Is The Food You Feed Your Pet Safe?

August 12, 2010


Although Food Safety News predominantly covers food for people, reporter Laurel Curran does have an article today that should be of utmost interest to all pet owners.  Pet food recalls and their relationship to the safety of people food and  pet food. Comments include those from veterinarians, as well as owners of pets.

Check out Larel’s article at Food Safety News:  Is Pet Food Safe?

As always, visit for the lastest discussions on issues that involve your cats and dogs. Join and post your cat and dog photos.  We love looking at them!

3rd Anniversary 2007 Pet Food Recalls: Remembering the victims

March 16, 2010

Don’t Fear Black Cats

October 31, 2009

Actor Dario Deak and his beautiful rescued black cat, Penelope.

North Shore Animal League.

Black cats are near and dear to me, having adopted a number of them.

Thanks to Mickey

Pet Net Safety 2009: Pet Food Safety

October 21, 2009


Did you know that:

There is a pet food recall on an average of once every three months. The past month alone has seen at least two pet food product recalls and a “product withdrawal” (an under-the-table way of recalling product without the scary “recall” word being put in front of the public). Potentially toxic mold, omission of critical nutrients, over-or under-dosing of vitamins and minerals—all these are threats to the lives and health of our pets, and all have been present in pet foods in the very recent past.

Over the past few years, two horrible pet food disasters stand out especially. The widespread presence of kidney-damaging melamine in pet foods made by Menu Foods, a subcontractor company that does food production for many well-known brands, caused an estimated 14,000+ dead and damaged pets in the US and Canada in 2006 and 2007. Melamine, a plastic used in dishes and fertilizer, was deliberately added by Chinese suppliers of wheat gluten, one ingredient in the pet foods, to falsify protein tests. In 2008, a very high-end brand of dry cat food was subjected to high levels of irradiation when imported to Australia, causing changes in the food that resulted in very severe neurological damage and ended in death for many cats whose families are still paying the costs. Many problems caused by pet food go undiagnosed or unreported.

The “standards” for nutrition in commercial pet foods are very weak. AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials, specifies in its handbook the following protocol for assuring an adult dog food is nutritionally adequate:

Eight dogs older than 1 yr. must start the test. At start all dogs must be normal weight & health. A blood test is to be taken from each dog at the start and finish of the test. For 6 months, the dogs used must only eat the food being tested. The dogs finishing the test must not lose more than 15% of their body weight. During the test, none of the dogs used are to die or be removed because of nutritional causes. Six of the 8 dogs starting must finish the test.

Not very stringent standards, are they? All the food has to do to “meet standards” is not starve or kill your dog in six months. That’s all. Yet many pets eat the same food every day for fifteen to twenty years. And the members of AAFCO themselves are all members of the pet food industry. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse!

The FDA cannot issue mandatory recalls for pet food that is known to be unsafe. (In fact, the FDA has no authority to mandate a recall on anything but baby formula.) Recalls are at the discretion of the manufacturer. So a company that knows a given batch of pet food contains, say, fragments of metal from a machine that broke during a production run, is under no absolute obligation to do anything about it. And when customers call with complaints, the pet food company’s answer is almost always, “We have had no other complaints about that problem,” when in fact there may have been plenty of other complaints.

What you can do:

  • If your pet is ill, contact your vet and let the vet know if you have reason to believe the food is causing a problem.
  • If you have a pet food problem, contact both the company and the FDA.
    Contact Us
    240-276-9115 FAX
    Issued by: FDA, Center for Veterinary Medicine
  • Learn about pet food ingredients; what’s good, what’s bad, and where they come from. Carefully read the labels on your pet’s food.
  • Save all receipts for pet food, and save the original packaging until the food is consumed by your pet.
  • Become involved in advocating for safe, nutritious pet food.

For more information: An active pet forum with information about food ingredients, recalls, specific product reviews and experiences. ItchmoForums does not receive corporate sponsorship or funding, and does not accept advertising. Pet Food Products Safety Alliance, a consumer group that tests pet food and posts test results.
Timeline for the Menu Foods recalls of 2007.
Description and discussion of effects of irradiated food on Australian cats. Consumer Affairs lists consumer complaints about a large variety of products, including pet foods. Search for your pet’s food on this site, and you may be surprised. Also publishes articles on pet food problems and recalls.

