Most pet owners consider their pets to be important members of their family, and therefore take great pains to ensure that their pet is healthy and happy. This includes taking the time to carefully select the right food for their pet, which follows from a basic understanding that pet food, like human food, has many varying levels of quality. The last thing we ever want to do is feed our pet poor quality or potentially dangerous food. It’s therefore not unusual for us to hear about pet food recalls and then read down the list while holding our breath. No one ever wants to see the pet food they have carefully selected on a list of recalls, but it does happen. So what should you do if your pet’s food is on the list? The natural reaction is to just throw it away and shop for new pet food. However, there is more you should do in order to thoroughly protect your pet’s, and your own, health.
When Your Pet’s Food Has Been Recalled
The most important thing to remember if you discover that your pet’s food has been recalled is that in most cases, your pet will be fine. Even if your pet does need medical help as a result of ingesting contaminated food, your calm action is what can bring about a quick and full resolution. While keeping that in mind, proceed with the following steps:
1. Securely dispose of the unused food. Once you learn that your pet’s food has been recalled, seal it in a plastic bag and place it in a secure garbage can. This will help to ensure that neither your own pet nor any other outdoor animal will eat the food and potentially experience health issues as a result. Some stores and companies offer refunds on recalled pet foods if the unused portion is returned to the store, but not all. Check before you go to make sure it will be worth the hassle.
2. Thoroughly clean all surfaces that the recalled food may have touched. It is very important to wash and sanitize all containers, utensils, bowls and anything else that the recalled food has touched. Some bacteria can survive for several hours or even days, and you want to make sure that this does not affect either your own or your pet’s health.
3. Keep your eye on your pet. As stated earlier, in many cases your pet will experience no ill effects as a result of eating a small portion of contaminated food that has been recalled. However, there may be cases where your pet may exhibit some symptoms of illness and abnormality, in which case you should immediately call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment as recommended.
4. Consider changing your pet’s brand of food. It can be tempting to simply buy a new batch of food from the same brand, but if that brand has issued a recall on any of its products you may decide that it would be better to try a whole new brand. In this case, realize that your pet may have a rough adjustment period since they are unable to slowly transition from their old food to their new food. Selecting a formula that is similar to the food you are replacing, such as chicken or lamb, may help to smooth the transition. Use the ingredient lists to try to match up at least the first few ingredients, and avoid big changes in protein, fat and fiber percentages.
While no one wants to consider the problems inherent in a pet food recall, they do occasionally occur and need to be dealt with. Being prudent in securing and eliminating contaminated food, thoroughly cleaning all surfaces that came into contact with contaminated food, watching your pet for any possible signs of illness and switching to another brand can help to ensure that the experience is as painless as possible.