You’ve found the perfect senior dog food for your aging pet. He loves the taste and he seems to be responding well to the change in diet. Suddenly, you hear the news that there has been a senior dog food recall. It’s unfortunate that the foods we trust to provide our pets with the nutrition they need to stay healthier for longer can sometimes let us down. But keeping track of recalls and knowing how to react to a senior dog food recall can help prevent your dog from being at risk.
Look for a Comprehensive Recall List
You may hear bits and pieces of information on the news or online. The only way to be sure your specific brand and type of senior dog food is included is to find a full list. After all, the food you have already purchased may be included. Most of the time, a recall means that there is a serious risk to your dog’s health.
A good place to start is with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sometimes the FDA initiates the recall. Another resource is the company that makes the dog food. Sometimes they initiate the recall once they become aware there is a risk associated with the ingredients.
You will need to know the types of food included in the recall and whether there are specific lot numbers or expiration dates if this applies. Most importantly, you need to know if the food you are currently feeding your dog is included in the senior dog food recall.
If your senior dog food is on the recall list…
- Don’t feed your dog one more bite of the food even if you have already fed a portion of it and your dog appears to be fine.
- Contact your veterinarian and ask what to do. Talk with them about the reason for the recall and the potential risks to your pet. You may need to take your dog into the vet to be examined or tested, depending on the cause of the recall.
- Ask the vet what kind of food to start feeding your dog now. Most vets and dog food companies recommend changing food gradually. This is especially important for seniors that have digestive problems. Since a gradual change is not possible, you need to know which food is the most similar to what you are feeding now.
- Clean your dog’s food and water dish before offering the new food.
- Either return the uneaten food to the store where you purchased it or dispose of it in a way that won’t put other animals at risk.
What to Do If Your Dog Becomes Ill or Dies After a Senior Dog Food Recall
If your dog begins showing any signs or symptoms of being ill, don’t wait to take him to the vet even if it means an emergency call. If your dog has died and you suspect it was due to the recalled food, contact the FDA. Their website will provide the information you need on where to file a complaint in your state.
How to Protect Your Dog Before a Senior Dog Food Recall
While a dog food recall on the level of one in 2007 is rare, those on a smaller scale do happen fairly often. This one occurred due to contaminated Melamine and a lot of pets got sick and died. These recalls happen for a number of reasons. The 2007 recall was spurred by the purchase of contaminated wheat gluten and rice concentrate from China. Melamine is, in fact, an industrial chemical that has no place in food for humans or animals. Its presence in pet food led to kidney failure and death in hundreds of animals.
Bacteria can sometimes find its way into pet food, a fact that is especially troublesome for senior dogs. As your dog ages, his immunity declines and makes him more vulnerable to infection and disease. All it takes is to manufacture the food without adequately cooking meat.
Even the imbalance of some nutrients can lead to problems for your senior dog. Some companies will have a recall when they realize the nutrient imbalance could put your dog at risk over time. Sometimes, companies even place the wrong label on the package so that you aren’t getting the dog food that you think you are.
As you can see, many of the potential causes of a recall occur at the manufacturing level. Some dog food companies have their products processed at a manufacturing plant instead of taking a “hands-on” approach.
To help keep your pet safe, look for pet foods that are manufactured in-house. Also, find out which companies buy their ingredients domestically. You want dog food that is made in the U.S. from locally and carefully sourced ingredients.
Take the same precautions with wet and dry dog food, as well as with your dog’s treats. Avoid buying off-brands that are most likely outsourced to manufacturing companies and which probably lack the ingredients needed for your senior dog.
It is virtually impossible to eliminate the possibility of a senior dog food recall completely, any more than we are likely to stop having recalls of human food. Knowing what to do when one happens to your senior’s dog food will help you take the right steps to keep your pet healthy and happy.