Save Your Labels
Are you prepared should a pet food make your pet sick? What to do and not do should your dog or cat become ill from a pet food.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard from several pet owners with sick pets. These pet owners are confident a pet food is the cause of their pets’ death or illness. Sadly, these instances of possible pet food contamination cannot be investigated because the pet owners were not aware they needed to keep the batch numbers found on the pet food label. Without batch numbers, the FDA cannot investigate the food. It doesn’t seem fair, especially if you have lost a pet or are treating a sick pet, but this is how it is with the FDA.
The lesson for all of us to remember, is to keep your pet food bag or can label until you are certain your pet is ok.
Many pet owners empty their bag of kibble dog food or cat food into an air tight bin after opening. I’ve encouraged this in previous articles; the air tight bin helps keep the food fresh. The fresher the food, the more nutrition provided to your pet. However, what my previous recommendations did not state was to save the bag for the ‘just in case’. Just in case this food causes your pet to become ill, the FDA needs the batch information posted on the bag in order to investigate the food.
With canned foods, tear the label off the can and keep it handy for at least a few days to a few weeks after it was consumed. Just in case the canned food causes your pet to become ill, you, the pet food company, and the FDA will have batch numbers to investigate.
Just as reminder…
Know what normal behavior is for your pet; normal eating habits to normal elimination habits. Any variation of ‘normal’ could be your first sign to a health problem (food related or non-food related).
Closely examine the outside of the bag or can before you purchase. Do not purchase any dog food or cat food that has tears, stains, or dents (cans). Closely examine the food when you open the bag or can. It should look and smell exactly like the previous purchase. If it does not, do not feed it to your pet – return it to the store for a refund.
If your pet is standoffish or suddenly picky with the food – stop feeding the food immediately. Often times our pets ‘tell’ us something is wrong with the food. Listen to what they are telling you.
Keep the bag or can labels for at least several days to several weeks after your pet has consumed the food.
Should your pet become ill, consult your veterinarian immediately. Ask your veterinarian to report the illness as possible food related to the FDA. You (the pet owner) should report the issue to the Pet Food Company, the FDA, and to your State Department of Agriculture. This webpage is a list of FDA coordinators for each State: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm
Have a back-up pet food ready.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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