Update: FDA Alerts Pet Owners to Voluntary Recall of Premium Edge Cat Food

October 20, 2009
October 20, 2009

FDA is providing the following information from Premium Edge Pet Foods to alert pet owners of a voluntary recall of certain cat foods manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods for Premium Edge. The affected brands were found to contain an inadequate level of thiamine, which may cause clinical signs of thiamine deficiency in cats eating this food. FDA is working on this situation and will provide additional information as it becomes available. If your veterinarian diagnoses that your cat has become ill from consuming the affected pet food, please ask your veterinarian to file a report with FDA.

Diamond Pet Foods has issued a voluntary recall on the following date codes of Premium Edge Finicky Adult cat food and Premium Edge Hairball cat food: RAF0501A22X 18lb., RAF0501A2X 6 lb., RAH0501A22X 18 lb., RAH0501A2X 6lb. The date of manufacture is May 28, 2009. All retail outlets shipped the above lots were contacted, asking them to pull the product from the store shelves. The retailers were also asked to contact their customers via email or telephone requesting them to check the date code of the food. However, if you or anyone you know has these date codes of Premium Edge cat food, please return them to your retailer.

Symptoms displayed by an affected cat will be neurological in nature. Symptoms may include wobbly walking or muscle weakness, paralysis of the hindlimbs, seizures, ventroflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck, and abnormal eye movement called nystagmus. Any cats fed these date codes that display these symptoms should be immediately taken to a veterinarian.

The company tested the product and found no contaminants in the cat food; however the cat foods were deficient in thiamine. Diamond tracked the vitamin premix lot number that was utilized in these particular cat foods and have performed testing on another lot of Premium Edge cat food that used the same vitamin premix, and it was not deficient in thiamine. No other neurological signs have been reported on any other product manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods.

To contact Premium Edge Pet Foods, please call 800-977-8797 between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm central time, Monday through Friday.

How to Report a Pet Food Complaint
Contact Us
240-276-9115 FAX
Issued by: FDA, Center for Veterinary Medicine

Communications Staff, HFV-12
7519 Standish Place
Rockville, MD 20855

Pets In Hard Times

October 7, 2009

Photo by Itchmo Community member. Copyright 2009. Used with permission.

The current time of economic difficulties has created serious problems for many pet owners. What happens when, due to pay cuts or job loss, people can no longer afford to feed their pets, or provide medical care? What happens when pet owners lose their homes, and are forced to move into housing arrangements where some or all of their pets will not be welcome? What can people do? Heartbreaking situations like these are being faced every day.

We have a few suggestions and resources that may provide a little help to those who need economic supports to keep their pets. These are not meant to be all-inclusive, but to serve as a starting point for your own further investigation.

First, our community has compiled a list of pet food pantries (thank you so much, especially to menusux!)

Most of these operate in a way similar to food pantries for humans. If you are having trouble affording pet food, check out one of these pantries in your area. If you are among the lucky people who have a little to spare, consider donating!

For those who are served by Meals on Wheels and similar programs, some of these agencies also have “Kibble-on-Wheels” programs that provide food for cats and dogs. Ask the person who delivers your meals if this is available in your area.

If you are forced to move into a housing situation where you will have to give up some or all of your pets, please be aware that turning them over to a conventional shelter is not likely to result in a new home, but more likely will result in euthanasia. All animal shelters in the United States are severely over-burdened in the best of times, and simply do not have the resources to manage the increasing numbers of homeless pets today. One option might be to find a no-kill shelter or breed rescue organization in your area, who will place the pet in a foster home. A second choice might be to place your pets with friends, neighbors, or relatives who would be willing to take them in. This could be done on a temporary basis, until you are in a better financial situation. Never abandon your pet thinking that the pet will be able to find food and take care of itself! You are more than likely condemning your pet to a short life filled with suffering.

To ease the burden on animal shelters, make sure your pet is spayed or neutered, to avoid adding more unwanted animals. If you have trouble affording the surgery, many local organizations such as humane societies or ASPCAs offer free or very-low-cost spay and neuter programs. Call and check to see if this is available where you live.

For those lucky people who are in a better financial position, please consider donating to a pet food pantry, rescue organization, or animal shelter. In today’s world, this is needed more than ever. If you cannot contribute money, you might still be able to contribute your time to a worthy pet cause. If you have the space and resources, consider fostering a pet for a rescue organization or for someone you know.

Do you know of other resources available to pet parents in need? Have other ideas? Please post them here!

In Memory Of…

September 23, 2009

Original Posting Date:  03/16/2008,

Author:  Emily Huh

As today marks the one year anniversary of the pet food recalls, this is an open thread for anyone to speak their mind, share their thoughts, express their loss or simply encourage and support each other.

From the Itchmo Forums, JustMe made a memorial for the victims of the pet food recalls:

Member: 3Catkidneyfailure

Doozie: A 10-year-old Cat.
Suffered kidney failure from poisoned cat food.
Euthanized: February 10, 2007.

