NEW YORK—In response to the recent spike in pet food recalls, the ASPCA®'s (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Animal Poison Control Center has some suggestions on how to best keep two-legged and four-legged family members safe:
- Do your research. Salmonella is the contaminant that appears to be the cause of concern during this most recent round of pet food recalls. The most important thing for pet owners to do if they suspect their dog's food has been contaminated is to stop feeding their pet the recalled food immediately. If the pet shows signs of illness after eating a recalled pet food, a trip to the vet should be first on the list of to-dos, and then the food manufacturer should be notified. Pet owners can identify the recalled foods by visiting the FDA's website at www.fda.gov.
- Know the signs. While healthy adult dogs are relatively resistant to illness from Salmonella bacteria, pets with health issues (such as young puppies, elderly and pregnant dogs that could have compromised immune systems) may be at greater risk for becoming ill. Dogs who are affected by Salmonella may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and drooling or panting—an indication of nausea. In severe cases, the bacterium may spread throughout the body resulting in death.
- Clean is key. Salmonella isn't only dangerous to the pet eating the food, but could also affect the pet parent serving the food. Salmonella can be spread through direct contact with the affected product and animal feces, so exposure should be avoided. The best way to protect family members, including other animals in the home, is to thoroughly wash your hands (or paws) after any dealings with the product or feces. In addition, all bowls, utensils and surfaces that may have come in contact with contaminated food should be washed using hot soapy water and rinsed thoroughly or sanitized in the dishwasher.
For more information about the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center and potential pet toxins, visit www.aspca.org/apcc.