Recalls - Dealing with Deadly Dog Food
By Michael Lee
The dog food recalls
that kicked off in March have sparked such widespread panic
that vets are fielding frantic calls from pet owners like never
before. And it's not just dogs that are affected, but several
brands of cat food have been pulled off supermarket shelves
as well. If you and your dog are concerned by these dog
food recalls, please read on for more information on
It all started when quite an
alarming number of cats and dogs began showing signs of kidney
failure-nausea, lethargy, frequent drinking, and more frequent
urination. These events happened to coincide with pet food manufacturer
Menu Foods' acquisition of a new supplier for one of their products'
ingredients. Menu Foods has since recalled nearly a hundred
of their 'cuts and gravy' brands pending further investigation.
It was found that the gravy-thickener,
wheat gluten, imported from China, contained the chemical melamine,
which is used in the manufacture of plastics and which was added
to the wheat gluten to make protein levels seem enhanced.
After the initial dog
food recalls, traces of melamine in yet another ingredient,
rice gluten, were discovered just a month later, leading to
further recalls. Other melamine-related compounds have since
been found, along with cyanuric acid, which is used in pool
Corn gluten, imported by South African
pet food firms also from China, has likewise tested positive for
melamine and has been blamed for the deaths of about 30 dogs due
to renal failure. It was reported in May that corn gluten had reached
Canadian soil as well.
As if all that wasn't enough, in
June, ExperTox, Inc., a Texas-based laboratory, detected lethal
amounts of the pain reliever, acetaminophen, in pet food being tested
for melamine and cyanuric acid.
Aside from Menu Foods, several other
pet food companies have also recalled their products after an undetermined
number of animals were either downed or even killed. The US Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) puts the death toll at roughly 1,950
cats and 2,200 dogs. Such staggering statistics, and those numbers
were released back in late April. The extent of the chemical outbreak
is confounding and has even led people to question whether or not
humans are safe. So far, officials are quick to point out that none
of the contaminants have been detected in human food.
What can you, the pet owner, do?
Observe your dog closely. If you recognize the symptoms of kidney
failure as mentioned above, do not hesitate to take him to the vet
Do your own research and keep an
eye on the constantly updated recall list to see whether or not
your dog's food may be included. Better yet, switch to premium,
human-grade dog food purchased at feed stores rather than grocery
stores. Or if you have the time and means, there are countless dog
food recipes available for you to prepare yourself, so you know
exactly what goes into your dog's system and you can be sure of
his health and safety.
Most of all, stay well-informed.
Reports and updates on the dog food recalls won't
do you much good unless you take full advantage of them. That said,
hopefully this article is simply your first step in ensuring your
beloved dog's well being.
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