IQ: A 16-year-old Cat.
Suffered kidney failure from poisoned pet food,
January, 2007.
A survivor, under treatment.

SMORGI: A 15-year-old Cat.
Suffered kidney failure from poisoned pet food.
A survivor, under treatment.


Member: Arlo


BART: A 5-year-old Spaniel Dog.
Poisoned by pet food. Renal Failure.
Euthanized May, 2007.

ELLIE MAY: A black and white, Domestic Short Hair cat.
Poisoned by pet food. Acute Renal Failure.
A survivor who sustained chronic renal failure.

JETHRO BODINE: A black and white tuxedo, Domestic Short Hair Cat.
Poisoned by pet food. Acute Renal Failure.
Euthanized April, 2007.


Member: Carol

JESSICA: A 16-year-old Cat.
Diagnosed with Acute Renal Failure due to poisoned cat food,
February 17, 2007.
Euthanized December 26, 2007.

SMUDGE: A 14-year-old Cat.
Diagnosed with Acute Renal Failure due to poisoned cat food,
March 12, 2007.
A survivor, currently under treatment for Chronic Renal Failure.


Member: Catbird

PHANTOM: A 12-year-old Domestic Short Hair Cat.
Sickened by poisoned cat food.
A survivor.

ISIS: A 10-year-old, Burmese mix Cat.
Ate poisoned cat food, sustained heart disease.
A survior.


Member: SusanP/MrsP

LADYCAT: An approximately 13-year-old Cat.
Poisoned by pet food.
Euthanized July 10, 2007.

MUNCHKIN: An approximately 7-year-old Cat.
Poisoned by pet food.
A survivor.

TEENYCAT: A 4-year-old Cat.
Poisoned by pet food.
A survivor.


Member: Catmom5

CJ: A 12-year-old, Catgirl.
Suffered acute renal failure in November, 2006,
from posioned cat food.
A survivor with multiple serious health issues.


Member: Dyginge

DYLAN: An approximately 11-year-old Cat.
Acute renal failure from poisoned cat food.
Euthanized February 23, 2007.


Member: Kittylyda

PEANUT: Between 17-20 years old Cat.
Poisoned by cat food, diagnosed with renal insuffiency.
A Survivor, under treatment.

TIG: A 12-year-old Cat.
Poisoned by cat food.
A survivor, under treatment.


Member: Trudy

NUTMEG: Cinnamon Bengal Girl Cat.
Kidney Failure, 2006

BECAUSE: Tortoiseshell Manx Cat.
Oral cancer, 2007

SUNSHINE: Yellow Rescue Girl Cat
Cat food, 2007

BOB: Big Boy Rescue, Part Maine Coon Cat
Cancer, 2007

GREY THING: Little Grey Manx Rescue Cat
Cat food, 2007.

INKY: Black and White Manx Rescue Cat.
Pancreas, 2008


Member: JustMe

PEPPER: Black/White Domestic Short Hair Female Cat, 19-years-old.
Early CRF. Ate recalled food/treats, ?nonrecalled food.
Became violently ill.
Euthanized April, 2007.

Member: Meowli

PURRY: A 17 to 18-year-old, Male Cat.
Became seriously ill in late, 2006. Kidney failure.
He had eaten food that was later to be recalled.
Euthanized, January, 2007.

CLARISSA: Petite Black and White Female Cat.
Collapsed after eating around Christmas time, 2006.
Diagnosed with liver failure.
She had eaten recalled food with gluten “gravy”.
Died: February 7, 2007.


Member: Cathy

HUNTER: A 6-year-old, male Springer Spaniel Dog.
Sickened by pet food.
Died: 4/11/2007


MARIO: A 2-year-old, Orange Tabby Male.
Poisoned by pet food.
Acute renal failure.
Died: June, 2007

LUIGI: A 2-year-old, Orange Tabby Male.
Poisoned by pet food.
Acute renal failure.
Died: July, 2007


CATS AND DOGS: The countless, unknown cats and dogs.
Poisoned by their pet food.
Victims and survivors.


Member: Nabiya

PERSEPHONE: An 11-year-old, Grey Female Cat.
Poisonous pet food.
Complete Renal Failure.


Member: Mysuperhero

SNOOP DOG: An 8-year-old Cymric Cat.

BERT AND ERNIE: 7-year-old Male Cats (brothers)

SHERMAN: A 6-year-old Snowshoe Cat.

WALLY: An 18-month-old DSH Cat.
All poisoned by pet food.
All Survivors.

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