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Discovering that Fido’s food has been involved in a recall can be pretty scary. Pet foods are usually taken out due to possible contamination or presence of foreign objects in the products. Your dog can get ill, or even worse, die, from eating a tainted item for consumption. So what should you do if have given your pooch a recalled food or treat?
Recalls generally refer to actions taken by a firm in order to remove a certain product from the market. Recalls may be effected according to a firm’s own initiative, conducted as per Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) request, or operated through an FDA order under some form of statutory authority.
Important Steps to Take:
1. Check the product in question. The moment you hear about a recall of dog food involving a company whose products you fed your pooch, you have to do some in-depth but quick research. The best source of detailed information is through the FDA’s website (http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/default.htm) where updated recalls are announced. Look into the product you have in possession and check the brand, package size, variety and lot numbers. This way, you can compare the one you have on hand with the recalled food, and then determine whether or not the ones you have been feeding your pooch is truly involved in the recall.
2. Stop feeding the recalled food immediately. Once you have confirmed that you do have the product recently recalled, do not feed any more of it to Fido and just buy another product to give your pooch for now. Remember that suddenly switching your dog’s food may cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Normally, switching your dog’s food is a slow, methodical process. However, in the event of a recall, don’t take the time to gradually switch. Instead, try mixing canned pumpkin (look for plain pumpkin rather than pumpkin pie filling) into the new food to help ease the quick transition to a new food.
3. Check your pooch for any unusual symptoms. The extent of urgency at this point has to be according to the reason for the recall. If it’s due to the discovery of Salmonella on the product in question, and you observe that your pet hasn’t shown diarrhea since consuming the food, then there is very little cause of concern as most dogs can deal with a little brush of such bacteria. But if the recall was because of a more serious problem like aflatoxin (a toxin produced by fungus) or a fatal excess of possibly poisonous nutrient like copper, then you might want to call your vet to schedule your dog for an exam. Be aware that some unusual symptoms may result in switching to a new food and may not be related to the recalled food.
4. Call the manufacturing company. While it could be very difficult to get through the food maker’s toll free number, try to persist and carry on. If you can leave a message, speak clearly and slowly as you give your name and contact information. Keep the food package near you so you can confirm the brand, size, variety, and lot number to the representative if you are lucky to speak with one. Inform the company how much recalled products you bought, how much you have left, and what condition your dog is currently in. Ask them what they will do next and what you ought to do with the recalled food you have left over.
Many people recommend keeping a portion of the recalled food in an airtight bag or container in the freezer until you’re sure your dog is not affected by the food. In the event of a dispute or serious illness, you may need to send the food to be analyzed. If you are concerned about long-term effects of feeding a recalled food, keep the original packaging, take photographs, and keep a detailed log of your dog’s health.
5. Follow through. If your pooch has gotten ill after eating the recalled food, follow through. Keep in mind that the manufacturing company has a legal obligation to give an account to any adverse effects brought about by their products. Don’t hesitate to file a report with the FDA. Just keep all records of Fido’s on-going health issues and keep all your vet receipts. Stay in touch with the food maker till you have been fully reimbursed for the food as well as for the vet bills you have had to pay. In addition to supporting your own case, your follow through could be helpful in protecting other dogs from facing the same illness.
Recalls happen often, suddenly, and without warning. While they are not always life-threatening for your dog, ALL recalls should be taken seriously.