What can a pet owner trust?

Every time you turn around, another brand or type of pet food is added to the FDA’s recall list of products that are linked to kidney failure in dogs and cats, and the FDA is not as quick as we’d like it to be with updating its official pet food recall list.

When all this first started, two weeks ago, only wet foods (in cans and pouches) made by Menu Foods were involved. These were sold under various well-known brand names including Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Nutro, and Mighty Dog… and this week, Alpo canned food was added to the list.

malamuteUp to that point, it was just wet food — and those of us who feed dry food to our pets were feeling fairly secure that we were not poisoning our beloved companion animals…

Then, on Friday, Hill’s Pet Nutrition voluntarily recalled one of its dry cat foods, Prescription Diet m/d Feline Dry Food. Now that one was a shocker, because it’s a food sold by veterinarians — the very people to whom pet owners were turning in hopes of finding a safe food for their furry companions.

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Yesterday, Del Monte recalled “select product codes of its pet treat products sold under the Jerky Treats®, Gravy Train® Beef Sticks and Pounce Meaty Morsels® brands as well as select dog snack and wet dog food products sold under private label brands.”

The Company took this voluntary recall action immediately after learning this morning from the FDA that wheat gluten supplied to Del Monte Pet Products from a specific manufacturing facility in China contained melamine. Melamine is a substance not approved for use in food. The FDA made this finding as part of its ongoing investigation into the recent pet food recall.

The full list of recalled products is given in a Del Monte press release.

These days, my feed reader is tuned to PetConnection.com, a great source of information on the tainted pet food issue, and Pet Food Tracker for the most up-to-date information on current pet food recalls.

If you have one of these products, do not feed it to your pet. Save the product, along with receipts and veterinary records. The companies involved have pledged to take responsibility for the recall, although what that means financially cannot be determined at this time.

The common thread — the tainted ingredient in these cases — seems to be wheat gluten from China, where environmental and safety standards are not what they are in North America and Europe.

greyhound gets treatsOlder dogs and dogs with delicate digestive systems (like many ex-racer greyhounds) don’t always tolerate grain products well anyway. Wheat, corn, soy, and so forth tend to be included in dog foods as filler, not a source of nutrition that the dog’s body can use, so I have always tended to stay away from food with those ingredients anyway.

In recent years, I’ve been feeding my dogs either Canidae or Canine Plus Wholesome Blend dog food. Both made with “human grade” ingredients… no wheat, from China or anywhere else… so I’m as confident at this point as it’s possible to be… I guess… but still checking that recall list (obsessively!) every morning, right before I feed the pets.

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