Dog Food Buyer Beware
More and More Dog Foods Are Making Dogs Sick!
For years, dog owners have faced challenges when choosing food for their dogs but the situation is getting increasingly dire. In just the last three months, we’ve seen well-known dog foods causing serious sometimes fatal illnesses.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy, a potentially fatal heart disease (1)
- Megaesophagus, a potentially fatal pouching of the esophagus (2)
- Vitamin D toxicity, which can cause serious health issues (3)
- Foods possibly containing glyphosate or Roundup® (4)
This growing list comes just a decade after the 2007 pet-food crisis when over 150 brands were recalled because they contained melamine. Although we’ll never know for sure, estimates are that over 8500 cats and dogs died from consuming this toxin in their food (5).
Most of us have become accustomed to recalls due to bacteria, particularly in raw pet foods that are made from commercially raised chickens, which we know carry salmonella. However, dry and canned dog foods have also been recalled for the same reason (6). Although annoying, this contamination now seems simple by comparison since it can be handled by treating dog food like raw meat (7). Wash your hands before and after touching it. Use hot water and soap to clean up utensils, counters, etc. Don’t cross-contaminate. Most of us know how to do things things since we handle and cook meat in our kitchens for ourselves.
Dealing with a common bacteria is different than well-made dog foods causing severe illness or even killing our dogs. The latter is a serious breach of trust from the very experts who should be keeping our dogs safe. For years, dog-food manufacturers have admonished us against adding anything to our dog’s food, saying it will unbalance their nutrition. Veterinarians have warned against giving dogs “people food,” claiming it may cause upset if not illness. And don’t even consider feeding your dog a homemade or raw diet! The warnings about those two options begin with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and trickle down to most local veterinarians.
So now dog owners are between a rock and a hard place. If we add to or make our own dog food, experts say we will harm our dogs. Yet, commercial dog foods created and touted by these same experts are falling so short that they are killing our buddies. And the old stand-by foods being recommended in place of the dangerous ones often cause chronic conditions in dogs, such as hot spots, ear infections, itching, diarrhea, constipation and more.
Choosing a dog food is a very important decision for you and for your dog! Our dogs no longer roam freely so their only source of food is what we provide them. Aside from occasionally counter surfing, our dogs rely 100% on us for their nutrition. Thus, we must choose their food well. Very well! It’s a tough time to be a dog owner so please pay attention to what is happening in the dog-food arena and choose your dog’s food wisely!
P.S.—We don’t have all the answers but if you want to hear some suggestions on strategies to get your dog through this period, Chris Zink, DVM PhD and I are holding a live webinar, Feeding the Active Dog, on January 25, 2019 at 6 PM EST. More info here.
FEEDING THE ACTIVE DOG WEBINAR
Jan 25, 2019, 4 – 5:30 PM EST
- FDA Investigating Potential Connection Between Diet and Cases of Canine Heart Disease
- Study confirms rise in megaesophagus cases in dogs was linked to pet food
- FDA Alerts Pet Owners about Potentially Toxic Levels of Vitamin D in Several Dry Pet Foods
- A $5 Million Lawsuit Claims Rachael Ray’s Dog Food Brand Contains a Potentially Harmful Ingredient
- Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007
- Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Dry Dog Food Continues
- Pet Food Safety