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Dog Food 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 the issue.

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 chlorination.

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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 at once.

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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