now veterinarians board certified in nutrition. This trend makes complete sense, especially if your dog has lived through a dog food recall. When you cook at home, you purchase ingredients from a local grocery store and prepare the meal yourself, so you’re fully aware of what your dog is eating. Believe it or not, cooking for your dog is pretty easy too.
Stay informed and check it out, or better yet cook for your dog!