March 31, 2021 Diet

How to Manage Your Pet’s Diet During a Pet Food Recall

Cats eating food

How to Manage Your Pet’s Diet During a Pet Food Recall

Pet foods can be recalled for a variety of reasons, including: contamination with something toxic, bacterial contamination, inadequate amounts of vitamins, or the presence of inedible contaminants. Since I have practiced veterinary medicine through multiple pet food recalls, I have learned a few things about feeding pets despite recalls and what pet owners can do to ensure their pets continues to get adequate nutrition.

Feed Your Pet a Variety of Foods

Unless your veterinarian recommends a prescription diet for a medical condition, you can dish up any brand and flavor of pet food you want. Therefore, I suggest you avoid feeding only one flavor of one brand of pet food. If that food is recalled, your pet’s food must be changed abruptly, risking a hunger strike or tummy upset. Instead, feed two different brands and mix up the flavors in case one of the brands is recalled. Teaching your pet to be a flexible eater will pay off if their food is recalled or discontinued.

Don’t Rely on Home Cooked Meals Alone

If your pet’s food gets recalled, many families begin cooking fresh meals for their pets. While a couple of nights of home cooked meals are not likely to hurt your pet, the nutritional requirements of pets are different than those for humans and specific to your type of pet. Unless you are feeding a home cooked diet formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, you run significant risk of causing nutritional deficiencies in your pet. You can find a veterinary nutritionist to formulate a diet for your pet on the American College of Veterinary Nutritionist website. You should always check with your veterinarian before making significant changes to your pet’s diet, for example if you’re concerned about diet-related heart disease.

Record Pet Food Lot Numbers

Typically, pet foods are recalled by lot number. The lot number can be found on the bag of dry food or the label of canned food. If you dump the bag contents into a pet safe container, or recycle the cans after dinner time, you will have no idea if you were feeding the recalled lots or not. Baby boomers will want to save a label from the can or bag of food in case of a recall. Gen Y and Z will just use their phones to take a picture of the lot number. Either way, save the information.

Be Proactive About Pet Food Recalls

Veterinarians get information about pet food and veterinary drug recalls from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine will send you alerts to your email address. Sign up here, enter your email, and click the box to get the alerts titled “CVM What’s New.”

In addition, the FDA maintains multiple Twitter feeds to post the latest information. The ones best for pet families are @FDAanimalhealth and @FDArecalls.

Here at the Animal Medical Center, we keep a list of dog and cat food recalls on our website. We also post this information on our social media channels, in addition to pictures of cute patients.

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Tags: cat food, dog food, pet diet, pet food, pet food recall, pet food recalls, veterinary nutrition,

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